The drive to achieve financial independence

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Understanding how emotional cues can affect your finances


Kristen Hansen was the main breadwinner for her young family when she decided to start her own leadership coaching and training company, EnHansen Performance. With focused determination (and a good understanding of neuroscience and emotional intelligence), she’s been able to grow her business and work towards financial independence.

“I started my own business to have financial freedom and choices, but as we had a mortgage I had to make sure it was profitable very quickly. So first I reduced my corporate role to two days a week, and used the other three days to start the leadership coaching and training.”

This allowed her to meet the family’s financial requirements, but she also had to put her desire to build a property investment portfolio on hold for a few years – until she could prove her capability to repay.

It's really about finding a bank that can help me think big – support my vision for my family's future.

Kristen now has two investment properties, and is about to settle on a third. Her goal was to positively gear from the outset, to reduce any risk if interest rates go up.

“Both properties are ‘3+2’ – a three bedroom build and a two bedroom build on one property, which enables a pretty good yield. My finance broker helped me do the numbers, and told me Macquarie were good to deal with. Plus the interest rate was very competitive.”

She says one thing she is passionate about in her business is helping people overcome their own fear of risk to be able to create wealth for their future – something she has experienced in herself.

“By understanding what causes these fears, I can take a logical process to manage them. So I lowered my own risk by buying cash flow positive properties – it’s a practical way to stop myself from feeling overwhelmed.”

“Uncertainty triggers a threat response in the brain. That’s why a lot of people are risk-averse to using the equity in their homes. Plus, decision making needs to be done when you’re in a ‘reward state’ – you don’t want to feel under pressure to jump in.”

Being able to understand her own emotional cues has also helped Kristen deal with another significant challenge: separating from her husband.

“It's a very different circumstance for my family, and there’s a lot of discomfort that comes with that process - not just financially but emotionally as well. I’ve learned to take one step at a time, and keep adjusting my perspective.” She says neuroscience principles have also helped her build a good relationship with her ex-partner.

“When people experience separation, there’s often a lot of anxiety over the finances. I have to say that hasn't been as stressful for me, because of the relationship I have with Macquarie.”

Kristen’s main goal now is to keep her investment properties and her house so she can still be financially independent. She is also looking currently at buying a property with Macquarie Bank through her self-managed super fund.

“I don’t want to feel I’m going backwards financially. My broker and I are still working through it, but it’s looking positive. Macquarie has had to re-assess my financial situation as a single parent, but they’ve taken a personal approach and supported me, which I really appreciate. It’s good to be able to work directly with someone there.”

Kristen says she’s now in a position, both personally and in her business, where the relationship is about much more than a bank account.

How to choose the right bank

“It’s really got to be a relationship. That’s why I look for someone with emotional intelligence, I want a bank who is able to know me as a human – not just a way of making their numbers. Someone I can enjoy having a conversation with.”

To Kristen, a ‘trusted partner’ also means someone who can understand her dreams.

“It’s really about finding a bank that can help me think big – support my vision for my family’s future. I also expect them to be able to expand their offer for me as I grow. I’ve come to realise the breadth of capability Macquarie has to support me – it’s really a bank for anyone, all types of customers can benefit.”

She also values the ease of dealing with the people. “There’s a willingness and an openness. Everything that has been said is done, there’s no over-promising and under-delivering – it's the opposite.”

Over the past four years, Kristen’s business has grown exponentially. She now has three full-time staff as well as a community of freelancers and specialist facilitators to help her deliver EnHansen Performance’s leadership programs.

“I guess what I’ve learned is that a big part of both financial and personal success is having the confidence and belief in yourself, that you can achieve things that may sometimes seem a bit overwhelming.”

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Unless stated otherwise, this information has been prepared by Macquarie Bank Limited ABN 46 008 583 542 AFSL & Australian Credit Licence 237502 and does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making any financial investment decision or a decision about whether to acquire a credit or lending product, a person should obtain and review the terms and conditions relating to that product and also seek independent financial, legal and taxation advice. All applications are subject to Macquarie’s standard credit approval criteria.