My name is Soul Patel. I’ve recently set up a website and blog called www.smartmoneymindset.com which aims to teach 18-35 year olds (and anyone else for that matter!) about common financial myths; how to more effectively manage your money (including how to escape boring jobs) and how to make more money. I’ve recently lectured on this at the London School of Economics, and at Capgemini.
I’ve set up a site called www.pass1sttime.com which teaches accountancy students how to pass their exams 1st time.
I’ve also set up a small property company looking to buy property in North-West London. As part of that I also own and run a property portfolio with my brother which enabled me to become financially free this year – my income from investments covers all my expenses. As a result I was able to take a six month sabbatical from Capgemini to set up my websites and further the property company.
I’m learning Italian and planning to move to Rome for 6 months from March 2010 to learn Italian cookery, travel Italy and further my language skills.
The principles behind all three businesses being that I can run them from anywhere in the world, so I can spend the next few years living in whichever country I choose (South America being top of the list after Rome!)
I also started Capoeira last year and plan to spend more and more time doing this, including spending a year training in Brazil after my Rome trip.
2. What did you do before this?
Worked as a strategy consultant for Capgemini Consulting for 5 years. Prior to that worked as a financial consultant for 1 year, in an internet start-up for 1 year, and in investment banking for 6 months. I also studied for and passed my ACA and CFA exams in 3 years, instead of 6 years, which gave me a very strong financial education.
3. How long have you dreamt of doing this?
Property I dreamt of since I started working in 2001, but redundancy from an investment banking job stopped that in its tracks for a few years. I’ve always wanted to work for myself since reading Rich Dad Poor Dad and have been fortunate enough to implement the principles in the book into reality.
The website only started to take form in my head in March this year (2009).
4. What inspired you to do it?
When I got my last house rented and realised that the income from my properties would cover all my expenses in April this year. I then spent the next few months paying off all my debt and became debt-free with my last paycheck from Capgemini. From then on I knew that I could work for myself and use all my effort for my goals and dreams, instead of making someone else wealthy.
5. From a practical perspective, how did you plan for it?
I made sure I had the income to cover my expenses, and also paid off all my debt – these two factors were key in giving the security I needed.
I also did the fear-setting exercise from The 4 Hour Work Week (e.g. what is actually the worst that could happen?)
I also created some plans for the work I was going to do, and forecast all my finances out 6 months.
I think the key thing was that I was able to combine formal finance training (ACA and CFA qualifications) with entrepreneurial principles (Rich Dad Poor Dad and 4 Hour Work Week) to get the best approach using both.
6. How did you fund it?
Don’t worry if you don’t want to tell us too much about the money side of things – however, given that people’s main concern about following their dreams is usually ‘the money question’ we are really interested in hearing how people overcome this challenge
This is a very good question. As I’ve mentioned I had the property income and once my expenses were covered from that I used the income from my job to pay off my debts.
However the key to “the money question” is not the practical nature of income and expenses, but rather how we think about money – changing this means that the money question becomes less of a concern for people. Despite all my financial training it was only in January this year (2009) that I actually pieced it all together. That was my inspiration to start SmartMoneyMindset.com
7. What was the hardest thing about making this happen?
Overcoming fears about being a success / being a failure. And also, despite all the factors in my favour, “the money question” was still a concern.
It’s tough working for yourself and knowing that it’s all down to you. Your fears about if you’re good enough surface all the time and it can be hard overcoming those.
I refer to books and quotes a lot to keep me going.
8. What is the best thing about making this happen?
The progress I’ve made and the feedback I’ve received from people on the financial principles I’ve taught them. There’s really a huge amount of rubbish financial advice out there – usually given by people that are in no better a financial position than the person they are “advising”. The site and lectures I’ve given have really helped with this.
I’ve taught people who thought they were on the verge of bankruptcy how to be debt-free in 2 years – you can tell the relief and stress that disappears once they understand what they need to do.
I’ve even shown financial consultants who have worked for the FSA, Nationwide, HSBC etc., who you would think know personal finance, how to save hundreds of thousands on their mortgages.
The other great thing is that as you take risks things tend to work in your favour more than you would have expected – the key is to keep going till you find those! There is a quote by Thoreau that says “If one advances confidently in the direction of one’s dreams, and endeavours to live the life which one had imagined, one will meet with a success unexpected in common hours”
9. What is the best advice you have ever received?
“When all the excuses that have barricaded, caressed and incubated fear, finally tumble down, fear is exposed in its most hideous form of nudity; there is nothing more to do but go forward and go do whatever you have to do and be whoever you have to be”
10. What advice would you give to other people who want to do something similar?
Fear-set it; plan it; and then do it. There is nothing less and nothing more to it. Stepping out here will surface many fears and doubts you have about yourself and your ability to achieve your dreams – comfort yourself with the fact that anyone who ever did anything worthwhile had to go through the same. It’s the person you grow to be – that’s the important thing.
11. What resources have you found really useful?
Rich Dad Poor Dad – Robert Kiyosaki
The 4 Hour Work Week (book and message boards) – Tim Ferris
Meditations – Marcus Aurelius (Philosophy book that focuses you on what is important)
7 Habits of Highly Effective People (particularly the sections on time management and the Character Ethic)
Whitney UK – property investing course
My ACA and CFA training
12. What else?
I think the most value I can add back to Escape the City members is education around finance, particularly how to solve concerns around money, and how to create a strategy for escape from a money point of view.
Blog – www.smartmoneymindset.com