Our Founder & CEO, Silvia Damiano is interviewed by Money Magazine.
What was your first job?
My first job was to take care of the balance sheets of a tourism and money exchange business in the CBD of Buenos Aires. I was 18 and had just finished high school. I had learnt accounting as one of my subjects at school and I wanted to put it into practice straight away. It was for a period of four months until I started University and I left to focus on my studies.
What’s the best money advice you’ve ever received?
The best money advice I have ever received was from my father. This was: 'always save part of your salary'. Savings are critical (even if they are minimal) to make you think about the future and to create discipline around not spending everything you earn or like we see in many cases, spending more than you earn.
He was an example of someone who understood finances and I must add, he never had a credit card. He belonged to the veterans era and he believed in cash. He never borrowed, and never had any debt.
What’s the best investment decision you’ve made?
The best decision I made was to leave my country of origin and look for a more stable economy such as Australia. When you experience 3,000% of inflation in a year and you don’t know how to keep the value of your money, panic strikes and there is nothing you can do to plan for the future. You are constantly in survival mode which is not a pleasant experience.
What’s the worst investment decision you’ve made?
I personally cannot recall a terrible investment decision as I am very frugal and can moderate my impulses quite well. I would probably say that the worst decision would have been NOT to invest in property, for example in the Gold Coast.
Twenty six years ago I went on holidays and I saw houses on a decent piece of land, one block from the beach that cost $50,000. Now they cost $500,000 or more. I saw the potential even though I had just migrated to Australia and I thought it was a fantastic place to be.
What is your favourite thing to splurge on?
My favourite thing to splurge on would be great massages. When I can, I think of Bali and those beautiful 2 hours resting and having your body massaged in an inspiring location. Anything that can restore mind/body balance is a priority for me, rather than spending money on material things.
If you had $10,000 where would you invest it?
If I had $10,000 I would invest it in helping someone I care about who wants to start a business. Money comes and goes so helping others grow and moving the economy is something that people who have money should do more often. Spot the talent, give them an opportunity by believing in them and give them some initial capital.
What would you do if you had only $50 left in your bank account?
I only had $50 left in my bank account, I would strategise on how I can make more money. QUICKLY. I would do whatever it takes to pump up that bank account. It does not feel good not to have any money. It prevents you from being productive and focused.
Do you intend to leave an inheritance?
I do intend to leave an inheritance to my children, not only to help them get ahead financially but also helping them learn how to invest, how to plan for the future, how to save, etc. I think it is a role that every parent should undertake. I see many parents who leave their children to their own devices and I think that is not the best way to care about the future generation.
What are three things people can do to become a great leader?
The three things that people can do to become a great leader are:
- Take care of the health of your brain. Making decisions, having good judgement (about money, for example), acting in a compassionate way when interacting with others depends on how well your brain is working.
- Get feedback from the people around you in terms of how you are acting, communicating, solving conflicts. If you do not ask, how do you correct yourself?
- Take time to reflect on the impact that you are having on others. Without introspection, you are always rushing from one thought to another and never looking at the big picture and what may be hindering your performance as a leader.
My award winning documentary, , sheds a new light on this topic and how to develop leaders of the future. It suggests a new mindset based on science that integrates our entire biological system from the brain down.
We interviewed various experts around the world, and discovered how to adapt our brains in a changing world - where ‘creativity’ replaces ‘knowledge’ as our most valuable leadership quality.
Finish this sentence: Money makes ...
Money makes things easier until you go past the level of survival. After that level, money should not only be used for selfish reasons.
If you have plenty, sharing some of it would help others who may not have the capacity or the possibility of generating it by themselves. Everyone has the right to choose what to do with money but accompanying your economic growth with good values is more beneficial to societies.
Originally published by Money Magazine.