The Most Important Investment in Life: Create a Legacy You are Proud Of

Dear Reader,

What’s your most important investment?

Your home?

Rental property/ies?


Share portfolio?

Unlisted equity in start-up venture?


For me, it’s none of the above.

My most important investment is in myself and my family.

The mini-series Trust — the story of John Paul Getty’s kidnapping in 1973 — reminded me of the biblical text…

What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?

Getty’s wealth — derived from oil production — made him the richest person in the world.

But his soulless attitude towards family members left them much poorer for the relationship.

Dysfunctional. Suicidal. Drug addicted. Spiteful. Aimless.

Is that really the legacy a parent wants to leave their children?

Not me.

As parents, we’ve been entrusted with the responsibility of giving our children the love, coping mechanisms, character, moral compass and guidance to equip them for the adult world.

A world that can be both kind and cruel. Fair and unfair. Just and unjust. Not every kid gets a prize…even if they genuinely deserve one.


In a brand new report, market expert Vern Gowdie warns of the dangers waiting in a post-COVID-19 world. Plus, he outlines the steps you must take now to protect your wealth. Learn more.


It’s highly probable we’re on the cusp of entering the most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression.

The world as we (and our children) knew it, has changed.

The extended period of excess — funded by higher levels of household debt — is over.

Belts are now going to be tightened.

In last Friday’s The Rum Rebellion I wrote:

If you thought the previous period of wage stagnation was bad, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

On 2 May 2020, the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) published the results of a poll it commissioned…

‘“60% of 18-24-year-olds have either lost their job, had their hours cut, or had their pay cut. Among 25-34-year-old Australians, the number is even higher: 63% have been seriously impacted by the economic shutdown.”

These are the consumers and borrowers of tomorrow.

This sort of damage is not easily undone.

One of our daughters is in these statistics. Some of her friends have also experienced reduced hours or loss of employment.

If temporary un and underemployment becomes more permanent, will those with tertiary qualifications begin questioning whether the time and student debt was really worth it?

Doubts set in. The pathway of life — paved from having a productive career — is now not so clear or certain.

The potential mental health issues arising from the loss of employment are ones all parents should be mindful of.

Our efforts need to be directed towards…

Building resilience. Perseverance. Thinking outside the square. Making lemonade from lemons. Remaining open minded to re-skilling.

Reinforcing and/or developing these traits takes on even more importance in times where life is going to test almost everyone’s mettle.

A parents gift of knowledge

Many years ago, I wrote a book to give to our eldest daughter on her 21st birthday (she is now 30…where did that time go?).

The book is titled A Parents Gift of Knowledge.

Our recently unemployed daughter asked me for the updated version of the book. She had time, but more importantly the mindset, to appreciate the content.

She read it from cover to cover and said to me ‘Thank you, dad’. Those three words were a daughter’s gift to her father.

To assist you in compounding the value of the most important investment in your life, I’d like to share with you the final chapter of the book…

Chapter Twenty


‘“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.”

Louis E Boone

Well darling I think this is enough knowledge for now. There is a lot to digest and comprehend. Anything you are not sure of, please ask me and I will be happy to explain in more detail.

The information in this book took years to learn, months to write and probably will take you days to read and digest. However, I sincerely hope the knowledge stays with you for a lifetime.

In summary:

  1. Life isn’t fair. Do not compare yourself to anyone else. Being envious of others is destructive energy.
  1. You are unique. Focus on being the best person you can be and build yourself an amazing life. Gandhi once said: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
  1. Invest in yourself. This will be the best investment you could ever make. The more you grow, the more you will be given opportunities to take your skills to another level. In time your talent will be recognised and you will be rewarded handsomely.
  1. Don’t be greedy — remember that “the financial graveyard is littered with the corpses of the greedy”.
  1. Remember what the “big print giveth, the small print taketh away”. To avoid any nasty surprises at a later date, always have your lawyer check the finer details of any contract you enter into.
  1. A poor person always pays twice. Buy quality and it will last. People with a “cheap” mentality will end up spending more over the long-term as they continually replace the cheap item with another cheap item. They pay penalties on overdue accounts because they don’t have the cash.
  1. Develop a savings habit early and watch the power of compound interest work for you.
  1. Borrow to a level that will enable you to sleep at night.
  1. With any investment you must focus on the downside risk. Most people only dream of the riches they will accrue if the investment is successful and forget to assess what they stand to lose if the investment goes wrong. You know you’ll be happy if the investment goes up, but how will you feel if you lose money? If you can manage the downside risk then you have increased your odds of making a successful investment.
  1. Seek advice from people you respect and have been successful in the area you are interested in obtaining further information on.
  1. Organise your estate planning and insurances. Putting these issues in order will be the first step in building the correct framework for your business affairs.

In the words of Doug Firebaugh:

‘“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.”

Building a successful life is an incremental process.

Occasionally you get lucky and if that luck is a function of hard work then accept it as a just reward. If the luck is pure happenstance then acknowledge the kind hand of fate rather than take credit for it — this will keep you grounded.

Overconfidence can bring fleeting success but it is a major impediment to lasting success.

As you know, Bill Bonner is one of the people whose opinion I respect. The following is an extract from one of Bill’s newsletters, which I thought was a fitting conclusion to this book:

“There’s no such thing as starting off on a level playing field. Every child is born with certain advantages and disadvantages. Inherited wealth without the proper context, and without education, could be a major disadvantage!

“The characteristics that make you who you are…and your children who they are…are a part of your family legacy. Financial wealth is a part of it too. Like your athleticism, your musical ability or your gift for math. But money does not define a legacy; it’s merely a resource.

“The ability to use that resource to live a self-fulfilling and productive life — that’s a true legacy.”

I hope this book has given you the resources to empower you to attract and retain sufficient wealth into your life so you can live on your terms.

Little by little you will build an amazing life and I sincerely hope A Parents Gift of Knowledge assists you in your life’s journey.

Hopefully, this goes some way to helping you create a legacy you and your family will proudly pass on to future generations.


Vern Gowdie,
Editor, The Rum Rebellion

PS:  Find out which five stocks Vern suggests you sell today. Click here to find out more.

Vern has been involved in financial planning since 1986.

In 1999, Personal Investor magazine ranked Vern as one of Australia’s Top 50 financial planners.

His previous firm, Gowdie Financial Planning, was recognised in 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007, by Independent Financial Adviser magazine as one of the top five financial planning firms in Australia.

In 2005, Vern commenced his writing career with the ‘Big Picture’ column for regional newspapers and was a commentator on financial matters for Prime Radio talkback.

In 2008, he sold his financial planning firm due to concerns about an impending economic downturn and the impact this would have on the investment industry.

In 2013, he joined Fat Tail Investment Research as editor of Gowdie Family Wealth. In 2015, his book The End of Australia sold over 20,000 copies and launched his second premium newsletter, The Gowdie Letter.

Vern has since published two other books, A Parents Gift of Knowledge, all about the passing of investing intelligence from father to daughter, and How Much Bull can Investors Bear, an expose on the investment industry’s smoke and mirrors.

His contrarian views often place him at odds with the financial planning profession today, but Vern’s sole motivation is to help investors like you to protect their own and their family’s wealth.

Vern is Founder and Chairman of The Gowdie Advisory and The Gowdie Letter advisory service.

The Rum Rebellion