Not content with sharing all his incredible property knowledge, Ryan Windsor sat down with us once again. This time he tells us his own incredible journey to financial freedom, from dropping out of school at 16 without a penny to his name, to owning 11 properties and having a net worth of roughly £1,500,000. In this interview we grill Ryan on his essential tips for saving cash, to what assets to buy, and how helping others helps yourself.
Thanks for chatting to us Ryan, I guess we should start at the beginning. What was your driving force and how were you inspired to become financially free?
Hi Nate, Thanks for the chance to speak to you readers again!
This could be a difficult question to answer. Even though I’m only 26 I still have to reflect back to my childhood as this is where it all started for me.
I would have to say that I have an innate ability to spot opportunities. Throughout school I set up micro businesses and really enjoyed running them. To me it was a game to turn something of little value into something worth more.
With property though I kind of just fell into it. I initially saw a great deal on my street and advised my sister to purchase it and let it out. Which she did. Not wanting to let my sister have all the fun I found another deal and invested with her at age 18.
At first I just wanted one property as my pension pot, but I realised that the money I was saving was actually losing value due to inflation. So, I continued to invest to get a better return.
I was lucky as I found a lot of deals that were 20-40 per cent below market value and could provide a really good cash flow. This income has given me flexibility in my work, and meant I have not been dependent on an employer’s income. I can spend my time mentoring other young entrepreneurs, advising charities on business matters and speaking at international events.
The key word is “free,” not in the sense I won’t work, but I now get to choose what I do with my time. Right now I am starting my own letting agency and building my property coaching business.
In your columns you talk about changing your mindset to be an effective saver. What do you mean by this and what practical thinking tips do you have for our readers?
I think for me I’ve always been aware of money, and the effort it takes to make it. I’d much rather invest in an income producing asset, and not spend it right now on a flash car. Sustainability and freedom are very important to me.
But unfortunately we live in a society in which people have the opposite mindset. They are, for want of a better word, consumers not producers. Want what they want now, or even yesterday!
I try to encourage and question those negative habits people have and challenge them to take action.
The main points to becoming an effective saver are;
- Review your spending regularly
The first step for anyone is to find out what you spend your money on and review this regularly. I personally know how much money I have when a Direct Debt goes out, and when I am getting paid. This helps me avoid over spending and going into debt.
- Cut down on waste
Once you have mastered your spending review, you can then start to cut down on waste. To start you might only cut down on a few things, but as time goes on you will prioritise between “needs” and “wants”.
- Protect your money
By this time you should have decreased your monthly spending habits and started to accumulate excess cash. You want this to work for you while saving, so I would suggest setting up a Standing Order to an ISA (Tax free) or high interest savings account (to offset inflation as much as you can). But remember, if you save for savings sake, over the long run you’ll be a loser! [This is because your cash will lose it’s overall spending power due to inflation – Know-it-all Nate]
- Educate yourself
We all need money in life, that’s just a fact. So educate yourself about money, and how to have it work for you and add value to your life. Start thinking like a rich person. Read about, and speak to, successful people so you can start to spot opportunities.
- Invest wisely
To start off with you may not have a lot of money to invest with, so make sure you do your due diligence and that you are happy and secure with the investments you are making. As time goes on you will have a greater cash flow and can invest more rapidly, but still maintain that level or diligence. The aim is to hedge against inflation and not to lose your money.
Now with all this cash we’ll be saving what should we do with it?! Other than property, what are your favourite assets to invest in and which have you found to be most effective?
This is a great and difficult question to answer. The simple answer is to invest in your circle of competence.
Want I mean by that is; you should always work and invest in things you know about, and can access if they will give you the Return on Investment (ROI) you desire.
I love property and know it very well so this is in my circle of competence, a pharmaceutical company is not, so I would avoid that. But, I am lucky and have two degrees in Business and Entrepreneurship, so I can understand and evaluate most businesses. I’ve actually started to invest in some local businesses as I can directly see how things are going and help if needed.
I also invest in the stock market.
But the most important thing to invest in is yourself. I read a lot, I take online courses, and am always pushing my personal development. I often step out of my circle of competence to learn and grow and from that. This means I’m more knowledgeable and can spot new different opportunities.
You place a large emphasis on mentoring and helping others. How has this changed your life and how has this affected your level of wealth?
Yes I love mentoring. I mentor; young people attending a further eduction college, social entrepreneurs at Cambridge University, and property investors just starting their journey. It’s fantastic to be able to help guide someone in achieving their goals and ambitions.
I think it’s really important to be able to share and give back what you have learnt to others. The mentoring I do has enabled me to travel all over the world working with the European Union and International Organisations. This has given me a new prospective of different cultures and beliefs it’s also increase my social capital, and expanded my network across the globe.
You could say its increased my level of “wealth” dramatically, but not in the way you would first imagine. I typically don’t get paid for all the mentoring I provide. I give most of my time to charities, the Keystone Development Trust being the main one. The “wealth” I’m talking about is the difference myself and other volunteers make working with people and seeing them grow and develop.
I believe we should all mentor someone and allow ourselves to be mentored.
Finally, now you’ve reached financial freedom what are your three pieces of killer advice you’d like to share with those who are on their journey?
Don’t give up – The quitter never wins and the winner never quits
Wanting it does not make it happen – You need to take action today! Now! Yesterday!
You need to be obsessed – Start with the end in mind and work back, think about that goal every day, hour, minute, second.
Remember this is a journey, for some it might be quick, others it might take a long time but each day your make progress you’re getting closer and closer. Enjoy the ride and if any of you guys reading would like any specific advice please feel free to contact me.
Huge thanks to Ryan for chatting with us, if you need any advice with managing your properties or achieving your goals you can reach him on Twitter @Rywindsor89 or connect with him on LinkedIn
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What a wonderfully informative article! Ryan never ceases to amaze me with his incredible knowledge & skills in entrepreneurship!
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