Advice you wish you knew when you were 18

b Invested founder Nathan Birch recently turned 36, so he has now been investing for half his life.

On his birthday, people wanted him to talk about his thoughts and fears when he was starting out, plus some advice for his 18-year-old self.

A life-changer

At age 16, Nathan’s father passed away from a heart attack. He realised life was short. He had failed every grade of school and realised he was going to have to spend the next 40 years working and hustling every day to get anywhere. Or was he?

The average wage was $40,000 a year and when he thought about it, that life didn’t appeal to Nathan.

He wanted to know how he could do better. He thought to himself: “rich people have property, I want to be rich, so property is a good vehicle”.

And that’s why he started, with an initial goal to buy 10 properties by the age of 30. At first it seemed impossible, because there were no resources out there, no internet sites or easy tools.

But he drew up a plan to buy one property a year from age 18 to 30, allowing for 2 years of not buying due to unforeseen circumstances. By the age of 30, he’d be able to either sell off a couple of properties and pay out his debt, or have 10 properties with increasing cashflow. At that point, he’d be earning the average wage without having to do anything. To get to that position, he hustled and worked two full time jobs.

Property was a good vehicle, he had a strategy and treated his investing like a business. By age 21, he’d outdone his expectations and created a large property portfolio, with his first million dollars in net worth.

When the GFC came along

Most people were worried about their jobs, but Nathan was able to lower his interest rates, increase his rents and tweak a few things in his portfolio. It all enabled him to quit his job at age 24 with a passive income stream of $40,000 a year. With that passive income as a base, plus an active income in the form of equity from his properties going up in value, he wanted to use that equity to flip one property a year and make $50,000 each time. All up, he’d be earning close to $100,000 a year.

But when he started doing projects, he realised he didn’t want to sell the properties off. He kept them and began pushing his rental income up instead.

His early fears

Nathan’s main fear in the early days was a fear of failure. When he bought his first property for $248,000, signed the contract and went home, he was freaking out about going bankrupt and not being able to afford to invest. He had fears just like anyone, but persisted and implemented processes and systems to minimise risk.

Nathan at 18 wouldn’t believe the 36-year-old version could have ever existed. He never imagined actually owning so many properties. He wanted to, but didn’t think it was possible, because of self-doubt, nervousness, lack of experience and no one taking him seriously.

Don’t change a thing

As for advice to his 18-year-old self, he wouldn’t change a lot. He’s happy with where he is and who he is. But today’s Nathan would probably encourage more confidence in his past self.

His message is that people’s outcomes in life can be positive or negative. The steps they take, positive or negative, can steer them either way. It all comes from the activity, the mindset and the actions they take.

Nathan is in a good place now, but has experienced adversity. He says life goes on, you’ve got to have your processes, systems, procedures and strategies to get where you want to be.

He used the motivation of the life that he didn’t want to live to push himself to get where he is today.

If you need help doing the same, reach out to b Invested on 1300 367 925 or send us an email at