New Weapon in Fight For Financial Survival

Millions of everyday Australians buckling under financial stress are the focus of a new book, Bulletproof Investing, that aims to help people gain control of their money.

At just 31, real estate expert, investor and author James Fitzgerald has transformed his personal finances over the past decade, from being tens of thousands of dollars in debt, to owning a booming property and investment portfolio.

“I want to as many people as possible to be armed with the right information to help them navigate this global financial uncertainty we’re currently experiencing,” James said.

“This book isn’t about some self-made millionaire who wants to sell you the secret to turning $200 into $100 million, it’s a cautionary tale about finding and keeping financial control.”

Turbulent global financial markets, employment volatility, low interest rates and supercharged post pandemic property prices have made household budgeting and wealth creation a tricky proposition for even the savviest investor.

“I think the global pandemic has thrown a lot of people for a loop, particularly those who are self-employed, self-funded retirees, or those looking to try to invest for their future, and there’s a lot of fear and anxiety about money out there,” James said.

“I also learned the hard way what it was like to grow up in a household where money was a constant source of worry. Anxiety is one of the biggest mental illnesses in Australia with 13 per cent[i] of all Australians experiencing an anxiety related condition. People with depression and anxiety are three times more likely to be in debt.[ii]

For James, the tragic and unexpected death of his father David in 2019 was a lightbulb moment.

“At 59 my Dad was hit by a train wandering along the tracks on his way home from a night out. We know now that alcohol combined with a 30-year sleeping pill habit, fuelled by life-long anxiety over money, ultimately contributed to our family’s tragic loss.

“It was always feast or famine for my parents. There were short periods when the family finances were healthy and in control, but always a series of poor choices and inept money management by Dad, a three-time bankrupt, would land my parents back at square one.

“It was a vicious cycle and one that weighed heavily on him emotionally as the ‘breadwinner’, costing him relationships and ultimately contributing to the fact he is not with us today.

“I felt it important to be honest about my family’s darkest moments, but also share what we know about overcoming financial challenges. Bulletproof Investing is my Dad’s legacy. He was my best friend and biggest fan and I know he would want us to find purpose from our pain.”

Bulletproof Investing was born of a desire to offer people the tools and mindset to thrive in any financial situation. Through straightforward investment tips, along with insightful personal stories and experiences, James provides a roadmap of how to gain and retain financial security in order to become truly financially bulletproof, even in uncertain economic times.

James credits his mentor and uncle, renowned real estate developer and investor John Fitzgerald, the author of real estate investment bible, 7 Steps to Wealth, which is now in its eighth reprint, with giving him the foundations to build the Bulletproof Investing vision.

“I graduated University in a financial mess. It impacted my self-esteem, my mental health and at the time, the debt seemed insurmountable. My turning point was a part-time job at my Uncle’s firm and it was there I realised how little I knew about managing money, despite having studied accountancy,” James said.

“Knowing my family situation, Uncle John stepped in to mentor me, making me challenge, question, rethink and reinvent the way I approached every aspect of my personal finances.

“I’m conservative by nature, so I wasn’t looking to become wealthy, I just wanted to find financial independence and security - most of all, I wanted to sleep at night not lie awake worrying.”

Concerned too many teenagers enter adulthood in financial stress through credit card debt, payday lending and deferred payment schemes, James is passionate about improving financial literacy for young Australians.

All proceeds from Bulletproof Investing will be donated to Financial Basics Foundation, a non-profit organisation which provides free financial literacy resources to Australian teachers, and the Toogoolawa School, a not-for-profit school for disadvantaged boys, of which James is Chair.

Futurist keynote speaker, columnist, business advisor and author Bernard Salt AM, calls Bulletproof Investing “a superbly written and at times a gut-wrenchingly real-life account of how to take control of your life”.

“You don’t have to be rich. You don’t have to come from money. But you do need to be focused and determined. Here is a story of how an everyday person can pick themselves up and not just ‘make good’ but also find happiness and contentment along the way. I loved it!” Mr Salt said.

Bulletproof Investing,Gaining Financial Control in Uncertain Times is being publish by Wiley and is available through Booktopia, Amazon and all good bookstores.

For more info:

James Fitzgerald is Managing Director of the JLF Group of Companies that has bought and sold over 2000 blocks of land in just 10 years. He is also Chairman of Toogoolawa Schools Ltd, a not-for-profit school for boys.

[i] [ii] Thomas Richardson, Peter Elliott, Ronald Roberts. The relationship between personal unsecured debt and mental and physical health: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clinical Psychology Review, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.cpr.2013.08.009

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