It’s important to understand the difference between ‘general advice’ and ‘personal advice’ when considering investing.

General advice does not take into account your personal circumstances, goals and preferences. It is not meant to be tailored advice and should never be taken to be. It is about broad concepts that apply to most, but not necessarily all.

You may accept  the advice that to invest is a positive step in providing a more secure and financially free future, because that is generally very true.

However, general advice doesn’t take into account how it may affect you and that’s why there is normally a disclaimer offered – a caveat if you like, letting you know that if you take the advice as ‘gospel’ you do so at your own risk.

You wouldn’t go into a medical centre and have the doctor come out and tell all the people with stomach pain to stand and he or she tell them to all go home and take a laxative!  Very obviously, there is so much more to know before a diagnosis and a plan of action can be prescribed. It may be good advice for some but for others it may disastrous.

Free or general advice can be found in many places, it is all pervasive online, in the media and around the BBQ for starters!

Keep in mind the ‘investor mindset’. Just because someone has bought a house, it doesn’t necessarily qualify them to give investment advice.

Buying your own home is a decision of the heart to a large degree – an investment property is a wealth creation vehicle and should be an unemotional choice. It is a decision made on the balance of evidence and the numbers.

Before taking the plunge you need expert, qualified and professional personal advice that takes into account all your particular circumstances including your life cycle stage, age, income, tax position, risk profile, family circumstances and much more before it can be determined if it’s the right thing for you to do.

If you seek personal, tailored advice, then take it from someone qualified to give it, someone who is trained and experienced – seek people who have gone above and beyond the current benchmarks in their area of expertise.

It’s also wise to surround yourself with those who have the investor mindset themselves, who have made the commitment and are implementing a plan for the future themselves. These are the people who will empathise with the importance of the decisions you are about to make and will work honestly and openly to make sure you are comfortable with your decisions and that you go into with your “eyes open”.

In the property advice space, education is a natural barrier to entry to that fosters an increase in professional standards and therefore more consumer protection.Choose property professionals who are educated and qualified to advise you.

Ours is an unregulated industry at this point in time and so it’s ever more important to engage property experts who have undertaken specialist training and who’s compliant and professional standards and processes make them stand out from the crowd.