Australia's original Bachelor talks making - and losing - money

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Australia's first Bachelor Tim Robards learned his good money habits from his accountant father. He's now working as an ambassador with ANZ to help inspire a younger generation to take control of their money.

At age 30, following a career as a chiropractor and believing  his life could do with a shake-up, Robards applied for the first TV season of The Bachelor. His stint introduced him to his wife and they now have a one-year-old daughter.

This role led him to becoming an actor with a long-running stint on Neighbours and appearances on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!, Dancing With the Stars, and Ninja Warrior. His latest TV series The Good Hustle, about a PR queen, will be out in January.

tim robards

Was it a tough decision to apply for The Bachelor?

It was a risk for my own personal brand. This was the first time the show was done in Australia and I could have become the most hated man in Australia. It might have made me less employable. Luckily I was in a job where I was self-employed, but I could have lost clients.

It was a risk but I had to weigh it up. I thought there was a good chance to meet someone and have a child. It was an adventure and I needed a shakeup in my life. I'd just turned 30 and had just come out of a relationship and as a chiropractor, I wasn't sure where I wanted my career to go. I was limited in the clinic - I could only see so many patients in a week.

Aside from finding a wife - criminal lawyer Anna Heinrich - and having your first child together, what else did The Bachelor do for you?

It brought a belief in myself. Every day I was putting myself out of my comfort zone. I wanted to get into acting and I didn't believe I could, but this helped me commit and one of the things I took from the show was to follow my passions.

Did having a supportive wife help?

Yes, supporting each other was a big thing as I had to leave the chiro practice full time and go into acting, and I had to leave my home from Monday to Friday to be on Neighbours for two years. It was straight after our marriage and her believing in me and supporting me was amazing.

What was your first job?

Mowing lawns and being self employed - for my grandmas, parents, and then a local subdivision - earned me a bit of pocket money from about age 12.

My first proper job was as a sandwich artist at Subway. I was pretty health conscious so I chose Subway over McDonald's. At uni I was a personal trainer and then I worked in a cafe - making juices and coffee. I then started doing some modelling for TV and then worked for a promotional company. My first real job after uni was as a chiropractor.

What's the best money advice you've received?

My dad's best advice was never to invest more than you can afford to lose, but also head down bum up, work hard, and study hard because you have to have money to save and invest.

What's the best investment decision you've made?

My initial one was one of my best investments. I was 18, I'd just left school, and there was a brand new townhouse build at a company my dad was working at. He said it looked good, it was a good price and a good build.

Luckily it had a good rental yield and it doubled in value in two years. We had it revalued and then had equity I could drawn on. I was at uni for nine years so didn't pay off a cent because I kept drawing down - and at the end of uni I owed more than when I bought it, however, I was also able to have a good quality of life as a student.

I also bought Afterpay shares early and some Bitcoin back in the day - I did alright on some of those things.

What's the worst investment decision you've made?

Probably Bitcoin. Part of my investment turned into being part of a Ponzi scheme and I lost a lot of it.

I got duped - I didn't know at the time, but I suspected. It goes back to the idea of not investing more than you can afford to lose.

What is your favourite thing to splurge on?

I would say a mixture of wine, travel and massages.

If you had $10,000 where would you invest it?

I would probably go to my ANZ team and consult with someone there and ask them what to do with it. I'd want to be smart about it. ANZ came to me this year and because of my long relationship with them they thought I would be able to inspire younger people. I did a series of TV ads during The Bachelorette to inspire younger people to take control of their financial wellbeing and confidence - it was a mixture of how to manage and plan for the future.

What would you do if you only had $50 left in the bank?

First I'd ask my wife where did all these handbags come from! And then I'd probably spend $5 on train fare to Centrelink and register for that, then I would spend the other $45 on a garage sale or two - buy items to flip and make a profit.

I recently heard about someone buying a Nintendo 64 for $2 then flipping it for $250 - that's more than 10,000% gain.

Do you intend to leave an inheritance?

I never expected one from my parents or relied on it and I don't want my child, or children in the future, to be in a hard position but at the same time I don't want them to feel that they are going to have a handout. I don't want my children to depend on a money tree.

What's been your best money-making career move?

I think the best thing has been basically backing myself and following my passions because I've always valued education and I think, for me, the best asset I have is myself, my own brand, and my own skills base. Any time I've backed my own skill level, it has resulted in a better income level for me.

Uni degrees, short acting courses, negotiation skills - all these things have been the things I'd put the time in for myself. Investing in myself and my skills has been the best thing and I will continue to do that. You can do so much learning for free on YouTube and masterclasses that don't cost much. The more valuable you are to other people, the more you can charge for your services.

Finish this sentence: money makes...

... some people happy, it can make some people sad but it's how you manage the money that counts.

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Julia Newbould is the managing editor of Money magazine and is one of the hosts of the Friends With Money podcast. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.