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Inspire & Inform Show

Inspire & Inform Show – Episode 9

In episode 9 of the Inspire & Inform show we are excited to introduce you all to Melanie Cabral who is going to be sharing her personal & investing stories, lessons and insights spanning multiple continents and years.

Please see below for the full transcript of this video


Colin 0:09
Good evening, everybody and welcome to Inspire and Inform episode number 10. I am back this week just wanted to share that I was in Brisbane Queensland of last week. And apparently the borders have just closed or will be closing this weekend. So I’m very grateful and certainly very glad that I was able to be in Queensland to visit some family and at the same time also look at some options and visit some developers while I’m up there and certainly explore some great opportunities. I hope you’ve enjoyed the episode with Andrew on his own. He certainly has been a great support for me while I’ve been away, but tonight I’m blessed to be joined by my very esteemed team member Melanie, Melanie Cabral Welcome to the show, Mel.

Melanie 0:58
Thank you very much Colin great be on the show today. Thank you, Andrew. Thank you, Colin.

Colin 1:03
Pleasure. So, for those that don’t know, what we do our aim here at this Inspire & Inform show is really to provide you with some insights, sometimes some inspiration, and some tips and strategies on how you can, you know, create a better life and to also help you along your investment journey, ultimately, to help you create a better and brighter future together. Something I’ve learned Mel over the years, I’ve learned that I certainly don’t know it all. Even though I’ve been in industry for 12 years, I’ve always learned something new to learn. And I’m certainly very excited to learn about your story, but also to learn and pick up some ideas and some wisdom from you, Mel, that I’m sure you’ve learned and picked up over the years as well. So let’s keep an open mind and open heart As the saying goes, there are many ways to head to Rome. Not that we can travel now but hopefully one day will be able to travel again. I believe also in teamwork, I believe that teamwork makes the dream work. And so it’s always nice to have, you know, someone like Mel, who’s on the journey with us to help clients to build a better future. And, and to really provide her own insights as well. So Mel, I’d love to share a little bit about my experience with you. But probably what’s better is for you to share your journey and your story as well. Mel has always been very positive. You know, she she’s, I’d say she’s the she’s the energy of the of the team, always very, I guess, very keen on looking at new opportunities and learning as well. Mel, I’ve known you for many years, and I’ve known you through our common friend, Peter Irvine, who we’ve known for many, many years, and it’s great to see you at a business function and I’m so glad and grateful that we’re part of the same team now. So welcome on board, perhaps you can take it away and share your story and your journey with us Mel.

Melanie 3:09
Absolutely. Thank you, Colin. And yeah, all of the things that you just said, I absolutely agree with them some of that wisdom I’ve actually gotten from you over the past several years. And I do appreciate that. So I’ll tell you a little bit about our story, which obviously, everyone’s story is unique.

Melanie 3:27
But my family and I came to Australia a little bit over 11 years ago, we actually came on July ninth 2000. I’m sorry, July 7, July 9, July 9 2009. And we came from America, just after the global financial crisis, actually really during the global financial crisis. So our family Yeah. So my family looked very

Colin 3:52
Good time, good time to come after a crisis.

Melanie 3:56
It was a good time to come, but in many ways was just grabbed 4 kids, grab your two suitcases get on the plane. And so we took that risk coming to Australia, which I realized was it wasn’t necessarily a huge risk, but leaving the country that I had been raised in and all of that. Our children at that time were 9,8,6 and five. And so for all practical purposes, children have been raised here in Australia. But But yeah, we came here a little bit over 10 years ago, I guess, 11 years ago now. And it’s been an amazing, amazing journey so far. So ask me some specific questions that I’m happy to, to answer them for you.

Colin 4:42
Yeah. So I’m keen to understand, I guess. So you’ve been here since 2009. So that’s 11 years, in 11 years, if you can maybe just share a very quick brief snapshot of what happened in the last 11 years. I know your husband runs a tennis Academy as well. But there’s a lot of things that happened in the 11 years. But just very briefly just so we can get a snapshot of your, your career path, so to say.

Unknown Speaker 5:05
Yeah, absolutely. Well, actually, I’m gonna back up a little bit. Um, because prior to coming to Australia, I actually I did my studies in America. I attended the University of Michigan, which is an amazing University. And then I lived for several years in Europe. And so I’ve always had an interest in different countries, different places. And I actually did live in America prior to having my children and worked in corporate relocation. So that also caused me to develop a passion for helping people to settle in to the place that they, you know, either have to move to or have chosen to move to and really make the best of it. And so I think a lot of that experience actually really helped my family when we moved to Australia, because when we moved to Australia, we actually only knew three people in Australia.

Colin 5:57

Colin 5:58
My husband’s mom, dad, and His brother, so and I honestly can say now I actually probably know hundreds and hundreds of people and it’s been the most amazing journey ever so So in that respect, one of my passions is really to help other people on that journey on that journey to settling in Australia finding the right spot, finding the right community, you know, finding finding your place here and I’m so that’s a real passion that I have. But But my journey in Australia so far, let’s say we arrived here, had to get of course, he had settled in school, things like that. So it took us a little while to actually purchase a property of our own. That wasn’t a silly 100% a bad thing because it actually allowed us to explore different areas.

Colin 6:48

Melanie 6:49
Right to find the place that would actually work for our family where we’d actually like to settle the community that we’d like to be a part of for us. We are Christians, so our faith, we found a church that we could be a part of was amazing. You know, the kids were able to get started in sports. So I think it’s actually important when someone is first coming to a new country or a new place. Not to really worry too much. If you can’t find your forever home in the first couple of years, yeah, because if you did that in the first couple of years, you might actually purchase it in the wrong place. So that at least was our experience. Yeah, so so we were able to now we’ve been raising the kids for the last 10 years, um, I actually have been less focused for the last maybe nine or 10 years on my own career more focused on working with my husband as we establish our business, things like that. But, but in the last two years, approximately two years, I purchased a property in regional New South Wales, which I’m now currently developing. So it’s maybe taken me longer to to do the building the foerver home and all that, but now we’re on our way to that, and very excited about that. So

Colin 8:06
That’s great. And thank you so much for, because I know there are some of our listeners who are sometimes fairly new to the country, and they’re trying to climatise into the Australian way of life. I mean, you still have a very interestingly strong American accent. And, and, and you seem to have adapted very well to the Australian way of life. But I like how you shared and you’ve actually also written in one of our articles, you know what to look for, as you transition. You know, your life into Australia, and I love your passion in helping, you know, migrants to thrive in Australia. And one of the things you talked about is exploring the area. What were some of I mean, if you could, you know, maybe share some of the tips and things that you found to be really beneficial in Australia. What would you be looking for now, as a migrant? I know everyone’s got different needs. But what have you found what has some of your you know, what has been some of your key learnings along the way in finding the right property for you, and then to buy a property in regional and New South Wales as well? How did you come to these sort of conclusions and decisions Mel?

Colin 9:12
Right, right. Yeah, um, well, I guess one of the tips, I would say, the first thing is really understand the dynamic of your family. And so you have to look at, you know, lots of families, especially migrant families are oftentimes multi generational families. So you have to think of trying to find a location where everyone in your family is going to be able to connect, they’re not going to be isolated, they’re going to have access to the services that they need, things like that. So that to me is really important, just really looking holistically at relocation and how this is going to impact you know, the different members of the family. For me personally, because as I just mentioned, I only knew three people in Australia and I love those three people, but I really realized that I would need to have other people in my world, if I was going to as a mother in Australia with four fairly young children. If I was going to thrive in Australia, I would need to reach out to other people besides my partner, you know, and our immediate family.

Melanie 10:16
So I found it very important to actually intentionally form relationships with people that were both older and younger than me. Yeah. Finding mentors finding that person who was almost like the surrogate Auntie or uncle, that you could run ideas by. So that would be one thing I would say was a bit of a strategy that, you know, that I was actually quite intentional about, because I also wanted my children not to miss out on having those experiences, you know, with with a sense of the older generation, and it actually allowed me to learn a lot about Australia. A lot about the country, the culture, I’m thinking of it even though I don’t sound Australian. I am an Australian citizen. I did become a citizen a few years ago. And so yeah, I mean, I love this country very, very much. And I would, I’m just actually very excited to help people that have chosen this as their home to make it, you know, the best home possible. I feel like we’re just at a very, very exciting point as a country, there’s so many places that haven’t yet been developed, which would be going back to your country, or a question about regional Australia is that there’s lots of opportunity in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, all of the capital cities, of course, but I think more and more families are actually starting to realize that there’s beautiful places outside of the big cities, that you can also have an amazing life and and have a little bit more space to develop it. So that’s something that I’m currently very passionate about. And so more on that to come and one of the future episodes

Colin 11:55
Absolutely I would, I would concur with you on that Mel, actually, last week. When I was in Queensland I visited a friend who lives probably about 20 minutes from Gold Coast. So it’s kind of a little bit inland, in in sort of, it’s close to the to the National Park and the lane that she lives in or the street I cant remember if it’s a lane or Street, it’s actually called Kookaburra Street. And as you drive up the driveway, the architects so they’ve actually designed this amazing home and they’ve split the house. One is the living quarters and the other one sort of like the office area. And their point was that you know, nowadays with the whole COVID situation, I mean, they’re already been working from home so they were in a fortunate position. But they realize more and more now. You know, more and more people are working from home not necessarily having to go to the into the CBD to work so you can technically work from home which means you know, a regional area where it’s less populated, less busy, less traffic, sometimes can be a real benefit for for people. My wife is an architect and she shares a lot about the new ways of what properties are going to look like or the new new designs of property. And a lot of what she’s hearing is people want, like a good study space, for example, because if you’re going to work from home, you don’t want to be working in a little tiny, you know, corner or have a little side, you know, place in the house to set up your studio. So to have a proper size study is is been becoming more and more popular Mel, I just thought I would mention that because I definitely concur with you. There are I think in the future, there’ll be more and more opportunities in regional, you know, places.

Colin 11:55
Absolutely. I 100% agree with you.

Colin 11:58
Yeah, yeah. So moving on from that, I guess, you know, in the last 11 years, if you could maybe just share the one, two things. You know, just a very high level. I know men getting a mentor is a big one for you. Are there any other tips or strategies for you in terms of you know, when someone is looking to purchase their first investment property or maybe a season, maybe I’ll ask you with the first property first, what are some practical tips you can offer for people who are looking to buy their very first property?

Colin 14:10
Well, one tip I would say would be to find a good advisor. So this is different than your overall mentor in your life because your overall mentor in your life, maybe someone who doesn’t have as much experience in property specifically yet would be someone who has experience in other areas. So I feel you need to actually find someone who is knowledgeable specifically in that area, the area of property investment, so someone who has already been successful in that area, so that you’re actually you know, getting that guidance and wisdom from someone who actually already has the fruit on their tree so that they’re actually meant to are giving you that from their experience that I and I would say, even for myself as we were on our journey with the property that we purchased, I spoke with quite a few people who had done that similar type developments before I decided, Okay, this is what I should do. So I think that there is definitely wisdom in the Bible & Proverbs or some verses about that the the amount of counsel that you need when you make a decision and all of that. So I would definitely go toward getting someone who is knowledgeable, has that wisdom that you need. And I would also say, because you have a lot of people that come into your world when you’re looking for a property, and I feel you have to follow follow your inner voice is when you have a really, really bad feeling about a person or a property, you should probably listen to that. And and maybe back away, just because, you know, there’s a reason why you feel, you know, feel really bad about something. And so I would say listen, to listen to what your inner voice is saying around things like that as well. And seek wisdom from people who have already been successful in that field.

Colin 15:55
Yeah, I like that. Any tips though, because I know that in our busy lives, particularly for myself, I speak for myself, sometimes very hard to listen to that inner voice Mel. Everything is, you know, just coming at you at a million miles an hour, how do you how do you quiet yourself down to listen to that inner voice? Is it a feeling that you get? I mean, it’s a little bit out there. But I thought, since you’ve mentioned it,

Colin 16:18
I think that that’s that’s true. And I think that that is actually part of being successful in listening to your inner voice is actually being intentional about what information you let in

Colin 16:30

Melanie 16:30
So so many people allow so much input to come into the lives from all kinds of random sources, whether it’s, you know, just watching things on television that aren’t really helping you in any way that just introducing more negativity or more fear. Things. So I think it’s very, very important to me there our input, and make sure that the voices that we are listening that we’re letting feed into our lives are actually people that are that we respect that are actually giving us some let you know not positive as in just pie in the sky, everything is great sort of advice, but people that actually really know that have been successful, that are actually encouraging. And I think that the more you listen to encouragement, and you actually take the time to sit back, you know, evaluate things yourself, speak to a few people, not everybody in the world, but a few people that you trust about your major decisions. And I think the other thing, which is important to realize is that we are all going to make mistakes along the way.

Colin 17:31

Melanie 17:32
And the only thing that’s really like a permanent mistake would be to give up and not keep going at it and not keep moving forward. But not to get that discouraged if you end up having to, you know, whenever something ends up not being the best thing ever. I mean, we’ve definitely bought and sold properties overseas in the past, and maybe we, you know, didn’t make what we thought we’d make on them, but we’ve learned something. So it’s all about the learning about the journey. It’s all about not giving up. Yeah. And yeah, very exciting.

Colin 18:04
Absolutely. It’s about persevering it through, isn’t it? Mel? Thank you Thank you so much for sharing now in in our consults in our strategy sessions at Inspire Realty we encourage you to join us if you came to have a chat with Mel myself or Andrew or Vicki you know feel free to jump on our website fill in your details and if you really want to speak to Mel Feel free to make a comment in there that I want to speak to Mel Mel certainly brings with her a wealth of experience made a lot of mistakes. So I’ve I and I’m sure Mel will be more than happy to share with with you some of the things that she’s learned along the way. And some of the mistakes to avoid. And some of the things we we tend to like to talk about is the idea of wealth. So Mel, I I’d love to know how do you define wealth like what’s your definition of wealth? What What meaning do you put to wealth? And and why is it so important to you?

Colin 19:06
Well, I would say that wealth is not only in my mind, it’s not only measuring the amount of money that you have in the bank, or the the amount of investment that you have in your portfolio or the number of properties that you have. I think it’s a much broader concept to me is that wealth is actually sort of the combination of the relationships that you have, the experiences that you’ve actually been able to have in your life. And the, you know, and also eventually, because because we want to actually leave a legacy, we want to build on something for the next generation, we want to leave something positive, you know, when we’re no longer in this world, you want to leave something positive for the people that are coming after us. And so for me, it is actually all three of those things.

Colin 19:54

Melanie 19:55
It’s actually you know, eventually for me, I would want to be the person that is able to actually help other people, you know, whether it’s helping someone to get some studies that they need someone to fulfill a dream or project or whatever, being able to, to actually really, really help other people is really important to me. So I would like to aspire to be wealthy in that way. But I think it’s also being able to actually look back and say, You know what, I’m doing the right thing, or at least I’m trying to do the right thing by people and I have great relationships with people. My reputation is good. I’m having integrity in the way that I’m dealing with people and situations. And I think that’s a very, very important part of it. For me, it’s, it’s not just some measure of your actual financial net worth. It’s so much more.

Colin 20:43
Yeah, I think I think that’s also important, but I think there’s a lot of other elements to wealth. That is important, like you said, it’s about experiences, about relationships, about your reputation. There’s a lot of other things that that is associated with wealth. I guess from a financial sense why is it so important to look after your, your your finances? I know that financial literacy is something that you know, or rather when you talk about money, certainly in our circles Mel, particularly with some Christians, whenever you talk about money, it’s it’s, it tends to be a bit of a taboo subject, or you just avoid it. So I don’t know, what’s your idea on money and wealth and creating that sort of portfolio? What What are you? What are your thoughts on that? Mel?

Colin 21:27
I mean, I guess my thought is, it’s actually super, you know, very, very important, because if we don’t actually have access to the financial resources that are necessary, and we can’t actually help with very real situations that are around in the world. And so I mean, some of the wealthiest people in the world are actually some of the most philanthropic people in the world. I mean, it’s amazing, the actual things we’re able to do with their wealth, the way that they’re actually able to transform lives of people, transform countries. So for me, I think It’s actually very, very important because if you’re not in a strong position, you actually are unable to really, really help other people in the way that you would like to. And so I mean, my husband and I were on sort of in the middle of our journey like both of us have just turned 50. So we’re very, very mindful of what do we want the second half of our life to be. How would we want to influence people we are both immigrants to Australia. So we have sort of the country that we were born in, what would we like to do there? How would we like to go back help people empower people? And also, what would we like to sow into this country for future generations? So so much of this is actually dependent on actually having access to the financial resources that we will need. So you know, if you can’t take care of a little, you know, somewhere in the Bible that God’s not going to trust you with a lot, so we’re endeavoring to take care of the little so that we can be trusted with more in the future.

Colin 22:55
That’s wonderful. Thank you so much on that note, and what has been your general experience with property. I know you’ve you’ve mentioned you’ve, you’ve got some properties in the US that, you know, you you didn’t do so well. But I suppose just on a very high level, what has been your experience with properties? And maybe if you can share with with us some of the things that you’ve learned along the way, that’d be, that’d be great. Mel?

Colin 23:18
Okay. Um, well, our eperience with property in America was somewhat tainted by the global global financial crisis in 2007/8. So we sadly did not make what we had hoped to make through the sale of the properties that we had. But I did learn that it is really, really important not to overextend yourself. And it’s really, really important to have a plan B. You know, all of that. So the stuff so yeah, I don’t know if that answers your question, but because I feel like some of the properties like that we had invested in it all went great for a while and you know, the tenant was paying the mortgage effectively. But when there’s a major crisis, sometimes a lot of that can kind of fall apart. And so I think going into the next season, there’s obviously a lot of uncertainty for all of us. Because of the current health situation in the world, the pandemic and all of that. I think it’s important that we’re not fearful. Because property is a property. It’s an actual tangible asset that someone can’t just walk away with. You can’t just really like lose it from one day to the next. Whereas there’s lots of other asset classes that can just be completely lost from one day to the next. But this is where that wise advice comes from or comes into play, is that I think it’s important for myself and as I’m endeavoring to help our clients as well, to make sure that we are getting that advice so that we are not structured in a way that we’re so tight and if the property ends up being empty for a little while it’s a complete disaster. Do you know what I mean?, we need to actually make sure that we’re structuring things in the proper way. So that we can all emerge from this crisis in a very, very strong position. And I actually very, very excited about property as an asset class, it’s the one that I’m most passionate about. Because I feel that it’s something physical that’s there, and something that can be there for future generations.

Colin 25:28
Yeah, no, absolutely speaking. Speaking of passion, I know you’re passionate about many things. And in particular, what property can do for you. I think like you said, always have a bit of a plan B and just to structure your your property and finance in the right way, especially with you know, some of the uncertainties now. Make sure you have the right people on your team. Make sure you get the right accountant, the right broker, finance broker, get the right solicitor that will protect you and just to make sure you have the right group of people around you, not just the not people that will just sell you You know, the pie in the sky Like you said, but to talk about the good, the bad, the ugly, maybe the the pretty as well. But just to give you a whole spectrum of you know, what, what are some worst case scenarios? What are some best case scenarios, so that you’re not jumping in making an uneducated, uninformed decision Mel, I think that’s very important. Right? So thank you for sharing that. You are a very passionate, energetic, enthusiastic person. Mel I always get energized speaking to you. Sometimes it’s hard to get a word in because you are so full of, you know, wanting to share and you know, give of your wisdom. I’m just curious, Mel, what drives you? What motivates you? What gets you out of bed every day? And what helps you to be so full of life? Mel?

Melanie 26:44
Oh, good question.

Colin 26:49
Maybe you don’t know it, but maybe it comes natural to you Mel, you’re amazing.

Colin 26:55
I mean, honestly, I feel that the world that we’re blessed to live in is actually such an amazing place, and there’s so many places people, you know, things to experience. I, you know, my faith is actually very, very important to me, it’s actually the most important thing to me. So I think that that definitely energizes me. Absolutely. But I also think, for example, my children, my children right now are one is turning 21, my daughter is turning, that’s my son 20, nearly 21, I have a daughter who’s turning 20. And my son is turning 18 and now is 17 or 16 year old. So I also think that my children and really helping to build a future for them, helping to build a legacy that they can be part of that is actually very, very exciting to me. My 16 year old son, for example, is very, very passionate about property. And so I feel like what I’m doing is actually by my example, I’m actually building a team for the future, to really build a legacy as a family.

Colin 28:00
I love how you’re starting them young because I’m fully aware that your daughter is you know, possibly, you know getting some tips and ideas from from my wife along the journey so I love how you kind of encouraging channeling them into the the whole idea of property which I think it’s a solid, you know career. You know there’s so many different professions within the property industry but I’m glad I mean they you know, you never know where where parts may take them but I think having a good solid foundation on property and finances is always beneficial for for children

Colin 28:36
And I think the actual freedom because I think that that’s also for me, for example, one reason that I’m passionate about property is I can actually see the freedom that it will actually give, you know, in the future for my family. Yeah, because certainly there’s nothing wrong with actually having a job. There’s nothing wrong with having an actual full time profession that one dedicates oneself to, but eventually, your property portfolio can actually support your family. And that, for me is something actually very, very exciting because I have had the blessing of being able to travel very extensively all over the world. But there’s still so many places I’d like to go so many things that I would like to experience. So I’m actually really, really looking forward to that can really see it happening through properties, being able to have that freedom, just that time, freedom and that flexibility. And so that, to me, that’s something that I’m very passionate about that really drives me.

Colin 29:33
That’s wonderful. And last but not least, I think you may have already alluded in within what you’ve shared in the last 30 minutes. But what is your grand vision what’s what’s what’s what’s, what’s next for Mel, what what are you planning to do in the near future? I know you’re working on some development sites. So I’m keen, I’m just so so glad to be part of your journey, Mel. If you’re happy to share what your grander vision is for the future, that’d be wonderful

Colin 29:58
Colin. It’s actually been Amazing. Like you mentioned a little bit about your wife actually mentoring my daughter in architecture. And I’m actually so excited about that. And so yeah, we have always had a passion for just seeing people really, really reach their full potential. And so we’ve been in sports for many, many years, doing training and coaching in sports. So one passion that we have one dream that we have is to one day happen in elite sports Training Center. That could also be a bit of a resort. So many years ago, I actually worked in an eco resort. So I love travel. I love sports. I love seeing people have fun. I really enjoy hospitality. So the grander vision, which may be on another episode. But it’s a little bit of a sort of sports kind of themed kind of eco resort kind of vision. That would also give us a way to be able to give families that actually really, really, really, truly need a place to go and rest families maybe that have had, you know, maybe a severe trauma or something like that, giving them someplace to go and just rest recover. So that’s also part of it. So yeah, it kind of it all kind of weaves together and Colin you’ve known me a little while you know that there’s always there’s always a reason that I was next, but it might take a little while to figure out where I’m going. That’s fine.

Colin 31:30
Absolutely. And Mel, what I love about you is that you are always listening, you’re always exploring. You’re always just, you know, considering different ideas. And when you’re onto something, you’re onto something. Mel, I believe that, you know, a good God has got a greater and grander plan for you Mel. And I’m just so excited to be working alongside with you as my esteemed team member. I believe that we’re going to create and help a lot of clients to create a better future together. future where There is hope and there is a future for them financially to be a little bit freer do enjoy their life after years and years of hard work with people that they love doing things that they enjoy it like travel. Hopefully we get to travel soon, because I think there’s a lot of great places to see in the world. Mel, thank you so very much for your time. Thank you for sharing your energy, your wisdom, your insights, you’re certainly someone I am very inspired by. And I’m just very, very grateful to be part of your journey. If you are interested in having a chat once again with either Mel or myself or Andrew, or Vicki or any of our team members here at Inspire Realty, drop us a line. We’d love to have a chat with you. We’d love to understand what your goals are, what your grander purpose vision, and if you don’t have it, maybe work it out and talk about it. And we’ll explore ways that we can help you bridge the gap from where you’re at to where you want to get to in your life and in your future. Thank you so much Mel. Have a great Good night and I think we’re just a couple of minutes late, but I’m glad I’ve had this conversation with you. Thank you so much. And see you later. Bye for now.

Colin 33:09
Bye bye Thank you. Bye bye

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