Most ADF members are so busy working they don’t have time to focus on other aspects of their life, not to mention long-term planning. Sure, the idea is to work an eight-hour day and then make time for you, but with training, exercises and deployments it sometimes seems impossible get off base. We know, we’ve been there.

Lucky for us, we had some great mentors who encouraged us to set aside some time for the important stuff. That’s why we encourage you to take some time to really think about your goals. Because what you invest in now will pay dividends in the future. You can mind-map it. Write it down. Or just wake up every day with a plan. It doesn’t matter, just as long as you promise to make that commitment to invest in yourself.

We’re not going to assume we know what’s important to you, but we want to share our top 6 things we believe are worth the investment.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • It’s important to set aside time for the most important things in your life, before it’s too late.
  • Prioritise education. Enrol in courses that will help you upskill to prepare for life after the ADF.
  • Look after your physical and mental health.
  • Invest the time required to build strong relationships with friends, family and significant others.
  • Allow yourself time to indulge in a passion project – it pays off in ways you might not expect!
  • Take care of the planet. Reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • Cultivate financial independence with property investment. Capital Properties can help you get started.

Keep reading >>

  1. Education

Education is the ultimate investment in yourself. As most military positions don’t have a ‘civi’ equivalent, it’s important to consider a plan for a future outside of the Force. Waiting to upskill once you pull in the pin is a risky strategy as many courses have entry requirements that you might not be eligible for.

The Defence offers a great range of training courses and study opportunities that you can do part-time. To find out more, visit unsw.adfa.edu.au/study/ or contact UNSW Student Administrative Services by email on sas@adfa.edu.au or on (02) 6268 6000.

At Capital Properties, our mission is to empower and educate Defence Force members to set goals for building financial independence, so our ‘Learn and Grow’ meetings are great learning opportunities and we have a heap of resources and tools designed to help you get ahead.

  1. Health

This is an easy one to take for granted. But in the words of Herophilus, “When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless, and intelligence cannot be applied.” And who are we to argue? We’ve all seen it. Those people that work every day of their lives only to retire and collapse with a heart attack within weeks. The reality is, you need to put the work in to stay healthy, just as you must with any other investment.

And look, we all know what that means. Take care with your diet. Put simply that means eating real, whole food. Eat ethically sourced meat and fish if you’re carnivore, or substitute with healthy protein sources if you’re vegetarian (and don’t forget your B12 supplements). Then enjoy plenty of vegetables, some nuts and seeds, some fruit, a little starch and minimal sugar. Avoid highly processed foods and keep your food/calorie intake to levels that support exercise but not excess body fat. Don’t over-indulge in alcohol and don’t smoke.

Exercise every day. Find something you love and do that but change it up every now and then to challenge your body. Whether that’s surfing, CrossFit, trekking, Olympic weightlifting or dancing, it doesn’t matter.  Just get your body moving, elevate that heart rate and enjoy the feel-good hormones afterwards! Which is a great segue to the next key element of health…

Look after your mental health. This looks different for everyone but there are a few things we can all get better at. Take time out when you need it. Learn how to talk about your feelings and find someone you can talk to if there’s something getting to you. A problem shared is a problem halved remember! Utilise services like the ‘All-hours Support Line’ (ASL). This is a confidential service for ADF members and their families that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Organisations like www.beyondblue.org.au also provide information and support to help you achieve your best possible mental health.

  1. Build strong relationships

Human beings are hardwired to connect to others from the moment we’re born. Brené Brown, Research Professor at the University of Houston and author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers explains that “We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.”

Healthy relationships are a vital component of health and wellbeing. We know that maintaining a strong social network actively contributes to a long, healthy, and happy life. On the other hand, feeling isolated can lead to depression, decreased immune function and high blood pressure. In fact, one survey by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that doubling your group of friends improves your wellbeing as much as a 50% increase in income!

So, how do we nurture relationships? Firstly, make time for the people most important to you. Try to physically be there for them as much as possible and stay in touch when you can’t. When you’re there, pay attention. Put down your phone and communicate. Practice speaking honestly and listening well. Tell them and show them that you appreciate them. Own up to your mistakes and work on your faults. Be ready to forgive if they’ve mucked up and let them know that you’ve got their back. Commit to putting in the hard yards and talking through the tough times. And if you’re struggling – get some help. Relationship counselling can help you find tools and strategies to really enrich your relationship and move past the tricky stages.

  1. Passion projects (hobby)

We all have innate talents or interests. Some of us are lucky enough to discover these early in our lives and pursue them as hobbies or “passion projects” through the years. Others get caught up in day-to-day life and forget to make time for interests outside of work, kids, etc.

We now know that passion projects are thoroughly beneficial for our wellbeing. Apart from being super satisfying, it also promotes creativity and innovative thinking. Pursuing any passion project will give you a sense of purpose and will help you feel like you’re living life to the fullest.

To help you find your passion project, start with listing ideas that interest you, whether that’s fitness, food, finance…whatever! Then consider how much time and resources you can commit to it. Schedule the time to pursue your project into every day/week/month and set a goal to work towards. Remember, this is about investing the time for you to work on something you love, so there doesn’t really have to be an outcome other than enjoying the flow state. But you never know, one day you might end up making it a side hustle.

  1. Look after the planet

At Capital Properties we believe that it’s our moral responsibility to help combat climate change. Making small, but intentional changes will make all the difference to our future and our kids and grandkids future. After all, if we want our communities to thrive, we must ensure that nature thrives as well.

We’re not going to tell you to run away and join Greenpeace, but there’s a huge amount of satisfaction in developing an eco-friendly mindset and knowing you’re doing the right thing by the planet. It’s as simple as choosing to use eco-friendly products where you can, avoid plastic, minimise food waste, buy less crap, teach your kids to turn off the taps, use LED lights and plant a few trees. And take on board our suggestion to use solar energy in our blog “To solar or not to solar, that is the question”. You’ll see that being good to the planet also has advantages for the savvy investor!

  1. Financial independence – property investment

We’ve suggested these “lifestyle investments” to help you make the very most of your one and precious life. But it would be remiss of us not to talk about planning for your financial future. And let’s face it, in Australia is the very best way to plan for your future financial security is by investing in property.

Property investment continues to deliver consistent capital growth over time and is far less volatile than investing in shares or cryptocurrencies. Property investors benefit from tax deductions and exemptions from the Australian Tax Office, including corporate fees and charges, advertising costs and rates reductions from the council, insurance and land taxes.

Buying-to-let means you’ll receive a monthly rental income while the home appreciates, giving you significant capital gains when you’ll need it most, in retirement.

If you want to talk about securing your financial future, we’ll help get you on your way with a free Capital Properties discovery session. And if you’re already onboard, our Pinnacle Support Program will keep you moving in the right direction.

As always, our free investor tools are available to help you with your property investment journey: Online property investment toolkit | Book Your Pinnacle Program Review | Property Investor – Self Evaluation