“It’s about personal mindset.” With Brett Kelly & Jason Hartman

My personal mindset is to look to value the business rather than buy a share for trading purposes. If you can come to a view of intrinsic value in a sector you believe has favorable long term economics and a management with ability and integrity than they are the companies I seek to invest with […]

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My personal mindset is to look to value the business rather than buy a share for trading purposes. If you can come to a view of intrinsic value in a sector you believe has favorable long term economics and a management with ability and integrity than they are the companies I seek to invest with over the long term. Then the share price either represents good value at the time or doesn’t.


As a part of my series about “Investing During The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brett Kelly.

Brett Kelly is the founder and CEO of Kelly+Partners Chartered Accountants, the ASX-listed largest private business specialist accounting network in the greater Sydney area. He’s the best-selling author of several books including the new release, Investment Wisdom (Clown Publishing), featuring interviews with leading money managers on what it takes to be an excellent custodian of other people’s wealth in any market.


Thank you for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to learn a bit more about you. Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

In1997 I lost a job working in the corporate advisory team of a global investment bank. What followed led me to write a best-selling book interviewing some of Australia’s leading people from business, sport, politics and the arts. It was funny how you could access amazing people, in one instance I simply looked up a former Australian Prime Ministers home phone number and called him! Those where the days!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

My current most exciting project is building out Kelly+Partners Scholars (kellypartnersscholars.com.au) which is an annual program where young adults (aged 16) travel to Israel to study a program on how to use technology to build businesses with positive social impact!. We have sent 16 scholars over the last three years and the proceeds form my new book Investment Wisdom 100% go to fund these scholarships! My goal is to make this program send at least 20 scholars a year forever by raising enough capital through book sales to perpetually fund the program.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

My Father was a huge unconditional supporter who always encouraged me to aim for the best I could do in every situation and to believe in what is possible in life.

Let’s shift a bit to what is happening today in the broader world. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty and loneliness. From your experience, what are a few ideas that we can use to effectively offer support to our families and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

To counter the impact on the situation on my friends and I during this time of isolation I developed fireup90.com, a 90 day program of health, wealth, wisdom and fun to keep us pushing along and support each other in this time. Many people understandably feel lonely and stressed and this online initiative has really helped we have about 300 free members encouraging each other!

Ok. Thanks for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. As you know the stock market and the economy in general have become extremely volatile and uncertain. Many people “dollar cost average” and put aside a monthly sum into a long term savings plan for retirement, college, or a home purchase. If a loved one or a client came to you and said, “I have been saving and investing $500 every month in an S&P 500 index fund. Over the next few months until the dust settles, should I be doing something else with my money?”, what would you say to them?

Depending on the broader circumstances of that person, if that person can take a long term view, ie is under say 50 years of age and this amount of money is not a significant portion of their funds, then they should proceed as they have to date.

Eventually the economy will recover and rebound. Certain sectors, like travel and hospitality might be hurting for a while. But other sectors, like technology and healthcare, might do very well. If someone wanted to prepare today to take advantage of the future recovery, what would you suggest they do?

Again investing is so dependent on the goals, aptitude and temperament of the person. To win from this crisis from an investment standpoint I would look to active managers who have funds where you can invest while the value of their funds is depressed.

Are there sectors that provide exciting and lucrative investment opportunities today, specifically because of the volatility and uncertainty?

My personal mindset is to look to value the business rather than buy a share for trading purposes. If you can come to a view of intrinsic value in a sector you believe has favorable long term economics and a management with ability and integrity than they are the companies I seek to invest with over the long term. Then the share price either represents good value at the time or doesn’t.

Are there alternative investments that you think more people should look more deeply at?

More people should invest! The major problem most investors have is that they don’t maximize the capital they can invest by minimizing spending and maximizing earning! It is the biggest opportunity that exists for most individual investors, to increase their capital invested. Many people spend more time thinking about earning an extra 1% return than they do ensuring that they have more to invest.

If a person in their thirties and forties came to you today and said that they have $10,000 that they want to put away today for a long term investment what would you advise them to do with it?

I would ask how much interest they have in being an investor and what time they can consistently commit to managing their investments. Their answers to these questions would determine whether I advised for them to be more passive or active.

Ok, thank you! Here is a more general finance question. You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive essentials for smart investing what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?

  1. Buy the people. Companies reflect the senior people you want to partner with hardworking, intelligent people with integrity.
  2. Be long term. Consider investing in a company like a life long commitment, it will make you focus your attention on whether it makes sense to proceed.
  3. 5 investments only! Warren Buffett has always advised you only need investments in a few great businesses so concentrate.
  4. Simplicity. If the business and / or the accounts of a potential investment are not readily understandable by you, find a different company.
  5. Spark Joy! A business that you admire for the difference it makes in the world will be easier to follow over time. So try and align your interests and your investments to the degree possible.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Time is limited, death is certain. You never know how much time you have so don’t waste time waiting to be the person you said to yourself you would be when you grew up!

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I am working on my Kelly+Partners Scholars initiative as I see entrepreneurship with a determination to make a positive social impact as the best way I can encourage people to make the world a better place.

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