The annual publication of the BRW Rich 200 ranking of Australia's wealthiest individuals gives us all a chance to bicker, make envious comments and reflect on the state of our own bank balance. However, while you might not have much chance of reaching the $200 million cut-off for entry into the list, that doesn't mean you can't pick up some useful tips from the people who have made it. Here's some hints direct from the mouths of the rich folks themselves to the team at BRW that can help you organise your own money matters better.
Don't get into debt. "You should have no debt, because you don't know how good your lender is, do you?" (Harry Triguboff, Meriton Apartments CEO, #6, $3.2 billion) Real-world lesson: Cut up those credit cards.
Make use of technology. "It doesn't matter how old you are, there's a whole world out there that you can access through technology." (Frank Lowy, Westfield founder, #2, $6.3 billion) Real-world lesson: Bust out that spreadsheet, plan that budget, scour the Web for tips.
Concentrate on your biggest sources of income. "I'd be silly if I didn't take an interest in some capacity because it is such a huge part of my financial portfolio. It is simple as that." (Patricia Ilhan, widow of Crazy John's founder john Ilhan, #126, $317 million) Real-world lesson: Don't obsess over your holiday savings account at the expense of moving ahead in your job.
Don't rely on family connections. "You've got to think of other people within your organisation. What's fair about sonny boy wanting to take over from dad?" (Jack Cowin, CEO, Hungry Jack's, $70, $574 million) Real-world lesson: Don't try and sponge a job (or money) off your parents.
Don't buy too much. "One car is less trouble, you can' be in three places at once, my wife bought a helicopter, but what more can you do?" (Len Ainsworth, Aristocrat Leisure founder, #20, $1.5 billion) Real-world lesson: Get rid of those online store wish lists now.
Don't obsess too much about finance. "Wealth is such a non-issue. If making money is your goal, it is a waste of time — it's a dry, hollow tunnel. There are only two things in life that motivate me — having fun and being useful." (Andrew Forrester, mining magnate, #1, $9.4 billion) Real-world lesson: Don't plan your finances to the exclusion of all else.
And on that note, some sobering thoughts: Getting rich isn't easy — someone on the list has 765 times the average net annual worth of a typical Aussie. And sadly, it helps to be male. Just 14 of the Rich 200 are women. But there's always hope — one-fifth of this year's list are new entrants. (Want more ideas? The BRW Rich 200 issue remains on sale at newsagents until the beginning of July.)