Property Investory
Kate Browne - How Finder’s Managing Editor Fell In Love With Finance
June 3, 2020
Kate Browne is the managing editor for Finder, Australia’s largest and most visited comparison site. With her Bachelor of Arts in Communication, she was a lifestyle editor and investigative journalist at CHOICE. She has also written for prominent Australian newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald, Sunday Telegraph and the Australian to name a few.
Tune in on this episode to hear how Browne managed to buy her first property when she was in her late twenties, single and still unsure of her career path. We will find out how she adopted strategies to help her succeed in her investing journey, how Finder can make anyone’s life easier and how you can save money by just using the phone app!


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Kate Browne:
I'd always stayed away from finance and was also frightened by finance. It seemed a bit complicated and someone very wise said to me, but that's perfect because you can explain it to people like yourself out there in the world.

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Tyrone Shum:
This is Property Investory where we talk to successful property investors to find out more about their stories, mindset and strategies.
I’m Tyrone Shum and in this episode we’re speaking with Kate Browne, managing editor of Finder, Australia’s largest and most visited comparison site. She shares how she took her time figuring out what kind of career path she wanted, travelled around the world, appeared on channel 7’s Sunrise and fell in love with property & finance and much much more!

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Tyrone Shum:
Kate Browne was a lifestyle editor and investigative journalist at CHOICE before Finder. She has also written for prominent Australian newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald, Sun Herald, Sunday Telegraph and the Australian to name a few. She delves into what her job at Finder entails, as her role encompasses many aspects.

Kate Browne:
00:19    I'm the managing editor of or Finder as we call it, which is one of Australia's largest and most visited comparison site. We cover a whole bunch of things, but we do really zero in on things like finance, personal finance, superannuation, all the insurances, travel, shopping. A whole range of things, but really Finder exists to help people make better decisions. And part of my role beyond being the managing editor, I'm also the host of Pocket Money, which is the finder podcast and I'm one of the media spokespeople for Finder as well.

Tyrone Shum:
We find out what a typical day for Browne is like, as well as a bit about her communications background. 

Kate Browne:
01:14   My background is fairly unusual. I've come from a background of journalism, but I've also done a lot of TV and broadcast work, and for me it's all content. So I think these days with digital you know, my job's really interesting. So day to day I'm responsible for managing the website. Working with the writers, the publishers, working with our amazing PR media team to look at getting stories out to the general media as well. And being a spokesperson for Finder. So for example, yesterday I was editing stories. I was putting together our own podcast. I then hopped out of my tracksuit pants and put on decent clothes to do an interview with Sunrise on Channel 7 in front of my house to talk about personal finance. Popped back into my pyjamas to then run a meeting with my team and talk about some of the things we're going to do coming up in the next couple of months. So it's a really varied job and that's why I really like it a lot.

Tyrone Shum:
02:14   You must feel so privileged to be able to talk about that all and share all the behind the scenes as well too, because it sounds so exciting. It's all the glitz and the glam in front of the TV, but at the same time you get to do it from home.

Kate Browne:
02:27    It's true. And I did take a photo yesterday because you know, behind the glamour just imagine the photo of me wearing jeans and barefoot, standing out the front of my house, but from sort of the waist up, I had a really nice top, on loads of makeup, a cameraman shooting, while all my neighbours were wondering, what are you doing? Did something happen to the street? But I love the news environment. I'm at my best, I think when I'm on my feet. So if I get a call and they say you got to do a media interview in half an hour, that kind of stuff doesn't phase me weirdly. I really enjoy the challenge and I really enjoy taking complicated information and making it sort of palatable and understandable because that's sort of where I came from in terms of understanding stuff to do with finance or consumer stuff. My background is consumer journalism, so it's taking boring, well perceived as boring or complicated topics and breaking them right down.


Tyrone Shum:      
Prior to the glitz and glam, Browne shares with us her upbringing in New South Wales. 

Kate Browne:
03:33   I was born and raised in Sydney. I feel like I'm one of the few people who can say that. Actually my partner was born in Sydney, but then he lived in the UK. But yeah born and raised in Sydney. Grew up in the sort of Hornsby area, so quite suburban area. I think it's given me a bit of a lifelong fear of living in the suburbs. My mum didn't drive, so I spent a lot of time living in that area, catching lifts off other people and doing very long walks. So I think as soon as I could escape to the inner city, I did, I ironically didn't drive myself for years, which is funny, but I blame it on living in the inner city. So then I moved to Sydney's inner West when I was about 20. And I've lived pretty much in the inner West most of my life apart from living overseas for a couple of years here and there and living in Bondi for a year when I met my partner who enticed me to the Eastern suburbs and I really enjoyed living there. And then when it came time to buy a house and start a family, surprise surprise, we ended up back in the inner West.

Tyrone Shum:
Growing up in the Northern districts area, she delves into her childhood education. 

Kate Browne:
04:57    I went to Hornsby South primary school, which was a really cute little school, and I really enjoyed school. I loved it from the day I started. My mum used to laugh, I'm one of four kids too, there's two girls and three boys, I'm the youngest. My mum said my sister and myself just walked into school on the first day in kindergarten and never looked back but both of my brothers cried. For many weeks at a time, and one of my brother’s is famous for saying, ‘I just would cry sometimes’. So I think it's interesting, I think girls sometimes mature a little bit earlier than boys. And I loved school, went to high school in Hornsby. I went to Hornsby Girls, which is an amazing school. I loved high school. I always feel left out when people share their terrible high school stories because I definitely didn't have those.

It was a great school for learning how to be a good feminist for a start. You know, this is in the late eighties. You know, we were taught to be, you know, always that girls were equal to boys if not better. A bit of indoctrinating, which was great. And I think there was also a lot of freedom for me personally being at a girls only school. There wasn't the distraction of boys. We were quite rowdy, I remember we went on a school excursion with a coed school and all of us girls from Hornsby barreled under the bus and pushed all the boys off the backseat. And the teacher from the coed school was like ‘aren’t you meant to be ladies’ and we were like ‘what?’. So we didn't have that kind of weird gender.

I mean, a lot of that has gone away. And interestingly, my own child now begged to go to a coed school. I think things have changed a lot, but I really valued Hornsby girls for that. They placed a lot of value on being academically inclined and to achieve but also good focus on the arts, which I was really passionate about. Great music program, great art program, so a really happy school environment. And I'm still friends with women I went to school with now and yeah, really proud of that. A lot of people walk out of high school and be like ‘never again’.

Tyrone Shum:
07:04    See you later. I'm not coming back.

Kate Browne:
07:05      Totally, so I really valued that and I think I learnt a lot of really good lessons at that school. I didn't do so well when I left the school environment to go to university. That took a few goes.

Tyrone Shum:
Browne reveals how she transitioned from high school to university, and how she was interested in communications.

Kate Browne:
07:32     I think this is a good story for people freaking out about the HSC. I did pretty well in the HSC. I was a bit of a lazy student though, but I was excellent at writing essays, which is how I think I ended up in journalism and I was quick at studying, so I could read something and regurgitate it really quickly. It's pretty hilarious. I've fallen into a job where that's what I do for a living. I'm not recommending that though. When I left school though, I think I wasn't really ready to leave school. I remember feeling quite sad about it and I went to Sydney University to do an arts degree. And really when I look back, I don't know why. I think I wanted to do communications and I didn't get in. I wanted to do journalism, and I didn't get in.

The marks were super high. So I thought oh yeah, Sydney university, that looks really gorgeous. Right way to base your university choice? Beautiful buildings, it is very classic, a long trip from Normanhurst but worth it. And within a couple of months I was sinking. I was drowning. I had no idea why I was there. Because you are given a lot of freedom at university. I was like, no one cares if I turn up to lectures, maybe I won’t, you know, the logic that only an 18 year old can apply to study. And I ended up dropping out and I remember being really sad, but I just felt like a real fish out of water. And of course my parents were like, well you have to get a job. Then I was like, ‘oh God, I do’.

I went away and worked for two years and I worked as a receptionist and learned that I was the world's most disorganised receptionist. And very messy and had three jobs, one of which I got sacked from. Because I used to turn up late a lot and thought it was really unreasonable that they wanted me there at nine, which I look back and think, ‘oh my God’. And I see my own children now, I have a 12 year old, she's starting to tween and I now understand the logic. I think I was quite immature. So long story short, those two years were really actually very instructive because I realised I didn't want to stay working in office work. I was a terrible receptionist. A lot of people are amazing office managers. I was not one of them. And I realised that was a poor fit for me.

What it did do is it finally kind of kicked me up the bum and I reapplied to university, and was really focused about what I wanted to do. And I guess for anyone who's stressing about the HSC you know, two years out of school I was already considered a mature age student. I applied to UTS to do social science with a major in communications. And I got in basically off the back of the essay I wrote about why I thought I should be allowed in and I had a very elderly boss in one of the jobs that used to call me honey and asked me to make tea, which I refused to do which he eventually found kind of funny. 

But for me, I thought this isn't what I want to do for life. And it really, for the first time at that age, so I was 20 by then, I had a laser like focus on getting into this course. And I got in. I couldn't believe it. And I worked really, really hard when I was at uni the second time around almost, because I was like, did they let me in by mistake? You know a bit of imposter syndrome and I worked my backside off. I really like sharing that story because I think there's a lot of focus on being successful from the get go or you know, around the HSC. It's not, and really if I'd got into communications straight from school, I might've dropped out anyway. I kind of needed that time out in the wild to really focus.

Some people have that natural focus, but for me, when you're 18, you're a bit silly still. So that was very instructive and I had to do that on my own. My parents were pretty angry with me for dropping out of uni and kind of washed their hands with the whole thing. So when I got back in, I really did that on my own. And they were a bit like ‘are you just going to drop out again?’. And I was like, ‘Oh, I'm going to prove you wrong’. So I did. I think learning, you know, like I said I am a parent now, two daughters, I want them to build up that kind of drive and resilience a bit earlier. I think schools probably do that a little better now. My school was very much like this lovely warm nest, you know, but then when we got kicked out, it was like my God, what is this? So for me I really needed those couple of years and I think I've recommended this to other young people I've met. It's okay to have a couple of years out in the world and learn some stuff.

Tyrone Shum:
Looking back on her years at school and the kind of mindset she had, Browne realises how the schooling system has changed over the years. 

Kate Browne:
14:07  I've noticed with my oldest daughter who has just started year seven. Well she was only there for five weeks and now she's in her bedroom on her laptop, supposedly learning from home. But actually I've noticed how student driven it is and there's an expectation for her to look after herself and she's already had a few kicks up the bum, not from me, but from learning. And in fact, even last night she said, ‘Oh, I've got three assignments due next week on the same day’. And I'm like, ‘maybe you need to start one of them now’. But I think, you know, you learn a lot of lessons in life by doing, not just being told, it's a rare person that goes ‘oh, thanks for telling me that lesson’. You know, a lot of people need to learn and yeah, I'm a massive advocate for gap year.

I didn't have one in terms of going overseas. I had one after I left uni actually, that year I went overseas after I left uni. I worked in a summer camp in America in the deep South. Pretty wild. Learned a lot there. I've lived in the UK, went traveling on my own through Turkey and Egypt. And I remember when I came home people were like, ‘wow, what's happened to you? You've really grown up’. So I feel like that year out after the three years at uni was the final polish, I finally came back as a proper adult. And I can remember thinking, I'm traveling alone, pre-internet. I'm showing my age, losing my wallet in New York city, and just thinking, Oh my God, wow, I can only rely on myself.

I actually got it back, but I remember there were a couple of hours where I was like, okay, you've got this, you can do this. But very formative, you know, and I really realised, you know, I was like, oh, I'm quite proud of myself. But yeah, traveling alone, I remember when I got to the States crying, on the first night I was very jet lagged crying in my hotel room that I didn’t know anyone in this whole country, I was terrified and I thought everyone was going to murder me or, you know, mug me. And, you know of course as soon as I started at this time, I met a million people from all over the world and had an amazing time. But yeah, I think travel is a great thing for young people to do. And it's an investment and you know, you're growing up.

Tyrone Shum:
Browne goes on to explain how she found herself in an American summer camp after completing her university degree.

Kate Browne:
16:55  They're less popular for Australians but I'd met another woman when I was at uni that was going to go and do one. Suspiciously, I never heard what happened after she left to go there. I put that bit out of my mind. It's very common in the UK because summer aligns with the US and the UK, so basically you go as a volunteer and if you live in the UK you get free airfare chucked in and you get kind of minimum wage and you work. Not bad, for Australia our flight was subsidised, but I actually just bought a round the world ticket because I was going to be away for a year. So I'd worked in an after school care centre when I was at uni, so that was my part time job when I was at uni, which was funny because I was like, ugh, I hate children.

And then I realised working with kids was really fun, so that was kind of weird as well. And after school care was great, hours wise, you work sort of in the mornings or in the late afternoon. And so it sort of suited my uni lifestyle. So I thought oh yeah, I can work with kids. This is a way of getting a fairly cheap trip, a structured activity. So I knew I'd have an adventure, but you know, I'd probably meet other people. And off I went and I also just said, look, I'm happy to go anywhere, because you can put in preferences for where you wanted to go. And I ended up really in the middle of anywhere. I ended up in a tiny little town in the deep South in the mountains, which was right down South, real hillbilly kind of town.

People were Bible thumping, gum toting and moonshine drinking folk. Weirdly, the camp was for very wealthy children from Miami, but because the weather is so bad in Miami in the summer, it's so hot, they send them up to Georgia, which was quite mountainous and a bit cooler for the summer. So the kids hilariously were very urban, very wealthy, terrified of the outdoors. We were all from the UK, Australia and New Zealand, just going, what the hell? Like what are we doing here? So the local town was quite literally full of like tobacco chewing gum toting hillbillies, God fear if the kids will let incredibly sophisticated Miami urbanites here. They weren't used to going hiking and they would all cry. So we were all thrown in the deep end together and it was possibly one of the hardest things I've ever done.

I had to live in a cabin with 12, nine year old girls and we shared a bathroom. And I had to sleep in a bunk with them. And then by day I was sort of teaching art and craft so the kids can do all sorts of activities. And it looked just like every movie you've ever seen where there's a summer camp involved with the little yellow Simpsons buses, the cabins. But what I did love, it really challenged me to dig deep because kids are pretty frustrating, saying that now I'm a parent. You know, there was a lot of negotiating and a lot of having to get everyone to do stuff. A lot of putting out fires sometimes figuratively, literally sometimes. And you know, there was dealing with a different culture.

Americans are so full on and the kids were so full on and very open and loud, and that to me was hilarious. And then working with a bunch of people from the UK who were different again. I'm very proud to say I'm still friends with this guy. He'd been in the army in the UK and he quit the camp because it was too hard. 

Tyrone Shum:
That’s a completely hilarious point of view, because usually the army guys are the ones who push through.

Kate Browne:
He used to jump out of planes with a parachute and did a tour of Northern Ireland, but he found the kids too hard. So that was a great experience. And I've still got friends that I met from that day from that time in the UK, in the US and New Zealand. And weirdly, that's actually how I met my husband.

He wasn't at the camp and he's Australian. My friend was from the UK and she actually introduced us bizarrely. My husband actually grew up near Hornsby, so I know she met him when he was living and working in London and because we found a real bond working on the summer camp, we stayed in touch for years. And when she came out to Australia, he'd moved back here and she introduced us.

Tyrone Shum:
21:59 That’s so nice, such a small world. 

Kate Browne:
22:02    We figured we probably walked past each other at Hornsby, Westfield, you know, when we were teenagers. 

Tyrone Shum:
And now your husband and wife.

Kate Browne:
And he went to a fancy private school too, so he was probably like, ‘ugh, Hornsby Girls’.

Tyrone Shum:
After returning to Australia, Browne talks about the jobs she found herself in. 

Kate Browne:
22:29   I went back to Australia in the mid nineties and basically still wasn't sure what I wanted to do with myself. And we were coming out of a recession, so jobs were still fairly short supply. And again, I still didn't know what I wanted to do career wise. I wanted to work in journalism, but there weren't a lot of jobs at that point and I think I still suffered from a bit of lack of confidence. So I sort of fell into working at Optus, which was still in startup mode.

Then you know, this was in in the days when, you know, fairly young kids aren't there, there was only Telstra when I was sort of a teenager and a young person, and then Optus came on the scene and provided this actual market where there was competition and actually it was a great place to work. There was a lot of money to start it up, a lot of investment in their staff. I worked in customer service for awhile. I worked as an account manager and got used to sort of angry corporates calling me. And actually looking back, it was just really good training in business. It is a very unorthodox way to get into journalism. But again, I think I learned a lot of skills and I learned about working in the corporate world. I worked, I learned to work with difficult customers. Again, I made some really great friends during that period. I worked a lot of shift work.

I did that for a couple of years and then I decided funnily enough, oh hang on, I really should do something with this journalism degree. And I'd started writing freelance while I was at Optus for a couple of light music mags, and a couple of street mags. And I kept getting asked for more work, so I was like oh well actually, maybe I'm okay at this writing business. And I started to get paid a little bit of money, not enough to live on, but enough for pocket money. And then I took a job at the Sydney opera house, and that was amazing. I was working in sponsorships, working with corporate sponsors, but working with them around media messaging, promoting their brand with the Opera House. That was a really fun, creative job. And I used a lot of my writing skills. But still grounded in business because ultimately the sponsors, those sponsors...I mean the Opera House is owned and run by the state government to put on the shows, to put on the events, especially the free public events. Sponsorship is really where that comes into play. So I was there for seven years and I had an amazing time. It's a very exciting place to work.

Tyrone Shum:
What was the culture like there? You would have done some amazing things. 

Kate Browne:
25:25    That’s right, the building alone is not going to get you there, right? So the culture there was amazing. My boss used to joke because we had to go to our office, our offices were in the Opera House at the time. I used to have to walk through the stage door you know, often pass famous people, and then to get to our particular office, we had to walk under a huge sign that said ‘drama’. My boss used to joke that that applied to every department in the building, whether it was finance and accounts, corporate, sponsorship media marketing. A lot of it attracted a lot of vibrant people and I guess all of us were really passionate about the arts. So even, you know, even the people doing payroll were super invested in the building, the culture and we all were all made to feel really important.

All of us had access to free tickets to shows and we were encouraged to go to shows. All of us were encouraged to attend all the events. Extremely generous with things like New Year’s Eve. We'd all be allowed to go to the events centre and have tickets to the free events or some of the ticketed events. I think that really made everyone feel like this was our building. You know, we'd talk about our Opera House. I think the culture there was really clever particularly for public service, which can be a slow moving environment. The Opera House was a lot more dynamic and probably a bit atypical, but like the ABC where there's a lot of pride and I mean, you walk outside and there's people taking photos of where you work and you look back and you know, it never got old for me.

I don't think there was a single day when I walked up to that building without just gasping. Inside and out, it changes with the weather. It's the beating heart of Sydney. And like I said, there was always crazy stuff going on, I was there during the Olympics, so that was super exciting. You know, there was the Iraq war protesters when protestors had climbed up on the sails and painted on the sails. You know, I went through all kinds of things. And there was never a day where something didn't happen that was a bit exciting.

Tyrone Shum:
27:36   It's such an iconic building. Look at New Year's Eve, everyone points their eyes straight there next to the Harbour bridge. How could you not miss that?

Kate Browne:
27:45         It's amazing. And our original office was on the ground floor right at the front of the building, so I looked almost directly into the water, so I had  boats going past my window. You know, I could see the storms come in and leave and I worked with a really great team, I was an all woman team and we're all similar ages, really dynamic. We really got shit done, but we had a lot of fun on the way. And I really loved it. And it did actually, again, I've had a very unorthodox, as you are probably guessing, had a very unorthodox century into kind of pure journalism. But while I was working at the Opera House, I was also working as a freelancer by that stage for the Sydney Morning Herald and was doing a lot of feature writing and actually, my boss at the time was very supportive of that. She was often really helpful and supportive and that kept me really invested in my day job as well.

Tyrone Shum:
After working at the Opera House for seven years, she goes on to share her next phase in her journey before she found herself at Finder. 

Kate Browne:
28:49   After I finished at the Opera House I met my now husband and we did what all mature 30 year olds do and quit our jobs and went overseas for a year. And we went to South America for nine months, traveled around South America, volunteered working with wild animals in Bolivia for a month and worked with disadvantaged kids in Peru. And then we came home, and went to Southeast Asia, which was in the elephant orphanage as volunteers. That was all very exciting. But actually that was a good reset. Because then what I remember saying after that year also, it's like in my early, very early thirties, and I was like, okay I need to get real. I want to be a journalist full time. And I said that my partner, that's it. That's what I want to do.

Believe it or not, we were in Thailand on an island. I was like oh no, better start looking for jobs, we're going to go home soon. And I started looking and I saw a job at CHOICE, which is the Australian consumer association. They were looking for journalists, part-time journalists. And I applied and when I got back I was really worried because they would think why has this woman been overseas for a year? And actually they were fantastic. They also were very supportive of, you know, what I'd done and my freelancing and I got the job. So I worked at CHOICE first as a news journalist, and I was still freelancing on the side. I then moved to becoming an investigative journalist, that was really exciting. Chased a lot of big stories. CHOICE doesn't accept advertising or funding. So CHOICE is very free to kind of pursue big company's wrongdoings without any fear or favour.

And that was a really exciting time. I slowly then moved into managing a team. So by the end of my career at CHOICE, I was a lifestyle editor. I was running a team of about five journalists and investigative journalists. A health writer, a food writer, working with our policy team there who do a lot of campaigning for good work. And by then I had full and intermediate spokesperson work as well. I think as you probably can tell by this interview, I don't like talking. And we didn't have a media spokesperson at CHOICE for a little while and someone said, hey, do you think you can go on Sunrise and talk about groceries? And I thought, okay. And that was a bit of a baptism of fire. So my first ever TV appearance was on Sunrise being interviewed by David Koch.

It couldn't have, it went okay on screen, but it couldn't have gone worse behind the scenes. They forgot to tell me when they needed me in the studio, so I was still sitting on a couch. I hadn't done my makeup properly, which was kind of a necessity on TV. As I was being chased into the studios, they were saying, we're going live in 30 seconds. I could feel someone unzipping the back of my dress and stuffing a microphone down the back of my dress and trying to zip it up. I kind of landed out in the studio, right in front of David Koch who is actually a giant in real life. I was like, Oh my God, and then it was like three, two, one. And I'm thinking, I don't even know if my dress has been done up. Anyway I did the interview, turns out I perform well under pressure.

I did that and it was fine. No one knew about everything that happened beforehand. So I started doing quite a bit of media work, which complimented the work I was doing for CHOICE in terms of my investigation. So we did a lot of research, a lot of deep dives into things. And around that time as well, I started working with ABC on a consumer affairs show called The Checkout which is weirdly an idea from the guys who run The Chaser. So very, very funny guys who'd worked in a lot of satire particularly around politics. They wanted to do something on consumer stuff. Julian Morrow who's very funny, you know, he'd say, ‘Oh, I'm a classic whinger. I'm always whinging about my consumer rights. I’ve decided to make a whole show and we're going to make it funny’.

I was like hmm, consumer affairs isn’t funny. Sometimes it's just really boring. And I just met with him a couple of times at CHOICE and had some story ideas and then I got a call from the CEO at CHOICE at the time going, can I talk to you? And I'm like, oh no, what have I done? And he said, ‘Oh, the, the guys from The Chaser want to have a chat with you, about story ideas’. And I was like, wow, that's really cool. So I met with Craig Reucassell and Julian Morrow from The Chaser and suggested a couple of stories. And back then I was a fairly new parent at that time, so I was like, there's a lot of consumer bullshit around parenting products, all the things you supposedly need. And Craig sort of suggested doing a parenting segment that we call the guilty mum rather than a busy mum, a guilty mum. So I started writing for that segment and doing a lot of research. And then the guys asked me, how do you feel about being on camera?

I thought, maybe! And they said the only way to get away with this particular segment is to play a character, you're gonna have to act. And I was like, oh okay, I guess I'll give it a go. And so I made this character secretly based on a few women in my mother's group, and played this character really securing all those products that are designed to make parents feel guilty. So they were very funny. I really enjoyed writing them. It was great therapy. It was like products like crash helmets for kids learning to walk. I mean you know, kids have been learning to walk for centuries, you know, baby yoghurt that's twice the price as regular yogurt and doesn't have anything different in it, I could go on. And so I worked on the show and also did other segments as well.

That was amazing, they were really generous to allow me in front of a camera and to be so creative and be able to learn how to write scripts, which is very different from writing to be read. You know, my first instinct when I started writing scripts was to talk everything, and they're like well you've got this is a visual medium, you can show it, you don't have to tell there’s graphics, there’s sound effects. And I learned to write comedy with some of the funniest people in Australia, which was equally modifying and instructive. 

Tyrone Shum:
35:06     Are you still doing any of those things right now?

Kate Browne:
35:08      I'm not, suddenly The Checkout got axed in 2018 which was a real bummer. It was ABC, you know, it was really getting stripped back then and the show was pretty budget friendly, but because it wasn't a panel show, it was all scenario based, a lot of dress ups, a lot of props and stuff. They couldn't justify it, which was a real shame because for six years they had really good ratings and really helped people. I was astonished. I was at an event once where a bunch of boys, at Normanhurst Boys high school, their teacher came up and said, ‘Oh, the boys loved The Checkout’. And I was like, wow. And they really loved my segment. And I'm like, no, it's about being a mum, being a parent. And he said, yeah, but they liked the fact that you liked taking the piss.

They really loved the fact you're taking the piss out of these stupid products, not parents themselves. And I was like, okay, if you can get teenage boys interested, you know, like comedy is a really good hook to do that. So The Checkout finished up, I'd been at CHOICE for a long time, so I was looking for a new adventure and I was approached to join Finder. And the job for me was a real unicorn job because it's 50% media spokes work, 50% editorial, which is unusual. Usually people that work in editorial, not always, but a lot of those people don't want to show something on camera equally. People that do media spokes work often don't do editorial. So for me this was an amazing job. And I've been at Finder for a year and a half next week.

It’s extraordinary, it's got the best culture of anywhere I've worked, even with the Opera House. It's a real candid culture, very hands on. Everyone jumps on things, everything works at speed, which I really appreciated particularly after the Opera House and CHOICE who were a bit more slower, a bit more old fashioned in their approach. CHOICE was very cautionary as well. Because you know, the position itself is being a finance expert as well. But what I learned is you can move fast, you can get something up and make it better as you go along, and you can chase stuff. And we have a core belief at Finder is go live, go live with something, give it a go. See how it happens. And for me it's just been really refreshing and you know, we're allowed to experiment a lot and it's okay and learning that it's okay to fail.

In a way ironically, we don't fail a lot, I think because people don't have that fear. People really throw everything at something, throw it at the wall, so it's a really great environment. We do so much work in the consumer area. But I guess for me I was a little bit reticent because it is so finance focused and I'd always stayed away from finance, and also frightened to finance. It seemed a bit complicated and someone very wise who works there said to me, but that's perfect because you can explain it to people like yourself out there in the world. Not everyone's a finance expert, so to speak to regular people because they're the people that we want at Finder. You know, we're taking complex topics and breaking them down. So for me it's been really interesting and what's been really unexpected is I've kind of fallen in love with finance. And even things like superannuation or insurance, they affect your life and money. Personal finance is everyone's life. So to ignore it is crazy because you can't ignore it. Everyone's a consumer. Everyone spends money, even my kids spend money. And so you got to know your money to do good things with it and make it worth your time. If you're going to work and earn money, which most people have to do, then you should do your time the justice by focusing on it.

**Start Background music**


Tyrone Shum:
Browne delves into her property investment journey with us, starting with the first property she purchased. 

Kate Browne:
00:17      This was before I was working at the Opera House. I was renting a place with a friend in the inner West. I've been single forever. I was pretty happy being single, floating along. And then my flatmate, and good friend, said, ‘look, I'm going to move to London’. I'm like, ‘Oh...well what am I going to do?’ You know, classic 20 something, I was like, ‘oh, whatever’. And then my dad said ‘mum and I want to have dinner with you’. Which was really unusual. Like my mum was quite a hands on parent, but my dad wasn't so much. And I thought, ‘oh shit, dinner with them, single, not earning a lot of money. But I was also like, ‘Ooh free dinner with them’.

Then my dad was like, what are you doing with your life? You know, what are you going to do in the immediate future? Your flatmates just moved out. What are you doing? I think I'd left Optus too, and I was between jobs then and I just didn't know what I was doing with my life. And I was like, ‘Oh’. And then he said, ‘look, your mother and I are a bit worried about you. I think you should try and save some money with a mind to possibly buying either somewhere to live or something to invest in’. And I said, ‘Oh, okay’. And I was very fortunate, my parents by this stage were living in Leichhardt in the inner West. I was the youngest child, so they had a nice house with a spare room and dad was like, ‘why don't you come and live at home for a year instead of continuing to rent and pay the rent, but I'll sock it away in an account that you can't touch’. 

Tyrone Shum:
02:07      Hey dad, that's a great idea.

Kate Browne:
02:13   That is so generous. And actually when I look back again, having your adult child moved back in isn't a walk in the park either. I've got that perspective now that I'm a parent. So it was actually a very, very generous thing to do. And so I did. I only lasted six months in their house.

Tyrone Shum:
02:35     I can understand this happens, I've done it before. It's not easy living with the parents again, once you have that freedom you don't want to ever go back.

Kate Browne:
02:43  It was hard and I think my mum found it really hard too, you know, you have that kind of selfishness when you're young. And you think ‘Oh, my mum must love having me here’. But I think my mum was just like, ‘Eh’. Because I actually did revert to a bit of a child even though I was in my late twenties. I wasn't really behaving very well. I just went back to my child self, which I think we do around our parents sometimes. So we all agreed after six months that would come to an end. And around that time a good friend of mine said, ‘Hey, we're looking for a new flatmate in our shared house’. And my mum was quite cross and my dad, because I think they were like, well clearly you will stop saving.

But I didn't. I kept saving, albeit not quite at the rate I was when I was stocking away what I would have spent in rent. And I went overseas with a friend for six weeks and you know, they were like, ‘Oh great’. And I think they were like, she spent all the money, but I didn't. And I set up an automatic transfer, which is the greatest thing to do in the world. And it seems so simple now, but at the time I was like, ‘Oh God, I'm not even noticing that money’. And by then I'd started working at the Opera House and that money was just going into a high interest savings account. It took me probably a year longer than my parents expected, but after two and a half years, I had enough money for a deposit on a very, very small apartment. And what I realised is, sometimes you hear about saving or budgeting and you think, oh, I'm going to have to drink tap water and never have a coffee or go out ever again.

Or eat a can of beans! But it doesn't have to be like that. Obviously you will save more money if you do that, but you can still save money and a lot of it is mindset. And so for me, like I said, it was just the automatic debit from my pay. I never saw it. And I just adjusted and I had a bloody good time living in that other shared house with my other friends and had a great time. Actually, it didn't hurt, the two of them were students, so I was working and they were students. So we partied a lot at home. It was an accidental kind of savings I guess in that way too. But I did it, I saved enough. By then my mum and dad were really out of the picture, like not in a bad way, but I'd kind of gone, ‘I've got this’.

I started looking for a very small apartment. I had enough for up to a 20% deposit, was hoping for 10%. And I started looking at places in the inner West at that stage, Marrickville was still pretty affordable. It wasn't quite the way it looked these days. Both my brothers lived in Marrickville, they both had apartments over there. And one of my brothers took me to look at a few places. It didn't go well. I remember looking at one and coming out and crying because I said I'd be too scared to live here. It was pretty rough. It was pretty rough, and I remember my brother going, ‘but it's such a good price?’. And I was like, no I can't do that, so I looked in other suburbs.

I was astonished by how many people were looking in that price range too. You'd have to queue up to look at a one bedroom apartment. It was really depressing and I looked for quite a long time. But I did have one of those magical moments. So I'd looked and looked and looked and I was just thinking, ‘Oh’. And then I started thinking, oh well I could buy something and I don't have to live in it. Suddenly I went, oh I could actually, you know, I guess it's called rentvesting. I just didn't realise it was rentvesting because I was really enjoying living with my friends and I really liked living in Leichhardt and I couldn't afford to stay in Leichhardt and you know, it was dodgy in Marrickville living on my own, you know, being single, not really doing it for me.

That really liberated my mindset. And then I remember sitting with my other brother in the pub one day in Marrickville and I pointed across the road, because his apartment block was across the road, and I said, ‘I’m so done looking at places, I've looked at about 30 places’. By then I was getting really discouraged and I waved my hand in the direction of his apartment block and said, ‘I just want something like that’. And unbelievably, he said, ‘oh my girlfriend's friend has a really small apartment in there and she's looking to sell privately’. And I was like, hang on a minute, what? And so he introduced me to her and I bought my first place privately. 

Tyrone Shum:
07: 28    That is an amazing story, you don’t get that deal very often. 

Kate Browne:
07:33   It was good in the sense that we were able to kind of come to an arrangement without a real estate investor, real estate agents and all the bullshit you get. It was difficult because  I had a lot of trouble getting a loan. Banks don't like lending to single women and particularly when they work in the arts and weren't earning a great salary, and I had an okay salary, like I had enough to cover it. But also they didn't like the size of the apartment. It was not a studio, but it was just under 50 square metres even though it was perfect. And so suddenly I was just getting no’s all round, so that was another massive hurdle. And I did use a mortgage broker who was actually really great,  and they finally found someone that would lend, but I had to pay a 20% deposit, ouch. And I guess the other thing about selling privately is just before we were about to do the deal, the woman I was buying it from got cold feet, and she called me and asked for an extra $30,000. 

Tyrone Shum:
08:47      What did you do in that circumstance?

Kate Browne:
08:49     It was funny because she called me, and I was at work and you know, for me, I was doing all this stuff I'd never done before. So I was in that kind of heightened state where I'm like dealing with mortgage brokers, dealing with conveyancers. Well I didn't even know what a conveyancer was. You know, getting the money ready, I was so into it and I was so excited. She called me at work and someone must've got in her ear and gone, ‘oh, you know, you could get more’. And she started saying, ‘I think I'm going to auction it’. And I was like, ‘mate, it's like a tiny one bedroom apartment’. And particularly, this is like 15 years ago, people aren't doing that in Marrickville.

Like you weren't having an auction and she would have lost like, you know, so I actually called her bluff but it was sort of unintentional. I basically just said to her, ‘well, I don't have any more money’. I said, ‘I don't have any more money down the back of the couch. That's a real shame because I love it and I've got the money ready to go’. And I said, ‘yeah, take it or leave it if you think you can get more. I'm really, really sad, but that's that’. And we left it and I was so upset and she called me back two hours later and she said, ‘I've changed my mind’.

It was interesting because it wasn't like I said really deliberate, but it was actually, I did call her bluff. Truly, because I was already extended and I think she just had a moment of madness herself. But it was like, come on seriously, we're not paying any real estate agent fees. We're not paying you any money you'd pay for an auction. I'm solid. You know me, you know I've got the money. And a couple of days later we exchanged the keys in the pub that I'd been sitting in with my brother when I've been looking across the road, so that was awesome. 

Tyrone Shum:
After that memorable moment of buying her first property, she shares if she has purchased more since then. 

Kate Browne:
11:04     After I bought my first property, I lived in it for a little while and then I decided I didn't want to live in it, so I moved back to my shared house. And actually I then got to be a landlord, which was really interesting. I worked with a really nice local agent to find great tenants and I like to think I was a pretty good landlord. And they all looked after my place beautifully. Later on, I was able to help out a friend who was saving for his own place. So he moved into my place and you know in return for a small cut in the rent, he offered to look after things, and we had an arrangement, which was awesome. Also I was able to help him buy his own place.

And I was heavily still living in my shared house. So really again, my first property was an investment. It really was set and forget, you know, the rent covered the mortgage repayments. I had a few upsets with a water heater blowing up or the occasional, extraordinary strata fee. But I had it covered and it really was set and forget. So I guess that's the really important thing to say to people. The buying is hard, but often, you know. And then I met my partner, he also had his own place, again an apartment, but in Bondi. And when we got really serious and we wanted to start a family you know, we both realised we weren’t millionaires and we couldn't stay in Bondi, he was in a one bedroom apartment too.

We found a house in Leichhardt and the market had taken a bit of a dive at that point. This is sort of the mid 2000s. I'd always thought like it would be out of our ballpark financially. I thought we'd probably look in Marrickville. But again, you know, so much of buying properties is circumstantial. We saw this house we live in now, because we were driving past, I knew the street, I'd always loved the street and I used to look at this, the house I own now and go, ‘oh it's such a cute little house’. And it was for sale, it was for auction. And I said to my partner, there's no way we can afford this, it’s Leichhardt, this is one of the nicest streets. And my partner is far more optimistic than me. He goes, ‘I'm just going to ring up and find out’. And I was like, don't bother. And he's like, ‘no, I'm going to’. And this is the story of our relationship. He's definitely more of a glass half full guy. He called and they said it was passed in an auction and they said the owners are getting divorced. It's very acrimonious and they want to sell fast.

It was the first place we looked at. And again, my dad was really interesting. My dad's great with sort of property stuff. I got my mum and dad to come over and have a look at it and my dad said, ‘make an offer’. And my mum said, but it's the first place I've looked at. And my dad said, ‘well, why would you want to keep looking?’ Then my mum's like, ‘that's insane’. And I thought maybe we should look at other places. And my dad said, ‘do you really want to be looking for the next year? And talking about that first place?’. So I do take my hat off to my dad. He's carefully spontaneous. And so we were able to sell the two properties we had in Bondi and Marrickville to buy the house, which was great because four months later I was pregnant.

We literally bought a house with a white picket fence, so people were highly amused. I'd gone from being very single to very loved up and then pregnant within sort of two years, and owning a house, so that was pretty wild. I'd love to invest more in property, I guess what we have done as an investment with our house is we did do a significant renovation two years ago, partly from necessity, but also strategically. So the house had three bedrooms, but a very small living area and very small bathroom. And the classic Victorian home, the front was really solid, but the back was a bunch of rough and tumble extensions that were all falling to bits. So we reborrowed to fund a major renovation to turn the house into four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a much larger living area.

It's very beautiful now and also rock solid. The reason I say strategic is we really squeezed that fourth bedroom in, because I talked to a lot of real estate agents about what people were looking for in the market if we were to sell. And the one thing that's in shortage around the Leichhardt in the inner west area is four bedroom houses. There's a lot of three bedrooms. They're very small rooms, the girls’ rooms, my childrens’ rooms are fairly small, but I think talking to a lot of agents was very instructive. You know, agents love looking at your house even if you're not going to sell, it’s the area that is their interest. And I learned a lot from them and they actually were very honest. So I told them we were looking at potentially selling and buying something else rather than renovating.

Two of them just said, ‘don't sell, you won’t do better than this in terms of location’. Which I thought was really honest. But a lot of them said people are looking for the fourth bedroom because that's the golden light. If people have three kids or they want to study or they just want another space, that's the golden ticket. So we have a friend that actually designed the house for us. We paid her, but it was great to work with someone that knew us really well. But that's been very strategic. So while I do see us staying here for quite some time, I wanted to build something that would be very appealing to the market if we needed to sell.

Tyrone Shum:
Browne’s strategy for investing money back into her own place of residence can effectively help her avoid paying more in the future.  

Kate Browne:
17:11       It's interesting when we bought the house, my husband's accountant said why don't you just stay in the Bondi apartment and negative gear the house. And that's where I think sometimes financial advice and life collide. I looked at him and said but I want to live in it, I bought the house so I could live in it. And also, I mean he didn't know this, we were planning to have children, so I was like I’m not having children in a one bedroom apartment. But you know, sometimes investing can be your own home, like you said, for equity. Obviously the property market will be interesting to see what happens going forward. But I think the optimistic side of me is in those areas where there's demand and there's always going to be demand in cities like Sydney and Melbourne and all the big capital cities. If you have a suburb that has good public transport, good schools, good access to the city for example, but a nice kind of lifestyle, while we might see some drops, I think it should all even out if it's a long term play, I'm not looking to turn it over in a week.

For us, that's really where we did invest. And like I said, we needed to, my girls are going to be teenagers soon and they're definitely going to need a bathroom. So in that sense it was a necessity. And also we were sort of bursting at the seams. But yeah we were strategic. Aesthetically I battled with our architect because she was like, you have three really nice bedrooms, you know, or she wanted to make that fourth bedroom an open space. And I was like, no, I want a door. I need a door and a window in there. And we do use it as a great guest room. It means my daughters can have their own room. But I was really bullish on the four bedrooms and the two bathrooms because I knew from looking at the market that was in short supply.


Tyrone Shum:
Browne delves into her property investing strategy that can not only help other investors manage their money, but also help her two daughters in the future. 

Kate Browne:
19:38  It's terrifying and we joke that the kids will probably be living with us forever. 

Tyrone Shum:
19:44    That's why you have a four bedroom house.

Kate Browne:
19:46     Maybe I'll be moving out. But yeah it's going to be super hard. I mean that's the thing about real estate prices and I feel we probably still paid more than we should have. But I feel like when we did buy in the mid 2000s, it was before prices got crazy. Now they're insane. And then with this added issue around job security at the moment and also younger generations not having that stable employment, like a lot of contract work, it can be hard. I think just in terms of investing, it’s often just going back to basics, so things like optimising your savings.

Where can you save? It's a mindset. I think for me that was where the light bulb went off for me. I used to hear the word budget like I said, and think that means eating beans and not having coffee. It's about looking for where you can cut the fat without compromising what you want to do day to day, and playing a long game. So I guess what I learned from saving that deposit is it took longer than originally expected. But I got there. And by making some simple changes, things paid off in dividends. So for me it was just taking that chunk of money out of my pay every week, making sure it was in the highest interest savings account I could find. Behaviourally it was one I couldn't access easily. You know, things like that, a term deposit, they're very accessible things to do.

I think also something that working at Finder has really taught me is there's loads of ways to save money that people just don't. Comparing and saving your energy providers, we've got research that shows you can save from $400 to $1000 a year just by swapping energy suppliers. I mean that's a couple of phone calls and filling out a form, that's not bad work. You know, super funds, even if you have a home loan, or looking to get a new home loan. Interest rates are historically low, but even the ACCC put out a report recently saying less people are shopping around and swapping out their home loans than they expected and people are losing potentially $5,000 a year, in terms of interest. So behaviourally I think, often we have blind spots and I think sometimes we over engineered this stuff and what I've learned from working at Finder, I used to be a bit frightened of money thinking, oh, it's very complex.

A lot of this stuff isn't complex. We use complex language, banks and financial institutions possibly deliberately use very complicated language. A lot of it is actually pretty basic. And I look at someone like The Barefoot Investor, his books were so successful because he literally tells you what to do and that information is already there, but it's about ‘I'm going to tell you what to do and you can trust me’. And through that has been phenomenally successful. And I guess I'd encourage any investor, whether they're saving so they can invest, well there's never been more information available. But where we see this disconnect is that people know it but they don't do it. You need to think about what are the things that are stopping you from actually doing that? What are the things stopping me from getting a better deal on my health insurance or my energy provider or optimising my savings?

What are the things that I could do? Can I make a list of all the things that I'm going to do in the next three months? Don't over complicate things. At the end of the day like I said before, you go to work, you earn the money, respect your money by looking after it. And if you don't know your money intimately, you can't grow it or do anything with it. So the first tip is not to be an ostrich. I always joke about ostriches and eagles and I was definitely an ostrich for a long time until my dad sort of pulled my head out of the sand. He was like, what the hell are you doing? And I think for me, I was definitely not naturally attuned to thinking like that.

Even I found it very interesting and really challenging and I felt a great sense of achievement too. So I think if you are looking to invest, educate yourself. Now with online and with apps, there's so many ways you can do that, so find out what suits you as well. If it's as simple as naming an account you want to put savings in, naming it after the thing you want. There’s a lot of psychology that comes into play and I don't think in the financial space we always talk about that, and I'm really fascinated by consumer psychology. It's like we know it but we don't do it. You really got to have a long, hard look at yourself and think what are the things that are stopping me and just start with one. You don't have to do everything straight away. It's a long game and property is a long game, a very long game. 

Tyrone Shum:
In regards to superannuation, how can people maximise that? The challenge is there's so many different funds out there, there's so many different options and it can be a big forest of information that people just throw at you. How have you been to unbunk that for the actual investor or consumer out there?

Kate Browne:
24:56        A bit of a plug for Finder, we compare superannuation funds so you can look at who is charging the highest fees, who is paying the best returns. Also another really key thing I think particularly for younger generations and myself, we really care about where our money is being invested. I spoke to a future super recently who was fascinating. They only invest in ethical and sustainable products and markets, and they were saying the big connect for their customers to be really engaged with their super is actually realising that it's your money, even now, even though you can't get to it, it's your money and it's being invested somewhere. And I thought that was a real light bulb moment for me, so that's power. How you want to use that power, and if you want to use that power to make sure your money is going into finding great things.

If it's about optimising your own super, which you can do as well, look at those fees. Look at who's paying out the best returns. Look at the mix of what they're investing. Again, all this stuff is available online now. There's really no excuse for not doing it. It can seem overwhelming, but again a lot of super products or super funds, including Finder who compares them can actually take your information and make suggestions about what would be most suitable for you. Again, leaning back on psychology, it's very hard to think about yourself in the future.

Tyrone Shum:
26:24     I ask a lot of people this five or 10 years, what do you plan to do? And they're like, I don't know. It's so far away. I'm going to be looking at the now or even the next six months. 

Kate Browne:
26:33     I'm the same though. Now I'm in my forties. I'm looking at that, that's not as far away. But as human beings, I worked quite closely with a consumer psychologist and he said, human beings don't like thinking about the future. We're not wired up to think like that. Human beings aren’t wired up to think about their future selves. We don't, that's not how brains work, in defense to all of us. It can be tricky, but gee it pays off to do it quite literally. I used to say super was boring as well, but it’s really interesting and I'm really for women, women retire with half the super that men do currently in Australia and women over 55 are the fastest growing homeless group in Australia. So for the women out there in particular, you need to keep an eye on your super.

The reason is structural inequality around parenting and unpaid leave and stuff like that. But you know, think of it like that. Think about where you're going to be at retirement age and really make that investment. Now again, I wouldn't say set and forget, but it is something, if you take a bit of care once a year, you know you're going to really reap some benefits long term. And yes, it's not sexy, and it's not next year, but it's super important and it is an investment and that is your money that's out there right now. So think about where it's going and who it's funding and if you're okay with that. 


Tyrone Shum:
She goes on to share how she values the journey of investing into property, and how it all comes down to time and patience.  

Kate Browne:
28:31      Like me wishing I'd bought that apartment, that I was frightened of all those years because it was literally half of what the apartment I ended up buying was. But yeah, hindsight's a great thing. But it's a long game. You know, investing in the markets, I've spoken to analysts there and they're like it's a long game. There's a lot of interest in investing in the markets at the moment because the economy's been so crazy. But you know, the experts are like you need to look at this as a long game. If you see stuff going down, don't freak out, stuff is going to go up, it's going to go down. You've got to look at your own timeline, your own financial timeline. I think, as you said, property's not a quick win. You hear stories about that...

Tyrone Shum:
29:18    But that's the media catch.

Kate Browne:
29:20     That's the exception to the rule. And you know, as I'm getting older now, I have kids, time flies. 10 years seems a really long time, but like you said, you could buy something in 10 years and you could have made it worth a lot more than what you paid for it. And you'll be like, I'm really glad I did that. But you're not going to get that win in two years.


Tyrone Shum:
Browne shares with us the kinds of resources that continue to inspire her on her property investing journey.

Kate Browne:
30:09       At Finder we've just launched an app called the Finder app, so it's easy to remember. This is an app that's really taking advantage of some of the first early steps to open banking. So the finder app is basically a portal that will allow you to access your savings accounts, your home loan, your superannuation, credit cards all in one place. So you can track everything in one place, you've got no excuse really. Even I sometimes think in the past, times before I was using the app, oh what's my super account number? Or my private health insurance? You know, there's still sort of barriers to entry. I think the app and a lot of budgeting apps as well do this. But the Finder app for me is really interesting because it's actually bringing you all that information from elsewhere to one place.

It's also going to identify and alert you when you've got a potential saving to be made. So again, it's doing the hard work for you. You know people are busy, we work all day, we might have kids or whatever. You get on the couch at nine o'clock, you're not like, ‘woo, I’m going to get out my super!’. You're not going to do that. You're going to collapse in a heap possibly with wine. So the app is reminding you, and it's actually giving you the pathway to do that. So I think apps like the Finder app, and there are other apps out there as well that allow you to budget and things, I think they almost gamify savings and investments. And I think particularly for all of us digital natives, that's really speaking to how we like to live our lives.

We all wear fitness trackers, we like tracking everything, now we track everything. So I think technology is a great way to do that. I also know our generations are a bit adverse to getting on the phone, for example. So you know, there's so many institutions now look at neobanks and fintechs,  they're all based on messaging platforms. They're all living on an app, on your phone. I don't think our generations have that mindset where we need to go into a bank or we need to go into this institution physically, which is pretty lucky right now. And I've done work with some home loans, you know, who are entirely app-based you know, mortgage facility lending facility. And they're so agile because they're new. They don't have all that legacy software. They don't have branches, they don't need all the staff so they can cut their overheads. So I think, I would say to people looking into this, don't be afraid of those kinds of new banks. There's neobanks, they're backed by the same regulatory infrastructure as a big bank, so be creative in that space too. Don't just rely on the big four. You know, look further. There's a lot of exciting things happening in finance at the moment.

Tyrone Shum:
33:33    It's sort of tapped into the younger generation because we're all used to technology. Imagine back in our parent's generation, they'd probably be walking into the bank speaking with their bank manager and saying, can you please get us a loan?

Kate Browne:
33:44     That's time consuming and it doesn't give you a full picture of the market either. That's where we are really blessed. You can get on a site like Finder and have a good look at what's out there. You can go on multiple sites and do that. You can use an app, like there's really no excuse for us, and we can do it anywhere, that's the thing. You're not having to stand up and go into the city or do those things that our parents would have had to do. So there's a lot of ways to ensure you get a good deal. But I think the other thing that happens, and again this comes back to behavior, is monitoring it. We know people have relationships that run shorter than the time they have with the same health insurer.

I think in seven years,  people only do these swaps every seven years, people break up about every five years, which is kind of depressing. If you have private health, look at it every year, you know, use technology to remind you to do a check in. Same with energy, all this stuff. Yes, it can be a bit time consuming, but probably not as time consuming as you think. And as you pointed out, as we go forward and there's more technology on market and really it is starting to pick up pace, we've got lenders that can issue home loans.

Tyrone Shum:
34:58     Within 10 to 15 minutes.

Kate Browne:
35:01     You can set up a savings account, you can set it up to suit you, to look the way you want it to look. And we're always on our phones so I would really encourage people to use apps. There's so many out there. Most of them are free, the Finder app is free, and they're really valuable. I think they're a really valuable addition and can probably get some people over the line who may not have wanted to play in the space before. Most of them are super easy to use.

Tyrone Shum:
How much of your success is due to your skill intelligence and hard work? And how much of it is because of luck?

Kate Browne:
35:41     Someone told me about getting into TV and journalism that I was really lucky and I was like, um yeah right. Love that. You know that saying, I can’t remember, it’s a famous thing. It's like the harder you work, the luckier you get. But yeah hard work, but some things are luck. But I think for me, and you know I told my story to you earlier, I was very lazy when I was younger. I've had to kick myself up the ass, and I've learned that you got to show up and you got to do the best job you can do. And I'm still learning, I got to deal with failure. You know, I still went out. Some things didn’t go my way, I wanted to just get into bed and not get out.

You just got to keep plugging away. And the glorious thing is then if things work, you can go ‘yep that’s on me, not just because I was lucky’. Women in particular often say I was really lucky. You know, they often downplay their success too. I think I'd say a lot of hard work, few dashes of luck there. Big nod to my dad too for kicking me up the ass at the right time. And I’m fortunate to have a supportive family, but I hard and be consistent. Again, it's a long game. I've had some weird career moves. I got sacked, I dropped out of uni. It's about picking yourself up and trying again. It's a long game. And I look back now and I go, oh actually I've had a really interesting career. So I found I've done a lot of interesting things, but I was also floating around when I was 20 and not knowing what I was doing with myself. So don't give up, keep pushing away. And with hindsight you'll go, actually that's not too bad, you know? You look back and you go, yeah I've done all right.


Tyrone Shum:
Thank you to Kate Browne, our guest on this episode of Property Investory. If you would like to hear Kate’s full story, simply visit