Chris Childs and her husband embarked on the European adventure of a lifetime, unbeknownst it would lead to saving her life. Vowing to lose 100kgs, Chris is nearing her milestone and is now healthier, happier and a whole lot wiser. [caption id="attachment_17175" align="alignnone" width="870"] Chris Childs[/caption] Stepping out of the changeroom, wearing a printed maxi dress, Chris Childs has a look of uncertainty and says, ‘I would never normally wear anything like this’. Used to gravitating towards dark figure-hiding ensembles, Chris has since proudly improved her health and seeing her in a figure-hugging outfit is unprecedented. As someone who says she has spent her life working on the happiness of those around her, Chris has turned her focus inwards, embarking on a trajectory of health and wellness and in the process, she’s discovered more of life’s riches. Having formerly worked as a beautician, Chris married her husband Jack in 1978 and they went on to have three children, while simultaneously entering into business together. “We’ve been in business and self employed all our lives. We had a service station, which was the quickest way you could ever learn to lose money. Service stations weren’t fun, they were a lot of hard work; to the point I had my third child, David, and Jack picked me up from hospital the next day because he’d brought all the books up to work on and they kicked me out saying, ‘If you’re going to work you may as well go home’,” she says. “Jack picked me up from the hospital and took me to work and there I worked for another eight hours before going home. It seems I’ve always been a workaholic.” They sold the service station and Chris took up the art of sewing, originally starting with doll’s clothes for her children. It wasn’t until someone suggested she become a dressmaker, that Chris contemplated another possible career. “I said, ‘No, I can only make doll’s clothes,’ and they said, ‘Well little clothes, big clothes, same clothes’,” she says. Initially selling her designs at the markets, Chris and a friend would often put on fashion parades and she fell in love with designing evening wear. In 1989, Chris was named Designer of the Year and went on to specialise in wedding dresses, creating gorgeous gowns by referencing a picture, without the use of a pattern. Her evening wear was sold in department store McDonnell & East, which unfortunately closed down not long after, prompting a career change. A friend of Jack’s had been working at AMP and offered Chris a job managing the women’s market, at a time when the female insurance market was new and emerging. It was at this point that she fell in love with the nuances of finance and budgeting and worked as a financial planner for 10 years. In 2000, Chris sold her business and retired, but within six weeks, learned she wasn’t the retiring type. It was while looking for other prospects that Chris discovered mortgage broking and realised the banks were failing to teach people how to manage money and reduce debt, instead steering them into 25 and 30-year home loans with credit card and personal loans.
“I thought I’d start teaching people money management, debt reduction and how to do their banking differently. I’ve been doing that for 18 years and have had huge success in reducing debt,” she says proudly.Chris’s clients are known to pay $30,000 to $90,000 off their mortgages in a year and pay off their houses five times faster. Also in 2000, Chris and Jack began investing in property and unabashedly made every mistake three times over – they would buy a property, renovate it, sell it for a profit, buy another property, sub divide, sell it for a profit. It wasn’t until they accidentally kept one that they realised the value in buying and holding property. “It took me another five or six years to work out all of the rest of the rules to make property investing easy and successful. In 2007, we had been buying property and doing okay creating a property portfolio when my debt reduction clients started wanting to do what we were doing, and thus Think Money was born,” she says. The key set of rules in creating wealth through property are separating your life from your investment, getting the right loan set-up, buying brand new, and never, ever sell. And when it comes to debt reduction, Chris says this increases your lifestyle because the money you were giving the bank, you can spend on lifestyle. “Most people, when they’re trying to reduce debt, do it the wrong way; they put their money on a diet and we don’t do that, we want lifestyle, so we look for leakage and wastage to make debt reduction happen, rather than going without the good stuff,” she says. “You never know how long you’re going to be here, you could put it all away for the future and there is no future, so my clients have a great lifestyle now and create wealth for the future at the same time.” While working with her clients, Chris began to draw a comparison between debt reduction and weight loss. “I used to roll my eyes when people said you had to have a lifestyle change if you wanted something to change. For 20 to 30 years, all of these fad diets I’d tried and failed at didn’t work, because diets don’t work. That’s when I realised a diet for your money doesn’t work either and I started to see this huge parallel,” she says. “When I decided once and for all to lose weight it was actually because Jack and I had got to the stage where we enjoyed travel and could afford to go and travel, but my health and weight was at the point I couldn’t enjoy it. I thought, ‘What rubbish, I’ve worked really hard all my life to get to this point and I can’t enjoy it’. “We would travel business class or first class and I’d still be uncomfortable, how crazy is that? In 2015 we’d had a big Europe trip and it was our trip of our lifetime, five weeks through Europe and I couldn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. There were so many things we chose not to do because I couldn’t do it. So that’s when I decided I had to do something about my weight.” [caption id="attachment_17177" align="alignnone" width="870"] Chris with her grandson, Jax[/caption] Chris says she’d tried everything and it wasn’t until someone said to her, ‘Weight loss is 80 per cent what you put in your mouth and 20 per cent how you move your body’, that she changed the way she ate. “I didn’t change what I ate, because diets don’t work; I ate everything I normally ate, even if it was chocolate or chips or fried chicken, I could still have it, I just decided to only eat one eighth of what I would normally eat and I’d stop and push the plate away,” she says. “It upset quite a lot of chefs, they did not cope well with me only tasting their food and it’s amazing how many people get upset about waste, but as I said to them, ‘If you put the plate in front of me and I ate everything you consider it not waste, but my body isn’t a dumping ground, I don’t have to put it in there. “I still chose to have an entree, main and dessert, I just tasted it, therefore I was satisfied and didn’t break because I knew I’d had everything I wanted and I lost weight.” In 2017, Chris and Jack returned to Europe and she was able to climb the hills, the stairs and the mountains to see the historic relics, including where Richard the Lionheart’s castle was. Chris was pleased and proud of her efforts, but being the perfectionist she is, she won’t rest until she reaches her target of losing 100kgs. At the time of our interview, Chris had lost 60kgs, which she says she achieved by breaking her goal into three. The first 33kgs, Chris lost by eating less, and that allowed her to start moving more; exercising in the pool and walking. Then once she’d lost 53kgs, she joined a gym and hired a personal trainer. For anyone who has met Chris, you’ll know that she has a tiny frame, so I have to ask how her physical transformation changed the way she feels. “I felt fantastic when I started, so I’ve always been full of energy. No one could really believe that someone with the amount of weight I was carrying would be feeling okay, they assumed I would feel terrible but I felt good,” she says. “It was deciding where to sit because I wouldn’t fit in some chairs, it was not being able to walk up stairs, it was feet hurting if I walked too far because of the weight; it was a whole lot of physical things that were stopping me, rather than feeling bad.
“I’m a really happy and motivated person, so I was always feeling good and was always full of beans and energy, it was just that my body wasn’t the same as the person I was inside.”A major source of inspiration for Chris has been her five-year-old grandson, Jax, who is the light of her life, “As soon as he started getting very active I wanted to be able to play with him and run on the beach with him, to be able to do all those things”. Throughout Chris’s health and wealth journey, she has obtained a phenomenal amount of wisdom, which she says she is always willing to share with those around her. She and Jack have always been big on self education and have been following motivational speakers since the 1980s.
“I think wisdom comes from being open to learning and open to other ideas. It’s when you’re closed and you think you know everything, you’ll never learn,” she says.“The other thing is who you mix with. They say you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so if you get the right ‘herd’ you will always increase your knowledge, you’ll always move forward.” When it comes to taking advice, Chris says be careful who you take advice from. Look at who they are and what they have and if they have what you want, they probably know how to get there, so take their advice. It’s when you start taking unsolicited advice from family and friends that you can be led astray. “Most of us listen to friends and family for most of our advice and what you’ll hear is often hearsay, and your family usually want to protect you, so if you’re going to do something outside the norm they will worry for you and therefore can hold you back. You don’t have to stop being with those people but you need to have a herd you can go to, likeminded people who have what you want,” she says. While talking about the topic of advice, Chris recalls working as a financial planner, where she was taught by the “big companies” and blindly guided her clients because she had not yet created wealth. It wasn’t until she was able to speak from experience and impart that knowledge that she really found her stride. “I love helping people,” she says, glancing up at the large portrait of her son, David. “In 2011, when David committed suicide it was an awakening.” When she lost David, Chris says it was like her world stopped and she was faced with three paths forward; climb into a cave and never come out, sell everything and retire, or continue on. A month later, she was introduced to The Passion Test and wrote down five important things she wanted for her life, three of them were business-related. “The people who had been working for me didn’t think I’d survive (losing David) and close the business, so they left and here I was, starting again,” she says. “I visualised exactly how I wanted the business to be – I could visualise I had a team of 20 people, visualise our wealth retreats with 250 people at them, I could see exactly what I wanted to do, even down to the colours, the marketing materials, everything. “I realised I still had passion for the business. So instead of climbing into a hole, I thought I could help so many people. We’d been doing debt reduction but I could see that I could actually change people’s lives, so I dedicate the Think Money system to David.”