Sailors keep it simple
A couple who spend their lives on the high seas need a safe harbour for their investments
NAME: Jody Bedson STATUS: Married, retired and sailing around the world.
QUESTIONS: Where do I invest $100,000 in a conservative but high-return portfolio? Should I cull or add to my existing shares?
ANSWERS: Keep your investments simple and place your extra money into AustralianSuper, where investment earnings are tax free and you can draw it down when you need it. Sell your shares and invest the money in AustralianSuper so you won’t have to keep an eye on how they are performing. But if you want to keep the shares, consider cutting back on banks and retail stocks.
Seven years ago, Jody and her husband flew from Melbourne to Florida and bought a 13-metre ketch built in 1980. “In two weeks we bought the perfect boat,” says Jody. The couple, in their early 50s, named it Blue Pelican and set sail for the Bahamas. After 30 years in corporate life, they decided to sail the world while they were still young and able. “Over the past seven years we have lived a simple life on our sailing vessel and are continuing our circumnavigation this year,” she says.
How can they afford to stop working? It is a clever strategy of not needing too much money and living off the rental income from their apartment. “We just don’t spend much and we are very content. We used to spend so much money but now our priorities are different,” says Jody.
They sailed throughout the Bahamas, in the Caribbean, up the east coast of the US into New York harbour past the Statue of Liberty, past Guatemala, Jamaica and Cuba and backpacked through five Central American countries. They transited the Panama Canal and for 39 days saw no one at sea before reaching French Polynesia, then sailed across the Pacific to Brisbane.
They sold their apartment and built up their account with AustralianSuper, drawing down a pension of around $4000 a month. “We are really happy with AustralianSuper. You can see it all online and usually talk to someone pretty quickly,” she says. They are now setting sail for Asia and then Suez and the Mediterranean. Jody has inherited shares worth about $50,000 that include BHP, CBA, Centuria Industrial REIT, Healthscope, NAB, Origin, Sonic Healthcare, Telstra, Wesfarmers and Woolworths. Do they need culling?
They have around $100,000 to invest. “I was going to buy more shares but the world is so volatile, I thought I would sit on them and watch a while,” says Jody. “It’s important to me not to take on too much risk.”
They would like a set-and-forget investment but be able to access the funds within three months if necessary. “We may retire in Asia or Mexico. We don’t know.”