A commonsense approach to finance and life
Queenstown-based finance guru Martin Hawes has released a new book on retirement – not that it’s something he is planning on. ‘‘I don’t think I’ll ever retire,’’ the 61-year-old confessed to the Mirror. ‘‘I’ll certainly slow down.’’ This book is the 22nd one Hawes has written related to personal finance and takes a practical approach to a stage in life many people are nervous about. ‘‘One of the key messages in the book is [that] the transition from fulltime work to retirement is really difficult, and probably the most difficult part is when you go from receiving a steady income through work to the situation where you’ve got whatever investment capital you’ve got and you’ve got to be able to generate some level of income from that capital.’’ Being exposed to the capital markets can be terrifying. ‘‘A lot of people slink back into the workforce as they can’t work out where they can get a steady income from.’’ Some get into high-risk investing such as finance companies or lower risk such as owning rental properties, or they get mesmerised and stick their money in the bank and suffer very low returns. ‘‘There is a middle path and all research will show it’s the better path – a diversified portfolio.’’ The financial author, speaker and advisor considers being an investor as one of his occupations and believes others should do the same. ‘‘I don’t have a vast portfolio like some people I know, but I define myself as that because it focuses me to put some of my best time in the day into it. ‘‘Most people, when they think of looking after their personal finances, they tend to come home, have dinner, maybe a drink or two, slop in front of the television and think, ‘I have to join Kiwisaver or redo my mortgage’.’’ That Hawes takes a commonsense approach to personal finance, translating the complicated jargon of the financial world, is hardly a surprise when he started his working life as a primary school teacher. However, he only lasted in the role for 18 months. ‘‘It is the hardest job I have ever had. I was probably a good teacher but not so good on crowd control.’’ He went into an importing business with his mother and, already a proven speaker – he was headboy at Waitaki Boys’ High School and was Dunedin Teachers’ College Student Association president – he answered an advertisement for someone to give talks on property. In 1995 he was on an expedition to Mt Everest when he learned sales of his first book, Family Trusts, were going through the roof. The book has now sold about 120,000 copies. He then decided to devote more time to financial writing. Now at an age where many others are thinking about retirement, he believes he has another career looming – in governance roles. He has already served on the Community Trust of Southland board and been national chairman of Save the Children. He sits on the Queenstown Chamber of Commerce board and the Wakatipu Health Reference Group. His own father continued working into his 80s and Hawes believes he can continue to work hard and play hard, as a climber, mountaineer and skier, for some time yet.
Hard worker: Queenstownbased finance expert Martin Hawes is writing
about retirement, but not planning his own retirement.