A com­mon­sense ap­proach to fi­nance and life

Central Otago Mirror - - PROFILE - By DEB­BIE JAMIESON

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.

Photo: DEB­BIE JAMIESON 628185161

Hard worker: Queen­stown­based fi­nance ex­pert Martin Hawes is writ­ing

about re­tire­ment, but not plan­ning his own re­tire­ment.

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