Risk-filled life & Risk-Free Investments | Britannia Financial

Martin and partner Rosa who he met in Panama
Martin and partner Rosa who he met in Panama


Covid-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into almost every aspect of our lives and we are all dealing with the current and future impact this is having on each of us in our own way. During this time, Britannia Financial has been lucky enough to hear from one of our clients who describes his experience, and how it has impacted his investment choices.

Martin lives what most of us would describe as a risky lifestyle. He calls himself ‘nomadic’, someone who lives on the ‘fringes of society’. However, when it comes to his investment with Britannia, he takes a far more cautious approach. Here is his story. 

“I write this on the day Jacinda Ardern officially takes us to Covid-19 Alert Level 3, and where in 48 hours' time, New Zealand will be in full lock-down. It’s uncharted waters, even for a 12+ year experienced nomadic ‘out-of-the system’ dweller, like me.

I maintain a life on the fringes of normal society as a house sitter with no fixed abode and live a location-independent life teaching English. I began house sitting in NZ in 2007 and did it for 6 years before realising a passion to explore the Spanish language in Mexico and Central America.

I did my first overseas house-sit during a stint in Panama where I put my language skills to good use. I knew living a minimalistic lifestyle abroad was the kind of life I wanted. To date, I have completed more than 40 'sits' in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, and Colombia.

My lifestyle in Central America entailed living out of a small holdall, getting by on the sniff of an oily rag, and whittling my life’s possessions down to a mere 6 plastic storage boxes, kindly stored at a friend's home in Matakana.

While I’ve been a home and pet owner, I now have a very different perspective on owning ‘stuff’. Making ends meet with very little regular income works for me in an unusual sort of way. I live rent free, don’t pay bills and the only items I buy are food and transport. This means I can choose when and where to work, and I’m never forced to work in a place I may not like or that doesn't suit me. So, while I am essentially homeless and cash-flow poor, I feel incredibly life-experience rich.

So, what do I do with this ‘wealth'? Well, not having full-time traditional work means I get to devote a lot of my life to thinking and innovating. I’ve become so accustomed to living on very little, that any income or material resources I do obtain are often passed on to others who need them more than I do, like many of the dear people I have come to know as friends over time.

I came back to NZ in October 2019 and started to get a great flow of ongoing house-sit clients booked for most of the year. That was until Covid-19 hit. All my jet-setting clients had to cancel their trips, throwing me into new, but not too unfamiliar, territory of uncertainty. Over the years, I have become sort of made for these uncertain and spontaneous times.

During times such as these, I see it as a great opportunity to reflect, take stock, and question how my money can provide me with a sense of security. So, with that in mind, I reached out to Britannia.

The way I live, with a degree of uncertainty and 'risk' seems to suit me well. Yet ironically, my instructions to Britannia, at this profound time for my modest investment, were ultra-cautious. With just one year until I’m able to draw on my pension, I decided I needed to be more cautious with the level of risk I was willing to take on. While I may live a life that involves risk, I didn’t want that same level of risk applied to my investment. And by having my investment in a more conservative, low-risk fund, I am confident that when I need to access the funds, I won’t get any surprises and will be ready for the coming months, whatever the world may bring next!”

There are lots of people like Martin who have different attitudes to risk in various aspects of their lives.  Now is a good time to reflect on how you reacted to the downs and ups of your investment during COVID-19 Lockdown.  If you felt that you were overly worried or that you missed a great opportunity, call your Britannia Financial adviser to discuss your circumstances and aspirations for the future and see whether you need to make any changes.



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Product Disclosure Statements for the Britannia Retirement Scheme and the Integral Master Trust are available from the Scheme's issuer, Britannia Financial Services Limited, phone 0800 500 811.

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