Trusting my life to Google

Last time, I ended my story as I was facing a life-changing decision. I was giving up living the high (albeit double) life and going in search of a regular job. But what was I to do?

Being at a loss, I turned to where I knew I could find an answer for anything: Google. So I typed in ‘best job in the world’ and held my breath.

Being the “best job”, I was promised excellent pay, a well-respected position, reasonable hours and job security.

The answer to my life-altering question, and my next career move, was Actuary.

I never dreamt I’d end up training to be an Actuary. I didn’t even know what an Actuary did! Now, I can tell you an Actuary is sometimes referred to as a professional gambler (ironic I know, given my past!) and is focused on risk management. I was to spend my time calculating what hasn’t yet happened so that future financial risk can be managed. They are particularly valuable when it comes to insurance companies.

Being the “best job”, I was promised excellent pay, a well-respected position, reasonable hours and job security.

So I set off to become one of just 120 Actuaries in New Zealand.Why so few? Well, the process takes 5 years to begin with. And only a select few of the largest companies will actually employ an Actuary.

In fact, it was a pretty boring job in reality

I applied for an internship position where I could complete my training on the job. After a 5-hour interview they offered me the role (possibly due to my sheer endurance skills) and my goal of being an Actuary became a reality.

I suppose it’s inevitable when you leave your future career happiness to Google, but it turned out that being an Actuary wasn’t going to hold my attention for the duration of my working life. In fact, it was a pretty boring job in reality (especially after my former career choices so far).

My interests turned to property – specifically, investing in property.

I knewJo_Squirrel_LowResIMG_5787 there was money to be made, but I wanted to know the risks before I dived in (must be the Actuary in me). So I spent a year and a half studying up on the New Zealand property market. I dedicated all my spare time to attending property seminars and reading as much as I could about the market. Here’s something you may not know – property investing is not all about choosing property! It’s about 3 things: strategy, strategy and strategy.

My first property purchase was in Pakuranga with 95% finance and a helping hand from my parents. I was off. As an Actuary, I had a steady income and could now start building up equity. A year later I bought my second property, this time in central Auckland.

My future in property investment was officially underway. So, as an investor in more than two dozen properties, what have I learned? More on that next time.

Joanne Chen is a business development manager at Squirrel Mortgages. Visit squirrel.co.nz.

Read more of Joanne’s columns here.


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