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Quarter life crisis

We manage properties for people who have busy careers and can’t afford the time

When Richard Mens hit a ‘quarter life crisis’ at 25, he decided that he needed a career change.

After years working in the finance industry, Mens realised his on-the-side interest of investing in property was his real passion. So Mens, originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, decided to start his own business and in 2006 set up Blackwood Property Solutions.

The business began specialising in buying, renovating and leasing properties, but a year later Mens found there was a demand for property management.

“We manage properties for people who have busy careers and can’t afford the time to manage their property,” he said.

The business also caters for many Aussies, Kiwis and South Africans who are returning home, but need someone ‘on the ground’ to manage their London home.

“They have generally stayed in the UK for a few years and have bought investment property over here,” he said.

“We aim to fix any problems on the spot rather than contracting out to keep costs to a minimum for the landlord.”

So while starting out in the white-collar world, Mens’ skills have diversified and he’s pretty happy about it.

“One day we will be fixing boilers, fridges and washing machines and the next we will be speaking at property investment courses,” he said. “No two days are ever the same.”

Jobs stable in NZ south

Employers in Christchurch, in New Zealand’s South Island, enjoy a more stable workforce than their North Island counterparts.

The survey by human resources consulting firm Online Executive Search found that Christchurch businesses had 12 per cent of their staff leave each year, against a national average of 21 per cent.

Businesses in the rest of the South Island reported they were even more stable with a 9 per cent staff turnover. Online Executive Search director Martin Price said in the South Island there was a stronger culture of “working to live, rather than living to work.”

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