The biggest risks we take aren't swashbuckling risks

 Swashbuckling risk taker

Swashbuckling risk taker

There are lots of things in this modern world that can get our heart racing. Flying through turbulence. Close calls while driving. Stories about shootings on the street

However, the things that are likely to get us seem tame by comparison. They don't generally elicit the same visceral, fight-or-flight reaction that we often associate with "risk taking". 

The leading cause of death in New Zealand is heart disease. (That is, unless you subscribe to the idea that personal decisions are the leading cause of death...)

For some of us, there are things that we're actively doing that are increasing our risk to heart disease (and other chronic health issues). Top of the list is smoking. This is followed by excessive drinking

Personally, I wouldn't call smoking or excessive drinking especially "swashbuckling". 

But more generally, the "risks" we take aren't actually associated with action. More than anything, they're associated with inaction.

In particular:

  • Being physically inactive. How would have thought that the most risky thing you're doing is spending your evenings on the couch in front of the television? 

To a large degree, we're all risk takers. We don't laugh in the face of the biggest risks that face us, because they seem so innocuous and creep up on us over time. But a risk is a risk, swashbuckling or not.

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie is the founder and principal of Fairhaven Wealth.

Before founding Fairhaven Wealth, Sonnie worked in the legal and financial services industries for over a decade.

Sonnie first became involved with financial advice as a specialist financial services lawyer. For many years, he was an “adviser of advisers”, reviewing thousands of advice files prepared by hundreds of financial advisers, and providing feedback in relation to the quality and appropriateness of advice; industry best practice; risk management; and regulatory compliance. He has published work in industry publications and spoken at various financial advice conferences.

Sonnie has also worked with banks, investment management firms, insurers, and derivatives providers.

Sonnie has worked as a private client lawyer, focusing on succession, estate planning and trusts. He ran his own legal firm in Australia before relocating to New Zealand. He has also acted in independent trustee and company director positions.

Sonnie is passionate about helping people achieve their goals and manage the risks to which they are exposed.

He has written extensively on his blog, New Zealand Wealth and Risk, which can be found at

Sonnie is married to his wonderful wife Chrissy, and has two young children, Ben and Anna.