First-time investor Ben Mabon is the player development manager for Cricket Tasmania, working with the Hobart Hurricanes and Tasmanian Tigers teams. Born and raised in Hay, NSW, Ben played for North Ballarat in the VFL while on the North Melbourne Football Club list for 3 years. He worked for the AFL Players Association’s charity, Ladder, in community engagement and mentoring coordination before moving to his new role in Tasmania. Ben has been a Six Park client since March 2018 and speaks to Six Park head of communication Erika Jonsson about cricket, football and the decision to start investing.
The Hurricanes are sitting on top of the Big Bash ladder – you’ve certainly come on board at a great time!
The team’s exceptional – it’s a very professional side; they take their training very seriously and they’re very well coached and supported, not just by the staff we have but the supporters and the City of Hobart and state of Tasmania, which has produced some great cricketers and footballers over the years.
How are you enjoying the new role? What does it involve?
I work with the players to develop them holistically as people rather than just as cricketers. I’m not interested in how many runs they make – I’m here to help them. It’s almost a triage role to connect players to services, helping them get into uni or TAFE or volunteering, so it’s a really interesting role centred around players becoming the best people they can be and maximising their time in the game to help them transition out of it.
I’m working with some incredible people, including some of the players I grew up watching. I enjoy getting to know them as people rather than athletes. I talk to the players about everything other than cricket. There’s more to players than what they do on a field and it’s great finding out what makes them tick. I grew up learning that you judge someone by the way they treat someone who’s not doing anything for them, and that’s something I live by no matter where I work or who I’m working with.
How has the move to Hobart been?
It’s been a real change – I’d never been to Tassie before starting the job, but it’s a dream role and certainly one of those times where you need to embrace an opportunity or regret it later. Tasmania’s absolutely beautiful. I don’t have any family or many mates here just yet outside the club, so it’s a big adjustment, but I’ll play footy this season and hopefully make some mates doing that. It takes time, but I back myself to be able to make friends.
What have been the biggest differences so far between the football and cricket worlds? What are the biggest similarities?
The major thing they have in common is that every single cricket player thinks they could’ve played AFL and every footy player thinks they could’ve played elite cricket. They want to play the sport they’re not good at! With any elite athlete, there’s a connection that’s forged in training. They all go through the same anxieties in terms of performance and they’re all elite about their training and standards. That’s what I really love about working at the top level in sport. As an athlete, whether you know it or not, you often have an influence on people around you – I can guarantee that if you tell a group of 10 kids about ice baths and cold showers, at least a couple of them will go home and try it. The impact you can have is huge and therefore you need to be sending out good vibes because even little interactions can make a big difference. The things you say to kids can be so influential – taking a little bit of time to have a chat and get that photo can be invaluable to a kid.
What motivated you to start investing?
I had a meeting with a close, trusted friend who had some ideas about what I could do with some savings to build more of a nest egg. I wanted a better option to grow my savings than being in a savings account. My friend recommended Six Park, so I spoke with Ted Richards before committing. After that honest chat I felt confident my money was going into a good place. Knowing the founders were independent and paid through equity rather than commissions was quite comforting.
I’m a first-time investor with not a lot of idea of the stock market and how it all worked, so it’s been a great way to get my foot in the door. I’ve learned that time in the market is more important than timing the market – that’s been communicated really well through the regular communications I receive as a client.
The markets obviously had a bit of a rough trot late last year so I just tried not to think about it too much and worked on staying the course and overriding that emotional aspect. The sharemarket’s always going to come back so I’m just leaving my money where it is to do its thing.
How have you found the experience so far?
I’m very happy with it, even though the market wasn’t great for the past few months. I feel good about taking steps to secure my own financial future. It’s great to know that I can take it out if I want to, but I certainly haven’t taken anything out! It’s the majority of my savings at the moment.
Outside work, what are you passionate about?
I love helping people to become the best versions of themselves. I worked for the AFL Players Association charity, Ladder, which works to address youth homelessness, and that was my passion and obsession – going to work and helping young people realise their potential. They were either at risk or had experienced homelessness and they were often defined by others by that experience. I told them: I don’t care how you get into that position, I’ll never ask how you got there, but I’ll judge you by how you treat me and others from this moment onwards. That became a real passion for me. This was my dream pathway. You grow up thinking sport is your life, but school is actually everything – when you step out of school and go into that elite bubble of sport, it becomes your life and lifestyle rather than your job. And you need to find something to supplement that passion – it might be study or travel or a hobby, but you need something outside that, and that’s what I help the boys to do. With that passion comes perspective and increased performance.
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