Adviser insight: Giving back to the community

Jar of coins labeled for charity

Squirrel prides itself on being about more than just mortgages. Yes, we can help you get into your first home or expand your portfolio, but like any good business, we aim to be a strong part of the community too. 

Our staff help out with financial education in schools, support wildlife sanctuaries in Australia and assist with a number of charities across New Zealand. One such squirrel is Brad Luiten, who is not only a fantastic mortgage adviser, but a world record holder too - all in the name of charity.

We spoke to Brad about his past records and future attempts, and the charities that he does it in the name of.

Brad's crutching record

Brad has the honour of being the current holder of the world's fastest crutch runner over ten kilometres - that is, running with the use of crutches. 

The original idea came about partly due to Brad suffering a hip fracture, which resulted in him being on crutches on and off for two months. However, the experience inspired him, resulting in his decision to attempt the world record for crutch running, or "crutching". However, crutching is quite a different experience to normal crutch use, which is where Brad's training regime comes in.

"I trained for two months on crutches, going around my local area, starting with 1k then building up to 2k, then 3k until I got to the point where I was running 10k on crutches," Brad explains.

The training paid off and Brad managed to complete a full 10k race in only one hour and 13 minutes, earning himself a place in the record books. That isn't the only thing he earned, however, as he also managed to raise about $1,200 for Starship, his chosen charity. Brad didn't just stop at the monetary donations though: he also snagged a heap of donated games consoles as well.

"I got the idea because one of my friend's sons was in Starship and there was maybe only two consoles for a whole floor. At that point, the kids are getting cabin fever and they want to do something. It takes their minds off things and I think the consoles are probably the best thing for that," describes Brad.

"Because it was around Christmas time, I thought outside the box and I thought 'well, people get new Playstations and Xboxes for Christmas'. So I was getting all the unused Xboxes, Playstations and games and I donated them to Starship for all the kids who don't have anything at home. I got about 24 consoles in the end."

What's Brad's new attempt?

This year, Brad is aiming to do the impossible again, trying to earn a second entry in the Guinness Record Book - this time, for playing the most number of holes of golf in 12 hours and once again asking for donations to a charity. This time, it's for Bowel Cancer New Zealand.

"I had a mate that passed away due to complications with bowel cancer last year. So I wanted to do something for bowel cancer," Brad says.

Much like his crutching record, this attempt is informed by Brad's previous experience, this time in the realm of speed golfing. In order to beat the current record, he has to play 222 holes of golf in half a day.

"I used to play a lot when I was in my teens, but now I've got a family it's hard to go out for four or five hours for a round ... and then I did the national speed golf champs two years back for the first time. I really enjoyed that, and got a bit of a passion for speed golf because I can get round it and done in about 50 minutes."

Final thoughts

Despite the difficulties and literal world-beating performance required by Brad in his attempts, he says that it has been nothing but a positive experience for him.

"It's definitely been worth it. It's nice to give back a little bit. It's really rewarding, makes you look at the big picture and makes you realise that you've got to make the most of what you've got. Because you don't know when you're not going to have it."

Wise words from Brad. His next attempt is taking place on 12 December, and you can keep up with his exploits on his Facebook page.

Brad is just one example of the people at Squirrel who aim to change more than just your interest rate, so get in touch with the team today.