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Are You Connected

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How much of our day do we allow ourselves to be distracted? Taken off track or disturbed in that all too important task we want to complete? We are bombarded these days with so much ‘noise’ and junk every day – email, news programmes, TV, music constantly everywhere we go, Facebook and so many more distractions that deter us from our work and other activities. Somehow it seems to have taken over our lives.

We see it all the time – advertisements on the TV in cafes, in the Mall, music – almost always too loud – in the shops and cafes where we eat and meet with friends and business colleagues.

Phone distraction

People out walking or running with earphones listening – listening to what? Are we missing out on the wonderful noise of nature and of life itself – the simple whisper of the breeze in the trees, the sound of the ocean waves, birds in the trees, children laughing and playing happily in the park? Are we so distracted all of the time that we are in danger of missing out on the most important aspect – ourselves, our families, our children and our businesses? When did you last sit down to a meeting or a meal without your phone there on the table beside you? Did you truly connect with the person opposite you?

Research shows us that people are engaged only on average 30% of their day in the workplace (yes, shockingly that is true) – distractions from outside, social media, stress and health & financial woes. Yet this is where we spend the greater part of our day and still we are not completely engaged.

Simon Sinek (His talk How Great Leaders Inspire Action is listed as the third most popular TED presentation of all time) spoke recently on his blog about this exact topic and how we are now so attached to our mobile phones these days. And we are – constantly. How often do you look at or check your phone? Have you missed something? Has there been an update on Facebook or a Tweet that you missed? A text from someone? I see it in meetings, at restaurants when couples are out together – I watched a lady recently who was completely engrossed in her mobile phone while her two very young children lagged behind her in the street. I see it in parks where parents sit on the sidelines while young children call them, wanting to engage with Mum or Dad – and they are head down over their phones paying them no particular attention at all.

Are we in danger of losing connection? Connection to life itself – is it going to pass us by while we read the latest news about Donald Trump or watch a TV programme that is truly inane and adding no value to our lives whatsoever? Are we filling our heads with ‘clutter’?

In the words of the Spice Girls – “So tell me what you want, what you really, really want”………

I suspect it may be to have more meaningful relationships, someone to love and who will love us, to watch our children grow up happily, to have success in our businesses and work. To feel fulfilled. To be connected to the world in which we live.

I have been prompted today to write this by two things – a business coach who talked today about ‘switching off the noise’ and also the realisation that I am guilty – guilty of allowing this never-ending stream of mindless ‘chatter’ to distract me from the things that are important and, worse, from taking time to build my business and fulfil my own dreams and aspirations.

So….. I encourage you to do what I have now done. Turn your phone on silent while you are working on that important task – I am sure, like me, you have a message service on your phone if someone calls; turn off the notifications that distract us every few minutes; put your phone away when you are engaging in a business meeting or lunch with a colleague or loved one. To stop checking or scrolling through Facebook when, before we know it, that half an hour goes by so easily.

And, finally, once distracted from what you were doing – how long does it actually take for your brain to disengage from the ‘noise’ and ‘chatter’ and to re-focus on the task in hand……. apparently 8 minutes or more. So, how much time do we lose every single day that we will never get back again……..? Something to ponder on perhaps.

Katie English

Why is it important to use an Insurance Adviser?

Katie_English-InsuranceOften a contentious issue with ‘having insurance’ being a need rather than a want and with banks, insurance companies and the internet all vying for your business – not to mention some supermarkets and other industries getting in on the act. This will inevitably lead to confusion, a lack of good advice and weak products.

More often than not I come across potential clients who have little or no idea what kinds of insurance are available to them or how they work – and all too often who have insurance which they do not understand and their monthly direct debit being the only thing that connects them with the insurance provider.

Many people get little advice – or simply get sold insurance by their bank which is often not explained properly, or a thorough needs analysis being missed in the process altogether. This is simply not good enough… ‘Would you like fries with that’ is the phrase that springs to mind!

There are many components to insurance and a ‘one size fits all’ approach hardly fits the meaningful advice model.

The FMA today expects the adviser to provide a six step process – which includes a thorough needs analysis that explores all aspects of a person, business or family situation to ensure the insurance provided is ‘fit for purpose’. Many people that I speak with have rarely thought about or had a conversation around what matters in the event something should happen to their partner or spouse, let alone a realisation of the realities of a death or critical illness striking them or their loved ones. After all, isn’t this why we have insurance in the first place?

Navigating your way around the minefield that is the subject of insurance can be a nightmare for many – and as there are 9 insurance providers that I can tap into, it can be an interesting process for me as well. Then there are the many different contracts covering life, critical illness, mortgage or income protection, business cover and then last, but not least, medical insurance. And, each insurer has their own policy wordings to understand. Minefield indeed!!

Unfortunately, there are a great deal of people who will opt for what they believe to be the easy options and buy their insurances through their bank, a call centre or on the internet. None of these, in my opinion, offers a quality 6 step process or takes into account the nuances and variations in the policies available on the market today. A bank will simply sell their product – often with much reduced cover and wordings that are confusing to follow. They will say they are ‘cheaper’ – but compared to what? A client recently went to their bank as they said they would offer her cheaper insurances only for her to discover, in order to do so, they reduced her levels of cover considerably.

And then there are claims – which is why you have insurance in the first place, right?! If you buy your policy through the internet or the bank, who will champion your cause and do all the work around getting your claim paid? Who will argue your case when your claim is denied because of ‘non disclosure’… ?

Which brings me to the application process itself – are you clear in your application, do you answer all the questions fully and truthfully, did you mention the in-growing toenail that you had removed when you were 15 years of age? It may seem semantic, however every little thing must be declared in order to be assured a claim in the future will not be subject to a non-disclosure. When you went to your doctor and said “I have been a little depressed lately” it was noted in your records – and whether you took medication or not, could cause all sorts of issues further down track. This is where an insurance adviser is crucial in ensuring that your application is full and complete and will pay out at claim time, and will navigate those potential exclusions and loadings for you.

Then we come to amounts of cover. Most, if not all of my clients really have no idea – I was once asked by a potential client for $1 million dollars of cover. When I asked why that particular amount, they really had no clue – and once we had gone through a thorough needs analysis process we agreed that he really needed $1.6million of cover!

Would you really know?  Is it just a matter of simply covering the mortgage?  What would happen if you were unable to work for an extended period of time?  Or were never able to work again? How long before you would be able to go back to work if your partner or spouse were to die? (Statistics show us that 33% of people who have no insurance had to move home due to financial pressure and 47% were struggling). What would you do if one of your children was sick and you wanted to be with them in hospital? There are many situations that could happen – most probably won’t, but what happens if something traumatic does occur and you just have not got enough or the right cover in place? In most cases, there is little or no warning that something is seriously wrong – so financial pressures on top of the stress of a death or critical illness can be overwhelming.

A good insurance adviser will not simply ‘sell you’ a product but will take the time to truly understand your situation and help to educate you in the varieties of insurances available and what would be relevant to your circumstances.  They will also navigate the complexities of insurance companies and policies to ensure you have what fits and what you need for you and your business or family. The advice process is thorough and is all about you and your specific situation – there are no short cuts when it comes to protecting what is important to you and those that you love.

If you have any questions around your cover or around the policies you currently have, I am happy to give you a no-obligation review at no charge.  Simply give me a call and we can arrange a time that suits you to meet over a coffee and discuss what is important to you and why.

Katie.english@vitalsure.co.nz

021 634 451

How Do You Get Good Bacteria Into Your Body

How do you get good bacteria into your body and why is it important?  I am asked this question all the time –just last night someone asked me about sauerkraut and adding it to their meals.

Our microbiome is vitally important in our overall health – supporting our immune system and helping our gut perform at its best all the time.

blog-imgSome communities of bacterial species in the gut have been associated with good health, others with any of a long list of conditions — including obesity, Type 2 diabetes, bowel disease and liver disease.

Unfortunately, from the day we are born, the good bacteria need to be nurtured in order to stay at optimum levels – and we unwittingly do so many things in our day to day lives that kill off or starve these good bacteria.

 “The immune system undergoes major development during infancy and is highly related to the microbes that colonize the intestinal tract.” Josef Neu, MD & Jona Rushing, MD

It seems we are obsessed with ‘germs’… Even to the point of carrying anti-bacterial hand wash with us everywhere!  Germs can be good for us – and this obsession can be doing more harm than good.

We pop pills, take antacids, eat sugar – tons of it every day – and generally eat too little in the way of whole foods containing necessary fibre & nutrients and eat way too much processed, packaged foods containing bad fats.

Phew… That’s a lot of things that we are doing that are maybe not so good for us!  So what can we do to make a change, nurture our good gut bacteria and increase our health and well-being?

There is no easy answer to that – however, being aware is certainly a great place to start.  Doing some of our own research and learning more about this subject – who has the time though, right?

Making change, as in everything in life, is best done by taking little steps and implementing small changes until we are comfortable and then can include other changes and creating new habits.

Cutting out the processed foods, take-aways and sugar is a good place to start – WHAAAT, I hear you saying!  OK, maybe not all at once.  But certainly all of these habits are not necessarily conducive to your overall health and to healthy and thriving good gut bacteria. So start with one thing this week by perhaps considering your shopping list a little more carefully, taking out the processed foods and putting in more whole foods; shopping at the greengrocer instead of the supermarket.

One thing to note though is that sugars feed the bad bacteria – so it is vital that we get our sugar consumption under control.  Most of us consume our daily recommended allowance just at breakfast time. So read labels folks, and realise that sugar comes in various guises and names.

Then consider adding in some Kefir water or Kombucha – they are easy to include in your diet – a little like a fizzy drink but without all the chemicals and high amount of sugars.  There are some great brands on the market now and available at most health stores and some cafes. Start with a small amount of Kefir water first thing in your day and build up to having a small glass.  I normally choose Kombucha at a cafe if they have it, rather than a fizzy drink (which I never buy, by the way, and would choose plain or sparkling filtered water – never drink tap water, but that’s a subject for another day!).

Then there is a good quality yoghurt, sauerkraut and kimchi.  Now these last two can be an acquired taste – but stick with it as they are awesomely wonderful for your gut!  Just a small tablespoon added to your dinner is great and there are a number of different flavours on the market.  Buy it from a health store in a jar – never in a can.  Or, better still, make it yourself.  Not something I have tried but there are good recipes on the internet.

Last but not least, a good quality yoghurt – but read the labels really carefully.  Most today are low-fat and contain an overload of added sugars.  You want full fat – especially for your growing kids. And no added sugar if possible. You can always add your own natural sweeteners in the way of fruits – berries, grated apple, passion fruit etc.

If you are dairy intolerant then try coconut yoghurt. It is really yummy – but again, watch out for added sugars.  And it can be pricey.  An idea would be to make your own – it is really easy. Here is a link to a recipe that is super easy and will make you lots of super tasty and gut beneficial yoghurt. Try it and I am pretty sure you will love it!!

If you are interested in this subject and knowing more, a great place to start is on Kale Brock’s website – oh my gosh he is amazing!  I met him at a wellness conference in Australia last year and was completely enthralled – his knowledge is incredible!  And his information, podcasts etc are really easy to follow –well, relative to most of the information out there anyway.

Good luck on your journey toward a better understanding of your gut health and microbiome – and on trying some of these initiatives.  If you have any questions or want any help with making some of these changes, do get in contact.  I am always happy to help.

Katie.english@vitalsure.co.nz

021 634 451

Are we killing our children with love?? Are we overdosing them on sugar?

As a parent I know how much we want only the very best for our children.  How we protect them as much as we possibly can and would go to the ends of the earth to ensure their welfare and happiness.

But… Are we being driven by what is happening around us – are we following trends and habits that may not be in our children’s best interests – is the food manufacturing industry betraying our earnest endeavours at every step of our journey?

Hard questions – and even harder to answer for ourselves.

img1I was recently at a 9 year olds birthday party and was shocked to see some of the presents that were given to the birthday girl. And I wondered if we are really aware of just what we are putting inside our kid’s bodies – and just how much sugar they are consuming each day. Are we reading labels?  Do we understand what they mean?  Or are we in automatic mode and thinking we are being kind and that the treats we provide almost every day are ok?

The package I was particularly concerned about was labelled ‘4 servings’ and had 58.9 grams of sugar.  Seriously…???!!! Never mind the colourings and other chemicals added to extend the product shelf life.

While it said ‘4 servings’ I doubt there would be many children who would not consume the whole packet themselves in a very short space of time – how can we monitor their consumption, or do we? 58.9 grams of sugar equals almost 15 teaspoons of sugar – in one small, brightly coloured package. Five times the recommended 3 teaspoons of sugar intake for a child for just one day – let alone potentially the 15 minutes it would take a child to consume.  Not forgetting that if it was indeed consumed between 4 children – they would still be having more than the recommended daily serving per child.

I know it is not easy to monitor everything we or our children eat – we have busy lives and when we go to the supermarket, everything is conveniently packaged up for us – and so we buy it.  Breakfast cereals, muesli bars, juice and fizzy drinks, yoghurt and ice cream, biscuits and muffins… And the list goes on.

So what can we do about it… ? Where do we start? I believe we start with educating ourselves, understanding more about the foods we buy each week and making a more informed choice.

Just last week a  colleague was telling me about a group of children – probably about 12 years of age – sitting at a bus stop at 8.30am on their way to school and eating burgers and drinking cola. So I have to ask – why did they not have breakfast at home before leaving for school – and where are they getting the money to spend on this kind of food first thing in the morning? My concern was not simply about what they were consuming, but also about how it would (or wouldn’t) help them to learn and to perform during their day.

I myself recently saw a group of boys in school uniform in the supermarket one afternoon spending an average of $10 each – on fizzy drinks, chips, biscuits and chocolate. Not a piece of fruit in sight!

img2So I guess the message is to read your labels and to be aware of what you and your family are eating, snacking and drinking; planning your menu to include whole unprocessed foods. It’s about awareness – then it is your choice and becomes an informed choice. To teach our children and let them start to learn about what they are putting in their bodies and how it affects them.  Let them start to monitor how they feel and begin to realise the merits in what they do or do not eat at home or elsewhere.

Dr Libby has a great infographic here that shows you just exactly where the sugar is hiding – click here to review; essential information for us all perhaps.

If you are keen to have some assistance in reading and understanding labels, would like to have some help in replacing some of the foods in your pantry and on your menu each day, or if you would like help with some more healthier options for your children’s lunch boxes then do get in contact. VitalSure has the connections that can help you in this area – with no judgement or criticism.  Just love and education.

Katie.english@vitalsure.co.nz

021 634 451

Stress – Give the brain a break

There is a common myth that we only use, or can access, 20% of our brain (some say 10%, others say 13%). Yes, a myth.blog-image

We actually use all parts of our brain as most of our brain is active at all times. Brain activity happens without us actually having to do anything. Like breathing. It just happens.

Our brain works a bit like a computer hard drive. Everything we have seen, heard or done is stored away in neat little files that we don’t access at all times. I am imagining colour/date-coordinated labels here, a bit like in Stephen Kings ‘Dream Catcher’ where the character Jonesy has a secret ‘room’ in his brain with organized ‘memory’ files, where he can hide the information the alien possessing his body wants access to. But I’m digressing.

As with a computer we only pull out whatever file, or files, we need at any given time. Memories from our past, with some information more important that others. We only use what we need.

The brain never stops, it never rests, thoughts go round-and-round in circles, worries, problems, what-ifs, and bad feelings leading to more worries and problems etc.  There is always so much to do, things that needs to be done and it all needs to be done right now.

We are bombarded with information at an alarming rate, and can access the world at our fingertips.

Sometimes, it just gets a bit too much. Like any computer, the brain could do with a ‘defrag’ sometimes.

De-fragmentation in computer language is a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation. Creates larger areas of free space.  De-fragmentation for your brain can’t be found in a systems file, but you can however have some time-out from your busy mind. You know the busy mind I’m talking about: the’ 3-am-in-the-morning’ busy mind, the ‘trying-to keep-it –all-in your head’ busy mind. And the ‘growing -to-do-list’ busy mind.

Three suggestions to calm the mind: The One-minute meditation

This can be done anywhere. All you need is One Minute.
Stop what you are doing. Set your mobile phone or whatever device is handy, to count down one minute.

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Think about your breathing.
Listen, but don’t actively follow any of the thoughts popping up (and they will, believe me).

Just breathe.

Note: If you do this in your car while driving, please keep your eyes OPEN. Just saying.

Change your perspective

Get up from the chair, take a walk. Move around. Look out the window, just observe what’s going on.

Go to the movies. Exercise. Read something new or old. Go to the beach. Stare at the sea. Breathe.

Eat chocolate, buy an ice-cream (but don’t stress about it). Paint. Laugh. Cry.

Sleep

Take a nap. Rest. Often we feel better after a sleep. Can’t sleep? Take something kind to your body, like a 5-htp supplement (serotonin).

Wake up in the early hours of the morning? Your brain is processing. Let it. Pay attention to what is actually going on. Write it down, but don’t worry about it just now, wait till the morning.

DON’T FIGHT THE PROCESS!

Susy Egneus is the Director of Bodyworkz and part of the VitalSure team. Susy is a registered Massage Therapist (MNZ) with a Diploma in Therapeutic Massage and a Diploma in Clinical Sports Massage and has been working in the health profession with massage since 2003.

 

Katie.english@vitalsure.co.nz

021 634 451

An Update on Auckland Property Prices

By Rupert Gough

AdobeStock_88160134 700pxAs it turns out, up isn’t the only way that the Auckland property market can go. Rupert Gough explores what is going on in the recent drop in Auckland sales prices. 

Recent numbers from the QV House Price Index have shown that Auckland values have dropped for the second month in a row, meaning that the average value of a house is down by 0.8% since December 2015.

While 0.8% is hardly game-changing, this represents a large drop off in the gains that were previously experienced by Auckland property owners.

Interestingly enough, the surrounding areas of Auckland haven’t experienced such a dramatic trail off, in fact they’re still growing. Whangarei and Kaipara have risen 5 per cent in the last quarter.

To me, this Auckland slowdown is a result of an income issue, where the slightly cheaper fringe suburbs and other districts have still got strong buying activity. This is more obvious in smaller towns such as Wellington and further south.

It’s difficult to say where prices will go from here, however, compared to Central and West Auckland, other cities are looking far cheaper at the moment, so I expect buyers to look at those cities.

For a very good index look at Auckland property prices, we suggest reading this QV article.

Rupert Gough is an Authorised Financial Adviser and part of the VitalSure team. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request

 

Katie.english@vitalsure.co.nz

021 634 451

To Make A Claim or Not To Make A Claim

When is an incident a claim, or when is it not a claim – that is the question…

blog-imgIn my role as an insurance adviser, it is very common to meet people who have had an event that could lead to a claim and payout on their insurance cover – but who have never claimed as they were not sure or did not know what their cover actually provided.

Having insurance is one thing – but making it work for you and actually being able to make a claim is something completely different. A number of years ago I bought an existing book of clients and came across an interesting situation that did eventually lead to a successful claim.

But… If my client had not had an advisor who was invested in him, he would most probably have missed out on $138,673…  Not an insignificant amount!!

When you take out insurance your main thoughts are about what would happen if you became ill or had an accident. Not necessarily what type of insurance you have – most people take their adviser’s recommendation. And then forget everything except making the payment each month.

‘I have insurance’ I hear you say…  But my question to you is ‘when was your personal or business risk management protocol last reviewed?’ Most people I speak with cannot remember and some don’t remember who their broker or adviser is. It is an essential part of an adviser’s role to stay in contact, review your cover and ensure it is relevant to your present situation. And that can change – people get married, they buy property, move to new jobs or have an addition to the family. All of this would have an impact on your cover.

But more importantly – what would happen at claim time? Let’s go back to my client who almost missed out on a claim pay out.

Let’s call him Dave – Dave called his insurance company and asked for some information – from the answer he received he did not think he had a claim. (This was more about misunderstanding what he was told). It was quite by accident that I found out he had been in contact with the insurance company and so I called him directly. After the third attempt, I managed to have a conversation with him and he said ‘I have made a complete recovery, so am not entitled to make a claim’. Really, I thought. So I delved a little further.

It transpired he had had prostate cancer at Gleeson Level 8 – pretty serious. That in itself was sufficient reason for a claim to be lodged. Let alone the time he had off work and the ensuing treatments. I helped him to complete the claim application, and lodged it on his behalf. I followed up 24 hours later and was told by the insurer that yes, indeed he did have a claim.

When that was later confirmed in writing I called Dave. There was complete silence when I told him that $138,673 was going to be in his account overnight. Then some emotion followed by profuse thanks. This money came at a time when he was financially stretched and so was very gratefully received.

Dave was fortunate – he had an adviser who was actively involved with him as a customer and who followed up to ensure that his claim was paid as soon as possible. This was also a relatively easy process.

Another client I had needed to make a claim – she has Parkinsons – and it took months for us to get the information, the medical notes, the specialist appointment etc before we could complete the claim application process – and fortunately, her claim was also successful. However, without an adviser, she would really have struggled to make this happen at all and it was some 5 months before her claim was approved.

Is your adviser or broker actively involved in your risk management programme? Do they regularly review your cover and ensure it is sufficient? If you had a situation whereby you wanted to make a claim, are you certain that this would be handled on your behalf? In fact, if your insurance is with a bank – knowing how staff in banks move around – who would champion your case and ensure your claim was managed efficiently?

We take out insurance for certainty, however my experience leads me to believe that most people do not have certainty around their insurances – they do not know who their adviser is or even if their cover would work for them at time of claim. Perhaps the most important aspect of why we have insurance.

To be sure, gain certainty and know your cover is relevant to your situation today, give me a call and we can make a time to have a chat around your concerns. Unfortunately we never know what is around the corner, so don’t delay, contact me now.

Katie.english@vitalsure.co.nz

021 634 451

Flight of A Life Time

blog-imageFeb 29th, a leap year day, and I was booked on a helicopter ride from the beautiful seaside village Leigh one hour north of Auckland. Leigh has been our holiday home for a long time and this year we had decided to move here permanently.

Although we had been coming to the area for over 40 years there was one thing I had never done and that was to take a helicopter flight over the beautiful coastal area of Leigh Harbour and the bay of Big Omaha.

It was 3:25pm in the afternoon, school was just coming out and from my vantage point I could see the children and teachers gather excitedly around the school playing field where the helicopter was about to land.

Through the window of the vehicle I watched the helicopter land and the pilot jump out to open up the helicopter for its passenger – me, a flight for the bucket list.

The rotors slowed and the whirlwind of leaves and grasses dropped away I could now make out the livery of the helicopter clearly, it was red – Westpac red – as were the uniforms of the pilot and his companion. This jolted me out of my daydream, this was no scenic flight, this was a medical rescue flight – and I was the patient.

Only a short time before I was at home, and had farewelled my wife and mother in law as they headed off to Auckland to buy things for the downstairs apartment we were renovating as part of our move.

My job was to ring the power company and have the power put on, the call went smoothly at first but then as sometimes happens with mobile phones, the signal seemed to drop and I missed a few words. I asked the operator to repeat, she did but then I missed a few words again, I made a joke about the mobile coverage and asked to repeat again, but something else was wrong. I noticed my hand holding the phone had dropped away from my ear – strange – I transferred the phone to my left ear and the signal was fine. I continued the call finalising the details, but something was very odd.

On completing the call I inspected my right hand everything seemed to be ok, I could move it but it felt a bit weak. I checked my right leg and that seemed a bit weird, a bit numb, something was not right… Maybe I was having a stroke.

There was no pain; I called my wife who said she would return but I must call 111 immediately.

I felt stupid because my symptoms were minor, our little village has a volunteer fire brigade and I knew they would be called out as first responders.

With symptoms of feeling a little odd and minor weakness in my arm and leg was I over reacting?

I called 111 and got through to ambulance services immediately, the operator took my call as a possible stroke seriously and very carefully got my details and my address. She was calm and reassuring.

I hung up and seconds later the alarm siren that alerts the volunteers rang through the town. I go to stand-up to get some clothes and my unsteadiness makes me realise this is not a false alarm something is definitely wrong.

It is only minutes later the fire brigade arrive, as does my nephew alerted by a call from my wife.

My symptoms are getting worse, I am struggling to talk and my whole right side is closing down, the firemen know exactly what to do and confirm that the ambulance is some 10 minutes away.

The next 20 minutes is a blur as the ambulance arrives and the fire and ambulance team confer, gather details of my symptoms and get me down the stairs of our two storey house.

They are constantly reassuring me and say, with my symptoms, they are calling in the rescue helicopter to get me to the stroke unit at Northshore hospital asap… Every minute counts.

Hence my flight of a lifetime, not quite the way I had planned it, I was under no illusions, my right side was now completely immobile, I was helpless and my speech was slurred. It was going to be a long slog back to health. The paramedics carry me to the helicopter, my brain is shutting down, it could be a while before I return

Jumping ahead 3 days it is the morning of Thursday the 3rd of March, much has happened.

I am back in Leigh, at the same school playing field, I turn and hug my wife, tears of happiness well up and then I turn and jump into the air with joy – all symptoms of my stroke are gone.

This is a true story written about one of my friend’s very real recent experience with having a stroke. He was extremely lucky that things moved so quickly for him and that he got to hospital in time to have the relatively new treatment – a procedure that only 6 % of stroke victims in NZ get to receive

It is called TPA and is used in strokes caused by a clot in the brain. It is fast acting and has the potential to completely reverse the symptoms of a severe stroke; it is a stroke reversal and a completely breakthrough procedure.

But there is a catch… It only works if the brain cells have not died. My friend was lucky, the result was instantaneous and miraculous and within seconds he could move his right arm and leg, the muscles of his face began to work again and his speech cleared.

Not everyone is this lucky and with only 6% of people getting access to this amazing medicine, the reality is that it could happen to anyone at any time and have a very different result.

There is a perception that this kind of thing only happens to people when they are older in life – that is a misconception as I have a client who had a severe stroke when he was in his thirties. Completely unexpected and out of the blue, as in the example above. He was lucky in that he made a complete recovery – but was off work for some months.

Fortunately he had comprehensive insurance that kicked in immediately and he was able to continue paying his mortgage and other day to day living expenses.   Without insurance he would have been in a very dark place financially as he could not work.

So my question to you is, do you know if your insurance would work for you if you were to make a claim? When was your insurance cover last reviewed? Insurance products and people’s circumstances change often so it is vital to have your insurances reviewed regularly. Most people I speak with cannot remember the last time they spoke with an adviser.

If you are unsure about if you have the right cover, cover that will work at time of claim, then give me a call and we can set a time to catch up and have a chat. I can help you to have certainty around your cover and the knowledge that if something does go wrong, it will not mean financial disaster. Give me a call today and let’s meet up soon.

Katie.english@vitalsure.co.nz

021 634 451

There’s No Such Thing As A Wrong Decision

I cannot claim all of this as my own – I received an email today and it spoke to me – very loudly! And started me thinking about all of those things we want to do – and think about and prevaricate about forever and just never end up making a decision on! ‘I want to lose weight’, ‘I want to get fit’, ‘I want to buy a new car’, ‘I want to move house’, ‘I want a new job’… The list is pretty much endless really. And how many of us actually follow up on the thought or idea, make a decision and then actually take the first step?? I know that I am guilty of holding back, of prevaricating – all too often. It is just so hard sometimes to make that decision… Or is it? Why do we hesitate? Why do we hold back on making that first step?

I don’t want to make the wrong decision, you say.

So you sit on it and make no decision. And time goes by. And you stay in the same place you’ve always been.

blog-imgNo decision. No progress.

Indecision kills forward momentum faster than you can say, “I don’t know.”

Here’s the deal:

There’s no such thing as the wrong decision.

There’s simply the decision you make.

You can weigh the pros and cons for eons.

You can call your friends, your psychic, and the angel card reader.

You can literally spend your entire life debating.

You can miss shining opportunities because you were paralysed by your fear of getting it wrong.

You can watch your life pass before your eyes by trying to avoid getting it wrong.

You can stay exactly where you are forever because you’re afraid of getting it wrong.

Or, you can move forward.

You can make a bold choice and take the next step.

You can experience the exhilaration that comes from committing.

You can revel in the freedom of having the ability to choose and in exercising that freedom.

Indecision can leave you frozen in time with regrets and wishes, of lamenting the past.

The key to life isn’t making the right decision. It’s making the most out of the decision you made.

Each decision we make opens up a world of new possibilities and a world of new choices.

This is the infinite journey of being human. Exciting isn’t it!

A life well lived comes from choosing something and going for it. And then choosing something else and going for it. And then choosing something else and going for it.

There is no such thing as a wrong decision.

People who look like they’ve made the right decision are simply masters at making the most of the decisions they make.

Step up to the plate.

Get on with your life.

Make the decision.

And then choose to make it right…

If you are looking for help and direction in making that all important decision – then ask someone for help. It could be your partner or spouse, your employer or best friend, maybe even a stranger who is qualified to offer their help… Ah, but then we have to make another decision; it goes on and on really.

So, what do you need to know in order to make a decision that is in your best interests? VitalSure are here to help – anything that we can offer in the way of help in respect to your health and financial wellbeing is just up our alley – ask away and I am sure we can help you to make that all important decision – and to take the first step!

Katie English

Katie.english@vitalsure.co.nz

021 634 451

And thank you to Kate Northrup for the timely reminder in my inbox today!

3 Steps to Happier Mortgage Applications

By Rupert Gough

Forms, forms, wonderful forms. The mortgage application isn’t the most enjoyable part of negotiating a home loan. But there are ways to make it easier, writes Rupert Gough.

At Velocity, the majority of our days are spent helping our clients either move to a more suitable bank for them or finding the best bank for their new home purchase. So we deal with a fair few mortgage applications and I’d like to share my top three tips on how to make your mortgage application process much smoother.

1) Order your own credit report. It is free to order your credit report and takes approximately 10 days to receive it in the mail or to your email box. It’s very useful for you to see how your credit rating is and the banks love it when we give them all the information up front!

We’ve found the best website to start with is here. You can also set your credit report to turn up automatically every month for a low monthly payment at http://mycreditfile.co.nz. When you come to see us, bring that credit report and we’ll include that as part of your application.

2) Prepare a budget. The most important thing is to show to the bank how much you earn, how much you spend and, with the remaining amount of money that you have in the month, how much you can afford on the mortgage.

There are a couple of different types of budgets. While some just break down your expenses into different categories, we have a version that allows you to break down how much you think you spend and then compare it to last month’s actual bank statement. You can therefore see where the really big spending is occurring.

If you want a copy of our budget sheet, we’re happy to send it out to you. Please drop us an email.

3) Payslips and Financials. If you’re self-employed, we’ll need your most recent financials for your business. Often self-employed people haven’t got their financials completed yet. If it’s past September, then we’ll need the most recent March financials for you. This bit is unavoidable because the bank needs to know how much you’ve been earning recently.

If you’re an employee, we’ll need at least three recent payslips to get your mortgage underway. Some payslips are difficult to obtain and you need to request them from your HR departments. This may take a couple of days so getting them early makes the process a lot easier.

Bonus Tip: If this is your first home purchase, organising your KiwiSaver withdrawal early makes the process significantly easier. It can take two to four weeks to process your KiwiSaver withdrawal form so the earlier you do it, the better.

If you’ve got any more questions about getting ready for your mortgage application, you’re always free to call one of our advisers.

Rupert Gough is an Authorised Financial Adviser and part of the VitalSure team. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

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