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Let’s get uncomfortable

The ‘she’ll be right’ attitude is an interesting quirk of New Zealand’s culture, and is rightly celebrated. Just getting on with it, not getting too worked up, and believing everything will work itself out are great traits, but like all things there is value in moderation. We need to understand that there is a darker side to this attitude, and there are times when it is okay and other times when it isn’t.

New Zealanders seem to have a deeply entrenched fear of confronting difficult issues. This shows in the 1500 Kiwis dying annually without a will, New Zealand’s dismal suicide statistics, poor succession planning, only half of us having an enduring power of attorney, and having one of the most underinsured populations in the OECD.

So we think it is high time New Zealanders get uncomfortable and have those difficult conversations – we must balance living for today with preparing for tomorrow. And the beauty of getting uncomfortable now is that it removes a lot of stress around the future, and you can move on in the comfort of knowing that things have been taken care of.

Wills

No one likes to think about the world without them in it, however it will happen one day, and there are consequences to dying without a will. It is called dying ‘intestate’, and means the law determines who will inherit property and possessions, with it usually divided between parents, spouses and children. It takes longer, is much more stressful and may not reflect your wishes.

Taking the time to think about who you want to inherit your estate and how to make things as easy as possible for those left behind is an important process.

  • If there are children involved who would be their guardian? (Note: this person or people are not obligated to care for your children, but will make the decision on who will)
  • Beyond inheritance of your assets, are there particular items, such as jewellery or art, that you wish to leave to someone special?
  • Who will make sure your wishes are carried out? This is your executor and needs to be someone capable of handling this responsibility. If there is no one you think is appropriate you can choose someone independent to take on this role 
  • Saying goodbye – does your family know if you want to be buried or cremated? If you have any requests for your funeral you can include these in your will
  • Who would care for pets?

Succession Planning

Succession planning is important for any business but is absolutely critical for family businesses or family farms. Making sure everyone knows what is going to happen well ahead of time helps to manage expectations and means everyone knows where they stand.

  • Will someone within the family inherit or buy the business or farm?
  • Is there a trust involved?
  • What is the timeline for succession?
  • What rights or decision-making powers will other family members have?

These conversations can be hard to have, so you may consider engaging a specialist facilitator to lead the process.

Organ donation

In New Zealand we can indicate our wishes regarding organ donation on our driver’s license, however our next of kin still make the final decision. Make sure your feelings about organ donation are understood by the person or people that would be tasked with making that decision. You may also want to donate your body to medical research or science, and if so, it is important to make sure that your loved ones know why this is important to you.

Enduring Power of Attorney

Having a will is important, but so is planning for a situation where you are unable to make decisions for yourself, or unable to communicate those decisions. This is where enduring power of attorney (EPA) comes in. You can choose different people to manage your health and finances and you can list people that need to be consulted. If there isn’t an EPA in place your next of kin will have to go through the courts to be granted an EPA, which is a stressful process at what is probably an already taxing time.

Retirement savings

Statistics on retirement savings in New Zealand are grim, as is the long-term affordability of NZ Super. While it is never to early to start saving for retirement, it is also never too late and carefully selecting your Kiwisaver provider and scheme can make a big difference. Making sure young adults understand compound interest, the changing generational demographics of New Zealand and why they should start saving early is also important.

Mental Health

We all know things are bad in New Zealand but so often we don’t know what to do about it. Talking to someone you are worried about can feel confronting, and it might feel easier to just leave things be. She’ll be right.

There are a multitude of helplines available but there are also Mental Health First Aid courses, which give everyday people the skills and confidence to support people in getting the help that they need and some guidance in starting those conversations.

We are on your team

At Plus4, we are in it with you for the long haul and we want to help you prepare for the future, and this goes beyond just helping you get the best insurance policies in place. If you want us to recommend anyone to help you with any of these difficult conversations, get in touch

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