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ONE IN FOUR KIWIS IS FACED WITH DISABILITY

15-Mar-2015

ARE YOU PREPARED?
When it comes to disability we all think, it’s not going to happen to me. The scary thing is disability affects one in four of us. In 2013, 24% of the New Zealand population was identified as disabled(1). Stroke is the major cause of adult disability in New Zealand(2).

As anyone who’s been faced with disability will tell you, it’s traumatic on numerous levels. So the last thing you need to be worried about is money. This is where Disability Income Protection comes in. Disability Income Protection helps ensure that if your health suffers a setback your finances and lifestyle don’t have to.

If you are unable to work due to sickness or injury, Disability Income Protection can:

  • Provide a monthly payment to help cover monthly bills and living expenses. This is key to easing stress levels, which is critical when health is a concern.
  • Help improve quality of life by providing you with lump sum payments for approved specialised equipment or home alterations
  • Ease the transition between total disablement and return to work by providing partial disability payments.
  • Fund retraining programs that will help you return to work.

There are also options for a permanent disablement benefit, home care benefits and extra cash benefits. And most policies can be tailored to take into account retirement, redundancy and the costs associated with specialist and diagnostic testing.

To find out more about how you can get the best Disability Income Protection cover for your situation talk to the team at Prosper.

(1)2013 Disability Survey, Statistics New Zealand, 2013. (2)The Stroke Foundation of New Zealand, 2014.

LOOKING FOR FINANCIAL BLISS? BUILD A BUFFER


Having a slush fund can really make you happy. And not just in ‘oh my god I can afford those new shoes’ kinda way. Research shows that having a cash cushion or emergency fund can benefit mental wellbeing, help us think more clearly, strengthen self control and even improve sleep.

It seems that living life without a pocket of cash put aside for emergencies is not just risky it can be pretty detrimental. Without a slush fund many of us feel as though we are living close to the edge and this means being loaded down with stress and anxiety around ‘what might happen’. In these situations we are more likely to be impulsive, erratic and confused, and this can get us into an even greater financial fix.

Of course, magically coming up with a bank account full of cash is not easy. But follow these two simple suggestions and you’ll be well on track.

  • Pay yourself first by setting up an automatic payment into your savings account for each payday. If it goes out before it goes in chances are you won’t even notice it’s gone!
  • Think about how good having a financial buffer will make you feel and then remind yourself of all the other things you ‘waste’ money on in an attempt to ‘feel better’ – cut out the coffee or mid afternoon sweet treat and deposit the money you save straight into your savings account.

Remember, even if you never need your emergency fund, simply easing the anxiety that comes with money worries will work wonders – you’ll be smarter, more in control, thinking more clearly and sleeping better too.

And of course, if you ever do find yourself in the mood to make impulsive or erratic financial decisions seek some external advice – we’re here to help!

Scarcity, Why having too little means so much. Sendhil Mullainathan 2013

HOW SMART PROPERTY INVESTORS RENOVATE


When it comes to renovating a property for financial gain there’s a fine line between smart investment and overcapitalisation. If you’re considering entering the renovation game check out these helpful tips.

Choose a property that’s ripe for renovation (but not too ripe). Go for a property that you can do minimal work on yet dramatically transform the appearance. Often the best returns come from outdated properties from the 1970’s, 1980’s and even the early 1990’s.

Find a property that requires minimal ‘invisible’ work. Invisible renovations, such as rewiring and installing insulation, are often extremely expensive and not obvious to potential buyers.

Ensure your renovation investment is feasible. Talk to real estate professionals and scour the internet for similar properties that have recently sold to establish what your potential profit will be. Obviously you want to do much more than simply cover renovation costs – you need to take into account your time, investment and risk.

Consider the common 5-7% rule (where you invest just 5-7% of the property’s pre-renovation value in the renovation). This means, on a property currently worth $800,000 you should spend no more than $56,000 on the renovation. While it’s very easy to spend over this amount, sticking to this rule is a great way to avoid over-capitalising.

Distribute your renovation budget across the whole property. It’s great to renovate the kitchen and bathroom but if the rest of the property looks shabby it could be perceived as a ‘quick fix up’ and be money wasted.

Stay on track and keep tabs on all expenses with a simple spreadsheet. This will ensure you stay on budget and avoid overcapitalising. And remember time equals money ie. if your renovation takes two weeks longer than expected, then you’ll have two weeks of mortgage repayments you hadn’t budgeted on eating up your profit.

Most importantly, remember that, if you’re renovating for financial return it’s a numbers game – and if the numbers don’t stack up you’re better off keeping your money in your pocket and avoiding the hassle all together.