Debra’s VERY Real Experience of Health Insurance

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By Debra Halton

As I sat recovering from my operation at Southern Cross Hospital, I was very

appreciative of Velocity’s work health insurance scheme, ultimately making my

elected surgery possible.

I was also struck by the fact that I sell health insurance and had never visited one

of the hospitals properly before — my eyes were opened to a whole new world.

And I now understood why clients’ favourite insurance is health

insurance — something most of them at some stage get to touch and use. In fact,

apparently, one-in-five New Zealanders have health insurance, so it’s more

common than I realised.

Years earlier, I had been told that in the future I may elect to have a surgery

done. I investigated the options. If I wanted to use one of the leading surgeons in

New Zealand, I would have to go private and, without medical insurance, this

would cost me personally tens of thousands. Going through the public hospital

was an option and much cheaper (i.e. free) but I would have to have an older

method of surgery and would not have the same flexibility with dates and times.

Plus, my recovery would be much longer.

So, because of all this, for years, I did nothing and grew increasingly

uncomfortable until finally Velocity came to the rescues and put the health

scheme in place. The beauty of a group health scheme is that it covers all past

health conditions, whereas a new individual scheme taken out by just me would not.

I had never been to a private hospital before and could not believe what a lovely

experience it was. From having my own private room to not being interrupted all

night (unless it was for a five course meal, which unfortunately I felt much too

sick to enjoy eating), I really appreciated the high quality of care. I felt very well

looked after. I also had the option to stay an extra night when I was not feeling

well and did not feel I was being rushed out to make room for a bed.

So, thanks again Velocity for making it possible for me to get the surgery I

needed with a top surgeon and in a beautiful hospital. I am well on the way to

recovery. I feel very fortunate to have been able to do this.

If you have a business with five staff or more you could also look to put a group

health scheme in place. It used to be that you required a large number of staff to

be able to access these schemes but that has changed.

If you would like to know more about health insurance, please speak to your

Velocity Financial Adviser.

Debra Halton is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No

investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A

disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Fixed Vs. Floating

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By Brendon Ojala

And the winner is … drum roll please … fixing! Fixing for one year to be precise. But, yes, as always, it does depend on your situation.

The good news keeps coming for those with home loans. Not great news if you have money in the bank savings accounts though.

Interest rates continue to nudge down through the month and there have been significant decreases in the three- to five-year fixed rates in particular. However, there are a number of reasons why most banks and economists are still seeing the “sweet spot” at a one-year fixed rate.

Most of our clients are fixing the majority of their loans for one year and many are leaving a small amount in some sort of floating rate (revolving credit or offset accounts) to provide for flexibility/debt reduction. In making these statements, the disclaimer of course is that every situation is different and unique, so a conversation with your adviser is key before settling on an interest rate strategy.

Anyway, here’s why fixing for one year is so popular right now:

The one-year rate is the lowest on the market and, for an owner-occupied property with 20 per cent equity, we are seeing rates of 4.1-4.2 per cent (the 3.99 specials have gone for the mean time).

The Reserve Bank governor has indicated any change in the Official Cash Rate (OCR) is likely to be mid 2020.

Again the Reserve Bank has indicated the next move for the OCR is as likely to be down as it is up.

Although noting there are other things that affect home loan interest rates rather than just the OCR, it does have a major impact.

Given the above (and of course, who knows what unpredictable market shocks will occur?) fixing at the lowest rate and having a really good chance of being able to fix at low rates in a year’s time seems like a sensible strategy for most.

Do let your adviser know before you re-fix your home loan for another period. We can get some rates from the bank for you to consider and talk through your best strategy.

Brendon Ojala is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.

Hard Knocks rugby star on Well-being

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By Lance Shearman

Joe Harawira MBA, stars alongside Sir John Kirwan in Duke TV’s “School of Hard Knocks”. He’s also the RugbySmart Manager (NZRU), founder of Flo clothing, and client of Velocity Financial. I caught up with him to talk well-being.

Believe it or not, Joe and I played rugby together. We were both wingers, putting to rest the age old question, what would have happened if 80s All Black sensation Terry Wright came up against 90s bulldozer Jonah Lomu? (Note: I was the Terry Wright equivalent. Ask me some time about the result!)

Joe is a fit guy, highly motivated, and he tells me he has “flex-appeal” (he may or may not have used this term). If anyone could bring some thinking around well-being, he would be the person! So I picked his brain.

Well-being for Joe means having the right conditions to flourish in all aspects of life: physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual. Consistency in these areas is fundamental to long term health and well-being.

I asked him about well-being in the work place. He said that well-being has come a long way, but more needs to be done. For instance, it’s great to see workplaces embracing the notion of a “well-being week” or the like. However, outside of these initiatives staff are working longer hours and the digital age means many of us take work home or do it in the weekends.

Recent surveys show that stress related illnesses and heart attacks are at an all-time high, particularly among males over the age of 40. This is an issue that must be addressed, says Joe.

Joe has been very successful in his studies and his career, so what would motivate him to start a social enterprise targeting lifestyle fashion? His response in short: “To create a brand that stands for more than just fashion.”

Flo (short for flourish) Clothing brings together his love of health and fitness and lifestyle fashion and his passion for giving back. Joe’s vision is to helps kids around the world: “Flo is a community where we don’t just aspire towards our own hopes and dreams, but we want to help others and we want to give back because that’s when we create real value.”

In New Zealand, one in four kids go without the basics that many of us take for granted, and that’s where Flo comes in. Flo is the New Zealand lifestyle brand with a mission to “level the playing field” so all kids flourish in school and in life.

Every purchase provides a meal in school for a child in need. It also helps sponsor kids to access sport and recreational activities outside of school. Joe says, “This is made possible through a partnership model with amazing charities and initiatives.”

Joe is about to start a crowd funding campaign through Pledge Me to expand into the yoga market and deliver more impact for kids in need.

Joe is passionate about making a difference and actively promoting well-being at a personal and professional level.

If you’re at Wellington airport over September be sure to call into the Flo pop up store to see Joe and the team. Otherwise check him out below:

Instagram @flo_clothing

Website www.flo.kiwi

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Lance Shearman is a Registered Financial Adviser with Velocity Financial. No investment decision should be taken based on the information in this blog alone. A disclosure statement is available free of charge upon request.