An important check up by Pakanui Tuhura

A few years ago we ran a radio advert asking people to come in for a financial checkup and compared this to attending a medical checkup with a doctor. As I write this article there has been an outbreak of gastric illness in Hastings and Havelock North and as we slowly move out of winter I have been struck by the number of family, friends and work colleagues who have suffered through sickness this year. There is no doubt that sickness increases stress levels in all those close to it and a contributing factor to this stress is the financial cost of sickness in the household.

Parents needing to take time off work to care for children, grown children taking time off to care for aging parents, deciding whether to work while sick to make deadlines and potentially putting work colleagues at risk or taking sufficient recuperation time knowing you will have a backlog of work to catch up with. All these things create financial and relationship stress.

To reduce this stress most businesses are quite flexible with sick leave and have built into their processes contingency plans for staff taking sick leave but what if you have run out of paid sick leave and have to take leave without pay knowing that the loss of income will create sacrifices on what you are able to spend your money on. Again stress levels grow.

Many years ago paid sick leave wasn’t a right of workers. Instead each individual boss decided on who would get sick leave and how much and usually it was granted on compassionate grounds. Then the government stepped in and put into legislation minimum paid sick leave entitlements to provide consistent use of and fair provision for sick leave. At first this sick leave was for physical issues and could be accumulated without end. In recent years it has been capped and can now be used for mental health days as well as for the care of other members of one’s household and family. The legislation clearly states minimum sick leave provisions but has allowed bosses to grant further paid leave on ‘compassionate grounds’ or as part of employment contracts.

In order to budget well you need to have your head in the game, be clear about what you want, the barriers to achieving your goals and decisive about how you expect to get there. If you are sick or distracted when you budget, chances are that the budget produced wont achieve your goals. That’s the beauty of independent budget advisors, they clarify everything and will identify issues and opportunities you may have missed and they prefer doctor checkups to ambulance requests.

Pakanui Tuhura
Manager – Rotorua Budget Advisory Service