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Immunisation is your best defence against influenza. Even fit and healthy people should consider getting the flu jab to protect themselves. – Ministry of Health website

Influenza – or the flu – is a virus that spreads quickly from person to person. Symptoms include fever, chills, aches, runny nose, a cough and stomach upset. Immunisation is your best defence against the flu.

Did you know? The Influenza vaccination is FREE for people who are most at risk. 

Eligibility criteria for FREE seasonal influenza vaccination for 2018:

  • Pregnant women (any trimester).

  • People aged 65 years and older.

  • People aged under 65 years with any of the medical conditions listed HERE 

  • Children aged 4 years or under who have been hospitalised for respiratory illness or have a history of significant respiratory illness.

Also, people under 18 years of age living in the:

  • Seddon/Ward and rural Eastern Marlborough region (within the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board).

  • Kaikoura and Hurunui areas (within the Canterbury District Health Board).

  • who have been displaced from their homes in Edgecumbe and the surrounding region.

For anyone not listed here – the flu vaccination can cost upward of $25 depending on the provider, but some workplaces will provide you with immunisation as a workplace initiative.

If you choose to get immunised, you can find a registered participating provider HERE

According to the Ministry of Health there are other precautions you can take to avoid spreading the flu.

  • If you are unwell, stay at home until you are better.

Follow basic hygiene practices:

  • Wash your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds and dry them for 20 seconds – or use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

  • Don’t share drinks.

  • Avoid crowded places.

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze – then put the tissue in a lined bin.





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It’s Winter: an excuse to binge Netflix and shut the curtains, but it’s not an excuse to stop taking care of yourself. Here are some elements you can incorporate into your week that could help improve your wellness.

  1. It sounds obvious, but keep hydrated. An average adult should be drinking 1.5-2Litres of water a day. An average child should be drinking 1-1.5Litres of water a day.
  2. Meditate. There are plenty of free apps out there, like Calm which provide guided meditations, breathing exercises and sleep stories for both adults and children. A number of well-known people have spoken out about the wonders of Meditation in recent years: Film director, David Lynch, musician Sir Paul McCartney and actress Nicole Kidman are all advocates.
  3. Try and reduce dampness in your home over the winter months by following some handy tips from Energywise, such as closing the bathroom door after you shower, and ventilate the kitchen whilst you cook. Reducing the damp can reduce the risk of respiratory illness.
  4. Make the most of seasonal vegetables. 5aDay will let you pick by the month and tell you what’s in season. Seasonal veg tends to be cheaper than imported or out of season veg. So, you’re saving money, and you’re getting in those vitamins.
  5. Remember to wash your hands and encourage your kids to do the same, especially before touching food or after sneezing or coughing. It can help reduce the spread of germs and illness. Wash hands for 20 seconds. Dry hands for 20 seconds.
  6. Are you a smoker? Have you always wanted to quit? Who wants to stand outside in the freezing cold whilst your friends and family are cosy inside anyway? and are two great websites dedicated to helping you kick that habit.  Succeed and you could even reduce your life insurance premiums.
  7. Get some fresh air and exercise. According to Southern Cross: you can burn up to 50% more calories in winter than you would on the same walk in summer, as your body has to work harder to stay warm.  If you’re not a fan of being outdoors, find a way to stay active indoors.
  8. Look after your brain. Sometimes feelings of anxiety or depression can feel amplified in the darker months. A lack of sun can really affect your mood. If you’re struggling in any way or just want to talk to someone there are always options available to you. Don’t suffer, get help. Your mental health is important.
  9. Get the influenza vaccination. Prevention is always better than a cure. See our segment on Flu Season.
  10. Take five minutes out and have a cup of tea. Go on, you deserve it.  



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Were you aware that investors can help make a positive contribution to society and the environment? ­For example, by working with your financial adviser to include responsible and sustainable assets in your fully diversified portfolio (according to your own appetite for risk), you could contribute in the fight against global warming.

AdviceFirst Adviser and Regional Manager Mark Holtom says that in the past, fund managers could exclude assets that disagreed with their personal values – such as weapons manufacturing – but that was a reactive rather than proactive strategy.

In today’s environment, any investor can potentially help the planet or influence social change by investing in specific funds. For example, AMP has a Responsible Investment Leaders fund, and is trying to lead from the front in this area.  There are also other large funds that specialise in Sociable Responsible and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) funds.

“There are options where you can proactively invest in renewable energy projects all over the world, including wind and solar farms, sustainable forestry options and low carbon public transport.”

Mr. Holtom believes investors could have the ability to accomplish two feel-good objectives when they invest in responsible funds:

1. The potential to maintain a fully diversified portfolio in-line with an investors risk appetite (to help meet future goals and objectives); and

2. Investors can feel good about the potential to influence positive change in society and the environment.

Influencing change

“Investment managers can engage with companies to find how they are managing their company strategy and mitigating risk.  For example, the investment manager can ask the potential recipient of a client’s investment, if they are working as a company to reduce their carbon footprint.  This responsible approach to investing can encourage companies to be transparent about their impact on the environment, and their commitment to changing their behaviour to keep up with social expectations.”

Mr. Holtom says investors can also help tackle gambling, alcohol abuse, tobacco, and obesity because their decision to invest in responsible and sustainable assets may impact the share price of a company.

Reduce future risk

Companies that don't adapt or change in response to social change or environmental issues could go the way of organisations like Kodak, who notoriously failed to adapt their film-based business model to incorporate the digital camera movement, until it was too late.

“It’s not inconceivable to measure the risk of an investment by the company’s ability to adapt. Those that won’t change or are slow to evolve – for example demonstrating a reluctance to reduce emissions – might be considered a riskier investment.

“Simply by being conscious of how their money is used, investors can choose to help make a difference. Have a conversation with your adviser about how you can make your money count for the environment,” Mr. Holtom said. 




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Check out our insightful presentation by respected financial commentator Bernard Hickey - on behalf of AdviceFirst... you’ll pick lots of useful tips on what really matters. 



The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this video are not necessarily those of AdviceFirst.

The information in this video is of a general nature only and is no substitute for personalised advice. If you would like advice that takes into account your particular financial situation or goals, please contact your Financial Adviser.

A Disclosure Statement is available from your Adviser, on request and free of charge.




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Now’s the time to ensure you’re getting the most out of your KiwiSaver account. You are eligible to receive up to $521* in Government Contributions for 2017/18 if you have contributed $1,042.86 into your KiwiSaver account before 30 June.

If you are a regular contributor there’s a good chance you have already reached, if not exceeded, your contribution requirement. Not sure? simply take a closer look at your contributions, for example:

If you're earning at least $35,000 a year and contribute the minimum 3% for the whole year, you should receive the full $521.43*.

If you earn less than $35,000, you're self-employed or you've taken a contribution holiday, you might like to think about making a voluntary lump-sum contribution so you can receive the Government Contribution.

If you don’t already look after your KiwiSaver account with help from an AdviceFirst Adviser who specialises in KiwiSaver, get in touch and one of our team would be happy to help make any of the complicated KiwiSaver stuff easier to understand.


*The Government makes an annual contribution of up to a maximum of $521.43 a year to your KiwiSaver account provided you are a contributing member aged 18 or over and have not yet reached your Qualifying Date.

Qualifying Date means the date you qualify for New Zealand Superannuation (currently age 65); or if you joined after age 60, after five years’ membership of a KiwiSaver scheme or a complying superannuation fund. You will need to reside mainly in New Zealand unless you are a Government employee living overseas or you are volunteering (or working for token payment) for specified charitable organisations.

The KiwiSaver Government contribution year runs from 1 July to 30 June. If you join a KiwiSaver scheme or turn 18 years old part-way through a KiwiSaver tax year (1 July to 30 June), you'll receive the Government contribution on the number of days in the year you've been an eligible member. This may mean you might not receive the maximum $521.43.



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It’s hard to be a task-master. There are however, some very useful and free everyday tools online, that can help you to be organised and productive.

Check out a selection of 10 free resources that could benefit your business, from design software to cloud storage, social media management and project management.

Cloud supported CRM system

Cloud storage up to 2GB

Design software with thousands of free templates from social media posts to presentations

Spelling & grammar checker

Project management tools, from task lists to Gantt charts

Is your inbox being spammed? Unsubscribe on mass to the noise you don’t want with

Create free professional newsletters and grow your database with sign up forms for subscribers via your website

Connect up to three of your social media profiles for free and schedule posts at your leisure. It’s a time saver!

Not just for video calling those relatives abroad. Businesses around the world use Skype in lieu of the opportunity of meeting face-to-face

For any idea you need to capture, this app helps you work smarter with voice recordings, checklists and more

Please do your own research before committing to any of the above products.  There is no one-size-fits-all and each business should do its own due diligence before signing up to any service. The resources listed above are independent of AdviceFirst.   AdviceFirst does not guarantee their suitability or workability in any way.


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