The Economist has this article on suicide. With New Zealand's relatively high rate (substantially higher than in the UK) we could do with some change.
One of the great things about conferences is getting to spend time with people not routinely available. Peter Sobels runs RiskInfo.com.au, which has recently established riskinfonz.co.nz. Peter was also a speaker on our panel on customer engagement.
Peter Sobels has worked in the financial services industry for thirty years, working with life insurance companies and research groups. In 2008 he founded Riskinfo as a dedicated online news and information resource for the Australian life insurance and financial services industry, particularly for advisers.
RiskinfoNZ was launched earlier this year, with similar aims to serve the news and information needs of all financial advisers, but particularly risk-focussed advisers, operating in the New Zealand financial services market.
The centre of most problems to do with money is risk. Often money books consign risk to the margins. They assume that investing is natural and only worry about investment risk. But if there were no risks at all you wouldn't invest? Investing is just a posh word for 'saving for a rainy day'. The rain is the risk - or probability - that you will need some money for when you can't work. I know saving for a boat, or to start a new business, can be a driver, but we have a vast KiwiSaver industry, and a vast insurance industry, while the 'saving for the boat' industry is smaller. So very few of us manage to live happily in poverty for long, so most of us strive for a measure of financial security. Why? Because you care.
I have a friend who by the time of his mid-thirties had still accumulated no more than a very battered old car and four surfboards. He lived to surf, and earned only just enough money each week to run the car, eat, pay rent, and surf. In fact, he often roomed with others to avoid paying rent, and in the summer would sleep in his car and dive for seafood. Carefree he was until one fateful day, he fell in love. That changed everything. Care and attachment make us suddenly frightened. He wanted things to be okay for her... suddenly I would get calls from him asking 'how do I do this work thing?' and 'I guess I should be saving money' and 'how do you do a budget?' I was amazed. The mainspring of his change was to protect and provide, because of his fear he would lose her if he didn't, and that's a question of risk. You can think of any number of other examples, I am sure.