What to do if you get into financial difficulty

27/06/2012

As Kiwis face tougher times financially, we're getting more requests from people to access their savings in the scheme to help meet expenses. We thought it was timely to remind you what avenues of support are available to you if you get into financial difficulty.

One of the first steps is to get budget advice. This is available to members through the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP). All New Zealand Police employees are eligible for three sessions. It's a chance to sit down with a qualified financial advisor and sort out a plan to get on top of things.

“We've had very good feedback from employees who've sought budgeting advice through the EAP,” says Kate Frater, National Coordinator, Employee Welfare Services. “It's about diffusing the situation and working it through logically, starting with 'what can we get rid of?' and going from there.”

Kate says Welfare Officers are very aware of the impact financial stress can have on employees' health and wellbeing. “It's important to ask for help as early as possible rather than further down the track when things have really got on top of you,” she says.

If this sounds like something you would benefit from, have a chat to your local Welfare Officer or contact the Employee Assistance Programme direct on 0800 327 669.

There are plenty of other options for accessing free budgeting advice. For example, the New Zealand Federation of Family Budgeting Services operates a nationwide Freephone service where you can get answers to your budgeting questions over the phone (0508 283 438).

You may be able to access some of your savings in the PSS to help you get back on track. Most members are familiar with the partial withdrawal benefit available after three years' membership. Remember, though, this is not a bottomless cup. It may be a quick fix, but it won't get you ahead unless you address the root cause of the problem. And any money you withdraw now, won't be there for you when you retire.

Another option is to apply for a significant financial hardship benefit - another way of accessing some of your savings. You should note, though, that it is an avenue of last resort and is generally only an option if you need help to meet urgent and unexpected expenses beyond your reasonable control. It is not an automatic benefit and your application must meet specific criteria before we will consider granting it. We do our best, however, to help members where applications are reasonable and appropriate and fall within the guidelines. Sometimes, we will make getting budgeting advice a condition of the hardship application process.

This information has been prepared by PSS for general information only. The information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, you should not act on this information if you have not considered the appropriateness of this information to your personal objectives, financial situation and needs. You should consult a financial adviser before making any investment decision.

 

This website is provided by Mercer (N.Z) Limited on behalf of the trustee of the Police Superannuation Scheme (PSS). The trustee pays a fee for the provision of this service, however this fee is not conditional on you using this service or acting on the information or advice provided through this service.

PSS Trustees Limited is the issuer of the Police Superannuation Scheme (PSS). A copy of the PSS product disclosure statement is available under Documents and forms and at companiesoffice.govt.nz/disclose.