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Dust off the skeletons in the closet: Why it’s never too early to put your affairs in order

I started to put my affairs in order the day I heard that Prince had died. It had been bad enough when David Bowie passed on, but Prince – now that was a little too close to the bone.

As Lifestyle Change Coordinators and Senior Move Managers, some of the first things that NE Solutions discuss with our clients is - “is your will up to date?” quickly followed by “and what about your enduring powers of attorney and guardianship.” I had been a little too guilty of not practicing what I was asking others to do and I needed to change that.

Now I could have just done what I needed to do and not told anyone, but I needed my kids and my partner to know, it was for their benefit after all. Believe me it’s an interesting conversation starter - “Look there’s nothing wrong with me, but just in case something happens – this is what I am doing…”

Once you’ve had that conversation, start where you feel most comfortable. For me it was:

Superannuation beneficiaries: My children are now adults and I am no longer married to their father, so that was an easy change to make.

And because a divorce voids wills, I am going to need a new one - this is still on the list of things to finalise especially as 2 out of my 3 executors have pre-deceased me, but I know who to call to discuss starting that process. Now there's a thought - who should I leave the cats to?

The most difficult area for me however has been my personal documents. I don’t mean the usual birth certificates and insurance policies although these are very important; I’m talking about my personal, personal documents. I had a lifetime of diaries, journals and notebooks. Some of the entries had become fodder for blogs while others have become content for books, but a lot of the pain and heartache of living an interesting life to date which had lived on in the pages - I didn’t want to share. So one Friday night I sat down and went through every page in every book and removed the content I did not want someone else to see. As the pile of papers grew, I found it easier to let go of stuff, and in the end, I threw away more than I had intended to - including book outlines from projects I will never go back to, bad poetry and song lyrics. I am still writing, but I am more conscious of what will remain.

And talking of skeletons in closets, what about your digital footprint? If your digital footprint is anything like mine – it’s going to be huge, but what happens to it all? Well nothing if you don’t pass on your logins and passwords – it will just sit there lurking in the ether, popping up on random anniversaries to remind people you were around once upon a time. Is that a bad thing? Well only you can decide that one, but sooner or later there will be changes.

• Social media sites may eventually go out of business. I was a member of Friends Reunited for instance. While it seems unlikely that the behemoths such as Facebook and Instagram will go under, nothing is guaranteed – especially in the digital realm. But if you want to know how wide your personal footprint is – google your name (and nicknames) you might be very surprised at what you will find.
• Personal websites, including business ones, have a great deal of valuable equity within its digital pages. If you want your work to continue after you have passed on, you should ensure someone is willing to take on the running and funding of the site. If you would prefer not to have your website disappear into the darkness you need to make provisions for its upkeep.
• E-books: I have a number of e-books listed on Amazon and other sites, while the royalties aren’t huge, they are sent to a bank account on a regular basis. If you don’t want your family to lose out, you will need to tell someone what to do with it all.

When it comes to living a rich and full life, you will have many areas you will need to look at, these are just a few of mine I've given consideration to so far - and the work is continuing. Just remember, as we cannot know for certain when our personal deadlines are going to be, it might be a good idea to dust off the skeletons and get your affairs in order while you can make the decisions you need to make.

#decluttering #deceasedestates

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As part of our Lifestyle Change Solution, we give interactive talks for elders on decluttering and downsizing.

I was down in lovely sunny Mandurah recently having morning tea with two groups of elders at the Stockland Lifestyle Villages of Murray River and Halls Head.

Even though these elders had already downsized, many have lived within their independent living units for many years – some were coming up to their 20th year and consequently had accumulated quite a lot of stuff since they had downsized from their family homes!

We talked about when they had begun their downsizing journey – did they checked all the pockets, nooks and crannies of every item that they discarded or gave away. As Senior Move Managers it is part of our process to check, so important items such as jewellery and important documents and photographs are not discarded and lost forever.

You can imagine the consternation when they realised they actually hadn’t thought to flip through stacks of papers, or pages of a favourite book to see if they had inadvertently left anything there.

We’re all about the interaction, and understand some people learn better by doing rather than just listening. So we asked a couple of residents to join us in an exercise.

The people who participated in our ‘wardrobe’ declutter were amazed that when they checked a pocket and found a tissue or an old newspaper they just threw it in the bin. Only for me to show them that a pair of gold rings had been placed in the tissue and old family photos were in the newspaper.

It’s amazing where we place items for ‘safe keeping’ only to forget where we have placed them, or completely forget them because it’s hidden behind closed wardrobe doors.

So – next time you want to throw something away – make sure to double check that you are not throwing the family heritage or fortune away also.

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You know when adults say “do as I say, not as I do” – well we can be guilty of saying to our clients that they really should have an inventory of their homes or business. We successfully undertake full inventories of homes and businesses for our clients, but somehow haven’t actually got around to finalising our own inventory!

Well our insurance renewal is due soon, and it will be interesting to actually see if we are overestimating and thereby pushing up our premiums up or even, dare I say it, underestimated our premium.

There are many tools you can use to create an inventory for your home and business. But we utilise the HomeZada online portal, as it’s pretty simple to add all the contents per room, including photos and any documents relating to the items (warranties, receipts). The portal can also manage:


Plan and manage all of your remodelling, landscaping, and design projects. Save money and stay in control by tracking your shopping research, budgets, costs, photos and documents – in the one place.


As we mentioned – creating an inventory means you can make sure you are properly insured. There is nothing worse than finding out you don’t have enough insurance to cover your important items (including your home) when you need to make a claim.

As you declutter and dispose of items prior to moving home, you can adjust your inventory which will then reduce your insurance.


It’s been said many times, but it’s true – your home is your biggest asset and as it gets older it will need more attention. But can you remember the last time the air conditioning was serviced, or when the pest control guy was last there? If you are anything like most people you’d probably have receipts and information on file – but it can be a pain to remember when you need to organise trades people.

I’m also very conscious that as we are in a 100 year old homestead, that fire could be an issue, so it’s always good to be prepared for any circumstance.

You say “but we’re moving into a brand new home so why should I think about maintenance now”. We do understand maintenance may not be high on the list of things you want or need to think about when you move in. But in reality THAT is the perfect time to get this information together.

Having access to an online home maintenance schedule can save you time, money and stress as it will remind you of important dates and things you need to do during the year.

Finances: Stay in control with multiple dashboards that automatically keep you up to date on various financial metrics such as home values, household expenses, completed projects and maintenance costs.

Part of the beauty of the Home Zada system is that it can be accessed by multiple parties, so once we have finished the inventory, and then need to add or dispose of items, it can be simply managed by any of the ne: team.

Would you like to know more about Home Zada – or would like to try it for yourself – please accept my invitation – sign up takes less than a minute.

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Have you ever needed help with a job application form?

We were asked if we could help put an application together – and did we have the technology to do so?

Basically it was to connect, create, scan, print and send as the client didn’t have the means to, at home.

Well as our motto is always “yes we can help” – it saw me with a laptop, dongle and my printer/scanner visiting a client’s home on a Thursday evening.

After spending several hours working through a 15 page application for the client – which had to be entered online, handwritten, and them scanned and emailed. Not forgetting all his certificates scanned and uploaded; including his shoes, pants and shirt sizes. It made me wonder how many of the big corporations are actually putting applicants off by placing the process all online, and in triplicate?

Not everyone has a mini-office set up in their own homes, let alone internet to handle the task; even those of the senior years who are possibly job hunting again – may be sidelined because of the need to go online or scan documentation.

Without the IT skills – yet very skilful in their own vocations – it seems many take for granted that everyone knows (or should know) their way around a computer. In the case of our client he had just about managed to work out his smart phone – as he honestly admits he can weld a rig together – but was definitely technophobic.

Luckily his wife had searched for ne:one to help him………and now he’s back working at what he does best.

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Put your house in order

When going through a divorce, different parts of life can begin to slide. Whether it’s physical appearance, finances, home – the stress of ‘living’ whilst handling the destruction of ‘normal’ life can mean that the ‘living’ part becomes just too much.

You don’t really see it or feel it – but sooner or later something gives.

I was sat talking to a client about some Business Support needs – when tears started to fall. The stored up emotion from the divorce that had been finalised after 5 years, came to the surface and all the areas of their life that they felt the pressure weighing down on them, had finally reached the tipping point.

There was a shift in our discussion from that point on, as I asked what areas were the mill stones around their neck. 2 years’ worth of paperwork to be sorted and given to their accountant, the house was too much to cope with and they didn’t feel like it was a family home.

So I asked if they wanted a Map to show them the Way? Being offered a journey plan, with milestones and tools on how they could travel to their destination of ‘moving forward’ – was like being given a lifebuoy to their sinking feeling.

It started with something really simple – putting aside one hour that evening to start on sorting the finance paperwork. I was going to follow up by texting at the given hour as a ‘small reminder’.

Imagine my joy at the response – “Started an hour ago and have 3 piles in years and already Half Way! :-)”

It was the ‘kick up the butt’ as they were accountable to me (in some way) and knew I would be following up with them if it wasn’t done. Even their accountant, who had been chasing for months, was in shock when they handed over all the documents the next day!

We’ve since moved on to their home and business areas too.

We understand either through personal or previous experience that we all need different travelling partners to share the journey with us.

Don’t handle life’s challenges on your own – there are so many different ways to share the load and a Map the Way is just one of them. If you are getting stuck in the quagmire – reach out for the right support and continue your life’s journey on the easy street.

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In the agile business series we spoke about where our places of work. With technology keeping us connected, it can be argued – we can “work” wherever we happen to be.

I answer calls when I am in the car thanks to blue tooth connectivity, and of course the same is true when I am between meetings, taking my lunch time walk or pretty much any time a client needs to talk to me. The only time I don’t take a call is if I am currently with a client or otherwise engaged – but the answering service will take care of those messages until I can return the calls.

The same is also true for Social Media.

Commuters the world over can be seen head down, ear phones in scrolling through their preferred social media feeds with almost no regard to the people around them. Remember the Pokemon craze where non-players were shaking their heads at others being pulled out of canals, rivers and dangerous situations because they were playing the game? Of course it’s funny until someone gets hurt.

But you get my point I am sure – with technology we can work anywhere at any time. And there are many tools and applications we can utilise to make our working lives easier – these are a few of those we use which you may find useful:

Keeper – Password storage solution. Keeps everything safe and you can sync the desktop app to the phone and the only password you HAVE to remember is the one to get you into the Keeper program.

Mobile Phone – Synchronize your emails and calendar, ensure you put in separate diary entries for travel so you can utilise the GPS capabilities of the phone. Of course it also helps to have an in-car charger and a battery backup and cables just in case you run out of juice during the day – and some apps are more juice hungry than others and Maps is a good example as I found out on Wednesday after another day on the road and having absolutely no sense of direction.


There are also several applications I use on a regular basis

ATO – Because I now spend a lot of time on the road I need to keep track of mileage and expenditure. If you do this as part of your days activities you are well on the way to organising your tax return at the end of the year, once the file is backed up and sent to the taxation office / accountant.

Cam Card – Business Cards can be a bit of a nuisance, but with Cam Card you can scan them into your phone, once you have done that the contacts get backed up to your email contacts.

Cam Scan – Need a document scanner on the go? Now you have one.

Beep n Go – This stores all your rewards cards into the one application – which means you can empty your wallet of the wretched things. If you are a member of Rewardle – they’ve just launched something similar.

Pad and paper! – I know it’s old school – but sometimes you need to make notes after phone calls, or need to give yourself reminders, a simple note pad and pen can work wonders.

Of course if you prefer not to work while you are on the road, or if you would prefer someone else to take the messages for you – we do offer virtual answering services and calendar management. We take all your bookings and ensure your diary has all the necessary information to keep you on the road helping your clients – which we think is really the point isn’t it.


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Work – love it or hate it, we go to work to make a difference in some way and to earn the money to pay for the things we want.

We may or may not move up the corporate ladder.
We may or may not keep the same job over the course of our working lives.
We may or may not make that much of a difference to the world that we live in
But work is a massive part of our day-to-day lives – it provides purpose and it can provide direction.

So what happens when work is taken away from us or is about to be taken away from us? For example:

Those recently retired or nearing retirement
Those who have recently lost their paid working role through severance

Or those who are overwhelmed by their paid and unpaid working life

And yes it does happen.

When work has been such an intrinsic part of who and what you are, you may be feeling a little unsettled, wandering through life wondering what happened and what you can do to fill the void.

There are many options of course

Other / Part time work
Setting up your own business
But what do you do when you don’t know where to begin?

Sometimes the best thing you can do is get some independent advice. Find more information about the art of serious leisure

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Selling on behalf of a client
Excellent condition
$150 ono pick up Maddington


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Have you ever thought about creating a home inventory?
Believe it or not it can help with not just your physical stuff (home and contents) but can track repairs and let you know if you are over or under insuring your home. Please accept my invitation.

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In the final part of our agile business series we take a look at the things we use to transact business – either B2B or B2C.
Say you have a widget you manufacture and sell, or you may offer services on how to maintain or use said widget. If it’s any good, you can guarantee there will others jumping on that particular widgety bandwagon ready to take your potential customer base away from you.
So what do you do? #businesssupport #perth
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