When Members need us, MAS is there. From support with the big stuff to sorting everyday mishaps, helping people is what we do. Here, we chat with two Members at different stages of life who turned to MAS at a time of need.

Buying a first home is a major achievement for anyone these days, let alone when you’re only 25.

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When Natalie Gill needed some expert guidance on savings goals and financial next steps, her MAS Adviser provided tailored support to help her secure the keys to her own apartment. 

Home ownership had always been a goal for Natalie Gill, but after 2 years of missing out in the KiwiBuild ballot system, she was starting to lose hope. That was until she spied an ad for a new apartment building with homes on offer through a first-in-first-served basis. 

“The developer has asked that we email at 9am on a certain date with our apartment preferences, so my whole family got involved with pros and cons lists for working out the best options,” she says.

“It was pretty stressful, but the first-in-first-served approach appealed to me because I’ve always been quite competitive! I knew there would be a lot of interest so I wasn’t really expecting anything. But I got my fourth and final pick, which was a massive surprise. Later, we were told that all 66 apartments available on that day sold in 3 minutes.” 

After clearing the first hurdle, she turned her focus to her deposit. Working part-time through uni, saving hard and living at home with her parents had already given her bank account a boost, but she was relying on withdrawing from her MAS KiwiSaver Scheme and qualifying for the government’s First Home Grant to reach her target. About a year out from settlement, she contacted MAS Adviser Martin Farrell to help ensure she was on the right track. 

“We looked at aspects like timeframes and my risk tolerance, then he talked me through performance figures on different fund categories and different strategies I could take. He explained it all in a way that was easy to understand, and on his advice, I ended up adjusting my KiwiSaver portfolio twice. I really liked that his advice wasn’t generic. It was very detailed and tailored to me and my situation. It gave me the tools I needed to feel confident in making the right calls.”

Over the course of a year, the pair chatted through a string of emails and regular phone catch-ups. Natalie says working closely with the same trusted MAS Adviser meant they not only developed rapport but she also never had to repeat her story to a different person. 

“We had a lot of back and forth, and I felt that he was genuinely interested in helping me get the best outcome,” she says. “I couldn’t fault the level of service I received. And I’m mindful that he would have a lot of other customers with far bigger investments than mine, but I always felt just as valued as any other Member. For me, as a younger person, that was really important.” 

After successfully reaching the threshold for her deposit, Natalie says it felt surreal when moving-in day finally arrived. While finances can still be a juggle at times, she knows she made the right choice. 

“I’ve still got quite a long road ahead but I’m glad I’ve got inexpensive hobbies! In the future, I would love to travel or buy a few big-ticket items, but for now, I just want to enjoy my new home.” 

A medical condition forced Merv Wilson to leave the dental career he loved but his long-standing relationship with MAS proved invaluable for navigating a new phase in life.

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While some people get time to ponder over their retirement and plan when they might finish work, Merv had the decision made for him. 

“I was in my early 60s when things started to go horribly wrong, and it all happened really quickly,” he says. “I developed arthritis in my fingers in a very short space of time and soon went from having hands that were perfectly usable to being pretty useless. Prior to that, I was working ridiculous hours, often 16 hours a day. I was just so engrossed in my career, but that was part of the problem – a hand specialist told me I had simply overused them.” 

When battling on with steroid injections, painkillers and treatments were no longer an option, he knew he needed to think about his next steps. But walking away from the dental practice he had poured 40-odd years of dedication into was a difficult transition. 

“It was a really hard time both for me and for my family as well. It was an emotional adjustment alongside the physical adjustment of dealing with the hand issues. Going from being a workaholic to facing up to the fact that I could no longer work at all was pretty tough.” 

When the time came to talk about using his income protection insurance, MAS Claims Adviser Shaun Bates provided practical guidance as well as a listening ear. 

“Right from when I first started getting into trouble with my health, Shaun would contact me every month to check in and see how I was going. He looked after me with a lot of empathy and got everything sorted quickly.” 

For the Warkworth-based retiree, who now spends his time scuba diving rather than scraping teeth, it’s not the first time MAS has helped him through a milestone. As a Member since back in his student days, he relied on MAS’s expert advice when he took the leap into buying his own dental practice at just 23. 

Back then, he had no idea one of the MAS Advisers he was put in contact with would go on to become a trusted business consultant for the next 30 years. 

“We would have our annual meeting where my business partner and I would meet with our MAS Adviser to go through everything related to our business and personal insurance. He would spend an hour with each of us to go through every aspect of the policies and make sure everything was up to date and working how we needed it to. We really valued that time.” 

Alongside the personable service, Merv says the straightforward claims processes and prompt payments have proven MAS to be an organisation he can trust. 

“With MAS, if your claim is legitimate, there’s no question of them not paying you. MAS has looked after me perfectly for 40-something years and always been really helpful. They go above and beyond. It’s the sort of thing that helps you to sleep better at night.” 

While his long days at the clinic are now behind him, he still keeps busy with regular travel to his favourite scuba diving spots. And coincidentally, there’s a MAS connection to that too. “I travel quite a bit around Asia and Indonesia, and I made a donation in MAS’s name to an Indonesian village that I support. It was another way I could say thank you.” 

Medical Funds Management Limited is the issuer of the MAS KiwiSaver Scheme. PDS available at mas.co.nz. MAS only provides advice on products offered by its subsidiary companies. Advice is provided by MAS or by its nominated representatives, who are all MAS employees. Our financial advice disclosure statement is available by visiting mas.co.nz or by calling 0800 800 627.