I actually never intended on writing a ‘Part 3’. So, what’s changed? Sadly, someone got hurt. Someone that I know, a good and kind person, who I saw almost every day for 5 years in my adolescence.

Mr Filipiak was my homeroom teacher throughout most of highschool. He was also our IT teacher and is my friend, Peter’s, father. Mr Filipiak would often be seen striding purposefully across campus, I remember I used to notice how his hair had a funny way of bobbing in the breeze as he walked because he was possibly the fastest walker I’ve ever come across. I often thought he was the human version of roadrunner. But he always walked gleefully, saying hello or making a dad joke, or just smiling as he walked by. He is one of those people who seem to have sparkly eyes… you know the ones, you can’t explain it but there eyes actually twinkle, like a real life Disney character.

Flippa is how he is known affectionately among his friends and he was one of the most liked teachers in our school in my time there (and not too much of a jump to think that he is possibly one of the most liked people you could ever come across). Goes without saying, I remember him being an incredibly kind and generous, and forgiving person. I recall my graduation night, he happened to be passing by as my sister and I were leaving and attempting to put our, somewhat tipsy, Nana in the car (it is worth noting I was on crutches at the time so this was incredibly awkward and difficult to do). Mr Filipiak had offered some assistance and copped a bit of a drunken Irish quip from our Nana, probably meant in jest but unfortunately I don’t think it landed that way. Needless to say, I was very embarrassed and I think I must have looked it because Mr Filipiak gave me a kind smile and a wink and told me not to think any more of it before helping us anyway and heading back inside. These are the memories I have of him, they are fond and I’ve always thought very highly of him.

I found out a month or so ago from Peter, that his dad was involved in a car accident in July this year that has left him paralysed from the neck down. When I heard the news it physically hurt me to hear it. I don’t know if it is because I knew him when I was much younger, or if it was because most of my memories of him involve him speed walking everywhere and how sad it is that he can’t do that now… regardless, the news knocked the wind out of me. No one enjoys hearing news like that and it is not the first time that I have, but it reinforced for me that these things can happen to anyone, literally anyone at anytime and I am not immune, my friends are not immune, my family is not immune. Car accidents are a very big reason why people end up needing to claim on personal insurance.

My grandad said to me when he was teaching me to drive “You never know what the other driver is going to do, even if they are indicating, they might have no intention to actually turn… you can only ever trust and know exactly what you are going to do in your vehicle. Do not pretend to know what they will do and do not trust them.” This is possibly the most valuable driving lesson I learnt from him that day and it has saved me from being in a few accidents myself. If you think on that a bit more, you realise every time you drive, someone else has the power to hurt you in your own vehicle, through no fault of your own.

So, of course, I’m writing Part 3. I spend a lot of my working hours advising clients on the types and amounts of personal insurance cover that they need. I want to make sure that they will be able to afford the repercussions of being in a car accident or receiving a diagnosis that requires expensive treatment or any other number of things that can and do happen to people, without the stress of wondering where the money will come from.

I feel so sad, and it actually pains me, when I hear of anyone going through a terrible accident or a critical illness or a death in the family, and it has left them worse off. I always feel like I am too late and never enough in those moments. It pained me to hear that Mr Filipiak has been through months of rehabilitation and faces paralysis for the rest of his life. He now needs a vehicle to accommodate his wheelchair that costs $100,000, which he doesn’t just have lying around (as most of us don’t).

Mr Filipiak is lucky in that his local community have come together to help support him and, incredibly, we have raised over $50,000 in two short weeks. I am confident, because he has touched so many lives in his role as a teacher and he is so involved in his community and beloved by them, that he will be able to reach the goal and get the vehicle he needs.

But how many of the rest of us can say that the people we know (or knew in the past) would do the same for us? Do we even know enough people, and are we willing to rely on the kindness of strangers beyond our immediate friends and family to help us if we aren’t able to help ourselves? Are we as beloved as Flippa? The Catch 22 is you’ll never find out until is it too late.

If you are interested, GWN7 News featured a story on Mr Filipiak, and if you feel so inclined there’s information on how you can help Flippa get his wheels.

Now, you may have been reading this article, having read Part 1 and/or Part 2, thinking this one has a different flavour – there’s less insurancey information here and I’ve done that on purpose. If you were wondering what types of cover would have been claimable in this situation, that’s Total & Permanent Disablement (TPD) and Income Protection. One pays a lump sum amount in exactly this situation and the other pays a partial replacement income stream. The technical information on these types, how they work for you and a whole lot more are available in the other insurance articles I’ve written, you are welcome to read these via the link below (if you haven’t already), but the best thing you can do is go and see a professional Financial Planner to make sure you have the types and amounts of cover you need & ensure you will be able to afford them in the long run. Please, please, please take action on this, and do it today, because Personal Insurance doesn’t stop an insurance event from happening, it just makes your life a whole lot easier if it does.

Seeking advice

You should seek professional advice or guidance from a financial adviser when deciding on the best superannuation solution.  You should also seek advice from a registered tax agent to determine the tax implications.

To find out more about the information in this article please contact:

This publication has been prepared by Specialist Financial Solutions.
Any advice in this publication is of a general nature only and has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Accordingly, reliance should not be placed on the information contained in this document as the basis for making any financial investment, insurance or other decision. Please seek personal advice prior to acting on this information.
Information in this publication is accurate as at the date of writing (December 2017). In some cases the information has been provided to us by third parties. While it is believed the information is accurate and reliable, the accuracy of that information is not guaranteed in any way.
Opinions constitute our judgement at the time of issue and are subject to change.  Any general tax information provided in this publication is intended as a guide only and is based on our general understanding of taxation laws. It is not intended to be a substitute for specialised taxation advice or an assessment of your liabilities, obligations or claim entitlements that arise, or could arise, under taxation law, and we recommend you consult with a registered tax agent.



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