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Special feature: Peace of Mind

Organise your home, personal life, and business with a helping hand from a Kiwi farmer who has put together a framework for people to compile their own ‘database’ of personal information

Paige Wills is a self-confessed worrier. In fact, she freely admits to being a ‘worst-case scenario’ worrier, who who used to lie awake at night anxious about her family and, in particular, her children’s future. So, she set about implementing a plan to help ease her worries. The result is Peace of Mind – available as a book or digital version – an impressive collation of a framework for people to compile their own ‘database’ of personal information: financial, security, personal wishes, passwords, etc.  

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Paige Willis

Following the birth of her first daughter in 2009, the absolute joy of the experience was also followed by “utter panic at the enormity of having this little human to care for, for the rest of her life.”

“For weeks I couldn’t sleep, not just because I was the mum of a new baby but mostly because I lay there worrying about what would happen if I, or my farmer husband became sick, injured, or even died.

This was the catalyst for Paige to create the first iteration of what’s now the Peace of Mind planner – “a document that contained all of our essential family information and a letter to our daughter in case I wasn’t there to see her grow up. Finally, I felt like I could breathe again!”

Over the past 12 years, Paige’s Peace of Mind planner has expanded to include all of the information necessary to cope with the multitude of scenarios that everyday Kiwis face on a daily basis.

She spent months talking to funeral directors, doctors, nurses, lawyers, and everyday Kiwis who have experienced it all: from cancer, strokes, brain damage, dementia, motor neuron disease to house fires, floods, earthquakes, car accidents, death, and everything in between.

Farming influence

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Peace of Mind for farming families

Having grown up as the youngest of four daughters on a sheep and beef farm in Waitaki Valley, Paige has seen and heard countless stories of pain and heartache of farming families.

“I think growing up in a farming environment you realise just how quickly life can change in an instant. It only takes a sudden accident, illness, or death to completely shatter life as you know it. I remember as a child hearing about local farmers dying in tractor accidents, having a heart attack in the paddock, from suicide or even just being thrown from a motorbike and never being able to walk again – all those experiences deeply affected those families and many were left absolutely lost as to where to even start to pick up the pieces. Farmers now, and, in fact, all business owners, have an incredible amount of stress (it feels like more every day), but with all that pressure resting on their shoulders, if something serious were to happen to them, without that important information recorded, it makes it even harder for their loved ones to cope without them, even if it’s only temporarily.

“The other big thing people forget is that we’re all just so busy living our lives, we don’t even stop to think about all the things we do without even thinking, things that are done on autopilot where all that information is in your head but it’s almost never written down.

“I can’t tell you how many people I spoke to when I was researching this where their loved one was the person who always handled XYZ, but no one else knew where to even find the keys, the tool, or the investments. These poor people spent months searching and stressing when it could have all been avoided.”

Meeting demand

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Both the book and digital version of Peace Of Mind are available

Paige found that she kept having the same conversations with people, both friends and family, and even with total strangers about how helpful it would be to have a place to record all essential information “so that if an emergency struck your family would know what to do, where to go and how to do all the things you do without even thinking in your absence.”

Having already created this for herself, she wanted to share what she had researched, knowing how much it could help other people.

“I also just kept hearing the most heartbreaking stories of families who were completely in the dark as to what to do when a loved one was injured, became seriously ill, or passed away. I knew that having this information easily available would have made each of those situations just a little bit easier.

“Another lady I spoke to told me about her experience waiting for an ambulance all alone, believing that she was going to die, while she furiously scrawled information her family would need on a scrap of paper. I can›t imagine what that must have felt like, and to have that panic at a time when she believed she only had minutes to live must have been awful.”

Paige launched her digital Peace of Mind planner at the end of August 2021 and soon after became inundated with enquiries from people who wanted everything that was in her digital planner but as a physical book. After weeks of delayed shipments, the Peace of Mind books were available in December 2021.

Both the digital and book version of Peace Of Mind book are available through mypeaceofmind.co.nz.

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