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The Important Things In Life

When he was fighting his battle against cancer, Cocksy the builder was forced to consider the most important things in his life, writes Brenda Ward.

5 October 2021

Autumn 21

Celebrity builder John ‘Cocksy’ Cocks was a lovely guy. He was always active and full of energy, ready with a gentle joke and a smile.

I interviewed the builder from My House, My Castle many times for home magazine Your Home & Garden, and I saw how his positive outlook affected everyone on the set of the TV show.

Cocksy sadly died in 2019, aged just 52, after a three-year battle with the disease.

The most powerful interview he gave was one where he talked about the important things in life. Before he died, he shared his story in the hope that other Kiwis could learn from his experience.

He said: “I was doing some building work for an insurance adviser, and we got chatting about how insurance cover could reduce my ACC bill. It was something I didn’t really know much about.”

The adviser suggested a package of income protection, lump sum trauma, and life insurance.

‘I took his advice’

“I could’ve said no, but I took his advice,” Cocksy said, not long before he died. “And luckily I did – I’ve used two of those covers now, and I have one still to come.”

When he was first diagnosed with cancer, Asteron Life paid out Cocksy’s lump sum trauma benefit.

“That money enabled me to think, I’ve got a dream that I want to achieve – building a bach on my section in Tairua. So, I set that money aside and said, that’s what that’s for.”

Cocksy couldn’t work as a builder any longer, but his skills and the insurance money meant he could plan and design the bach in Tairua, which he finished in 2018.

Happy memories

“For me, Tairua is the place where I feel most at home, where I feel most comfortable. My happiest memories, for myself and with my girls, are all there. And that’s what I want to leave behind for them – somewhere that they can feel at home.

“I thought about it later and thought, how would I have done this without the insurance? How would I have been able to not work, to build my bach, to set up my kids for their future?

“At the end of the day, it’s allowed me to do things I like doing. I’ve got limited time, so I want to make the most of it – I’m using it to the best, for myself and for my family.”

There was a time, not long before he got sick, that Cocksy said he looked at reducing his cover.

“If things have changed, if money’s tight, you sometimes look at your premiums and think... can I reduce these a bit?

“But I didn’t do it, and thankfully I didn’t – because money spent then is money I’m getting now.”

Hard decisions

Times are tough now and many of us are facing hard decisions on where to make cuts in our spending.

Asteron Life’s Graham Hill says you should talk to an adviser before cancelling your life insurance.

He says one of the common reasons people give for cancelling their life insurance is that they can’t afford the premiums.

“Sometimes there are other options to reduce the cost, including reducing your cover, increasing wait times or restructuring your policies,” he says.

“Talking to an insurance adviser can help you feel more confident you’re making the right decision.”

They can explain any consequences of cancelling your policy. And an adviser will talk to you about your future needs, says Hill.

“Retiring, paying off the mortgage, or having your kids leave home can all be good reasons to review your life insurances – and you may decide you no longer need the cover.

“Cancelling your life insurance can be a big decision, so it’s always great to get personalised help.”

Asteron Life would like to sincerely thank Cocksy and his family for allowing us to share his story. See the full interview with Cocksy on www.asteronlife.co.nz.

Brenda Ward is the editor of JUNO and former editor of Your Home & Garden magazine.

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