The Financial Planning Association of Australia The Financial Planning Association of Australia

Financial planners offer free advice to local bushfire victims

Following the recent devastating bushfires which affected much of New South Wales, thirty-two financial planners have offered their services on a pro bono basis to help local residents to move forward.

The FPA is encouraging those affected by the bushfires to take advantage of its pro bono service and take an objective assessment of their financial situation to work out what their immediate financial priorities are in the wake of the disaster.

Specifically, planners can help people look into their insurances and options for short-term cash flow to help them get through the next few months.

Neil Kendall, a director of the FPA and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional, describes the process as “Financial Triage”:
“Often people affected by natural disasters are staying in temporary accommodation and have lost the majority of their possessions; the immediate priority is to get cash sorted for their short-term needs and to replace anything essential.

“People in these situations typically feel very overwhelmed and can make the wrong financial decisions which can have a detrimental effect when they set about rebuilding their assets down the track. A financial planner can offer a rational perspective and suggest simple solutions that will help them get through the first three or four months.”

After this initial triage period, the pro bono financial planner will help victims work through a longer term financial strategy to help them recuperate and get back on their feet. This will involve helping them to use any insurance payouts or aid contributions to build a new home, replace lost possessions and regain financial independence and control.

Mark Rantall, CEO of the FPA also acknowledged the importance of this initiative, “By providing a pro bono service, the FPA seeks to broaden access to advice that will enable bushfire victims to take control of their financial circumstances and set about recovering from what has no doubt been a traumatic ordeal.

“Certified financial advice can have a profoundly positive effect on a person‟s financial future and overall wellbeing, particularly in trying times. I encourage anybody who is struggling to cope financially in the wake of the bushfires to take advantage of the FPAs pro bono service. All of the registered planners are members of the FPA and as such are bound by Australia‟s highest code of professional conduct, so the advice on offer is high quality,” Mr Rantall added.

So far, 32 financial planners have registered themselves on the FPAs pro bono register. Some of these planners are willing to travel up to 200km to offer advice to those affected by the fires.

The application form for pro bono advice can be downloaded here. Applications can be submitted via email, fax or post.