IT’S FREE, PROFESSIONAL & INDEPENDENT
People from all walks of life can find themselves in financial stress.
More than 2.5 million Australians (13% of the population) live in households of high financial stress. Financial stress can be caused by a multitude of situations including losing your job, downturn in business income, getting sick, having an accident, gambling, family and relationship changes, DV or you simply have too many bills and loans and don’t have enough money to cover your expenses and financial commitments. If this happens to you or someone you know , a Financial Counsellor can help.
Why Financial Counselling?
Help is available from a free financial counsellor to manage your financial stress.
Financial Counsellors are non-judgmental, qualified professionals who provide FREE information, support and advocacy to people experiencing financial difficulty, including small business owners.
Financial counselling services are free, confidential and non-conflicted.
Financial counsellors will help you understand your financial situation and can advocate with your bank and other lenders and creditors.
Manage Financial Stress
Financial counsellors are skilled professionals, bound by a Code of Ethical Practice to deliver the best outcomes to their clients.
Assist with concessions, grant eligibility, dispute resolution, referrals to other services, including legal services.
wORRIED ABOUT YOUR FINANCES?
Financial Counsellors are here to help.
About Financial Counselling
Financial Counselling Services are Free, Confidential and Non-conflicted
A Financial Counsellor is a community worker who acts without a conflict of interest, as a negotiator and an advocate on behalf of people experiencing financial hardship or people who are unable to manage their debts. Financial Counselling services are funded by state and federal governments and donations.
Financial Counsellors are skilled professionals, bound by a Code of Ethical Practice to deliver the best outcomes for their clients.
- A full assessment of their financial situation, including regular income and expenditure, assets, and liabilities
- Advise and assist with problems related to debt and debt enforcement
- Understand which debts are priorities
- Develop a money plan/workable budget
- Advocate and negotiate with banks and other lenders
- Assist with concessions, grant eligibility and referrals for material aid
- Assist with lodging complaints to external dispute resolution services
- Refer to other community, health, and legal services
- Provide information about consumer rights
- Information and options for change and improvement
- Information on credit laws, the debt recovery process, pre insolvency advice, bankruptcy and other areas of legislation.
- Lend money
- Provide material aid
- Recommend any kinds of loan products
- Do tax returns
- Provide debt consolidation services
- Provide financial product advice or
- Advise on investments
Financial counselling agencies that engage in credit activity as part of a financial counselling service are exempt from the ASIC requirement to hold a credit license or AFSL.
The exemption is subject to further conditions including that:
- Financial Counsellors do not give advice to clients about purchasing investment products, such as shares or managed investments; and
- No fees or charges are paid by clients for any aspect of the financial counselling service; and
- The financial counselling agency is likewise unable to be remunerated (including by commission) directly or indirectly in relation to any action of the client; and
- The financial counselling agency does not operate or participate in a financial services business beyond the scope of this relief, and takes all reasonable steps to ensure that none of its employees do so.
- In order to obtain this relief, individual Financial Counsellors must also be members of, or be eligible to be members of, a recognised National or State Financial Counselling Association. Membership requirements themselves set standards about conflicts of interest and professional conduct.
If at any stage of your contact with a ‘financial counsellor’ or ‘debt counsellor’ they ask you to sign an agreement which includes paying any costs or fees, check this out carefully and get advice from a free Government funded Financial Counsellor working in a community organisation.
There are a growing number of services advertising on television, radio and in local newspapers that say they can solve your debt problems. Many of them are costly and don’t set out the full range of choices you may have. They may focus on one solution such as a Debt Agreement (under the Bankruptcy Act) or budgeting. These “solutions” often provide greater financial benefit to the company offering them, than they will to you.