Financial planners have come together to offer pro bono financial advice to those affected by the tragic bushfires, including small businesses that have suffered damage to their premises or equipment.
The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) and the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) have launched a pro bono advice service to help the recovery of those impacted by the devastating bushfires.
Individuals are eligible for assistance if:
- they or an immediate family have been seriously injured
- their immediate family member has died
- their principal place of residence has been destroyed or seriously damaged, or
- they operate a small business which has suffered serious damage to its premises, plant and/or equipment.
The FPA has advised that once eligibility has been established, impacted Australians will be matched with a financial planner.
The amount of assistance provided under this program will be decided by the financial planner based on their needs and their capacity to provide pro bono support.
Typically, the types of financial advice would include:
- accessing Centrelink payments and other government benefits
- considering claims on any of your existing assets or personal insurance
- debt management
- accessing superannuation (and/or accessing insurances within superannuation)
- options for your existing investments and superannuation
- replacing lost income
- rebuilding financially and getting your future plans back on track
- estate planning
FPA CEO Dante De Gori said: “We expect those affected will face significant financial pressures requiring the support and expertise of a financial planner.
“To address this, we put a call out to financial planners to volunteer their professional expertise and time in the aftermath of the bushfires in early January and have been overwhelmed with the response we received from our members across Australia. Many of these planners live and work in the bushfire-affected areas and are deeply concerned about the wellbeing of their communities.”
Echoing his views, AFA CEO Philip Kewin explained that the program is aimed at helping people impacted by the fires who are having to make financial decisions at an extremely emotional time.
“Financial advisers are in a unique position to lend their support to these families and small business owners alike.
“Particularly during the stressful process of filing insurance claims, having to navigate digital self-service platforms can be overwhelming. Advisers offer an invaluable human touch and can provide tailored support appropriate to individuals’ circumstances.
“This no-cost service will help those in need to work out how they’ll manage the immediate impact of the fires on their finances, and plan for their future.”