To help alleviate the burden caused by financial stress during a cancer diagnosis, Cancer Council runs a pro bono program supported by funding from the AMP Foundation to connect cancer patients and carers with financial planning consultants who can provide financial advice after a cancer diagnosis.
One of those advisers is Tony Tanti, principle at Tanti Financial Services and an authorised representative of AMP Financial Planning, who will often do eight to ten cases a year.
“We take a few cases each year through Cancer Council’s Pro Bono Program, and I find it really beneficial to give back to people that can't afford our advice,” Tanti said.
“A cancer diagnosis is such a challenging time with a huge list of issues to consider, but unfortunately patients are often unable to work and existing debt or hospital bills start to mean that money often sneaks its way to the top of that list.”
Tanti said he’s never turned a case down and even when overseas his support staff can help cover.
“There is a reasonable amount of work associated with it, but for the time you put in, it’s very rewarding,” Tanti said.
“It makes me grateful for my health and how immaterial some of the problems we face in life actually are.”
One example of how this can make a difference was a case with a single mother with twins who had breast cancer.
She had applied for a claim which had been going around in circles for around 18 months.
A solicitor had offered to take care of her claim, but he was going to take 40 per cent of her claim as a fee.
“I quickly rang Cancer Council and she was connected with a pro bono solicitor,” Tanti said.
“She couldn’t really afford to lose 40 per cent of her claim, as she only had just enough money to pay her mortgage and was a single parent with twins.”
It’s these experiences he said he enjoyed, taking pressure off people in vulnerable situations who are forced to make tough choices.
“Working on a pro bono basis you know you're there to do the right thing for the client, not just to earn money,” Tanti said.