The Financial Planning Association of Australia (FPA) and the Association of Financial Advisers (AFA) have opened its joint Financial Planning Bushfire Pro Bono Program today.
The program aims to help those impacted by the bushfires to rebuild financially and those eligible will be matched with a financial planner.
In a joint statement, the associations said the amount of assistance provided would be decided by the planner based on the client’s needs and their capacity to provide pro bono support.
FPA chief executive, Dante De Gori, said: “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.”
Also commenting, AFA chief executive, Philip Kewin, said: “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.”
The eligibility criteria included:
- You or an immediate family have been seriously injured;
- Your immediate family member has died;
- Your principal place of residence has been destroyed or seriously damaged; or
- You operate a small business which has suffered serious damage to its premises, plant and/or equipment.
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
•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; and
People who have been directly affected by the 2019-20 bushfires should call 1800 560 685 or visit the website to apply for assistance under the program.