What is Financial Counselling
A financial counsellor is a community worker who acts without a conflict of interest, as a negotiator and an advocate on behalf of people who are at financial risk.
As well as supporting and educating the client in various forms, a financial counsellor can provide the following for their clients:
- A full assessment of their financial situation, including regular income and expenditure, assets and liabilities.
- Information as to entitlements to government forms of assistance.
- Information and options for change and improvement.
- The ability to negotiate on behalf of the client with credit providers, government agencies and other business providers.
- Information on credit laws, the debt recovery process, bankruptcy and other areas of legislation such as superannuation, insurance and harassment to name a few.
Financial counselling is a combination of various traditional roles such as; social worker, solicitor and accountant. It is a unique type of service, merging a number of skills into a personalised “counselling” situation. The counsellor treats the concerns of the consumer in a holistic manner, viewing the social and health issues alongside the financial problems and assisting with appropriate referrals. http://www.fcan.com.au/what-is-financial-counselling/
What financial counsellors do
Financial counsellors provide a free, confidential and independent service.
Financial counsellors can:
- Suggest ways to improve your financial situation
- See if you are eligible for government assistance
- Negotiate repayment arrangements with your creditors
- Explain your options and their consequences, including debt recovery procedures, bankruptcy and other alternatives
- Help you apply for a hardship variation
- Help you organise your finances and do a budget
- Refer you to other services, for example, a gambling helpline, family support, personal counselling or community legal aid
Financial counsellors can also help with the following problems:
- Debts that you are struggling to pay
- Threatening letters or harassment by debt collectors
- Debt recovery through the courts
- House eviction, disconnection of gas, electricity, phone etc
- Uninsured car accidents, taxation debts and unpaid fines
Financial counselling is not Debt Consolidation.
There are other businesses that offer to assist you to consolidate your debts. These often change you a fee and assist you with a new loan (where your debt is consolidated).
How to find a financial counsellor.
There are a large number of community services that provide financial counselling across NSW.
To find one please go to:
Find a Financial Counsellor (by postcode)
Financial counselling hotline 1800 007 007
The free hotline is open from 9:30am to 4pm, Monday to Friday. When you call this number you will be automatically transferred to the phone service in your state. Calls from mobile phones may incur a fee from the mobile phone carrier.
Their website is www.financialrights.org.au and it contains a large number of good fact sheets about debt and budgeting.
Get an online debt assessment
Use the free Debt Self Help Online Assessment Tool from Financial Counselling Australia to get a tailored assessment of your debt situation. You can also contact a financial counsellor through their website. www.debtselfhelp.org.au