Financial counsellors are qualified professionals who provide information, advice and advocacy to people in financial difficulty.
Their services are non-judgmental, free, independent and confidential.
Financial counsellors are based in community organisations throughout Australia, from large charities to smaller community centres, as well as local government agencies.
Financial counsellors are on occasion confused with financial planners or financial advisers but the services provided are quite different. Financial planners/advisers provide advice to people who have money to invest. Financial counsellors work with people who are in debt or are not able to meet their ongoing expenses. Financial counsellors don’t need a licence to offer financial counselling because they operate under a licensing exemption from the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC)subject to the following strict conditions. They:
- don’t charge fees to clients
- don’t receive any payments or commissions from third parties for their services
- must have appropriate qualifications and training, and
- must be eligible for membership of a financial counselling association.
Only people who meet the above criteria are legally allowed to call themselves a “financial counsellor”.
Find out more about:
Financial counsellors help 125,000 people per year face to face.
The financial counselling telephone service, the National Debt Helpline, receives 180,000 calls per year – and the number is growing.
Here is some more information about the demand for financial counselling.
What do financial counsellors do?
Financial counsellors help people to:
- understand which debts are priorities
- develop budgets and money plans
- understand the pros and cons of different options to manage financial issues
- access grants or concessions
- negotiate with creditors
- access dispute resolution services
- understand their rights and access legal help.
Financial counsellors have specific knowledge about the credit, bankruptcy and debt collection laws, concession frameworks and industry hardship practices. They’re also trained in negotiation and counselling, and offer emotional support and a listening ear when people really need it.
Interested in becoming a financial counsellor?
Click here for more information.