IF you’d like to get some money advice but can’t afford to pay for it, this is the week to do it.
The 15th annual Financial Planning Week kicks off today with the Financial Planning Association offering free advice through an online forum.
At the same time, Australia’s biggest tax accounting firm, H & R Block, has created a separate week-long free advice service for taxpayers.
The FPA’s ask an expert forum can be found at www.ask.fpa.com.au and gives people access to financial planners at no cost. Questions to the forum in previous years have focused on areas such as consolidating superannuation, retirement planning, saving for a mortgage, debt consolidation and investing.
Mark Rantall, CEO of the FPA, says research has found that people feel happier and more in control of their future after they consult a financial planner.
“Too many Australians still believe that financial planners are only for the wealthy, yet nothing could be further from the truth,” he says.
FPA figures show that the number of people actively using a financial planner rose to 2.5 million last year, up 100,000 on the previous year.
And, surveys by a
number of financial institutions have shown that people who seek advice about their superannuation and retirement in particular feel more confident about their future.
Financial Planning Week runs until Sunday. “This year we will be taking a close look at the different life stages, from young to midlife, pre-retirement and retirement,” Mr Rantall says.
H & R Block has created National Tax Advice Week and is opening the doors of its 440 offices across Australia to provide free tax help from today until Saturday.
It says no appointments are necessary and people can bring along supporting documents to help them get answers from qualified tax accountants.
“Whether you’re an existing customer of H & R Block or not, all will be welcome and we’re confident that our staff will be able to deal with all the queries thrown at them,” H & R Block director of tax communications Mark Chapman says.
“We know that at this time of the year, most people start to grapple with the challenge of putting together their tax return. This is about the only time of the year that most people have to concentrate on their tax.”