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As swanky credit cards fast replace cash in pockets, debt is quickly mounting up for many Australians who get carried away by the plastic money craze or end up borrowing more than they can repay.

Sometimes loss of job, illness, a broken relationship or other unforeseen issues can also leave you cash strapped, struggling to make ends meet.

Financial-counsellor

In case you are finding it difficult to pay for bare necessities such as buying food and paying for utilities such as gas and electricity and continually find yourself borrowing from friends and relatives, while your credit card bills and mortgage payments pile up – it may be a good idea to get in touch with a financial counsellor.

Who is a financial counsellor?

Financial counsellors are part of mostly non-governmental organisations engaged in providing free financial counselling services to persons facing financial hardships. Financial counsellors are different from financial advisors – they do not charge for their services and provide free, independent and confidential service to clients seeking help.

A financial counsellor must be a part of National or State Financial Counselling Association. They must have completed a relevant diploma of community service.

How can a financial counsellor help?

A financial counsellor will analyse your situation and provide relevant information and advise on managing your finances and debts. Whether you are finding it difficult to pay bills, are unable to pay your debts or are receiving unwanted calls from debt recovery agents, a financial counsellor can provide you information and financial advice to find your feet again.

A financial counsellor will assess your situation and provide following services according to your financial condition and need:

1. Information on issues related to debt and credit

2. Helping you understand your expenditure and spending pattern to minimize waste

3. Altering spending habits by creating a budget and affecting savings

4. Advice on debt management by helping clients prioritise debts and also help in applying for hardship assistance

A financial counsellor will only explain and advise the best course of action to clients but not deal directly with clients’ money. They may also put clients in touch with other special support services such as family support, legal aid and gambling.

Do you know that services of a financial counsellor are confidential – they will not disclose your details and keep your identity classified?

Financial hardships can happen to anyone at any stage in life. A counsellor will help you understand your spending pattern and assist you in planning a realistic budget. They will also help you plan paying off your debts. There is no stigma attached in contacting a financial counsellor and seeking help to get back on your feet again. In fact, it is the best thing you can do by recognising the problem and taking steps to tackle it head on.

Buying a home is one of the most important financial decisions you’d make. Get the best rates by comparing home loan deals here and get in touch with expert brokers on HashChing to have your queries answered online, absolutely free of cost.

 

By Vidhu Bajaj

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