It may not make the world go around, but it is hard to get by without it.
Why would I need to use this information?
- If you are unsure what your financial future will be
- You want to start budgeting but don’t know where to start
- You have no savings for unexpected future events
- If you are currently struggling with debts
- If you suddenly receive a lump sum, perhaps an inheritance or redundancy
- If you are thinking about your income in retirement
- You get a big bill for unpaid tax or get a tax refund
Talking to a free financial counsellor can assist you to get the information you need. They are unbiased and ensure you have the right information in front of you to develop a good plan and make informed decisions.
A financial counsellor can:
- Suggest ways to improve your financial situation
- See if you’re eligible for government concessions or support
- Talk to your creditors about repayment arrangements
- Help you apply for a hardship variation
- Explain the risks of bankruptcy and debt agreements and talk through the alternatives
- Refer you to other services, such as a gambling helpline, family support or legal aid. The National Debt Help Line can be a good place to start in finding Financial Counsellors. Many Community Centres also offer more localised financial counselling.
Three “must visit” online services
- MoneySmart – A treasure trove of independent advice and tools to help you take control of your money and build a better life with free tools, tips and guidance. An Australian Government-backed initiative led by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), the site aims to help you manage your money, reduce your debt, build your savings, and plan your future with guidance on budgeting and banking.
- Centrelink – Offers lots of information and advice for older people, especially around aged pension eligibility and transitioning to retirement.
- National Debt Helpline – Mon-Fri 9:30am-4:30pm 1800 007 007. A not-for-profit service that helps people in Australia tackle their debt problems. They can connect you with professional financial counsellors offer a free, independent and confidential service to get advice about debt or to fix your credit file.
- Make a budget – You might already be an expert budgeter, but if you aren’t, this is a good time to start. The Money Smart website has tools to help.
- Tackle the debts – Ouch, never a pleasant experience. Write down all outstanding amounts and how long it will take to pay these off. Make sure all contacts – e.g. phone or appliance rentals – are also included. Include anything that requires a monthly payment. Call the National Debt Hotline if it all gets too much.
A Commonwealth Government free service that can inform and educate you about financial matters. They run free seminars on a range of financial issues including preparation for retirement, aged care fees and charges and money management.
No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) – 13 64 57
Loans up to $1,500 for essential goods and services such as fridges, washing machines and medical procedures. Repayments are set up over 12 to 18 months.
You must have a Health Care or Pension card or earn less than $45,000 a year after tax ($60,000 for joint applicants or people with children). Loans cannot be used for cash, bond, rent arrears, debt consolidation, holidays or bills.
If you’ve ever changed your name or address, there’s a chance you may have unclaimed money owing to you. Nationally there are billions of dollars in lost shares, bank accounts, life insurance, deceased estates, salaries and wages, to name a few. Businesses who lose contact with a customer must transfer any money they owe to the state appointed collector for safe keeping. Money is available to be claimed at any time by the rightful owner, and there is no time limit on claims. MoneySmart has a comprehensive list of links for all states and territories to search for unclaimed money.
Unclaimed Money Tasmania – or call (03) 6166 4188