Financial Counselling

Get help managing money

 

We understand that circumstances arise that impact on our ability to maintain financial security. Loss of employment, changes in relationships and other personal circumstances can make previously managed debt unmanageable, creating insecurity in many aspects of our lives.

We have qualified professionals who can assist and support you with managing debt and creating confidence in your financial situation.

Financial counsellors can assist you to:

  • Understand which debts are priorities
  • Respond to areas of your life that might be contributing to your financial distress such as health, abuse, employment stability, relationships and housing
  • Support you in developing a money plan to manage your daily expenses
  • Identify your options and make informed decisions
  • Advocate and negotiate on your behalf to Reduce/defer/waive payments with creditors and access grants, concessions or dispute resolution schemes.
  • Understand your rights under the National Credit Code to apply for a hardship variation, know how the credit reporting system works, what is acceptable behaviour from debt collectors, and the impact of bankruptcy
  • Support you to access legal advice or other services that can support you in resolving your financial difficulties.

Financial counselling services are free, non-judgmental, independent and confidential. Contact our intake line to talk to a financial counsellor or learn more about this service.

Our central intake service operates Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.

Phone: 03 9549 5288
or
Email: fcs@secl.org.au

 

For telephone advice call:

National Debt helpline: 1800 007 007

To find financial counsellors in other areas visit the Money Smart website.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can access Financial Counselling?

We don’t refuse financial counselling service to anyone in financial difficulty.

If you are experiencing any of the below, we can help you:

  • On a Centrelink or low income
  • With no income (including refugees)
  • On workcover payments
  • Working, but with unmanageable debt
  • Self-employed (no companies)

We can also provide support if you are experiencing job loss, gambling behaviour, ill health, substance use orfamily breakdown.

What do financial counsellors do?

Financial counsellors provide advice and support to people in financial difficulty. Services are delivered face-to-face or by phone through the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

In contrast to financial planners who provide wealth creation strategies, financial counsellors provide practical advice to help people who have debts and are struggling to meet ordinary living expenses. They are experts in consumer and social security law, bankruptcy law, industry hardship obligations/codes of practice, working with industry ombudsmen, and are skilled counsellors.

What can Financial Counsellors assist with?

We provide financial counselling to assist you with:

  • doing a full assessment of your financial situation – including regular income and expenditure, assets and liabilities
  • providing advice on how to negotiate with your creditors, government agencies or other business providers
  • negotiating directly with your creditors in certain circumstances
  • providing advice about what options, rights and responsibilities you may have
  • setting goal plans
  • referring you to other services you may need, such as legal services, crisis food and accommodation services, and health services
What will I need to bring if I see a Financial Counsellor?

A financial counsellor will take you through a detailed assessment of your circumstances to fully consider your options. Your financial counsellor will work alongside you while you decide how to manage your financial problems.

When attending an appointment please bring:

  • Loan contracts
  • Recent loan and/or credit card statements
  • Details of accommodation (rates notice if owned or paying off)
  • Summary of fines
  • Evidence of income (pay slips or Centrelink Income Statement)
  • Details of recent contact with your creditor
Useful links
National Debt helpline- https://ndh.org.au/
Australian Financial Complaints authority https://www.afca.org.au/
Energy and Water Ombudsman- https://www.ewov.com.au/
Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman https://www.tio.com.au/
Victorian Ombudsman https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/
Money Smart – Budget Planner https://moneysmart.gov.au/budgeting/how-to-do-a-budget