What is the FPA Pro Bono program?
The FPA Pro Bono program is a way for eligible members of the Financial Planning Association (FPA) to give back to their communities by providing free, unconditional financial planning advice to individuals and families in need or in crisis.
Financial planning is a profession built on hope and optimism, and FPA is committed to ensuring that the possibility of a better future is readily available to all who need these services but cannot. afford them or access them. The FPA Pro Bono program connects passionate financial planning practitioners with individuals, families and communities in need.
FPA’s nationwide network of chapters and state councils, in partnership with local community organizations, are leading the way in helping thousands of Americans struggling to achieve their goals and dreams financially through a variety of outreach programs. community. Pro bono programs target underserved individuals and families who are trying to build assets and improve their lives, but cannot afford to hire a financial planner on their own.
Who is eligible for pro bono services?
The FPA Pro Bono program targets underserved individuals and families, e.g. low income individuals and families, military/veteran personnel, survivors of domestic violence; people affected by natural disasters, severe medical crises, bankruptcies, etc., who do not have the resources to retain a financial planner themselves, as well as nonprofit community organizations (CBOs) that serve this population.
How is pro bono financial planning defined?
A common definition of “pro bono” helps the profession track and measure efforts. We believe that a hard-hitting definition of pro bono financial planning will differentiate it from broader financial literacy efforts. Collectively, with FPA, FFP, NAPFA and CFP Board, we define pro bono financial planning as:
Free, no-obligation financial advice and planning for the underserved* provided by or in conjunction with a volunteer CFP® Professional. These services should be provided through one-on-one engagements or interactive group sessions on specific topics to an at-risk audience, with the option of a personalized engagement to follow.
What is the difference between pro bono and financial literacy?
Pro bono financial planning goes beyond financial literacy by offering advice that is: Confidential. Interactive. Personalized. Actionable. It emphasizes the importance of one-on-one interaction and supports deeper, personalized and more meaningful interventions between volunteers and the individuals and families they serve. It highlights the pro bono client’s ability to meet one-on-one with a CFP® professional to achieve a financial success framework and, at a minimum, the ability for the client to ask questions about their private personal finances and receive precise information, objective answers to clarify their choices.
How and why would someone access pro bono financial planning through FPA?
Financial planning is empowering. It provides a clear picture of your financial situation and how the right course of action can turn financial challenges into opportunities for a better path forward. And contrary to what some people think, financial planning is for everyone, no matter how much money you have. What’s important is that there are knowledgeable and experienced financial planners who care about you and make their expertise available to consumers who need help.
The result of this work is tangible, impactful and lasting. In 2021, more than 11,200 consumers across the country received pro bono financial planning or attended financial education workshops hosted by FPA members and chapters. Over 17,000 hours of pro bono financial planning advice has been provided by our FPA members and chapters to help people living in underserved and at-risk communities realize the power of financial planning. This represents an 18% increase in the number of volunteer hours provided over the previous year.
Everyone deserves to have hope and optimism about their financial future. No matter your background or situation, there’s a financial planner out there looking to help. See for yourself how pro bono financial planning can change your future.
Are you part of an underserved or at-risk community and could benefit from pro bono financial planning advice from a volunteer financial planner? Through our national network of local FPA chapters and a variety of national partnerships, there are a number of programs available to consumers seeking pro bono financial planning advice.
The best place to start is on the pro bono pages of our website: https://www.financialplanningassociation.org/advocacy/pro-bono-program/consumers.
Here you can find a link to a map of our chapters across the country and log in to find out what pro bono programs and activities may be available in your local community.
On the website, you can learn more about some of our national pro bono programs, including:
- Cancer financial planning program that helps families deal with the financial implications of a cancer diagnosis
- Homes For Our Troops, which provides financial planning to seriously injured veterans after 9/11
- COVID-Initiative which provides financial planning and pro bono advice to those negatively affected by the pandemic
- Links to some of our partners who provide additional personal finance resources
Kristin M. Pugh, CFP®, is a private wealth manager at Creative Planning and chair of FPA’s Pro Bono Advisory Board. Dennis J. Moore, MBA, CFP®, Director of Wealth Management Operations at Mercer Advisors and 2022 Chairman of the Board of FPA
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