A Special Thank You to Our Veterans and Volunteers

Sgt. Tony Doyle’s life was forever changed when he was severely injured while on tour in Iraq. Watch his family’s incredible story of courage and resilience, and discover how pro bono financial planning helped them reach financial freedom.

Giving pro bono financial advice can provide hope in these divided times

jd-2016

This has been a crazy year. The election divided the nation as the candidates argued over who could best champion the interests of the middle class, especially those who are struggling economically and feel left behind by globalization and technological change.

The Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule roiled the industry as debate continued on the ethics of the advisory profession’s compensation models and standard of care toward investors. And this year’s scandal involving a major financial institution’s inappropriate sales practices further eroded the public’s trust in the financial service sector’s integrity. Conflict and controversy have consumed much of the national conversation.

SERVING THE LESS FORTUNATE

The Foundation for Financial Planning exists to catalyze this work, to power pro bono financial planning by providing more than $6 million in support to local organizations and, with our partners, activating more than 15,000 volunteer planners over the last 21 years. As a younger profession, financial planning does not have as lengthy a pro bono tradition as law or medicine, but many planners joined the profession to help people and are eager to lend a hand to those who otherwise could not access services. Our survey of pro bono planners this year reveals this commitment:

• More than half of survey respondents provide one to two hours of pro bono service per month, with almost 10% providing more than 10 hours.

• About 60% said they had no preference between leading educational workshops and providing one-on-one counseling, but of those who did, three times as many (30%) preferred giving one-on-one advice.

• Almost 46% said they had no preference between providing a one-time session versus multiple meetings with the same person, with the rest splitting 2 to 1 in preferring one-time sessions — indicating a perceived need to balance pro bono with ongoing professional duties.

• A whopping 89% of volunteers said they were more likely to do business with a company that visibly supported pro bono, with 38% “a lot” more likely.

Not surprisingly, the vast majority of planners say the main reason they volunteer is to “help people who need it most.”

A CHALLENGE

But given the dire need that so many underserved people have for objective, expert financial advice, we are currently only scratching the surface. In these uncertain times, in this holiday season, I challenge you to think about how you might give back. Here are some ideas:

1. Contact your local Financial Planning Association chapter — many have pro bono programs serving vulnerable members of the community and could use new volunteers.

2. If you are a certified financial planner candidate, consider providing pro bono planning services to satisfy part of your experience requirement.

3. Talk to your employer about supporting pro bono activity in your community by, for example, informing the CFP professionals at the firm that they may provide service as an “outside business activity,” providing guidelines and crediting a few pro bono hours as time worked.

4. Explore the nonprofits that help vulnerable people in your community and recommend that they expand or adopt programs incorporating free financial planning — the foundation may be able to support them with a grant.

The bottom line is that your engagement in pro bono can help deepen the profession’s commitment to service in the public interest while providing you with satisfying opportunities to help others who are less fortunate.

One volunteer planner recently told me that he wasn’t sure what he was getting into when he began to volunteer at a local nonprofit; he had only ever worked with high-net-worth clients. But he was struck by the impact he could have and by how much his pro bono clients appreciated his help. He worked with one client, a struggling cab driver, for more than a year — helping him conquer his debt and eventually buy a home.

The planner told me with a smile, “He said I was the reason he realized his dream.”

Won’t you join us in powering pro bono financial planning?

Jon Dauphiné is executive director of the Foundation for Financial Planning.

 

Grantee Spotlight: Britepaths, formerly Our Daily Bread

Britepaths

Generally, our clients are the “working poor”– they work but have low incomes and could not otherwise afford the expert financial advice that we provide. When they arrive [to our Financial Counseling Clinics], they are often despondent, and when they leave they are filled with hope and a plan for how to move forward. With the support of the Foundation, we’ve given them not just pro bono help, but also help for a better future.

 

– Marcelle Miles, Financial Literacy Program Manager, Britepaths

Grantee Spotlight:

Britepaths, formerly Our Daily Bread (Fairfax, VA)

For over 30 years, Britepaths (formerly Our Daily Bread) has been improving the lives of vulnerable Northern Virginia residents. First founded as a temporary homeless shelter, the nonprofit later shifted its focus to provide food and job skills training to the homeless.

Today, Britepaths continues to empower underserved populations. Recognizing the demand for holistic support, they created the Project BRIDGE Program, which provides emergency food, financial support and seasonal assistance, while also offering financial mentoring and planning so clients can develop a plan for self-sufficiency.

Their Financial Counseling Clinics – launched in 2011 with a grant from the Foundation – offer pro bono financial planning to low-to-moderate income clients throughout Northern Virginia. During these monthly clinics, volunteer advisors from the Financial Planning Association of the National Capital Area analyze clients’ personal financial picture, offering at least five concrete steps to act on immediately in order to improve their financial situation. In its first two years, the program served over 100 people in one-on-one engagements, doubling that figure the following year.

“Our clients cannot afford to pay for financial advice, yet they are in the most need of financial literacy education and planning. Our one-on-one experiences encourage forward thinking and hope for their future.”

Learn more about the powerful work of Britepaths, Inc. at www.britepaths.org.

Britepaths

Nonprofits like Britepaths rely on support from volunteers. Are you a financial planner willing to take time out of your busy schedule to provide pro bono financial planning?

Click here to sign up.

For over 20 years, the Foundation has supported nonprofits that educate and empower vulnerable populations. Our mission is to help people take control of their financial lives by connecting the financial planning community with people in need. Help us support more nonprofits like Britepaths by making a donation today.

Donate

Why I Give

danquote

Dan Moisand CFP® Moisand Fitzgerald Tamayo, LLC


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conquering Debt

Family Greeting Military Father Home On Leave

“As veterans, we don’t have a lot of resources. We tend to rack up a lot of debt which outstrips our ability to repay.  I appreciate how the pro bono planner really cared about me, listened and created a plan that is helping me get back on track for a better financial future.”

Read More

$250,000 Plus Donors