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, no-obligation financial planning advice to individuals and families in need or in crisis.
Financial planning is a profession rooted in hope and optimism, and FPA is committed to ensuring that the opportunity for a better future is available to all who need the services but cannot afford or have access to them. The FPA Pro Bono program connects passionate financial planners with individuals, families and communities in need.
FPA’s nationwide network of chapters and state councils, in partnership with local community organizations, leads the way by helping thousands of Americans struggle financially to achieve their goals and dreams through a variety of community programs. Pro bono programs cater to underserved individuals and families who seek to build wealth and improve their lives but cannot afford to hire a financial planner themselves.
Who is eligible for pro bono benefits?
The FPA pro bono program is aimed at underserved individuals and families, e.g. B. Low-income individuals and families, military personnel/veterans, survivors of domestic violence; People affected by natural disasters, major medical crises, bankruptcies, etc. who lack the resources to run a financial planner themselves, and nonprofit community-based organizations (CBOs) serving this demographic.
How is pro bono financial planning defined?
A common definition of pro bono helps the profession track and measure efforts. We believe that an effective definition of pro bono financial planning will differentiate it from broader financial education efforts. Along with the 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 collaboration with a CFP® volunteer expert. These services are intended to be delivered through one-on-one conversations or through interactive group sessions on topics specific to vulnerable audiences, with the option for personalized engagement afterwards.
What is the difference between pro bono and financial literacy?
Pro bono financial planning goes beyond financial education by providing guidance that means: Confidential. interactive. Personalized. Actionable. It emphasizes the importance of one-on-one interaction, supporting deeper, personalized, and more meaningful interventions between volunteers and the individuals and families they serve. It underscores the pro bono client’s ability to meet face-to-face with a CFP® professional to receive a framework for financial success and, at a minimum, the client’s ability to ask questions about their private personal finances and provide accurate, objective answers to inform their decisions.
How and why would someone access pro bono financial planning through FPA?
Financial planning makes you strong. It offers a clear picture of your financial situation and how the right approach can turn financial challenges into opportunities for a better way forward. And contrary to what some people think, financial planning is for everyone, no matter how much money you have. Importantly, there are knowledgeable, experienced financial planners who care and make their expertise available to consumers who need help.
The result of this work is tangible, effective and sustainable. In 2021, more than 11,200 consumers nationwide received free financial planning or attended financial education workshops hosted by FPA members and chapters. Over 17,000 hours of free financial planning advice have been provided by our FPA members and chapters to help people in underserved and at-risk communities see the power of financial planning. Compared to the previous year, this means an increase of 18% in volunteer hours.
Everyone deserves to be hopeful and optimistic about their financial future. No matter your background or situation, there is a financial planner who wants to help you. See for yourself how free financial planning can change your tomorrow.
Are you part of an underserved or at-risk community and could benefit from a free financial planning consultation from a volunteer financial planner? Through our nationwide network of local FPA chapters and a variety of national partnerships, a number of programs are available to consumers looking for free financial planning advice.
The best place to start is the pro bono pages of our website: https://www.financialplanningassociation.org/advocacy/pro-bono-program/consumers.
Here is a link to a map of our chapters across the country and you can connect to find out what pro bono programs and activities are available in your local community.
Visit the website to learn more about some of our national pro bono programs, including:
- Financial Planning for Cancer Program that helps families cope with the financial consequences of a cancer diagnosis
- Homes For Our Troops, which provides financial planning for critically injured post-9/11 veterans
- COVID initiative providing free financial planning and advice to those adversely 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 Committee. Dennis J. Moore, MBA, CFP®, Director of Wealth Management Operations at Mercer Advisors and 2022 President of the FPA Board