There are many professionals you may engage with as you manage the physical and mental well-being challenges associated with your lung condition. These may include general practitioners, respiratory physicians, exercise physiologists, psychologists, or social workers. However, being diagnosed with a lung condition can also have a significant impact on your financial wellbeing and security. This may be particularly true if your lung condition prevents you from working as much as you are used to or even working at all. This could be due to increased healthcare appointments, treatment side effects or if your lung condition was caused or made worse by your workplace, such as silicosis, asbestosis, or mesothelioma.
Financial concerns add increased stress to you and your family, and it can feel impossible to think about budgets, bills, and repayments when you are adjusting to a lung condition. The Moneysmart website from the Australian Government offers useful information, resources, and calculators to help you create a budget and understand your finances, but you may also wish to speak to a suitably qualified professional. It is important to understand the type of financial professionals you can see and understand the difference between them.
What is the difference between a financial counsellor and a financial advisor?
A financial counsellor is a qualified professional who provides free advice, information and advocacy on how to manage financial concerns, financial hardship, and debt. They do not accept any payments from third parties and are usually funded through community centres, not-for-profit organisations, or government programs. A financial counsellor can help you prioritise your debts, develop budgets and plans, help access concessions or legal assistance, and negotiate with creditors or agencies (e.g., landlord, utilities) on your behalf. It can be difficult to find a financial counsellor in your area, but the Moneysmart website has a useful map you can use to search by postcode. There are additional resources if you have a small business or live and work in rural areas.
There is also a free National Debt Helpline (1800 007 007) and Mob Strong Debt Helpline (1800 808 488) you can call to access financial counselling via the telephone.
A financial advisor (sometimes known as a financial planner) is a qualified and licensed professional who advises on how to manage and increase your wealth and/or plan for long-term financial goals. This may include providing advice on investments such as property or shares, superannuation, life insurance, or they may assist with planning financially for retirement.
You would usually pay a fee to use a financial advisor’s services. This means it is important to identify a financial advisor that suits your needs. For example, if you receive compensation or a lump sum benefit for a work-related lung condition, you may wish to pay a financial advisor to help. It’s important to note, not all financial advisors may be familiar with personal injury claims and providing specific and timely advice. The Moneysmart website provides tips on choosing a financial advisor and has a register of financial advisors you can search by name or postcode.
To simplify, a financial counsellor offers assistance and support with managing debt and financial hardship, whereas a financial advisor provides advice on increasing your money and/or assets.
|Financial counsellor||Financial advisor|
|Helps you: Prioritise your debts Develop budgets and plans Access concessions or legal assistance Negotiates with creditors, agencies, utilities, landlords etc. on your behalf.||Helps you: Increase your assets and investments (e.g. property or shares) Plan for long-term financial goals and/or retirement Maximise the benefits of superannuation or life insurance.|
*Ask your financial advisor whether any costs incurred are eligible for tax deductions.
Managing my financial wellbeing
The decision to access financial counselling and/or financial advice/planning services is entirely yours. In the meantime, it can be helpful to talk to a social worker who can help with practical and social support around housing, daily tasks, communication, managing medical appointments, and provide emotional support.
Want to find further practical, social or financial support? Visit our Social Services Directory by clicking on the button below.