Craig Davidson from Human Services talks about the Financial Information Service

Craig Davidson from Human Services talks about the Financial Information Service



So what's the FIS program and what can people get out of it? The Financial Information Service (or FIS)
is an education and information service available to everyone in the community. We help people make informed decisions about investment and financial matters for their current and future financial needs. Importantly, FIS is independent, it's free
and it's confidential and we provide services through a dedicated phone service, through face-to-face interviews and through a national seminar program. FIS officers do provide information, we don't provide financial advice or financial planning. Our focus is on increasing financial understanding and financial capability and that's why we're an education program only. So while FISO's are trained in financial planning and advice principles, they don't actually provide financial advice and they don't create a financial plan. We can't advise or recommend particular products or providers, but we do provide information for people so that they can make their own financial decisions. We don't tell them what to do with their money because that decision is theirs. If people want to find out about FIS seminars near them, they can go to the Human Services website at humanservices.gov.au/fis. At that site they will have a listing of seminars that are available in each state across Australia and also some links and information on how to register attendance for those seminars. So some examples of the types of information that FIS officers would give to people. Look in honesty there's countless variety of
interactions that FISO's have with their customers, but some key ones include pre-retirees who are seeking information to assist with super strategies, to assist with salary sacrificing. Certainly people come in to talk about some of their taxation information, particularly capital gains tax, sometimes granny flat provisions as well. A big piece of work that we're seeing more and more now is aged-care arrangements and fees for people who are entering into residential aged care. FIS is also involved in the redundancy space. When people are going through redundancy or retrenchment they will come to us for information on what to do with payouts and to understand some of the waiting periods before they can get on to a government payment or a benefit. Property settlement, how to handle an inheritance, but the bulk of what FIS does is pension based, so pension based queries, particularly around income and asset test scenarios. For people in the Financial Literacy Community of Practice network who would like to engage with FIS, we can certainly direct people to
the website, humanservices.gov.au/fis. There's contact details there for how to get in touch with us. Also if you follow DHS or Department of Human Services on social media, particularly Facebook, there's articles that come up regularly about FIS and the offering that we have and particular good news stories that come through there. And that's a channel that you can contact
us on as well. Also our 13 23 00, that's the older Australian's hotline for Human Services. But there's a voice prompt that comes up
early on in the piece when you ring that number that can direct you through to the Financial Information Service. Alternatively, we do have 145 FIS officers
who are located in DHS service centres nationwide, so if you wanted to pop in and make arrangements to see them, that's also available to you. So why is financial literacy important from a FIS perspective? Financial decisions are integral to people's every day lives. And the ability to make wise decisions with money can genuinely be life changing. FIS itself operates on a principle that a
better understanding of financial affairs gives people more choices that can lead to a better lifestyle both now and in retirement. And also financial literacy extends beyond
people just having greater skills with money. It can mean a more resilient and a more capable financial system here in Australia and from a government perspective as well, it can literally have a positive impact on the national economy.

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