It’s mid-way through Financial Planning Week and financial planners are herding the suckers in.

As  part of the 15th annual convention Australia’s biggest accounting firm, H & R Block, has created a separate week-long financial advice service for all taxpayers – whether you’re a client of H & R Block or not.

The Financial Planning Association (FPA) has matched this by offering its own free advice service through an online forum. This can be found at www.ask.fpa.com.au. The association says those who avail themselves of the no-cost service will have access to accredited financial planners.

In previous years the forum found most questions revolved around the consolidation of superannuation funds, retirement planning, strategies for accumulating money for a mortgage, debt consolidation, and investing.

This year many are expecting debt consolidation to be the main topic of inquiry.

CEO of the FPA, Mark Rantall, said there was research showing people felt better and more in control of their future after consulting a financial planner.

“Too many Australians still believe that financial planners are only for the wealthy, yet nothing could be further from the truth.”

Mr Rantall said a survey by the FPA showed the number of people using a financial planner rose by 100,000 last year to 2.5 million people.

It’s a curious coincidence then that in the same time household and personal debt, bankruptcies, and financial stress soared higher than at any other time in our nation’s history.

It’s also bewildering how the FPA can resist all attempts at governmental investigation and regulation (through the Future of Financial Advice Inquiry) yet claim to be the financial saviours of the country.

When visiting a financial adviser your first question should always be: “What’s the difference between paying you for tips on stock and paying someone at the track for tips on horse races?”

Post your answers below.

Financial Planning Week runs from Wednesday to Sunday (that alone should tell you something).

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