Free, independent advice for your retirement

The Financial Information Service (FIS) is a great government service which was set up as the ‘Financial Information Service for Pensioners’ 29 years ago. It’s been helping older Australians make better decisions about their finances for all of those years, giving them free, independent and confidential advice about retirement, aged care and any taxation implications.

Because the FIS was so popular, in 1991, the Department of Human Services expanded it so now people of all ages and all walks of life are able to increase their financial knowledge by accessing the FIS, regardless of their age or income.

Anyone can access this free service
To access the FIS you simply call up the Department of Human Services on its FIS booking phone line – 132 300 – and ask to speak to an FIS Officer. They will be able to give you advice over the phone or if they are busy, they’ll be able to schedule a call back at a later time.

If you’d rather talk with someone face-to-face you can make an appointment to see an FIS Officer and talk with them, asking your questions about your finances. You can also check out what FIS seminars are being held near you and attend one of these. FIS seminar topics include ‘Understanding your pension and your options’ and they also cover what government payments and services you’re eligible for if your financial situation changes.

The FIS informs people about matters such as:
•    Investing principles
•    Superannuation
•    Retirement planning
•    Aged care costs and taxation implications

Once you have access to all of this information, you’ll be better able to:
•    Understand your own financial affairs and options
•    Understand financial planners and how to use their advice
•    Save and plan for the future through investing
•    Plan for your retirement and increase your overall retirement income
•    Understand what are the costs involved when you move into aged care

It’s important to keep in mind that FIS Officers are not financial planners or counsellors and so they won’t sell you financial advice nor will they tell you how to invest your money. But they will teach you how to understand financial advisors and how to use their advice for your circumstances.

A free, impartial service
As Financial Information Service officer, Justin Bott explains: “The Financial Information Service is a free, impartial service to help people understand their financial situation and helps them make educated decisions about their finances.”

“We listen to what seniors want to hear about and answer their questions on these accounts and in podcasts,” he adds.

As well he adds: “The Seniors Update Facebook and Twitter accounts are a great way for us to stay in touch with seniors.”

To find out more about the FIS
To find out when an FIS seminar is being held in your local area, just head to the Department of Human Services’ website and you’ll find all the information you need here.

The website will show all the upcoming FIS seminars by state  so take a look here.

Bookings are essential and people can book by emailing the department at fis.seminar.bookings@humanservices.gov.au or calling the FIS seminar booking phone line on 136 357.

You can also phone 132 300 and ask to speak to a Financial Information Service Officer.