Financial counsellor Steve Snelgrove, from the Lismore & District Financial Counselling Service based at the Lismore Neighbourhood Centre.
Financial counsellor Steve Snelgrove, from the Lismore & District Financial Counselling Service based at the Lismore Neighbourhood Centre. Cathy Adams

Lismore counsellor creates guide for those facing bankruptcy

A LISMORE-based financial counsellor has helped create an Australian first, generating a comprehensive guide for people dealing with bankruptcy.

While there is a lot of information available about bankruptcy, Steve Snelgrove from the Lismore & District Financial Counselling Service said the subject is so complex, distilling the information can be overwhelming.

In a bid to clarify the process, Mr Snelgrove has co-authored a comprehensive toolkit for community workers whose clients are facing bankruptcy or are already bankrupt.

The 300-page document includes input from financial counsellors, community legal experts, and has the stamp of approval from relevant institutions including the Australian Financial Security Authority.

The toolkit is the first of its kind in Australia and may eventually be taken up nationally but first it will be launched in Lismore on Thursday.

"Many financial counsellors have already developed their own forms and procedures for assisting clients with bankruptcy. In this kit we try to pool the benefit of this vast experience," Mr Snelgrove said.

"It's trying to humanise the issues people can face.

"Going into bankruptcy is a huge decision that can have major implications for the rest of someone's life, and people need to understand what bankruptcy will mean to them now and in the future."

"Those long-term consequences are your credit rating can be affected, there may be certain professions you won't be able to work in in the future, there may be implications about travelling overseas."

Mr Snelgrove said the Lismore & District Financial Counselling Service advises more than 500 clients a year with 30% of them planning on filing for bankruptcy.

"We also seem to get a lot of terminally ill clients and clients in very serious health situations who with multiple stresses are often looking at bankruptcy as a way through," he said.

"We look at bankruptcy as one of a raft of solutions, and with better information people are much more able to find out where it sits.

"That's why we've brought out this toolkit.

"The number one thing is if you are thinking about going bankrupt, get some advice."



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