What is financial stress? Often, it starts with something small, a bill that is a little more expensive than usual, an illness, a hike in school fees or a car that breaks down. And in *Will and Naomi’s case, that is exactly what happened.

Will is a 30-year old veteran who served in the RAAF for eight years and was medically discharged after suffering significant injuries and being unable to work. Naomi, his wife, has been the primary carer of their young children and receives no income. They receive a pension, but after a few big bills came in all at once, Will and Naomi suddenly felt overwhelmed and anxious.

Will says, “The Bravery Trust team were quick to respond and really listened to our story. They helped to pay off a few of our big utility bills and two weeks’ rent. It felt like an enormous weight was immediately lifted from my shoulders. Bravery Trust asked us if we’d like to meet with their financial counsellor, which we’ve done. The counsellor has helped us develop a budget and a money management plan, assisted in discussions with our creditors and negotiated reduced payments or debts. I am so grateful for the assistance, particularly the team who worked with me, they acknowledged my circumstances and injuries and understood some of the issues it can bring.”

Belinda Wilson, CEO says, “Many people don’t know or understand what a financial counsellor does. Their work is different from financial planners or budget workers; financial counsellors’ services are designed specifically for those who are having trouble with their money, rather than those who are looking to build or protect existing wealth.

As we have seen, people can be affected by a myriad of unexpected life changes that can attribute to their financial stress, such as job loss, natural disaster, mental health, family violence or terminal illness. I am thrilled that Bravery Trust can now offer financial counselling, as financial stress is very difficult, and we want to ensure people get help sooner rather than later. There are usually more options if action is taken early.”

*Real names and images not used to protect privacy

Bravery Trust is a registered business name of the Australian Defence Force Assistance Trust, a nationally registered charity.