What You Need to Know
- The pandemic created an increased need for free financial advice, according to FFP.
- FFP saw a 27% increase in the number of one-on-one advice sessions for at-risk individuals provided by its grantees and partners.
- The number of overall program participants, including those in financial guidance workshops, nearly doubled.
The Foundation for Financial Planning’s pro bono financial planning efforts for people in crisis or need increased significantly in 2020 as advisors stepped up to help those most affected by economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, it said Thursday.
FFP saw a 27% increase in the total number of one-on-one advice sessions for at-risk individuals provided by its grantees and partners, growing from 9,200 in 2019 to about 11,700 in 2020, it said.
Meanwhile, the number of overall program participants, including those in financial guidance workshops, nearly doubled, from about 26,700 in 2019 to more than 43,300 in 2020, it said.
By the end of 2020, more than 70% of Americans reported financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, with three-quarters of that group saying they struggled to pay basic bills, according to FFP.
“One year ago, we watched what was happening across the country and knew that FFP and our partners were in a position to help,” according to Jon Dauphiné, FFP CEO. “We quickly pivoted and expanded our efforts, focusing as much as possible on bringing guidance to those most impacted by this crisis,” he said in a statement.
FFP last year launched a COVID-19 Financial Resilience Fund that it said was driven by a $500,000 matching commitment from Charles Schwab Foundation.
To respond to the pandemic and related economic fallout, FFP said it awarded more than $800,000 to local and national pro bono programs for 2020 and 2021, including more than $60,000 in emergency grants to enable partners to pivot to virtual service.
FFP also activated about 1,737 financial advisors to volunteer their time, developed an online Coronavirus & Pro Bono Planning Resource Center and educational webinars that attracted more than 4,800 visitors and participants; and expanded its work to reach those made most vulnerable by the pandemic, including at-risk seniors, health care first responders, people with serious illness, and lower-income front-line workers, it said.