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AICPA broadens scope of financial planning education, assistance for consumers: pro bono services, web-based resources.

The AICPA and five of the country's leading financial planning groups have joined forces to reach out to sponsor the Project for Financial Independence, a pro bono financial planning effort offering free financial guidance to people who cannot afford an adviser or who face an immediate or unusual financial need.

Consumers who fall into one of four categories may be eligible to receive pro bono assistance under the Project for Financial Independence: low-income individuals (as defined by the U.S. Census Bureau at; enlisted military personnel; people who face an immediate financial crisis (e.g., a natural disaster, long-term illness, the death of a family member, job loss, etc.); or people who are struggling with significant indebtedness or recovering from bankruptcy.

In addition to the AICPA, the organizations collaborating on this project are the Financial Planning Association, Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, the Society of Financial Service Professionals, and the National Endowment for Financial Education, which organized the initial effort.

Initially, the Project for Financial Independence will work with Habitat for Humanity, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Volunteers of America to identify people needing assistance and link them to a local volunteer financial adviser belonging to one of the four participating membership organizations--the AICPA, FPA, NAPFA and SFSP. More charitable organizations will be invited to participate as the project grows.

CPAs and CPAs with the PFS credential are encouraged to lend their talents to this important public service project. Contact Jim Mullin of the AICPA at if you are interested. Visit for information, resources and guidelines regarding pro bono service.

To further expand its presence in the consumer side of financial planning, the AICPA developed financial planning resources specifically for the public's use which are now available on the AICPA's Web site ( Among the items featured on the site are guidance on budgeting and saving, estate and retirement planning, managing credit, and an investment primer. The site also provides information about CPAs who hold the Personal Financial Specialist credential.

Information on the AICPA's financial literacy programs (The CPA Letter, Feb.) is housed at
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Publication:CPA Letter
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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