Throughout his impressive 30-year military career, Dick Power successfully managed massive budgets for various computing and logistics projects. After obtaining his master's degree in business administration, he transitioned into the corporate world and became an executive at a prominent Fortune 500 company. However, even after retiring, Power chose to dedicate his time and expertise to helping others. Now, as an 82-year-old volunteer financial planner, he goes above and beyond to assist veterans in organizing their financial lives through video chats.
Far from being a temporary commitment, Power forms long-term relationships with his clients, patiently guiding them towards financial stability. Resolving significant credit card debt, for example, often proves to be an arduous process that demands careful navigation, meticulous planning, and diligent execution of payment plans.
Power became a certified financial planner in the early 1990s, having completed a night course at Boston University. Following the tragic events of September 11th, he felt compelled to offer his expertise pro bono. Even in his semi-retired state, Power maintains his CFP credentials to ensure he can continue providing valuable assistance to those in need.
In the aftermath of 9/11, while most direct aid for victims' families focused on New York, Power and his colleagues recognized the potential financial upheaval that reserve military personnel would experience. They saw an opportunity to step in and provide free financial planning services to National Guard members. This initiative, which Power previously led as part of the Financial Planning Association's pro bono program, remains an ongoing commitment to this day.
The Power of Pro Bono Financial Planning
As a professional copywriter, I believe that pro bono financial planning can make a significant impact when it is conducted in collaboration with organizations that already have established relationships with individuals in need. According to Power, an experienced planner, the best way to get involved is by joining a professional organization or partnering directly with a service-providing entity.
Power highlights the importance of addressing current needs and responding to individuals who have actively sought help. Unfortunately, some planners sign up for volunteer work but struggle to find clients who are willing to participate, leading to discouragement and eventually resignation from their efforts.
One particular organization that Power works with is Homes for Our Troops, an initiative dedicated to constructing accessible housing for wounded veterans. However, veterans facing financial difficulties are unable to qualify for this housing assistance.
Recognizing this challenge, Power and his team develop financial plans based on the veterans' available resources. By equipping them with essential budgeting skills, they ensure that these individuals can manage ongoing expenses associated with homeownership. This allows them to overcome financial obstacles and become eligible for the housing program.
Power shares a heartwarming story from three years ago when he began assisting a wounded Army veteran in dire financial straits. Through regular video chats, they meticulously worked towards debt clearance, ultimately enabling her qualification for a new home. Witnessing her joy as she received the keys was a defining moment for Power. Seeing her newfound freedom as she effortlessly maneuvered her wheelchair in her new space magnified the impact of his work.
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