Elisabeth Bohun brings an infectious enthusiasm to her role as a Department of Human Services Financial Information Services Officer (FISO), and there is no doubt she is passionate about making a difference to customers.
After fifteen years with the department – eight of those as a FISO – Elisabeth continues to get a buzz out of her work.
“My role is all about educating people about the impacts of their financial choices, giving them options, and empowering them to make educated decisions about their money,” Elisabeth says.
“Whether I’m meeting one-on-one with a customer, or presenting a seminar to a room of people, I absolutely love it when people come to me afterwards and say, ‘Aha! You’ve helped me to understand. I didn’t know how that worked before, and now I do.’
“If I could do that every day, that would be wonderful.”
As well as hosting regular financial information seminars in and around Albany, Western Australia, Elisabeth is also something of a local media star, making regular appearances on her local community radio station 4UFM.
“It’s another way to share the information with my local community and customers, and I often bump into people at the shops who say, ‘I heard you on the radio!’” she says.
While Elisabeth makes the point her role is to provide information, not advice, it might be a different story with her family.
“When my son was eighteen and working full-time, I got straight onto him telling him to put extra into super, and not into his car! I told him, ‘In forty years’ time you’ll look back and go “Mum knew best!”’
“He recently went to a presentation at his work where he received similar advice, and came back to me saying, ‘I think you’re onto something!’”
Elisabeth says she and her colleagues are increasingly reaching out to a younger audience.
“The information we provide is not just limited to explaining the payments available to people in retirement,” she says.
“We can create really valuable outcomes by speaking to a younger age group, and give them the tools to make good decisions that enable them to be comfortable and self-sufficient in the long term.”
If she could offer only one tip to people, Elisabeth says it would be to take an interest in your finances and to educate yourself.
“It’s too easy to put managing money into the ‘too hard’ basket, to let your super automatically go into a fund and never think about it. But find out all you can, make educated choices, and you’ll have more control over your life and financial future.”
Locals can catch up with Elisabeth at her next seminars at the Esperance Public Library on Tuesday 20 September, on the topics ‘Age Pension and your choices’, and ‘Assets Test changes’.
Elisabeth also has seminars coming up in Bunbury in November, and Albany in December.
Read more information on the department’s Financial Information Service, including a full list of seminars coming up in your local area.
To speak one-on-one to a FISO, call 132 300.