On March 1, 2017, the application period opens for the FINRA Military Spouse Financial Counselor Fellowship. This Fellowship, in which a military spouse can earn an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC ®) certification through the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE), holds a close place in my heart. In 2010, I was awarded the Fellowship and 11 months later I earned my AFC ®. From there, my career took off.
Early in my spouse’s active duty career, I learned the importance of getting involved and volunteering. I focused on educating myself about the benefits and opportunities that were offered to military families, specifically military spouses. After we had PCS’d five times in just five years, I knew what it was like to not feel settled, to be far away from home and to feel lonely. So, I got busy. I learned about programs that the Airman & Family Readiness Center offered, much the same as the Army Community Service and Fleet & Family Support Centers. I wanted to know everything I didn’t know and wanted to help support others as I learned. Finally, I decided what I really want to do with my life and my career: I wanted to help support military families in whatever capacity I could.
When I learned about the Fellowship in 2008, I wasn’t sure it was for me. But, after finding out more, I realized I could not only personally benefit (who couldn’t stand to learn more about personal finance?) but the accreditation could definitely help me with my career goals.
In short, I studied hard and worked with a fabulous staff at the A&FRC at Laughlin Air Force Base to earn my practicum hours to become an AFC ®. Shortly after our PCS to the D.C. area, I secured my first full-time job since my husband joined the military.