|Monday, October 20, 2008
George Smaragdis (202) 728-8988
Washington, DC — Nearly 200 military spouses living in the United States and abroad have been accepted into the highly competitive Military Spouse Fellowship Program, one of many efforts launched by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation to increase the financial knowledge of military servicemembers and their families. The program will provide fellowship recipients with the education necessary to earn the Accredited Financial Counselor ® (AFC) designation and to provide financial counseling and education within the military community.
The program, which began in 2006, is administered in partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) and the National Military Family Association (NMFA). The fellowship covers the costs associated with completing the AFC training and testing.
"This program fills a need on two fronts—providing more trained financial counselors who understand and can help address the unique needs of military families, while also helping military spouses foster their own careers and marketability," said Mary Schapiro, CEO of FINRA and chairman of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the largest foundation in the United States dedicated to educating and protecting investors. "In light of the current challenges facing our economy, the Military Spouse Fellowship Program has never been more important in our efforts to help military families protect themselves in tough financial times."
The 189 military spouses were selected from thousands of applicants, and will immediately begin their training in military communities worldwide. The 2008 class of spouse fellows includes 33 spouses who live abroad. Of the fellowship recipients, 33 percent are Army spouses, 23 percent are Air Force spouses, 22 percent are Navy spouses and 11 percent are Marine Corps spouses.
Recipients of the Military Spouse Fellowship must commit not only to completing the courses of study, but to working or volunteering in the financial counseling field serving the military for up to two years.
Many military employers, such as credit unions, financial aid offices and community service centers, need well-trained financial counselors to meet the increasing demand for financial counseling services—from budgeting and credit management to financially preparing families for Permanent Change of Station moves and deployments. With this training, military spouses can apply their own experiences and help more military families while building a rewarding career that is flexible and can conform to the demands of the military family lifestyle.
Amy Hutchison, an accredited military spouse from the 2006 class of fellows, has put her program experience into practice at the Fleet and Family Support Centers of Hampton Roads (Virginia), where the training she gained through the Military Spouse Fellowship Program helped her secure a promotion to financial educator.
"The program has helped me personally and professionally," Hutchison said. "It's changed the way I think about money, and through the program, I've had the opportunity to pay it forward-to other members of the Norfolk, Virginia, military community. If the resources and assistance I provide to servicemembers and their families can make their lives a little better, then I have done my job."
The program is open to spouses of active duty or retired Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Army or Air National Guard or reserve component servicemembers, as well as spouses of U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration professionals.
A list of the 2008 class of spouse fellows is available upon request.
About the FINRA Investor Education Foundation
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation is the largest foundation in the United States dedicated to investor education. Its mission is to provide investors with high-quality, easily accessible information and tools to better understand the markets and the basic principles of saving and investing. In 2006, the Foundation launched a multifaceted program to expand the saving and investing knowledge of military servicemembers and their spouses, including a free, unbiased resource, www.SaveAndInvest.org. A proud partner in the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Campaign, the Foundation also presents financial education forums at military installations worldwide.
The Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) provides professional development experiences for financial educators, practitioners and researchers to improve the economic well-being of individuals and families worldwide. The Association's vision is to be internationally recognized as the leading provider of professional development opportunities. Visit www.afcpe.org for more information.
The National Military Family Association is the only national organization whose sole focus is the military family and whose goal is to influence the development and implementation of policies that will improve the lives of the families of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. For more than 35 years, its staff and volunteers, comprising mostly military family members, have built a reputation for being the leading experts on military family issues. Visit www.nmfa.org for more information.