|Monday, March 30, 2009
Nancy Condon (202) 728-8379
George Smaragdis (202) 728-8988
Washington, DC — Military spouses can apply until April 30, 2009, to the competitive FINRA Foundation 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. More information is available at www.SaveAndInvest.org. Applications are available at www.nmfa.org and are due by April 30, 2009.
"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 job marketability," said John Gannon, president of the FINRA Foundation, the largest foundation in the United States dedicated to educating and protecting investors. "In light of the current challenges facing our economy, the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program has never been more important in our efforts to serve military families."
Last year, 1,050 spouses applied for the fellowship, and 187 are enrolled in the program. Since 2006, 108 have earned the AFC® designation. Of the accredited spouses, 41 percent are Army or Army National Guard spouses; 14 percent are Air Force, Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard spouses; 34 percent are Navy spouses; 8 percent are Marine Corps spouses; and 3 percent are Coast Guard spouses.
Recipients of the FINRA Foundation 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. To date, fellowship recipients have volunteered more than 100,000 hours toward completing the program's requirements.
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 PCS 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.
Arndrea Thomas, who earned accreditation in March 2008—just six months after she was accepted to the program—puts her program experience into practice as a financial manager at the Seymour Johnson Air Force Base Airman and Family Readiness Center in Goldsboro, N.C. The training she gained through the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program has increased her knowledge of personal finance "by 300 percent," she said.
"I like a challenge, and I like helping people," Thomas said. "Finances are at people's core, and it's not healthy for a family to worry about money. I like doing something that makes a difference and empowers people."
Profiles of accredited spouses who are working in military communities worldwide are available upon request.
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.
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.