Military Spouse Fellows Support the Military Community as Accredited Financial Counselors® to Help Increase the Financial Capability of Military Families
WASHINGTON — The FINRA Investor Education Foundation (FINRA Foundation) has announced the recipients of the first annual awards to FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellows for outstanding service and dedication to military service members and their families.
The FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship offers military spouses the opportunity to earn a career-enhancing credential—the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) certificate—while providing financial counseling and education to the military community. Created in 2006, the program is administered in partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) and the National Military Family Association (NMFA).
Cherie Stueve, a 2011 graduate of the fellowship program and the spouse of a retired U.S. Coast Guard officer, received the 2018 Fellow of the Year Award for her continued commitment and service to the fellowship program and for counseling countless military families in need.
“Fellows are doing amazing things,” Stueve said. “I’ve been so inspired by my peers—their mentoring and their stories of who they are helping. “Their successes just make me want to do more to give back to the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship program, AFCPE and the military community.”
Andi Wrenn, a 2008 FINRA Foundation fellowship graduate and the widow of a former U.S. Air Force colonel, was recognized as Mentor of the Year for her tireless efforts in mentoring incoming Fellows and supporting military families for more than a decade.
“The work that we do as military spouses and the support that we get from the FINRA Foundation is so important because we are passionate about the work that we do—helping service members and their families become financially fit and to pay that forward through generations,” Wrenn said.
“I could not be more pleased by the caliber of their expertise, professionalism and devotion to serving the military community,” said FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh about the award recipients. “While all of our military spouse Fellows are to be commended for the invaluable service they provide to our military and veterans, these AFCs have excelled in their contributions and continue to deliver a significant, positive impact on the lives of military families across the nation and the globe.”
There are more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty and nearly 800,000 reserve forces, according to the U.S. Department of Defense.
“Military families face unique economic challenges due to frequent moves and deployments. Our military spouse Fellows understand, firsthand, the additional stressors that can place on military families. Whether on-base or deployed overseas, our Fellows ensure that military service members have access to financial education information that enables them to make prudent saving and investing decisions for themselves and their families,” Walsh said.
Fellows often serve in critical positions throughout the military community. Many work as installation Personal Financial Managers, Personal Financial Counselors or as relief society financial counselors, paid and volunteer. Since 2006, spouse fellow candidates in pursuit of their AFC designation have provided assistance to more than 185,000 military clients and dedicated more than 465,000 hours of service helping military families reach their financial goals.
FINRA Foundation Fellows also play a role in providing services to veterans. There are approximately 22 million military veterans in America, many of whom face significant financial challenges. According to a 2017 FINRA Foundation study, veterans are 40 percent more likely to be underwater on their home and 28 percent more likely to have made a late home payment. In addition, veterans are more likely to engage in problematic credit card behavior – like carrying a balance and being charged a late payment fee.
The FINRA Foundation also provides information and resources to service members transitioning to civilian life. For more information, visit www.saveandinvest.org/military.
Cheri Stueve has utilized her experience as an accountant, auditor and financial counselor in both the private sector and within the military. She has a wealth of experience in helping military and civilian families, drawing upon her own experience regularly as a military spouse and mother of two experiencing frequent family moves. Stueve continues to counsel military families daily and also serves as a researcher and instructor at Kansas State University. She has mentored incoming Fellows for years, at each and every level, including serving as a reviewer and as a vital referral source.
Andi Wrenn has been particularly active in the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship community. Wrenn has more than 25 years of experience counseling, mediating and mentoring, and has supported other FINRA Foundation Fellows and military spouses throughout her affiliation with the FINRA Foundation program. Wrenn initiated and continues to manage a vibrant social media community for Fellows to exchange ideas. In doing so, she has cultivated a vast network of Fellows to ensure they stay connected and to provide answers and referrals to assist military families.
FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program
The FINRA Foundation program has awarded more than 1,500 fellowships to military spouses. While working toward the AFC credential, Fellows have provided financial counseling and education to more than 185,000 service members and spent more than 465,000 hours helping military families reach their financial goals in the United States and around the world.
Fellows are spouses of currently serving, or retired, service members in the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and National Guard. They are selected from a competitive pool of applicants and train in military communities worldwide.
Following the completion of the program, FINRA Foundation Fellows are certified to support the military community as financial counselors at family readiness and support centers, credit counseling and tax centers, military relief societies and credit unions throughout the U.S. and internationally. Fellows undergo rigorous training, coursework and experiential hours to gain hands-on experience, all at no cost to the Fellows.
The Foundation will begin accepting application for the 2019 Military Spouse Fellowship Program in March 2019. For more information visit https://www.saveandinvest.org/military/military-spouse-fellowship-program.
FINRA Investor Education Foundation
The FINRA Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that give underserved Americans the knowledge, skills and tools to make sound financial decisions throughout life. For more information about FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit www.finrafoundation.org.
FINRA is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to investor protection and market integrity. It regulates one critical part of the securities industry – brokerage firms doing business with the public in the United States. FINRA, overseen by the SEC, writes rules, examines for and enforces compliance with FINRA rules and federal securities laws, registers broker-dealer personnel and offers them education and training, and informs the investing public. In addition, FINRA provides surveillance and other regulatory services for equities and options markets, as well as trade reporting and other industry utilities. FINRA also administers a dispute resolution forum for investors and brokerage firms and their registered employees. For more information, visit www.finra.org.