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Committing to Serve Members of the Military in Money Matters

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- With a promise to provide guidance to those who serve our country, 50 military spouses have received fellowships that will enable them to hone their financial advising skills. Sponsored by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the selected military spouses will receive training necessary to earn the Accredited Financial Counselor® (AFC®) designation.

"Over the past seven years, more than a thousand FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellows have worked to improve the financial lives of tens of thousands of military service members across the country and around the world," says FINRA Foundation President Gerri Walsh. "In military communities everywhere, spouse fellows are helping military families manage their money wisely and build a path to greater financial security."

The program is administered in partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) and the National Military Family Association. Since its beginning in 2006, more than 1,250 fellowships have been awarded to military spouses across the United States and around the world. The program covers the costs associated with completing AFC® training and testing.

In return, recipients commit to working in the financial counseling field serving their communities for up to two years.

"We have worked closely with the military community to make this program meet the unique challenges faced by military spouses," says Rebecca Wiggins, Executive Director of AFCPE®. "Wherever military life may send them, spouses who complete this program will have a valuable credential that can help them build a successful professional life."

To date, spouse fellows have logged more than 375,000 hours assisting service members and their communities. Currently accredited spouses serve as financial counselors at family readiness and support centers, credit counseling and tax centers, financial aid offices and local military credit unions. "Military spouses face unique challenges - ranging from PCS moves to multiple deployments - as they build their careers," says Joyce Wessel Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association. "The Military Spouse Fellowship program helps spouses balance the demands of the military lifestyle, while at the same time building a rewarding career."