As a military spouse and parent, I know the frustration of thinking about my own goals and wondering “When will my time come?” For me, the small steps I took during those active duty years, combined with opportunities like the FINRA Military Spouse Fellowship for the Accredited Financial Counselor designation, have guaranteed an amazing new chapter in military retirement!
Life changes quickly as a military family; our lives are packed into boxes every few years as we change time zones and weather zones. Like death and taxes, change is about the only constant.
Constant change frustrated me! I wanted to buy a house and put down roots, find a great job and become an asset to the company, go back to school, and plan my life in detail 3, 5, or 10 years down the road.
Money management was frustrating, too. Housing and cost-of-living-allowances were always changing, military housing was available here and there, and I was always losing my accounting job, and ultimately losing the extra income. Going back to earn a master’s degree was a well-coordinated effort of location and my spouse’s duty assignments.
Many times, it was hard to see beyond the day-to-day challenges of supportive spouse and parent.
Retirement brought promises of stability. We finally bought that great house knowing we don’t have to move again. The nest was empty as children headed off to college. Now was my chapter!
I reflected on my future after being a full-time mom, all-around volunteer, and part-time accountant. I wanted to help people with their financial lives and be part of the solution to our national financial crisis. Plus, I could give back by supporting military families in making the most of their finances and the positive benefits of the military life.
The FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship helped me tremendously in my career shift to personal finance. The experience and connections from my practicum hours (the experience requirement) increased my skills and confidence when working with the military and civilian community. Still today, after earning the Accredited Financial Counselor designation in 2012, incredible opportunities arrive continuously for teaching, writing, networking, and counseling.
I have no doubt that everything associated with my Fellowship contributed to my acceptance to Kansas State University’s competitive PhD program in Personal Financial Planning, in 2013. As part of that program, I have also started the education classes towards the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation. My time has come, and the possibilities after my 2017 graduation are exciting!
Thank you FINRA, National Military Family Association, and the AFCPE for recognizing and honoring my role as a military spouse and financial counselor volunteer –and providing this Fellowship for military spouses.
The 2014 FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship applications period opens March 3-April 18. Visit http://www.militaryspouseafcpe.org/
for more information.