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A Military Spouse Perspective: Pursuing a Career as a Financial Counselor

March 22, 2016

annette carterMy early financial education was given to me by my parents, sort of unintentionally and mostly from observation.   As I grew up and became an adult, I learned some better financial practices from friends and associates.  I also started reading books that taught about financial topics.

My husband and I started a small real estate investing company where I learned about accounting, budgeting and risk taking.  I also began to realize how many people live paycheck to paycheck.

After many years working in the private sector and maintaining his reserve status in the U.S. Army, my husband decided to go back into the Army full-time as an AGR (Army Guard Reservist) officer. Making the change to the military life meant moving and leaving my part-time job behind.  At our first assignment, I was not able to secure employment in my chosen field as there were too many restrictions in that state.  When we went to our next assignment, I was hopeful that I could find work, but was disappointed to find out that where we moved did not support me working there, either.  So, when I learned about the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship for AFC® I was very excited.  It was the perfect opportunity to pursue an area I had long been interested in and provide the flexibility I needed as a military spouse. I applied and was accepted into the program!

My undergraduate degree is in Elementary Education so teaching others is something that has always come natural to me.  That coupled with my interest in personal financial topics made pursuing certification in financial counseling feel like the perfect match. Now over a year into the fellowship program, I am so thankful I made the decision to apply. The program offers excellent study materials and a webinar style class taught by a very knowledgeable instructor.  The webinar format allows spouses to join no matter where they live. While the material is extensive, I felt well prepared to take the exam – and did so by keeping up with the syllabus and testing while the material was still fresh in my mind.

The curriculum of the course is varied and interesting and I feel like I’ve learned so much in such a short period of time.  I have been able to apply principles taught in my own life and it’s been a great reminder of things that will benefit my family and me financially.  I strive to teach my children intentionally about financial matters.

As part of the program, I have also been able to earn practicum hours and give back to the military community. Most of my hours were spent at Army Community Services in the Financial Readiness program.  There I was able to work with Soldiers and their families and civilians who work with the military.  It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve this population so far and I hope to find work in the financial field where I can continue working with the military population.

My overall experience with the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship has been incredibly positive and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to participate alongside so many fine individuals who know what it’s like to live the military life!

Guest Contributor: Annette Carter, AFC® Candidate, FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellow

Apply for the 2016 FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program. Accepting applications now through April 22, 2016.


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