Trey Spencer is an AFC® candidate and 2019 FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellow. He is currently a full-time stay-at-home-dad and military spouse. Trey volunteers at Ft. Still doing financial counseling and helping in the Legal Assistance Office.
During this FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship application period, we were excited to learn more about Trey and what inspired him to become an AFC.
AFCPE: How did you first learn about the AFC and the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program?
Trey: I heard about the program when I was first volunteering at Army Community Service here at Ft. Sill. I was interested in pursuing the AFC certification, and was told by some of my colleagues about this particular opportunity for military spouses.
AFCPE: Tell us a little about your professional journey. Did you work in the personal finance space previously?
Trey: Before our oldest daughter was born in 2015, I worked as a prosecutor. Prior to going to law school, I worked as an English teacher.
AFCPE: What has been your favorite experience, or part of the program thus far?
Trey: I learned so much through the fall course and through taking the exam. I had done counseling before, but I feel as though my approach to counseling has really been broadened by so many of the techniques, strategies, and perspectives I was exposed to in the coursework. I have also really enjoyed working with all the great folks at AFCPE!
AFCPE: Has anything surprised you about the program?
Trey: I have been surprised that not only am I using what I learned taking the test and in the coursework in my counseling work, but my family has also been using some of these techniques in our own personal finances. New ideas and strategies of this sort have been an awesome bonus!
AFCPE: That’s fantastic! We hear that from so many candidates who go through the program.
You mentioned that you are currently volunteering as a counselor at Ft. Still. Do you have a client story that has been meaningful to you?
Trey: Just recently, myself and another counselor were working with a surviving spouse who was looking for assistance from the Army Emergency Relief program. Just by asking careful questions during the budgeting process, my colleague determined that this individual’s need for assistance arose from 1) an unforeseen hardship and 2) the incredible amount of help she was giving to other members of her community. I was so impressed by the giving nature of this person and the fact that they continued to put others first even when they themselves were in a precarious position. However, on the positive side, with some counseling and assistance from AER, there definitely seems to be a way forward and a light at the end of the tunnel for this client. That made me feel good. But most of all, I found myself inspired by this client, and aware that some people just need a little assistance from us to move forward on their own in their own lives.
AFCPE: Such a good reminder. What advice would you give someone who was thinking about applying for the fellowship?
Trey: Do it! What do you have to lose? I have found it has given me a great goal to pursue, work to do that helps others and that I enjoy, and a great community of other professionals to connect with and gain inspiration from.
Trey’s Top Tips:
Improve your personal finances a little each day in any way you can, and before you know it, you will see them transformed.
Just take things one step at a time. Get help from a counselor who can outline which possible steps you can take. Then, just put one foot in front of the other. You will be amazed at how far you can go one step at a time!
Are you a military spouse interested in pursuing the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship? Application deadline is April 17, 2020. Learn more.