My name is Chero Morgan and I am currently working towards becoming an Accredited Financial Counselor® under the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program. I am a US Army Veteran and continued my government service as a civilian employee with Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS), as a Military Pay Technician. In 2011, the unthinkable happened. I was given a medical diagnosis that affected every aspect of my life and ultimately lead to Disability Retirement at the age of 34. It took almost 9 months for my agency to make the disability determination. Unfortunately, that left me with no income during that time frame and only a small portion of what I was previously making afterwards. Thankfully, my husband was active duty military, so we did not incur additional medical debts and we were able to stay afloat for a bit.
Then my husband came down on orders for us to move across the country. The move forced us to take out loans to make all of our ends meet, which I now know to be from predatory lenders. I even withdrew my Thrift Savings Plan. These were all temporary fixes and ultimately, we ended up filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Throughout the process of rebuilding our finances and after bankruptcy, I truly began to understand credit and how it affects so many aspects of our lives. We learned how to live within our means, as credit was not even an option during the four years it took to pay off our bankruptcy.
It has since become my passion to educate other military families on how to save for a rainy day, save for retirement, invest in TSP, manage credit wisely, and live within their budget. Nothing in life is guaranteed, and while we have the means to save and invest it is imperative that we take advantage of it! I am happy to say that my medical issues have been resolved and we are back on the road to financial security. As a 2018 Fellowship recipient, I have been given the wonderful opportunity of an internship with Army Community Service Financial Readiness Program, and I truly feel I am doing what I was always meant to do!
~Chero Morgan, AFC® candidate