The mission of The Standard is to provide information which is timely, thought provoking and assists the financial counselor to enhance job performance. The newsletter is also a forum for informing members of AFCPE® activities and events.

AFCPE’s newsletter, The Standard, is published four times a year. It is distributed to AFCPE members via email, or the AFCPE website. Whether you are a seasoned writer or want to be published for the first time, we can work together to formulate an interesting article and guide you through the publishing process. We believe you are the expert at what you do and we can help you articulate your expertise in writing.

  1. Do your homework—Just as you learned in grade school, it’s best to start with an outline. This will give you a framework and keep you organized.

  2. Grab the reader’s attention with good headlines—Just as a subject line determines whether a reader will open an email, a headline will make or break readership. Make it interesting. Statistics still say that numbers in headlines get read more often and the pros suggest shorter is better!

  3. Use facts, figures, stats—Open with an interesting fact, quote or statistics to grab the reader’s attention.

  4. A picture speaks 1,000 words—Illustrations, photos, charts and tables all make it easier for your reader to connect.

  5. Write for the right audience—highly skilled financial counseling practitioners, academics, military counselors.

  6. Write tight—Keep it concise. People are busy. Stick to who, what, when, where, why, how? And follow AP style guidelines.

  7. Between 850–1,500 words—Even though we publish in a digital format where we have unlimited space, it’s best to keep your article to this guideline. If a topic needs to be covered in greater detail, it may be better suited to the Journal or broken into two parts.

  8. Plagiarism/copyright—We must cite all references and provide links when available, so readers can dig further into a topic. And of course plagiarism is not acceptable.

  9. Proofread—Proofread at least three times, read it aloud, and have someone check your work.

  10. Submit to Stephanie Yates at

Newsletter Sections

  • Book Review—A review of a personal finance book or topic that is helpful for practitioners in their day-to-day business.

  • Research Briefs—A synopsis of several research pieces on a given topic.

  • Article—Using the guidelines above, an article on an appropriate topic.

Topics of Interest

Include, but are not limited to:

  • Working with clients

  • Crisis counseling

  • Budgeting

  • Debt management

  • Repairing a credit report

  • Credit management

  • Taxes

  • Saving and investing

  • Getting back on your feet

  • Starting over

  • Motivating clients


  • Q1—December 1

  • Q2—March 1

  • Q3—June 1

  • Q4—September 1

Jill Anne Spence is the former editor of The Standard. She can be reached at

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