Managing your finances and planning for your financial future can feel quite challenging at times. Thankfully, you don’t have to figure this out on your own. The Department of Defense offers a number of financial counseling options for you and your family to help plan and control your financial future.
How financial counseling can help
While financial services can be very expensive in the civilian world, financial counseling offered to service members and their families through installation programs and Military OneSource are free. These counselors understand the financial challenges you face as a service member and the resources available to help you manage and plan your fiscal future. Financial counseling can help by:
- Giving you personal finance basics – Counselors can go over your finances and suggest ways to pay down debt. They can also teach you about savings, managing your checking account, investments and making a family budget.
- Helping you with your credit record – Financial counselors can provide information on consumer rights and make appropriate referrals to military and civilian resources responsible for resolving credit report complaints.
- Educating you about military savings programs – Counselors can give you information about the military-specific savings programs such as the Savings Deposit Program and the Thrift Savings Plan.
- Helping you develop a debt-repayment plan – Counselors can help you contact creditors and come up with a plan to pay off your debt.
- Coordinating with emergency financial assistance organizations – Counselors can help you learn more about the service branch emergency financial aid organizations and request financial assistance, if necessary.
Where to find financial counseling services
You can receive financial counseling either through the installation Personal Financial Management Program, the Military and Family Life Counseling Program or through Military OneSource.
- Installation Personal Financial Management Programs – Although they vary by service branch, installation Personal Financial Management Programs include classes, seminars, one-on-one counseling and additional information to educate service members and their families about consumer rights and help them achieve financial stability. You can locate your nearest Personal Financial Management counselor by visiting MilitaryINSTALLATIONS and selecting Personal Financial Management Services.
- Military and Family Life Counseling Program – The Military and Family Life Counseling Program includes personal financial counseling to help you and your family manage finances, resolve financial problems and reach long-term goals such as getting an education, buying a home and planning for retirement. You can find your nearest military and family life counselor by visiting MilitaryINSTALLATIONS and selecting Family Center.
- Military OneSource – Military OneSource provides confidential, short-term counseling to address financial issues such as basic budgeting, money management and debt. You can schedule an in-person, online or telephonic counseling session by calling 800-342-9647.
Financial concerns can be overwhelming, but help is available. Tackle each financial situation with the help of financial counselors. Reach out and, with their help, you can achieve and maintain your financial readiness.