18 Aug How to Get Free Financial Counseling in the Military
A financial counselor is a great resource if you need help with your finances. Whether you have questions about budgeting, the TSP, or getting out of debt. Even if you’re comfortable with managing your money, a financial counselor may still be a good idea for you. Someone with financial expertise can help you get the results you want when you’re looking for answers rather than getting general information that may be confusing and hard to implement. Also, there are often options you may not be aware of or common mistakes to avoid. That’s where good free financial counseling can help. They’ll provide you with personalized advice for your situation.
Unfortunately, some people are unable to afford financial assistance or they may be worried the person helping them may try to sell them financial products. Seeking out free financial counseling is a solution for these situations. The resources I’m sharing today are completely free, you can test them out to see if you like working with the financial counselor, and they don’t sell financial products. Best of all they’re available only to service members, veterans, and their families.
1. Installation Financial Counselor
Most military installations have a financial counselor available to assist people with money questions. They’ll be at the installation financial assistance office depending on your branch of service. Start close to home by looking for the below listing in your installation directory:
- Air Force – Airman and Family Readiness Center
- Army – Financial Readiness Office
- Coast Guard – Coast Guard Mutual Assistance
- Navy and Marine Corp – Navy and Marine Corps Relief Society
In addition to financial counseling, many of these offices offer classes on topics such as car buying, managing debt, and the Blended Retirement System.
2. Personal Financial Counselors
If a financial counselor from your installation financial office is not available, you can also get help from a personal financial counselor (PFC). PFCs often embedded with active and Reserve units. They usually post their contact information in the building, or your leadership will have it. Another option is to call the installation financial assistance office to see what unit they’re assigned to and their contact information.
3. Military One Source (MOS)
MOS provides free financial counselors for service members whether you’re active, reserve or National Guard. If you aren’t comfortable talking with a PFC in your unit or on your installation, using MOS counselor is a great resource in that situation. Their financial counselors are available to assist you over the phone, video chat or they’ll provide a counselor to meet you in person.
Findhelp.org is a place to search for free or reduced-cost services like medical care, food, job training, and more.
Free financial counselors can help you with money questions such as:
- Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
- Building Credit
- Debt Management
- Finances & Your Security Clearance
- Savings Deposit Program (SDP)
- Servicemember’s Civil Relief Act (SCRA)
- Education Savings
- Student Loans
When talking with a counselor, it’s a place to be open and honest about your financial situation. The financial counselor needs to have the full story on your money to give you the best possible help. The plan for your finances may have to be completely redone if you leave out critical information about your money. Like owing the IRS $2,000 in back taxes or that you are getting ready to PCS. Speaking with a financial counselor is confidential unless they believe you’re going to harm yourself or someone else.
Take advantage of the free financial counseling available to you. Financial counselors are a great resource that can help you achieve your financial goals. These three options available to service members at no charge and are a great resource for a variety of financial issues.