Mission readiness is the primary objective of the Marine Corps and is impacted by the financial responsibility of the servicemember (active duty and Reserve) and their families. Marines and their families prosper when they are in control of their current finances and able to put money away for the future. Improvement requires change and change requires action. Positive lifestyle and behavioral changes should result in optimal financial health, an enhanced quality of life, and improved combat financial readiness.
Improvement requires change and change requires action.
For all service members (including Reservists) financial challenges and nationwide economic conditions are amplified because of the high-stress and ever-changing pace of the military lifestyle.
To assist our Marines and Sailors, there are several resources available:
- The MFLC Personal Financial Counseling (PFC) Program provides financial support and counseling through a broad network of contracted Certified Personal Finance Counselors. PFC Program Counselors are deployed to various sites/events to address financial concerns and issues confronting service members and families today. PFC Program Counselors provide education, support and assistance on personal finance solutions and access to personal financial counseling. PFC services include professional, individualized financial planning and consultation services, including assistance with money management, credit and debt liquidation, analysis of assets and liabilities, and establishing and building savings plans.
PFC services are designed to support short and long term financial needs, plans and goals. PFC Program Counselors help service members and their families develop realistic spending plans, reduce debt, save for the future, and attain both "wants" and needs.
In cases of extreme financial hardship, the Counselor ensures that service members and their families are referred to the appropriate military organization or resource for additional assistance. Additionally, Financial Counselors conduct command-requested training that addresses financial planning for family separation, short notice deployments, permanent change of station, and transition from the military. PFC Program Counselors assist service members and their families with personal financial readiness. (see attachment)
- Military One Source: In-person financial counseling is available in most locations through Military OneSource, in partnership with National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC). NFCC provides financial education and counseling services at hundreds of local offices nationwide. Military OneSource arranges for the service member to meet face-to-face with a financial consultant in their community.
This program is specially designed to provide short-term, solution-focused financial counseling for service members and families who may be experiencing a financial setback. Whether they need advice for a specific debt problem or basic assistance with money management, a financial expert can help them analyze their situation and develop a debt management plan.
For those unable to attend in-person counseling or in locations where in-person counseling is not available, Military OneSource will provide telephone consultations (see attachment).
- There is a PERSONAL FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT MCI that provides instruction in basic financial planning. Topics include : developing personal spending plans, military pay system, use of credit and debt recovery, choosing a financial institution, various legal issues, checkbook management, consumer awareness, insurance buying, housing issues, basic investing and retirement planning. This MCI is not required for promotion, but it is highly recommended.
- The Navy Marine Corps Relief Society Counselors also provide one on one counseling and assistance when a Marine or families have a financial crisis.
Marines can also access the Essential Life Skills for Military Families workshop. This workshops is designed for the Reserve Component and their spouses or partners. ELSMF is a skill building workshop series designed specifically to meet the unique needs of couples and families in the Reserves. These Reserve Component members are often called "citizen soldiers" since they must balance their lives as citizens in their communities with obligations to serve their state and country in times of emergency or national defense. They have the same issues as average citizens with the added challenge of their periodic military roles.
The goal of the Essential Life Skills for Military Families (ELSMF) program is to strengthen marriages and couple relationships by providing an engaging curriculum that will strengthen relationships skill in the context of marriage and families. There are four modules covering issues all families face when dealing with unexpected challenges, managing routine financial matters, addressing legal issues, and fostering family resilience. There is an optional parenting module for those with children. The foundations of the curriculum are communication and problem solving skills. The program aims to empower couples to communicate more effectively about money, separation, and legal issues that are significant concerns for citizen soldier families. ELSMF offers a two-hour unit on financial planning and becoming financially responsible. Objectives are:
To learn that individuals may have different values regarding money
If Reservists fall on tough financial times, they can turn to MCCS and/or their Family Readiness Officer. Our Marine & Family Services department can provide information and referral to assist the Marine with their individual situation.
To understand why goal setting is important
To understand the pitfalls of credit
To understand budgeting
To understand the importance of saving
To learn to make financial decisions individually and with one's spouse
How can this help me?
Financial planning services are very expensive in the civilian world. These services are free of charge to the military and their family members.
Services and Workshops provided as part of your benefits by serving in the Marine Corps are:
• Financial Planning
Some Useful Web Sites:
o Goal Setting
• Money Management
o Transitional Challenges
o Budgeting and Cash Management
• Investment Planning
o Pay and Allowances
o Family Subsistence Supplemental Allowance (FSSA)
o Use of Credit and Debt
o Major Purchases Planning
o Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)
• Retirement and Estate Planning
o Roth and Traditional IRAs
o Government Savings Bonds
o Consumer Benefits and Rights
o Entitlements and Benefits
• Other Workshops
o Retirement Planning, REDUX
o Banking On It
o Car Buying Maneuvers
o Covering Your Risks
o Exercising Your Rights
o Housing Hurdles
o Life Cycle Financial Fitness
o Tackling Debt
o Take Charge of Credit
o Your Money Workout Plan
Financial Readiness Information
Pay and Allowances
Income Tax Preparation and Planning/IRS
Consumer Services and Rights
Federal Trade Commission