This Fellowship Helps Military Spouses Earn a Free Financial Credential

This Fellowship Helps Military Spouses Earn a Free Financial Credential
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Fifteen years ago, I sat in a doctor’s office idly glancing through a magazine. I didn’t realize an article would end up completely changing my career trajectory.


The article profiled a military spouse who had received a scholarship to earn a certification as an Accredited Financial Counselor (AFC). AFCs assist individuals and families in the process of financial decision-making. As a military spouse, the fact that the accreditation was national – and thus portable – appealed to me.   


I submitted my application for the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship, and the rest, as they say, is history: I was accepted into the program in 2009, completed my classwork, my exams, and my experience hours, and earned my accreditation in 2011. Since then, my career path as taken me to military installations around the world as a personal financial counselor, and to MOAA, where I’ve been able to put my training to work in support of our members and their families.


If you’re a military spouse with finance-related career aspirations, or you know someone who is, consider the FINRA Foundation’s fellowship. New applications opened March 1 and will stay open through April 15; you can read more about the Fellowship at this link, or get answers to some frequently asked questions about the program.


[FROM 2023: How Military Spouses Can Earn a Key Financial Credential ... for Free]


Fellowship Background

The FINRA Investor Education Foundation, which provides investors with information and tools to better understand the principles of saving and investing, started the fellowship in 2006 as a partnership with the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE) and the National Military Family Association (NMFA). Since then, the program has awarded scholarships to more than 1,700 military spouses.


It's open to spouses of retirees and currently serving members, as well as surviving spouses. Participants must be enrolled in the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) to take part.


While the program is designed to give back to the military community – nearly every military installation employs at least one accredited financial professional in their family service center –there are many employment opportunities in the civilian sector, too. Banks and credit unions, employment assistance programs, cooperative extension offices, social services, and the justice system are just a few of the institutions that employ financial counselors.


[RELATED: GAO: Nearly One-Third of Working Military Spouses Have Part-Time Jobs]


Military spouses are chronically un- and underemployed. Not only did this fellowship allow me to acquire a credential that was easily transportable, but it also opened new career paths and led to further education and accreditations.


Interested? Check out this webinar for more details. Find more career resources for military spouses, including upcoming MOAA webinars and networking opportunities, at


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About the Author

Lila Quintiliani, ChFC®, AFC®
Lila Quintiliani, ChFC®, AFC®

Quintiliani is MOAA's Program Director, Financial and Benefits Education/Counseling. She is a former Army Military Intelligence Officer as well as the spouse of an active-duty servicemember, and worked for over a decade at military installations as a personal financial counselor.