Consider using your talents to help our service members

Consider using your talents to help our service members
Eileen St. Pierre, The Everyday Financial Planner

“Thank you for your service.” We say this a lot to service members and veterans. Then many of us walk away. How many of us have remained, and used our talents to help our service members? Almost four years ago I left career #2 to start The Everyday Financial Planner working for myself. So far, it has been more of a part-time job. I’ve found myself spending most of my time providing financial counseling services to the military. I really, really enjoy it.

Here are some tips on becoming a subcontractor or employee for a military contractor:

Get certified in your area.

This is the starting point. Determine what you are good at, and then find out how you can get certified or provide the federal government with a way of validating your expertise. In my case, becoming a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) was what I needed. Other certifications such as the AFC® and ChFC® were also acceptable. I then looked on the job boards that cater to job seekers with these credentials and found federal contractors offering personal financial counselor jobs. Being on LinkedIn also helps – I have been contacted by various recruiters.

Be prepared to travel to service members.

You may live near a military installation but many of us do not. You need to have an entrepreneurial spirit and not be afraid to travel to various military installations and centers. Some assignments may only be one day or over a weekend, and be close to your home. Others may be regional and last several months or a year. Some may have you travelling constantly. You may need to travel overseas.

I am fortunate in that my husband travels with me. However, some contractors may not allow family to come with you. It depends what you are doing.

Be flexible.

Boy, have I heard this a lot! This is a polite way of saying be prepared for anything. Your assigned duties may change. I remember being given an office to work out of, and by the end of the week it was being converted to a break room. I’ve counseled service members in a broom closet, where two chairs could barely fit and our knees were touching. I’ve been asked to work in the winter in a portable trailer without heat. Our service members have to work in these conditions and they never complain – so neither should I!

Remember also that contracts need to be extended or renegotiated. This means a military contractor may only be able to guarantee employment for a certain period of time. Ask when their contract year ends and when their contract is up for renegotiation.

Be ready when called upon.

Just like our service members, you will go through periods when you are not that busy. You need to be ready for when you become busy. The most rewarding assignment I have had as a military financial counselor was helping an Army brigade deploy to the Middle East. I worked non-stop for over a month getting my soldiers ready to go. Then felt their loss after they left when the base looked so empty. Then I got to help their families when the financial realities of deployment set in. What an amazing privilege!

Financial Mgmt PictureIf you are interested in becoming a personal financial counselor (PFC) for the military, we need you. The Department of Defense is introducing a new retirement system called Blended Retirement and we need PFCs to educate service members on their options.

Please email me at everydayfinancialplanner@gmail.com if you would like more information.