Military Spouses Receive Fellowships to Conduct Financial Counseling and Education

WASHINGTON, Aug. 31, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — In an ongoing effort to increase the financial capability of service members and their spouses, the FINRA Investor Education Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship awarded 50 fellowships to military spouses seeking to earn their AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor®) designation.

The national program, funded by the FINRA Foundation and delivered by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®), offers military spouses the opportunity to earn a career-enhancing credential — the AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor®) — while providing financial counseling and education to the military community.

"The fellowship program is uniquely designed to help military spouses achieve career goals and aspirations while enhancing the financial capability of the military community, including their own families." said Gerri Walsh, President of the FINRA Foundation. "The pandemic magnified the critical need for financial counseling and education. Unexpected financial stressors can negatively impact a service member’s work and career ̶  as financial readiness is closely tied to military readiness. Trained counselors can provide proactive support to minimize disruptions and distress."

"The 2021 Fellowship class brings with it both passion and perspective," said Rebecca Wiggins, AFCPE Executive Director. "As military spouses, they understand the unique challenges that military life presents and are passionate about serving military service members and their families. We are thrilled to welcome them to the program, and look forward to supporting them on their journey to becoming Accredited Financial Counselors!"

"Becoming an Accredited Financial Counselor [will] assist me in providing a service to my community that is truly needed during this time of pandemic and financial uncertainties," said 2021 Military Spouse Fellow, Gabriela Simonsen. "I hope that with my experience as a service member and a spouse I can bring perspective into this field and provide support and knowledge to those around me."

Recipients of the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship commit to completing the courses of study and working in the financial counseling field serving their communities. The rigorous training, coursework and experiential hours to gain hands-on experience, all at no cost to them. Since its inception, the program has awarded more than 1,700 fellowships to military spouses. While working toward the AFC credential, Spouse Fellows have provided financial counseling and education to more than 160,000 service members and spent more than 500,000 hours helping military families reach their financial goals in the United States and around the world.

"So many people have never been taught the finance principles that, once in place, will set them up to achieve their long and short-term goals," said 2021 Military Spouse Fellow, Jessica Guasco. "Therefore, it is a strong personal desire of mine to achieve the AFC certification so that I can offer one-on-one financial counseling or finance classes to military families to help them achieve their financial goals."

The 50 Spouse Fellows are selected from a competitive pool of applicants and will immediately begin their training in military communities worldwide. The 2021 class of Spouse Fellows includes several spouses who are stationed overseas.

The program is open to spouses of active-duty or retired Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Space Force, Coast Guard, and Army or Air National Guard or reserve component service members, as well as to spouses of the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps and the  National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration professionals.

About the FINRA Investor Education Foundation
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation supports innovative research and educational projects that empower underserved Americans with the knowledge, skills and tools to make sound financial decisions throughout life. In 2006, the FINRA Foundation launched a multifaceted program to expand the saving and investing knowledge of military service members and their spouses. The FINRA Foundation is an active participant in the Department of Defense Financial Readiness Network and holds a U.S. Coast Guard Qualified Organization Designation. For more information about FINRA Foundation initiatives, visit

About AFCPE®
The Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education® (AFCPE®) ensures the highest integrity of the financial counseling profession by certifying, connecting, and supporting diverse professionals. Our comprehensive certification programs represent the gold standard for financial counseling, coaching and education, including the AFC® (Accredited Financial Counselor®) which is accredited by NCCA and nationally recognized by both the CFPB and DoD. AFCPE supports their professionals by providing career advancement and professional development opportunities, including exceptional financial education trainings, the Journal for Financial Counseling & Planning and the Annual AFCPE Symposium. Visit for more information.

The 2021 Fellows represent the following military installations (or nearest military installation if retired):

106th Rescue Wing

Barksdale Air Force Base

Baumholder, Germany

Camp Butler, Japan

Cannon Air Force Base

Coast Guard Headquarters

Creech Air Force Base

Defense Health Agency Headquarters

Fort Benning

Fort Bliss

Fort Hamilton

Fort Hood

Fort Jackson

Joint Base Fort Sam Houston

K16 Airbase, South Korea

Kadena Air Force Base, Japan

Kings Bay

Luke Air Force Base


MCAGCC, Twentynine Palms

Misawa AB, Japan

Mountain Home Air Force Base

NAS JRB Fort Worth

NAS Pensacola

NAS Sigonella, Italy

Naval Beach Unit 7

Naval Station Norfolk

Naval Station Rota, Spain

NCTS Naples, Italy

NTAG Nashville

Osan Air Base, South Korea


Peterson Air Force Base

RAF Mildenhall, England

RAF Molesworth, England

Spangdahlem Air Base, Germany

U.S. Naval Support Activity Naples, Italy

US Embassy Vilnius, Lithuania

USAG Stuttgart, Germany

USAG Yongsan, South Korea

USCG Air Station Detroit

USS McCampbell

Yokosuka, Japan

Media Contact
Rachael DeLeon