Financial fitness is an important part of staying mission-ready. Learn ways to take charge of your finances and find out about free financial management resources for service members and their families.
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Contact Military OneSource
Information and support for service members and their families. About the Call Center.
Programs to help service members stay financially fit
The Defense Department provides financial information, training and counseling through the Personal Financial Management program and other programs and services.
Personal financial counseling
You can receive financial counseling either through the installation Personal Financial Management Program, the Military and Family Life Counseling Program or through Military OneSource. Get help with financial basics, debt coaching, college saving, retirement planning, tax services and budget planning.
Office of Financial Readiness
The Defense Department’s Office of Financial Readiness provides a wealth of information covering topics such as how to manage your money, saving and investing, and planning for the future.
This network of federal agencies and nonprofit organizations can help you reach your financial goals, get out of debt faster and save more money.
Financial consultations through Military OneSource
A Military OneSource financial consultant can help with budgeting, debt reduction, taxes and other money issues. Consultants are available by phone, live chat or through a secure video chat.What types of services are provided through financial counseling?
Counseling covers financial issues such as basic budgeting, money management, debt consolidation (including coaching to help people contact their creditors and negotiate late fees, interest rates and affordable payment plans), and assistance with housing issues (being behind on mortgage payments or facing potential foreclosure). The National Foundation for Credit Counseling can also help you develop a debt-management plan at no cost. Should you choose to enter into an arrangement with NFCC to manage a debt-management plan on a long-term basis, a nominal monthly fee may apply.Who is eligible?
The sessions are available at no cost to active duty, Guard and reserve members (regardless of activation status), and families located in the continental United States. Up to 12 counseling sessions per issue, per calendar year, are allowed for each person.What is short-term, solution-focused financial counseling?
The goal of short-term, solution-focused counseling is to help individuals change by creating solutions rather than dwelling on problems. Using this same strategy, short-term, solution-focused financial counseling helps people identify the issues and then work to identify realistic resolutions.How do I arrange for financial counseling?Is financial counseling available to determine the best options for saving money for the college education of dependent children?
Military OneSource offers telephonic counseling with certified financial planners who will help you review your options. While they can’t tell you which plan is the best fit for your personal situation, they will educate you on the types of plans available, describing the advantages and disadvantages of each.Is financial counseling available to review money management and savings plans already in place?
Financial counseling can assist with basic money management. Financial planning (telephonic counseling with certified financial planners) can help with reviewing savings plans, investing plans, stocks, bonds and retirement plans. Financial planners can help inform you about the advantages and disadvantages of different savings plans and methods, but they won’t provide advice or recommend one over the other.What if I live overseas or if in-person financial counseling isn’t available in my area?
For those unable to attend in-person counseling or are in locations where in-person counseling is not available, Military OneSource will provide telephonic counseling.Who provides the financial counseling sessions (in-person and over the phone)?
In-person financial counseling is available in most locations through Military OneSource, in partnership with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. NFCC, a nonprofit national agency, provides financial education and counseling services at hundreds of local offices nationwide. Military OneSource must arrange for you to meet face-to-face with a financial consultant in your community in order for you to receive the service at no cost. NFCC does not provide coverage throughout the entire continental U.S. Providers are made up of local consumer credit agencies that must pass a certification exam in order to participate in this program.
Telephonic financial counseling is provided by the financial management team located within the Military OneSource call centers. This team is made up of highly-qualified AFC-certified financial counselors.How can I become a financial counselor for Military OneSource?
Please visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling website. Enter your ZIP code in the search engine to find the local agencies in your area. Please contact those local agencies for employment opportunities.Do the financial counselors push products or personal agendas?
No. The internal financial counselors and National Foundation for Credit Counseling counselors do not sell or promote products or agendas. NFCC is a national, nonprofit organization that does not sell or promote products. The only cost you may incur is if you decide to personally hire a local NFCC agency to manage your debt-management plan as part of a long-term arrangement. There is a nominal monthly fee for this service.
Financial and legal protections for service members
Personal Finances in the Military
Connect with experts, access financial tools and get financial information and resources.
Service members have certain financial and legal protections. The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act includes caps on interest rates, stays of certain legal proceedings, protection from eviction, and termination of leases without repercussions. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has many provisions relevant to military members and their families. These include restricting prepayment penalties for mortgages and allowing emergency homeowner loans up to $50,000 to prevent foreclosures.
RESOURCES FOR LEGAL PROTECTIONS FOR SERVICE MEMBERS
Ways to save
You have a few options to save money and earn interest, including savings accounts, money market account and certificates of deposit. Choose the one that makes the most sense for you. Visit Military Saves for information tailored to your savings goals.
If you’ll be deployed and receiving combat pay, sign up for the Savings Deposit Program, a savings account that earns 10% interest. Active-duty and activated Guard and reserve members are eligible for this savings program during deployments.
It’s never too early to start saving for retirement. The Thrift Savings Plan provides retirement income to service members and other federal employees. Your contributions are tax-deferred, which means that you won’t pay federal taxes on the contributions until you withdraw them.
Paying down debt and managing your credit score
Your credit score can have a big impact on your finances. It tells creditors how likely you are to pay back the money you want to borrow. The lower your credit score, the riskier you appear to lenders, and the more you will likely pay for loans, credit cards and insurance premiums.
You are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit bureaus that maintain credit records: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can order all three from the website, AnnualCreditReport.com.
If you find negative information on your credit record that’s accurate, such as missed or late payments or a poor score resulting from too much debt, it’s time to start dealing with your debt. There are four steps for managing debt:
- Acknowledge that you have debt issues and commit to fixing them.
- Stop spending. Take your credit cards, store cards and gas cards out of your wallet and put them in a secure location at home or cut them up.
- Make a spending plan.
- Pay down your debts month by month and pay them off one by one. Make a list of the debt payments you owe each month, including the annual interest rate on each card. Then prioritize according to the interest rate. Over time, you’ll get your debts paid off.
ADDITIONAL TOOLS FOR MANAGING YOUR CREDIT AND DEBT
Each branch of service has an associated private, nonprofit organization that assists service members and their families in need.
These relief societies can help with things like emergency transportation, funeral expenses, medical bills, food, rent, utilities, disaster relief, child care expenses, vehicle repair or other unforeseen family emergencies.
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