Financial program aims to help vets, spouses

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – An agency partially focused on educating consumers on financial matters is raising awareness about one of it’s latest initiatives aimed at helping veterans and their spouses. It’s a program leaders of the organization said many are unaware of.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) launched its Financial Coaching Program in May 2015, which included placing 60 certified financial coaches at various business and non-profits across the nation. Michael LeClear with CFPB joined NewsChannel 15’s First News Saturday to talk about the program and its connection to Fort Wayne.

LeClear is one of the few financial coaches around the country. He works out of Work-One, located in Fort Wayne. He said that while he’s always happy to help veterans, he’s noticed a need to help spouses as well. He said he understand the stress that comes from having one spouse oversees and the other one stateside, left to sometimes deal with finances as well as family.

“It’s a lot. We’re here to help them, we’re here to help vets or their spouses. And the neatest thing about it is that it’s free,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of benefits to this program, and we’re just trying to make sure vets and their spouses know about it.”

Each host site, including Work-One, has a full-time financial coach, along with resources and equipment for the coach to do his/her job. LeClear said he has been working in financial advising for more than two decades. He described the program as one-on-one meetings where the coach and client come up with an action plan and schedule regular meetings to help reach financial goals.

The need for financial coaches, specifically for veterans and their families came about as CFPB realized the men and women leaving active duty each year were without the necessary financial knowledge.

Approximately 250,000 service members leave active duty each year, according to CFPB. The company said many have a need for financial management support to assist with transitioning into civilian life. While the Department of Defense offers a Transition Assistance Program (TAP), CFPB claims financial aspects of a service member’s transition to veteran status and civilian life are often overlooked.

A report released in 2013 by CFPB included the following list of challenges specific to transitioning veterans:

  • Adapting to the financial aspects of civilian life, e.g. taxes, insurance, retirement plans
  • Assessing compensation needs from potential new employment to meet their new situations
  • Needing assistance with the use of benefit payments resulting from service-related conditions
  • Not having a trusted source for financial information who understands the unique needs of military families
  • Lacking experience in money management as they transition from the military to civilian life
  • Needing advice to alter or adjust transition plans and adapt the transition budget after discharge.

If you or anyone you know could benefit from the CFPB’s program, contact Michael LeClear at mleclear@afsc.com or by phone at 260-446-3934.

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