Fellowship Helps Military Spouses Balance Books

Military families helped by special program

More than ever, our troops overseas are being affected by the financial situation here at home, but now a a program is helping ease the stress by counseling the troops' better halves in the finer points of financial planning.

"A lot of military families are young," says Elizabeth Steinke, who recently received the Military Spouse Fellowship. "They might not have had a lot of financial training up through school or from their parents."

If that's the case, Steinkecan help, whether it's starting with the basics or more complex issues like credit, insurance, budgeting and net worth. The Ramona resident, whose husband, Roger, and oldest son, Greg, are both in the Navy, is trained to help military families facing unique situations.

"Especially when they're dealing with deployment or injury recovery that other families just don't experience," Steinke said. "It's very important for the military family community to be financially savvy."

The military has recognized that service members stressed about money are likely to be distracted during a mission. Through the program, Steinke can help ease that stress.

"This one is really going to be very much for one-on-one counseling, [so] that people can feel comfortable with someone who is just like them, sharing information about finances and how to make it on a military paycheck," Steinke said.

The fellowship is preparing spouses to help other families, even if they already had a good base of financial knowledge.

"I'll have the confidence to share that information from an accredited standpoint with other military families," Steinke said

Steinke takes her responsibility to heart. She also works at Operation Homefront, the organization that provides aid to troops and their families. Only 195 spouses were chosen for this year's fellowship. Once they complete the program, they commit to two years of helping other families.

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