If you’re an active-duty service member and would like to be your command’s first resource for personal financial management, it’s time to register for upcoming December training with the Personal Financial Manager at the Fleet and Family Support Center (FFSC).
“The Command Financial Specialist (CFS) is the Sailor responsible for the four elements of the Personal Financial Management Program at their command, which includes financial education and training; financial counseling; consumer advocacy and complete resolution and report assistance; and financial information and referrals,” explained Leigh Brownell, personal financial manager at NAS Patuxent River’s FFSC. “For the most part, the CFS is there to help service members if they’re experiencing financial difficulties or would just like to know more about handling money. The CFS is not meant to be a financial expert, but one of many resources. If they don’t know the answer, they’ll know where to send the service member to get the answer.”
The virtual training, facilitated by Brownell and two other personal financial managers from the Naval District Washington region, will be interactive and not just a lecture format.
“We’re expecting our potential CFSs to be actively engaged and participating,” Brownell noted. “We’ll be asking them questions, telling stories, possibly playing games. It’s taking place over a platform called Adobe Connect and participants will need nothing special to access the training; it can be opened in any browser.”
The training will focus on different moments in a service member’s career — what to do for pre-deployment, what to do when getting married, having a baby, getting a divorce, coming back from a deployment; what happens when you vest in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), and what happens when transitioning out of the military — all within the format of the live class.
“We’ll teach about TSP, how it works and what the different funds are,” Brownell said. “We’ll teach credit management and encourage people to use it wisely. We’ll cover major purchases like how to buy a car or a house. If it’s financially related, we’re going to touch on it in some way. The goal of the class is to teach the CFS these skills so they can then take them back to their command and teach their fellow service members.”
The classes are scheduled from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 1-3 and 8-10, and participants must attend all six days of training. Afterward, there is some post-course work required with a personal financial manager before earning their CFS certificate.
“This is open to the region as a whole, but any Pax River participants will work with me afterward,” Brownell said. “We’ll do a role play, there’s a post test, then a few smaller things to do individually with me. After that, they’ll get their certificate which they take back to their command who issues their designation letter and they’re officially a certified Command Financial Specialist for three years.”
Active-duty service members interested in becoming a CFS can register now by contacting Brownell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (301) 342-5442; or by phoning FFSC at 301-342-4911.