Millions of people who need sound financial advice cannot afford it, and may not know where to go even if they could pay. Those are the people helped by the Foundation for Financial Planning and the thousands of planners it supports in pro bono activities.
The Foundation’s mission came into sharp focus after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when it helped hundreds of financial planners who stepped forward to aid victims and their families. Six years later, it continues to provide grant money to support long-term planning assistance for the 10,000 police officers, firefighters, and other rescue workers affected by the dust cloud–some of them still unable to work.
The Foundation is currently supporting planners working with military families and wounded warriors returning from Iraq or Afghanistan. While the planners donate their time, the foundation provides money for materials and other support, including guides to the sometimes complex world of military pay and benefits.
Recently it had the opportunity to participate with volunteer financial planners and local service agencies at two Moneywise in the Military programs in late February. Funded in part by a grant from the Foundation for Financial Planning, Moneywise programs were presented at Parris Island, South Carolina and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, as part of its outreach to military personnel.
During the program at Camp Lejeune, it was learned that nearly 30% of all enlisted Marines, rank E-1 to E-4, have financial problems serious enough to affect security clearances. This is causing some security jobs to go unfilled, jeopardizing not only careers, but also the country’s security. Credit scores are part of the criteria used by the military to determine security clearances and over drafts, pay day lending loans, maxed out credit cards, late payments, are all leading to poor credit scores.
Volunteer financial planners from the Georgia and Triangle North Carolina chapters of the Financial Planning Association, Kelvin Boston, host of the PBS series Moneywise, and local service agencies provided information on budgeting, savings, debt management, home buying, the Uniformed Armed Services Thrift Savings Plan (401k), and more. The foundation also distributed a booklet, Accomplishing your Financial Mission, to those in attendance, and provided additional copies for the Wounded Warrior program at Camp Lejeune for their work with returning wounded veterans. These bases are the first of twenty-five where programs will be presented this year.
Much of the foundation’s work is in programs that don’t make headlines, such as financial literacy classes, community outreach in disadvantaged areas for those underserved by the market and in need of financial guidance or in a financial crisis. Most financial planners got into the business at least in part because they believe success lies in helping other people succeed. The Foundation for Financial Planning tries to be a catalyst for change in communities by encouraging planners to make a difference through donations or volunteering.
More information about the Foundation for Financial Planning, including how to apply for a grant, is available at www.foundation-finplan.org.