Free financial advice available to service members, families

7 Jan 2016 | Cpl. Jared Lingafelt Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune

According to a recent study conducted by SunTrust, money troubles are the leading cause of stress in relationships and are also among the top three main causes of divorce in the United States.

Regardless of rank, military occupational specialty or deployment status, money is on everyone’s mind.

Money surrounds us and influences our daily decisions in some way, each and every day. As service members, we have to be ready at a moment’s notice. The Marine Corps supplies its service members with the tools and resources to be financially prepared.

"Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River both have personal financial managers because readiness for the Marine Corps depends on service members being able to deploy in any situation," said Louis Summerville, a personal financial manager. "The worrying of financial matters in the rear would cause them to be inattentive to what the actual mission is at hand or not be as focused as they should be in a combat zone."

To aid service members with the stresses or planning processes, personal financial managers are located on Camp Lejeune and New River to assist service members and their families.

"Our program is built around service members and their family," said Summerville. "I teach, I refer and I instruct on how to control spending as well as how to control debt," said Summerville. "We assist service members with credit report issues because of bad debt, and clearing up their credit so they can do the mission the Marine Corps needs, and so they can get the security clearance they need."

Any and all services provided by the base financial managers and planners are confidential from commands or leadership, creating a safe and comfortable environment for each service member and their family.

"When we see a service member everything we do for a service member that comes into our office is confidential," said Summerville. "Nothing goes back to the commander because we don’t want the service member to think that they don’t have an open door to come into to get help. We are here to provide help for financial matters."

Due to the nature of most visits, all service members can take use of the services provided on base completely free of charge.

"All of our services we provide are free," said Summerville. "We are always free of charge to service members and families. When we do appointments for families, it is highly recommended that the spouse and service member attend together because there is no way one can set a budget with two swiping the debit card."

With the stresses of military and everyday life, the last thing service members should be worried about is finances, said Summerville. There is no time to start taking control like now.

"There are ways to work through it," said Summerville. "There is light at the end of every tunnel. Now is the time to put a plan in place to get out of the situation you may have put yourself in.

Marines need to be mission ready, even if it means asking for help, he said.

To request a one-on-one meeting, call 451-3219 or for more information, visit