The USAA Educational Foundation and the Texas A&M University Financial Planning Program are partnering on a $1 million first-of-its-kind financial readiness program for members of A&M’s Corps of Cadets to help prepare them for financial challenges they could encounter in future military careers.
The optional course, open to all students, will assist future military leaders in making sound financial decisions as well as to prepare them to counsel subordinates about financial decisions. The curriculum will consist of three one-credit courses, with the first course to be offered in the Fall 2016 semester.
“The Financial Readiness Program is designed to develop, teach and empower financial leadership among A&M Corps of Cadet members who could potentially become military officers,” said Dr. Nathan Harness, TD Ameritrade director of financial planning at Texas A&M, College Station. “We are excited about this new program and the opportunity it presents to prepare students for leadership roles in financial planning.”
“Financial stress is an unfortunate reality for many military service members and their families,” said Steve Finley, executive director of The USAA Educational Foundation. “Equipping students with financial knowledge and tools today can help reduce the number of military families experiencing that stress in the future. Those who serve our nation and the families who support them deserve to be prepared to make informed decisions about their money and their finances.”
Harness said the new program will set the standard for financial readiness in educational institutions across the country.
“This is an optional course for students, so the curriculum has to really add value to their financial future. The inaugural course will serve as a learning lab to determine students’ needs and begin to test the impacts of the course on Corps of Cadets students,” Harness said. “In the future, we plan to host a national conference on military financial readiness to help us scale to expand the program to military academies and other universities in the U.S. that have ROTC programs.”
Harness said he believes the program will ultimately prepare Corps members for sound financial readiness well before graduation and help establish them as financial leaders when they enter military service.
“So many people think about retirement only 10 years or so before they are ready to retire,” he said. “Someone who is 21 years old is typically not thinking about stocks or bonds, and might not even know what stocks and bonds are. This program will supply them with the knowledge, plus enable them to use that knowledge by mentoring other students on campus so that they may someday go out and teach others about financial readiness.”