Stymied on Military Financial Counseling

by Karen Lee - Boot Camp Advisor

Stymied on Military Financial Counseling

According to Leah, the financial counselors on her husband's military base are turning out to be extremely difficult to work with. They've cancelled a couple of appointments; they don't return phone calls and they only just relented on letting her come in without Eric. I feel bad for her, as it seems one attempt after another turns out to be in vain. She still hasn't been able to sit down one-on-one and get help. I suggested at this point she just call all her creditors herself, as was recommended earlier by one of our readers. Leah, however, still feels like working with the counselors is the right path to pursue; to her, they seemed to have additional knowledge that could prove valuable. She says she'll consider calling on her own when and if her unemployment runs out.

One concern that did come up for me: When we discussed the financial counselors, Leah told me there were a few other bills of Eric's that she hadn't mentioned because apparently he hadn't been paying them. She said she planned to tell me about those when we met in person, back in November, but we hadn't gotten to it. It worries me that even with weekly phone calls, Leah felt she had to wait until we saw each other face to face to mention those bills. I hope there aren't other secrets. Financial planners can help the most when EVERYTHING is out on the table.

I've asked to see the stripped-down budget that she and Eric came up with over last weekend and, again, Leah stated that, with her debt payments, it was impossible to live off of Eric's pay. I know that! That's why my plan took the debt payments out: I want all of Leah's unemployment to go towards debt, and then they should be able to live off of Eric's pay. I reminded her that that's why, back in October, I wanted her to track all current spending; because I wanted to see if they could live off of what Eric made per month. It's also why I wanted them to set up a separate account for the unemployment to land in, so she could put all of it towards the debt, and then hopefully, in the future, get some reduction via the financial counselors.

Supposedly, Eric has gotten two pay increases, but Leah can't tell me what they come to. And with the loan they got in order for Eric to fly to his Granddad's funeral, it might be a wash. Sigh. I'm not sure what else I can do at this point until we get together and complete their financial plan. I'm hoping to get a date soon, so that Eric and Leah can come to Atlanta for our appointment.