FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellow Profile - Astrid Lutter
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San Antonio, Texas
"The program is invaluable to me, because the skills I obtained are portable, and I can take them from place to place."
For several years, Astrid had trouble finding a stable and satisfying career path. As a military spouse, the PCS moves she and her husband had to make complicated her ability to gain any relevant work experience. This only got worse as the years went on.
"I call it the plight of the military spouse," Astrid said.
Both she and her husband grew up in San Antonio, Texas, near Randolph Air Force Base where Charles, a Captain in the Air Force, started his military career. After being stationed at Barksdale AFB in Louisiana and Minot AFB in North Dakota, Astrid and Charles moved back to San Antonio. Though she was happy to be near her family again, finding relevant work remained a challenge.
One day, Astrid's husband passed along an email about the FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program and encouraged her to apply. It happened to be the last day of the application period, but she submitted her application anyway.
"I applied thinking if I got a good education, that would be enough for me," Astrid said. "And I did have a desire to help the military community, so that was a big focus."
With a master's degree in Business Administration, Astrid had a particular interest in finances and financial education. However, the most relevant lesson regarding financial management was one she learned at home.
When her husband was first commissioned with the military, a glitch in the payment system prevented the young couple from receiving payments for six months, forcing Astrid to become far savvier in managing their finances than she would have otherwise.
"I had to get very creative about creating budgets and sticking to them," Astrid said. "It was necessary to learn about and have a passion for managing finances. I told everyone that if I could choose an ideal job, it would be a financial counselor."
After Astrid received word she had been accepted into the fellowship program, she went straight to Randolph Air Force Base to the Community Family Readiness Center and asked if she could volunteer to finish her practicum hours. Now Astrid is working in the financial counseling field, and is on a career path that she is passionate and excited about.
"When I go to work, it doesn't even feel like work. I can't wait to get in," Astrid said. "That's not to say there aren't challenging aspects to my job, but I look at it as I want to help someone. While I can't always help someone, at least I can give that person information so the family can better themselves."
And more than just a satisfying career path, Astrid gained skills and knowledge from the program that she can take with her to any base around the country.
"The program is invaluable to me, because the skills I obtained are portable, and I can take them from place to place," Astrid said. "One of my frustrations, not necessarily with the military, but with being a spouse, is not having a decent career that I can develop and take with me."
In the future, Astrid plans to stay on this career path and to continue developing her skills as an accredited financial counselor for military servicemembers and their families.
"I plan on taking these skills with me to our next base, and to all the bases after that," Astrid said. "I know now that there's more out there for me to do."