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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Nov. 8, 2023

How to prepare your finances for the unexpected

By MyCG Staff

Taking control of our personal finances is a crucial step towards financial stability. The Coast Guard's Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) is a valuable resource available to individuals, regardless of their current financial situation. Unexpected expenses such as home or car repairs, medical emergencies or sudden loss of income can lead to significant financial challenges. 

You can explore various avenues for managing your finances by collaborating with local experts like Personal Financial Managers (PFMs), Command Financial Specialists (CFS) or CG SUPRT Money Coaches. They can provide guidance on creating a budget, exploring alternative approaches to settle debts with creditors, applying for grants and identifying wise loan options that can help you achieve your financial goals. 

Listed below are steps to help prepare your finances for financial uncertainties: 

  1. Build your emergency savings account. An adequate emergency savings should cover 3 to 6 months of living expenses. Start now if you do not have an emergency savings and set aside an amount that you are comfortable saving. 
  2. Create or update your spending plan. A good spending plan will help you manage your money and prepare for emergencies. Start with looking at your monthly income and expenses, then determine if you have a surplus or deficit. If you are at a deficit, this is a good time to identify your priorities, make appropriate adjustments, communicate your situation with lenders or utility companies and/or seek qualified guidance from your local Personal Financial Managers (PFM) or Command Financial Specialist (CFS). 
  3. Prioritize your spending. During uncertain times, it is beneficial to reduce any unnecessary spending and major purchases. As you consider what is most important to you, it is vital to be able to cover your basic needs such as housing, utilities, food and transportation. 
  4. Utilize your available resources. In the event of a financial setback, be sure to contact the below resources for assistance:  

  • PFMs are assigned to each Work-Life Regional Practice to provide financial education, 1-on-1 financial counseling and address complex financial issues. 
  • Military members may contact your local CFS for basic financial education, budgeting and information. 
  • All CG personnel may contact a CG SUPRT Financial Wellness Money Coach who can provide 1-on-1 confidential financial counseling. Contact CG SUPRT at 855-CG SUPRT (248-8778) or to speak with a Money Coach. 
  • For interest free loans or emergency grants for all CG personnel, contact CGMA | The official relief society of the US Coast Guard (
  • Financial education, Touchpoint Curriculum is available at:  

CG E- learning and/or 

 Check out these two videos developed to illustrate how PFMP can help: 

  1.  Personal Financial Management Program informational video. Securing affordable basic needs is a priority of the Coast Guard. Several resources are available to Coast Guard members and their families including: the Economic Security Toolkit, PFMP, CFS program, CG SUPRT-Financial and CGMA.  
  2. Coast Guard Financial Touchpoint Training video. Completing mandatory financial touchpoint training is one way to prepare oneself for an unexpected setback. 

 Visit the Personal Financial Management Program web page for more information and resources.