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Squaring financial futures

First Command continues service

A financial advisor and recruiter with First Command, Dick French looks for employees who have a passion to help military families financially. Photo credit: J.M. Simpson

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Get squared away.

Those three simple words are the foundation of First Command, a financial planning firm looking for individuals who want to serve others.

During the early 1950s, Air Force Lt. Col. Carroll Payne worked with the families of a number of crewmembers killed in training flights. Saddened by the financial difficulties facing the survivors and their families, he conceived the idea of a company, which would become First Command.

Opening its doors in 1958, First Command was founded with a simple goal: To improve the financial well-being of servicemembers and their families.

"Our mission is to coach those who serve in their pursuit of financial security," said Dick French, a retired Marine officer. "We have 500 financial advisors and over 70 offices located near major military installations in the United States, Europe and Asia."

There are three First Command offices in the Puget Sound area: Lakewood, DuPont and Silverdale.

A genial individual with a quick smile, French said he joined First Command because "it gives me, and the individuals I work and serve with, an opportunity to remain in service to the men and women who truly serve our country."

In offering solutions for the financial security of its clients, First Command uses time-tested financial principles and a client-first philosophy, advocates consistent saving, disciplined investing, and provides an insurance strategy to manage risks to financial well-being.

"I greatly enjoy the coaching aspect of this profession as I enjoy helping military families develop their financial plans."

He related how a client for whom he has worked for quite a while now owns his own airplane and hangar on his property.

"That was a goal 25 years ago," pointed out French, "and my client accomplished it. This is what we strive for here at First Command."

For those considering a career in financial planning, perhaps French's military experience will provide inspiration.

"My time in the Marine Corps taught me valuable lessons in problem solving, gave me the drive to follow through, and empowered me to accomplish the mission," he explained. "My mission today is to recruit financial advisors, and the most enduring trait I seek when hiring is to own a passion to help military families financially."

Those who join First Command receive extensive "how to" training concerning people skills, problem solving, and the policies the company offers.

First Command's financial advisors also take the Financial Planner Oath. In doing so, they publicly state their commitment to act in their clients' best interests at all times.

"It is truly very rewarding for me to see a young family grasp and understand the concepts of long-term financial planning for their family," concluded French. "Watching military families getting on track to plan for their financial futures -- and to take ownership of it -- is what First Command does."

Working for First Command is an opportunity to help fellow servicemembers square away their financial futures.

If you are interested in speaking with a representative, be sure and attend the Military Dream Big Fair Feb. 16 at Capital Christian Center in Lacey between 9 a.m. and noon. For more details and to RSVP, visit:

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