Brittany Whitehead – A future helping improve people’s financial literacy

As a kid, Brittany Whitehead was influenced by her grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression. At just 16-years-old, her grandfather dropped out of school to join the military, and her grandmother, who went to Brown University, was the financial mastermind of her family.  

“She caught on early that I was also interested in finance, particularly financial literacy. She took me under her wing when I was little and taught me how to budget my $5 allowance in the 80s,”  Whitehead said.  

When Whitehead joined the military, she realized there was a deficit in financial literacy among military personnel. She wanted to bridge that gap by getting her Master’s in Financial Family Planning to give others official and ethical information.  

“I’ve learned from the program that everyone’s situation is completely different, and there’s simply no one-size-fits-all regarding financial literacy. This program is about, can you listen to people and elicit the right information from them to make sure they have the best financial planning to move their lives and family forward,” she said.   

Iowa State offers an undergraduate degree in Financial Counseling and Planning where students graduate ready to work in various financial industries and it’s the only program at the university that prepares students to continue the path to become a Certified Financial Planner and/or an Accredited Financial Counselor. For Whitehead, the Master of Family and Consumer Sciences graduate program was the right fit to pursue a career in financial planning. The program is offered online as part of the Great Plains IDEA (GPIDEA) program.

“I knew that I wanted to explore the world of financial counseling, and I realized the program is great for military personnel,” she said.  

An ideal component of the GPIDEA program for Whitehead was that it was very flexible with her schedule. Whitehead has served as a Military Police Executive Officer for the National Guard and has been deployed to serve in Kuwait, Iraq, Syria and Jordan, all while continuing her education. 

Whitehead hopes to work as an accredited financial counselor within the military to assist military members.  

“It’s all about getting financial literacy to the masses. If you can flip that financial literacy switch in somebody, you can completely change their lives,” she said.   

Student Spotlights