An active duty Marine for 12 years and a reserve officer until 2012, Rob Aeschbach is well aware of the unique financial and emotional challenges that face military families. But he didn’t start thinking about becoming a financial planner until he started volunteering at the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society and saw so many of his fellow sailors in economic distress.

Last year, he launched the Military Financial Planner in Norfolk, Virginia, a fee-only advisory service aimed at a narrow niche: young men and women serving in the military. These clients have distinctive needs that aren’t well-served by planners who don’t understand the tumult of military life, he says. Indeed, traditional planning advice — such as suggesting that clients put as much money as possible in tax-deductible retirement plans and stretch to buy a home — can prove economically devastating to servicemen and women.

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