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MakingCents of Your Finances With the Navy Federal Podcast

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We’re making your financial health our mission every week with our personal finance podcast, MakingCents. Join us as we explore ways to help you stay in control of your wallet and make sense of your money.

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Episode 3: Understanding the Value of VA Loans

VA loans are a great perk for servicemembers to take advantage of when buying or refinancing homes. In this episode, Navy Federal's Vice President of Field Mortgage, Kevin Parker, makes it clear what to expect when getting a VA loan, including understanding funding fees and navigating eligibility confirmation. 

You can expect: 

  • a discussion of VA loans, funding fees and obtaining a Certificate of Eligibility
  • tips on what you should be doing to make the most of a VA loan 

GUEST: Kevin Parker is Navy Federal's Vice President of Field Mortgage. A long-time mortgage professional, he has helped Navy Federal members become homeowners for the last 7 years.

Episode List

Episode 13: Operation Gratitude on Military Appreciation and Giving Back

It's Military Appreciation Month, and Navy Federal has again partnered with Operation Gratitude to give back to our servicemembers. In this episode, new host Brandi Gomez welcomes her first guest James Johnson, President and CEO of Operation Gratitude, to discuss his military experience as a Major General and U.S. Air Force veteran, his time working with Operation Gratitude and their partnership with Navy Federal. Tune in to hear more about Operation Gratitude's positive impact on our military and to see how you can get involved. Visit and for more information.

Episode 12: Best Careers for Military Spouses 

We partnered with Hire Heroes USA to survey 2,000+ military spouses on what matters most in a career for them. The results? A list of the top 10 industries and career paths that offer flexibility and mobility. In this episode, we’re joined by Matt Vean, Assistant Manager of Commercial Business Lending, to discuss his personal experience as a military spouse in search of a fulfilling career, hiring tips that served him well and his takeaways from this project. Tune in to take a closer look at the military spouse experience and Navy Federal’s resources for military spouses.

Episode 11: Student Loans 101

No matter when you're navigating the student loan journey, we want to make sure it's as simple to understand as possible. In this episode, we're joined by Brittany Mills, Assistant Manager of Education Lending at Navy Federal. Listen as we dive into all things student loans—from choosing between loan options, to meeting loan requirements and to creating healthy financial habits as a student. Tune in to get a closer look at what the changes this past year have meant for student loans and what to expect going forward.

Episode 10: How to Place a Winning Offer on a Home in 2021

Buying a home for the first time can seem like a daunting task, especially in today's market. In this episode, real estate agent and military family member Josh Chapman joins us to discuss his history of working with servicemembers during their home-buying journeys. Emily and Josh will cover home-buying tips, VA loans, today's market and common mistakes to avoid when searching for your dream home.

Episode 9: Navy Federal and Operation Homefront Celebrate Military Appreciation

In this episode, we’re joined by Operation Homefront for a wrap-up of our Military Appreciation Month celebrations. Hear from Robert Thomas, Operation Homefront’s COO, as he shares about the organization and their mission. The conversation also touches on military lifestyle and personal finance, and the key moments in servicemembers' careers. Tune in to hear more and visit

Episode 8: Navigating the Economy in 2021

In this episode, we welcome back our corporate economist Robert Frick, an expert in behavioral economics and former journalist. Join us as Robert and Emily chat through the current economic climate, COVID-19’s impact on travel and small businesses, what we can expect going forward for our own finances and investments, and more.

Episode 7: Military Saves: The Month, the Pledge and Super Savers

In this episode, we’re joined by Angela Caban, Director of Military Saves at the Consumer Federation of America, and a military spouse herself. She shares info about Military Saves Month, including what the month means, how to take the pledge and how the organization partners with Navy Federal. Expect conversation around the work Military Saves does to help servicemembers and vets commit to better savings habits, savings misconceptions in the military, and more.

Episode 6: Planning for Retirement During a Pandemic, Part 2

Join as we continue our timely retirement planning discussion with Kevin Driscoll, Vice President of Advisory Services at Navy Federal Financial Group. In this episode, we’ll talk emergency and rainy day funds, certificates, financial pressures, the choice between a credit union and a bank, and more.*

GUEST: A financial advisor for more than 20 years, Kevin Driscoll is Vice President of Advisory Services at Navy Federal Financial Group.

*These products are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guaranteed or obligations of Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), are not offered, recommended, sanctioned, or encouraged by the federal government, and may involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal.

Episode 6: Planning for Retirement During a Pandemic, Part 1

In this episode, we share retirement planning guidance from our team at Navy Federal Financial Group. Hear from Kevin Driscoll, the group’s Vice President of Advisory Services and a certified financial planner of over 20 years, as he talks through what you need to know. Expect conversation around retirement planning, IRAs, the effect of COVID-19 on retirement accounts, tips to help you choose between blended retirement system vs. traditional 401(k) or IRA, and more.*

GUEST: A financial advisor for more than 20 years, Kevin Driscoll is Vice President of Advisory Services at Navy Federal Financial Group.

*These products are not NCUA/NCUSIF or otherwise federally insured, are not guaranteed or obligations of Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), are not offered, recommended, sanctioned, or encouraged by the federal government, and may involve investment risk, including possible loss of principal.

Episode 5: What You Need to Know About Civilian Job Searching in 2021

If you’re a servicemember looking to transition to a civilian career or have already made the switch and are looking to take the next step in your career, the advice that Navy Federal career expert Jon Barton offers in this episode is for you.

You can expect:

  • tangible guidance to help servicemembers and veterans navigate career shifts in 2021
  • tips for how to translate your military service into civilian terms on a resume

GUEST: Jon Barton, a Marine Corps sergeant and combat veteran, retired from service in 2010 to focus on his own business ideas. Jon vowed that any businesses he created would be dedicated to helping vets find jobs—guiding and mentoring risk-seekers like himself who were driven to become entrepreneurs.

Meet the Hosts

Emily Bigham

Emily Bigham is a leader in Credit Card Operations at Navy Federal and the host of MakingCents. With a background in personal finance, data analysis and public relations, Emily brings knowledge of every different stage in the financial journey. She believes that being financially successful isn’t about making a lot of money—it’s about being smart with the money you have.

She's passionate about service and refers to herself as a true Navy brat, having grown up traveling the globe with an Active Duty parent. Think of Emily as your personal finance guru and listen each week as she uncovers ways to help you stay financially fit.

Brandi Gomez

Brandi Gomez is a Corporate Social Responsibility Program Manager at Navy Federal Credit Union, responsible for leading the strategy for our full portfolio of philanthropic giving and our key relationship manager for all corporate and national partnerships. Additionally, she manages various employee powered programs that amplify our impact in our local communities.

If not podcasting or spending time with her husband and two children, there's a 99% chance you'll find her enjoying a sweat sesh on her Peloton, exploring one of many beautiful nature trails along the Gulf Coast or giving back to the community.

As a military spouse, Brandi is dedicated to serving others and spreading Navy Federal’s mission, so tune in to hear her catch up with some of our incredible partners and leaders who help Navy Federal successfully serve the military community and beyond. 

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More Resources

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Theme music was composed by Taka Yasuzawa and Alex Sugiura.