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October 22, 2018

Maine Law student coauthors financial guide for veterans

Courtesy / Maine Bureau of Credit Consumer Protection
Courtesy / Maine Bureau of Credit Consumer Protection
The Financial Guide for Maine Veterans was published by the State of Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection this summer. It includes information on veterans' benefit agencies and organizations, employment, education, health, establishing and maintaining credit, and personal finance.

Here's how to get the guide

The Downeaster Financial Guide for Maine Veterans, by Michael Adams and David Leach, is available free of charge to Maine residents by contacting the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection at 207-624-8527 or 1-800-332-8529. Non-Maine residents may purchase the publication for $6 a copy, or at a volume discount of $4 a copy on orders or 50 or more. Shipping fees are included in the prices listed. It is also available online here. For the full list of Downeaster Common Sense Guides go here.

When Harpswell native Mike Adams returned to Maine after military service in Afghanistan to finish his studies at the University of Southern Maine, he found there was little information available on financial resources available to veterans.

So last summer while interning at the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, Adams suggested that the bureau produce an easy-to-use practical guide.

"As a veteran myself, I thought there was a gap of information on the available resources, so I wanted to create something that put it all in one easy-to-read booklet the state could distribute and publish," said Adams, now a second-year student at the University of Maine School of Law, in a telephone interview.

During his 12 weeks as the Margaret Chase Smith Intern in the Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection, Adams worked on the publication with David Leach, the bureau's principal consumer credit examiner who has worked on various other informational publications.

Adams also worked closely on with the Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services, the Governor's Office and Superintendent William Lund of the Maine Bureau of Consumer Credit Protection to ensure the veterans' guide was accurate.

Financial literacy and well-being focus

Part of the bureau's Downeaster Common Sense Guide series that includes reports on credit reports and credit scores after the Equifax data breach and car buying and financing, the Financial Guide for Maine Veterans covers a wide range of topics. It was published in August.

Areas covered include veterans' benefit agencies and organizations, employment, education, health, establishing and maintaining credit, and personal finance, boiled down to short descriptions and bullet points in a compact 31-page overview.

"When I met with the Maine Bureau of Veterans' Services, they had just completed a 100-page-plus resource guide, which had a lot great information," Adams said. "I told them my goal as to have something much easier to read with bullet points and headings."

In their introduction to the guide, the authors note that the publication is an expression of gratitude to all Maine veterans, and a single source of information for veterans and their families, with a focus on financial literacy and well-being.

The potential audience is huge since veterans make up more than 10% of Maine's population.

Leach and his colleagues are now busy getting the word out about the guide, which he describes as a "true one-stop shopping guide for Maine veterans."

Back at Maine Law, Adams said that while working on the publication was stressful at times, it's been "a great complement to my law school education."

Not yet sure what area of law he'll pursue after graduating, Adams is taking a mix of litigation and business-focused courses to keep his options open.

"I know I want to use my law degree to help veterans in Maine and help my community," he said.

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