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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau launches education program for military members

By Kathleen Kraninger | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau | May 22, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is launching its Misadventures in Money Management financial education tools for all active duty service members at the Academic Support Building, building 1467, at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston May 23.

Misadventures in Money Management, or MiMM, is a virtual financial education learning experience that fills a critical gap in consumer financial education topics for future service members. The program is currently in use by all of the military services: the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard and National Guard.

It is in the form of a graphic novel that teaches service members about making financial decisions in the style of a choose-you-own-adventure novel.  It was initially developed solely for future service members who signed a contract to enlist in the armed forces, but had not yet shipped off to basic military training. 

Over the past three years, MIMM has provided financial education to more than 22,000 future service members.  It will now be available for all service members on active duty, in the Reserve or National Guard, and for anyone who has signed up for future military service, including high school and college cadets enrolled in a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program.

The MIMM program is managed by the Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs, which is responsible for developing and implementing initiatives for service members and their families to educate and empower service members and their families to make better informed decisions regarding consumer financial products and services. The office maintains a financial education website for service members, veterans and their families, along with a resource page for practitioners who work with the military community. 

While the military provides a financial education class during basic training, the information is not always well absorbed due to the rigorous physical, emotional and temporal demands of that time. As a result, many young service members may leave basic training not yet ready to make important consumer financial choices.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or CFPB, created the MiMM education program to reach future service members prior to basic training, during the “delayed entry” time period that starts when a prospective service member signs a military enlistment agreement and continues through departure for basic training.

The CFPB helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives.

The program covers topics including consumer financial decision-making, choosing a financial institution, understanding protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act, avoiding impulse purchases and understanding how debt can affect a military career.