DAILY DOT COM - It seems there is another battle that faces the men and women putting their lives on the lines everyday. In addition to the obvious dangers of protecting our freedoms, military service men and women and their families are also facing financial issues.
Brenda Linnington overseas the Better Business Bureau's Military Line. It's a program aimed at providing consumer education for service members and their families.
"Many of our military personnel are young and inexperienced with money management, and their finances are impacted disproportionately by long deployments, protracted family separation and frequent moves," said Linnington. "This free, independent resource offers unbiased information tailored to address the unique personal finance issues that confront our men and women in uniform, and can help them make better informed decisions about money."
In partnership with finance company McGraw Hill, the BBB launched a free mobile app called Miltary and Money. Key features of the app include training videos on budgeting and managing debt, calculators to track cash flow and build savings and debt reduction plans, and a prompt that sends monthly savings reminders.
The collaboration is part of First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden's "Joining Forces" initiative, which mobilizes all sectors of society to give U.S. service members and their families the opportunities and support they deserve. McGraw-Hill and BBB Military Line announced in April 2011 they were joining together as part of this initiative to develop and deliver expanded financial literacy and consumer protection programs to military families.
Military service members are often the targets of consumer fraud and high-interest predatory loans, and are heavily indebted, especially to credit card issuers. According to a 2010 survey by the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, 27 percent of military respondents had $10,000 or more in credit card debt compared with 16 percent of civilians. The survey also found "as many as one in three of enlisted personnel and junior NCOs reported using at least one method of non-bank borrowing [such as a predatory loan] in the past five years, compared with 24 percent of civilians."
The Military & Money App is available free on iTunes. A companion website can be found at www.militaryandmoney.com .
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