The McGraw-Hill Companies, in partnership with Better Business Bureau (BBB), launched a free mobile app designed to help America’s military families make better personal decisions to ensure their financial independence. The Military & Money App is a financial educational app designed to provide service members and their spouses easy-to-use and practical money management tips, including tools to reduce debt and maximize savings.
“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 Brenda Linnington, Director, BBB Military Line, in a McGraw-Hill news release. “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.”
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% 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% of civilians.”
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.
McGraw-Hill and BBB’s 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 last year they were joining together as part of this initiative to develop and deliver expanded financial literacy and consumer protection programs to military families.