When launched in 2016, the tool was developed for future service members who had not yet been shipped off to basic military training. Last week, the bureau widened the audience to include all service members on active duty, including those in the Reserve or National Guard, an agency release said.
The aim of Misadventures in Money Management is to help service members and their families understand their options within the financial marketplace to “avoid the most common mistakes,” CFPB Director Kathy Kraninger said in a statement. The program covers topics including consumer financial decision making, choosing a financial institution, understanding protections under the Service Members Civil Relief Act, and understanding debt’s impact on a military career.
In January, Kraninger issued a proposal to Congress, asking for authority to supervise compliance with the Military Lending Act, which applies to active duty service members, spouses, and certain dependents.
In that same month, the bureau’s Office of Service Member Affairs released its annual report summarizing service members’ complaints. The report highlighted emerging issues and continuing trends confronting military service members in the financial marketplace, underscoring automobile add-on products — specifically guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance — in the car buying process as a pain point.
Specifically, the report noted that many service members aren’t aware that ancillary products are optional, and unknowingly end up with thousands of dollars in additional financing when purchasing a car. Further, GAP insurance can often be voided if a service member takes their car overseas.