The CFPB Office of Servicemember Affairs launched training for all active-duty servicemembers using the style of a graphic novel (combined with live-action video) with an interactive “choose your own adventure” format that provides practice in making financial choices and reveals the outcomes—positive and negative—of those choices. A brief YouTube introduction and video trailer of the training is available for review. The full training program, labeled Misadventures in Money Management (MiMM), is a virtual learning program addressing financial topics for all servicemembers, focusing on common financial pitfalls faced by new servicemembers and allowing them to experience the potential impact of their choices by following along with characters that have been designed to be similar to them and their backgrounds.
According to the CFPB Blog, “[t]he program covers topics including understanding:
- the importance of building savings;
- how to avoid impulse purchases;
- how debt can affect a military career;
- protections and benefits of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA); and
- financial decision-making.”
The CFPB Blog goes on to say: “When we set out to create MiMM, we talked to lots of servicemembers and they told us three things: (1) please no more boring slideshows, (2) don’t expect sleep-deprived troops in boot camp to remember anything right after they get back from field training, and (3) make it fun. That is why MiMM has you fighting zombies, traveling in time, and becoming a secret agent while learning key financial concepts.” Financial situations addressed include things like buying a car, building up credit, and starting to build up wealth, and additional resources are made available for those servicemembers that want to explore a particular issue further.
The program is available to all military services, including Active Duty servicemembers, Delayed Entry Program personnel, and Reserve/National Guard, along with ROTC members. The MiMM program includes a leaderboard showing comparisons of success among each branch of service, and the CFPB announced that, a year from this launch, it will issue the CFPB’s “challenge coin” to the Senior Enlisted Advisor of the branch of service that has the largest percentage increase in MiMM course completion on record.