Financial education: Information and execution are vital

This document is a collection of facts, figures, stories, and case studies assembled by Pioneer Services Representatives addressing predatory practices and the need for a responsible alternative for our men and women in uniform.

The intent of this paper is to explore the negative impact of predatory lending “practices” on service members and to offer possible solutions through financial education. The paper is not aimed at any one company or industry, but rather predatory practices in general.

  • Military Lifestyle—Our nation’s military lives a unique and mobile lifestyle that makes them particularly vulnerable to financial practices that place them in harm’s way-while service members may have a steady paycheck, their pay is often below that of their civilian counterparts. This presents a unique challenge and makes preparing them for fiscal challenges even more important.
  • The Problems—Due to their low pay, every military family will need sources of credit to finance a variety of purchases. But when a family chooses a poor alternative for that need, it has a direct impact on operational readiness.
  • The Importance of Financial Education—The need for a proactive, rather than reactive, solution to financial education is apparent, as shown through a story of a military spouse who went through financial hardships herself. There are some essentials that can help prevent such hardships from occurring, including budgeting, a savings strategy, and information on the true cost of borrowing. There also needs to be an explanation of how credit scores affect lending options, as well as a focus on the fact that bad financial decisions can have a negative impact on readiness.
  • Solutions—Learning what constitutes predatory lending practices, dispelling the myths around the “good guys and bad guys”, and providing key items to look for in responsible alternatives, can help service members become better prepared both at home and in the field. Also, subject matter experts, including civilian companies that have the necessary experience, can provide this information.

Together, responsible members of the financial services industry, the Department of Defense, and military leadership can address this problem. But they can only do this if they allow all three members to have open discussions about solutions that will work. It is our intention that this research paper be a catalyst to begin those conversations and most of all begin developing efficient and effective solutions to this problem.

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