If you’ve been having difficulty getting some service members excited about penciling out a spending plan, this new app form Army OneSource and Military Saves might just be the answer. The new Money Matters Mobile App is an ideal tool for PFMs to use with service members who are looking for an easy, accessible way to get financial information on the go.
The app can be used on a wide variety of Smartphones, including iPhones, iPod Touch, Androids, and BlackBerrys that have the newest operating system (v5). The free Money Matters Mobile app links users with financial tips from the Military Saves’ Facebook page, savings tips, a debt repayment calculator (great for figuring out payment amounts before making big purchases), and contact from a Community Support Coordinator to learn about financial events in their area. Additionally, users are encouraged to take the Military Saves pledge, as well as to share the pledge with others.
This new app is an ideal tool for tech-savvy people who rely heavily on gadgets and web-based information. Success oriented service members engaged in one-on-one financial counseling would appreciate the ease of access this app provides. The accessibility, literally, at the tips of their fingers, may encourage users to engage in financial planning online communities.
Families will benefit from this app too. Encourage parents attending financial workshops to download the app not only on their own phones, but also on their spouse’s and teenage children’s phones as well. Parents will benefit from the useful tips and calculators while youngsters will be introduced to financial terms. Using the app as a family may serve as an springboard for family conversations about financial matters.
According to a recent needs assessment conducted by Dr. Angela Huebner and her colleagues at Virginia Tech when it comes to accessing formal support systems such as MilitaryOneSource or support centers, military service members and their families:
- Prefer getting support information from a “known” person such as a family readiness officer, ombudsmen or key spouse.
- Are more likely to access a program or service on the recommendation of a trusted friend or family member.
- Prefer information specific to their installation and/or community as well as information directly affiliated with the military such as the Chain of Command and Squadron Leaders.
- Use family members, usually the active duty spouse, as a primary source of information about programs and services.
- Face barriers to using formal support systems such as the perception that most programs are targeted at younger service members and those with families, information overload, fear that accessing support would reflect poorly on service member and inefficient timing of information.
How can Military Families Learning Network and the Cooperative Extension System help meet these needs?
Cooperative Extension is in a unique position to help military families no matter where they live. CES serves citizens in every county/parish across the country. County-based educators can serve as excellent educators and resources for military families living on and off installations across the country by helping them connect with local information and resources. State specialists and county educators can become the “known” person in their community to help bridge community and military resources for military families.
Military Families Learning Network provides additional online resources and information for military families as well as ways for military family service providers to connect, engage and learn more by connecting with colleagues and Extension professionals.