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Servicemembers Stick With Frugal Ways As Other Americans Warm Up To Spending, First Command Reports

FORT WORTH, Texas — A shift in financial attitudes is taking place between middle-class military families and their civilian counterparts, with growing concerns over sequestration motivating servicemembers to stick to their frugal ways even as the improving economy is inspiring some members of the general population to warm up to spending.

An ongoing research initiative that looks at how financial attitudes have changed since the economic downturn reveals that just one in four middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) display a mindset associated with more liberal spending behaviors. Meanwhile, these same attitudes are becoming more prevalent in the general population, where they are now held by roughly a third of consumers.

Called “Free Spirits,” these spendthrift consumers made up just 25 percent of middle-class households in 2009 and 2010 during the depths of the economic downturn. Their numbers rose slightly in 2011 and 2012, holding at just under 30 percent. The gap between military families and the general population began to appear last year. The annual results for 2013 show that Free Spirits made up 26 percent of military households and 30 percent of the general population. The most recent quarterly results show the size of gap is still growing. During the fourth quarter of 2013, the percentage of Free Spirits in military households dropped three points to 24 percent and in general population households surged seven points to 34 percent — a 10-point gap.



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First Command Offers Tips On Money Conversations For CouplesMarch 5, 2014

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First Command in the Media

Brig. Gen Halstead: Accountability, leadership needed to handle military challenges
Las Vegas Review-Journal — Jan. 19, 2014

Military cuts retiree COLAs — Jan. 17, 2014

Budget Cuts Worry Military Families
Financial Advisor Magazine — Jan. 15, 2014

Military Families Resolve to Save More in 2014 — Jan. 8, 2014

For military families, Santa is still coming to town
Pensacola News Journal — Dec. 14, 2013

Consumer Watch: Debt-free holiday is a gift
Military Times — Dec. 12, 2013

Military Families Cut Gift Spending In Half, Survey Says
Financial Advisor Magazine — Dec. 10, 2013

Military families expect to spend less this Christmas
San Antonio Business Journal — Nov 19, 2013

'We take care of each other': Military families already prepping for another government shutdown — Nov. 18, 2013

Military families say they will curtail Thanksgiving
USA Today — Oct. 30, 2013

Annapolis financial planners urge calm as Congress approaches default — Oct. 16, 2013

Shutdown Survival
Financial Advisor Magazine — Oct. 14, 2013

Feds expect sequester to return in 2014
Federal Times — Oct. 13, 2013

A Financial ‘Wake Up Call’ for Federal Workers — Oct. 3, 2013

Federal Workers Seek Help Tightening Belts
Wall Street Journal — Sept. 30, 2013

How to prepare for a federal government shutdown
CNBC — Sept. 23, 2013

Air Force personnel fear what coming cuts will bring
Las Vegas Review-Journal — Sept. 22, 2013

Military Community Feels the Effects of Furloughs, Too
Government Executive — Sept. 18, 2013

Military families pinched by furloughs, sequester
San Diego Union-Tribune — Sept. 16, 2013

Armed Forces Bowl extends agreement with presenting sponsor for 2013 contest
Fort Worth Star-Telegram — Aug. 19, 2013

Military families top public in coverage — Aug. 14, 2013

Military Families Save More As Budget Cuts Loom
Financial Advisor Magazine — Aug. 13, 2013

Hawaii staycations can be a bright spot for federal workers affected by sequester
Pacific Business News - Aug 5, 2013

Survey: Military members feeling better about finances
San Diego Source — Aug 2, 2013

Military families optimistic about economy; for now
USA Today — July 1, 2013

Survey of Military Members Shows Retirement Anxiety
Credit Union Times — June 24, 2013

Civilian And Military Growing More Confident About Economy, Study Says
Financial Advisor Magazine — June 21, 2013

Military families with planning enjoy better health
Financial Advisor Magazine — June 6, 2013

Adviser Navigates Finances With Survivors of Fallen
Wall Street Journal — May 24, 2013

Facing Cuts, Defense Workers Seek Financial Advice
Wall Street Journal — May 7, 2013

Financial Advisor Reaches Female Clients With Two Messages
Financial Advisor Magazine — April 30, 2013

Servicemembers Tightening Family Budgets In Face Of Military Budget Cuts
Camp Pendleton Patch — April 24, 2013

Military families adjust budgets
Pensacola News Journal — April 20, 2013

Advisors See More Military Families Due To Sequestration
Financial Advisor Magazine — March 27, 2013

Sequester Strikes Military Families as Pentagon Makes Budget Cuts — March 26, 2013

Get ‘Squared Away’
The Northwest Airlifter, Lakewood, Wash — March 21, 2013

Hiring Our Heroes
NBC 4 in Washington, D.C. — February 26, 2013


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