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Middle Class Retirement & Military Families

February 15th, 2019

FORT WORTH, Texas – Career military families are leading the middle class in feeling confident about their retirement prospects, according to the latest findings of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®.

Third quarter 2018 results reveal that 64 percent of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and NCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) report feeling extremely or very confident in their ability to retire comfortably. That compares to just 36 percent of the general population. 

The heightened retirement confidence expressed by military respondents aligns with positive savings behaviors. Military families who contribute to retirement and long-term savings accounts report average monthly savings of $1,116. That’s significantly more than the monthly average of $830 reported by the general population. 

“Again this quarter we see that military families are outpacing the rest of the middle class in retirement savings and feelings of financial confidence,” said Scott Spiker, chairman/CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “They save more and feel better. The act of saving serves to increase net worth as well as optimism in the future.” 

Military families are feeling more optimistic in their near-term finances, too. Sixty-six percent of service member families say they feel extremely or very confident their financial situation will improve in the next year. That compares to just 41 percent of the general population. And they are saving more than the general population for short-term goals ($486 per month versus $368). 

Military families also lead the general population in amassing financial assets. The Index reveals that average holdings in retirement, long-term and short-term savings total $326,049 for military families versus $315,097 for the general population.

Watch for the savings trend to continue in the months ahead. Military families are more likely than their civilian counterparts to say they intend to increase their monthly contributions to savings and investments. The sub-Index for financial intentions increased three points to 157 in military families and dropped one point to 100 in the general population. Those results contributed to the overall Index scores of 155 for military families and 112 for the general population.

The Index is set to a benchmark of 100, which was assigned when the Index was launched in 2008.

About the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®

Compiled by Sentient Decision Science, Inc., the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® assesses trends among the American public’s financial behaviors, attitudes and intentions through a monthly survey of approximately 530 U.S. consumers aged 25 to 70 with annual household incomes of at least $50,000. Results are reported quarterly. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence.

About Sentient Decision Science, Inc.

Sentient Decision Science was commissioned by First Command to compile the Financial Behaviors Index®. SDS is a behavioral science and consumer psychology consulting firm with special vertical expertise within the financial services industry. SDS specializes in advanced research methods and statistical analysis of behavioral and attitudinal data.

About First Command

First Command Financial Services and its subsidiaries, including First Command Financial Planning and First Command Bank, coach our Nation’s military families in their pursuit of financial security. Since 1958, First Command Financial Advisors have been shaping positive financial behaviors through face-to-face coaching with hundreds of thousands of client families.

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