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Military Families and Retirement Confidence

November 29, 2018

FORT WORTH, Texas – Career military families are saving more for retirement than their civilian counterparts and feeling more confident in the process, according to recent findings of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®.

Second quarter 2018 results reveal that middle-class military families (commissioned officers and NCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) who contribute to retirement and long-term savings accounts report average monthly savings of $1,583. That’s almost double the monthly average of $805 reported by the general population. 

Military families are also outpacing the rest of the American middle class in feelings of financial confidence. Sixty percent of military respondents report feeling extremely or very confident in their ability to retire comfortably. That compares to just 32 percent of the general population. 

“Our monthly surveys continue to reveal that the act of saving actually makes people feel more financially confident in the future,” said Scott Spiker, chairman/CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Military families in particular benefit greatly from the connection between financial behaviors and attitudes as they typically save and invest more than their civilian counterparts.” 

Military families are also saving more than the general population for short-term goals ($540 per month versus $328). And they are feeling more confident in their near-term finances. Sixty-five 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 38 percent of the general population.

Military families lead the general population in accumulated savings, too. The Index reveals that average financial holdings in retirement, long-term and short-term savings total $316,911 for military families versus $257,503 for the general population.

Looking 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 was 154 for military families versus 101 for the general population, (The Index is set to a benchmark of 100, which was assigned when the Index was launched in 2008.)

The overall Index scores are 156 for military families and 106 for the general populations. The scores are statistically unchanged from the previous quarter.

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.

First Command Financial Services, Inc., is the parent of First Command Financial Planning, Inc. (Member SIPC, FINRA), First Command Advisory Services, Inc., First Command Insurance Services, Inc. and First Command Bank. Financial planning services and investment products, including securities, are offered by First Command Financial Planning, Inc. , a broker-dealer. Financial planning and investment advisory services are offered by First Command Advisory Services, Inc., an investment adviser. Insurance products and services are offered by First Command Insurance Services, Inc., in all states except Montana, where as required by law, insurance products and services are offered by First Command Financial Services, Inc. (a separate Montana domestic corporation). Banking products and services are offered by First Command Bank. In certain states, as required by law, First Command Insurance Services, Inc. does business as a separate domestic corporation. Securities products are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee and may lose value. A financial plan, by itself, cannot assure that retirement or other financial goals will be met. First Command Financial Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with, authorized to sell or represent on behalf of or otherwise endorsed by any federal employee benefits programs referenced, by the U.S. government, or the U.S. armed forces.

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