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Military spouses taking charge of family finances

February 12th, 2018

FORT WORTH, Texas – Military spouses are taking the lead role in managing the household finances of America's career service member families, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index ®.

Eighty-eight percent of spouses in middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior NCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) say it is primarily their role to manage household finances, including budgeting and savings. And four out of five military spouses (81 percent) say it is primarily their role to manage long-term investments and retirement savings accounts.

Military spouses express confidence in their family's level of financial preparedness. The majority of spouses say their family is prepared financially for an eventual transition to civilian life (81 percent) as well as in the event of a combat-related death or disability (74 percent).

Notably, the majority of military spouses are contributing to their household's income. Seventy-three percent report that they are working full time, and 8 percent are working part time. Five percent are not employed, but they are seeking work.

The overwhelming majority of spouses (93 percent) agree that they want to support their families financially, but they are hampered by the realities of the military lifestyle. Seventy-four percent say that frequent relocations make it difficult to find and keep employment.

“Financial readiness is a particularly important issue in the lives of military spouses,” said Scott Spiker, chairman/CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “We've long understood that their unique experience is often one of shouldering the primary responsibility for household budgeting and savings. Our research now confirms that military spouses are also deeply involved in preparing for retirement, which has become of growing concern in light of the military's new Blended Retirement System. Financial coaching can play a key role in helping military spouses manage these critical issues. Our surveys consistently reveal that career military families who work with a financial advisor are more likely to save more and feel more confident about their finances than their colleagues who do not work with an advisor. Working with a knowledgeable professional is an ideal way for military families – and the spouses who manage their household finances – to make the most of their pay and benefits in their continuing pursuit of financial security.”

About 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.

Contact: Mark Leach 
Media Relations 

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