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First Command Reports: Career Military Confident Lawmakers Will Avoid Government Shutdown

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals majority of middle-class military families believe Congress will take appropriate action in time to avoid a repeat of the 2013 government shutdown

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FORT WORTH, Texas — The majority of America’s career servicemembers and their families are confident that lawmakers will take appropriate actions to sidestep a looming government shutdown, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®.

Survey results from late September reveal that 62 percent of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior NCOs in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) believe that Congress will be able to take appropriate action to avoid a repeat of the 2013 government shutdown. And half believe that Congress will void sequestration before the full return to these automatic budget cuts in fiscal year 2016, which begins on Oct. 1.

This high level of confidence that Congress will dodge another shutdown and cancel sequestration stands in marked contrast to survey results from two years ago, when almost nine out of ten servicemembers said they were not confident that Congress would pass a continuing resolution to fund the government and avoid a shutdown.

The certainty expressed today by servicemembers belies the views of a more doubtful American Middle Class. Among general population respondents, only 29 percent are confident that Congress will avoid a shutdown and 12 percent believe lawmakers will void sequestration for the new fiscal year.

“The more optimistic view expressed by our career military force is particularly unexpected in light of their continued anxiety about how cuts to defense spending and military pay and benefits may affect their family finances,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Roughly seven out of ten survey respondents said they are feeling anxious about military spending cuts and expect to be financially impacted by them. When asked to rate their level of concern about the possibility of another government shutdown, 38 percent said they feel extremely or very anxious. In light of these high levels of worry and concern, we suspect the sanguine outlook of our career military families regarding a possible government shutdown may be more tenuous than the 62 percent figure suggests. Their confidence in Congress could quickly take a pessimistic turn if lawmakers are unable to successfully resolve these critical issues and keep the government operating.”

In the event of a government shutdown, First Command will extend direct deposit pay to its military and federal employee clients as part of a comprehensive plan to address potential financial hardships.

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. Financial Behaviors Index

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 Bank and First Command Financial Planning, assist American families in their efforts to build wealth, reduce debt and pursue their lifetime financial goals and dreams—focusing on consumer behavior as the first and most powerful determinant of results. Through knowledgeable advice and coaching of the financial behaviors conducive to success, First Command Financial Advisors have built trustworthy, lasting relationships with hundreds of thousands of client families since 1958.


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