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Career Military Families Resolve To Live Frugally In 2015, First Command Reports

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals the top financial New Year’s resolutions of middle-class military families

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Members of America’s career military are responding to another year of uncertainty over defense downsizing and proposed cuts to their military compensation with a set of frugal New Year’s resolutions.

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals that 95 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) have identified one or more financially-themed resolutions for the new year. Top financial aspirations for 2015 are:

  • Get out of debt (selected by 37 percent of survey respondents)
  • Cut back on excessive spending (29 percent)
  • Keep track of financial activities (28 percent)
  • Learn to budget responsibly (28 percent)
  • Improve credit score (26 percent)
  • Start saving money for retirement or put more money into retirement savings (25 percent)
  • Use cash or debit more often instead of credit cards (24 percent)
  • Make sound investments in the stock market (24 percent)
  • Learn not to live beyond your means (23 percent)
  • Be financially independent (23 percent)
  • Shop more at discount stores or for discount brands (20 percent)

These New Year’s resolutions come at a time when active-duty families are expressing ongoing concerns about a variety of financial issues related to their military service. January survey results reveal that 78 percent of military respondents feel anxious about sequestration. More than half are concerned about their job security in the coming months, and roughly four out of five expect to be financially impacted by anticipated cuts to defense spending.

Still, middle-class military families are finding reasons to feel positive about their current finances. Recent survey results reveal that half (51 percent) feel they are better off than they were a year ago. Just 8 percent say they are worse off. (Another 40 percent say their personal financial situation is about the same.)

Financial planners are having a decidedly positive impact on feelings of financial confidence in the future. The Index reveals that 56 percent of survey respondents who have a financial advisor feel extremely or very confident their financial situation will improve in the next year. That compares to just 28 percent who do not work with a financial advisor.

“As we look back on another year of financial uncertainty for military families, men and women in uniform who are working with financial professionals are feeling more confident than their do-it-yourself colleagues that their finances will improve in 2015,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Families who work with a financial coach are more likely to spend less, save more and pay down debt in their pursuit of financial security. As we move through the new year we expect to see a growing number of active-duty households put their trust in knowledgeable financial professionals and take other positive actions that will help them get their finances squared away for the future.”

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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