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First Command Reports: Career military identify affordable healthcare as federal budget priority

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FORT WORTH, Texas – America’s career military members agree with their middle-class civilian counterparts that making healthcare more affordable should be a top priority for next year’s federal budget.

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals that three out of ten middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior NCOs in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) rank affordable healthcare as a top federal budget investment priority for fiscal 2017. Among members of the general population in the same income bracket, almost half rank affordable healthcare as a top priority.

“The cost of healthcare is clearly one of the biggest financial concerns of middle-class Americans,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “While this survey shows affordable healthcare is ranked as a top priority by a greater percentage of civilians than military respondents, the issue is one of growing concern for our men and women in uniform. Career military families strongly value their government-provided healthcare benefits. After several years of sequestration and defense downsizing, service members are understandably worried about how the rising costs of healthcare may impact their household finances in the years to come.”

Increased responsibility for healthcare costs was selected as a major sequestration-related concern by 30 percent of military respondents.

In addition to affordable healthcare, other top federal budget priorities identified by military respondents include:

  • Military training and personnel (31 percent)
  • Expanding support for veterans (26 percent)
  • Investing in education (22 percent)
  • Improving national infrastructure (22 percent)
  • Military technology and systems (22 percent)

Other military-related priorities include war funding, which was selected by 13 percent of respondents.

Members of the general population are less likely to select military issues as top budget priorities. After affordable healthcare, their top priorities are:

  • Improving national infrastructure (34 percent)
  • Investing in education (29 percent)
  • Making college education more affordable (27 percent)
  • Expanding Social Security (26 percent)
  • Investing in clean energy (23 percent)
  • Expanding support for veterans (22 percent)

War funding was selected by just 4 percent of civilian respondents.

“While military issues tended to fall lower on the priority list for the general population, we should note that support of veterans is strong among both groups,” Spiker said. “Americans clearly value the service and sacrifices of the members of our armed forces, and they believe expanding support should be a federal budget priority.”

Survey responses on federal budget priorities were collected after the release of President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2017 budget request, which was sent to Congress in February.

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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