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First Command Reports: Career military anxious over possible government shutdown

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals two out of three middle–class military families worried about a potential government shutdown this month

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FORT WORTH, Texas – The possibility of a government shutdown in April is fueling considerable anxiety in America’s career military families.

The latest results of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveal that 68 percent of middle–class military families (commissioned officers and senior NCOs in pay grades E–5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) are feeling anxious about a potential repeat of the 2013 government shutdown. That's about the same anxiety level as reported in December,when lawmakers passed a stopgap spending bill to fund the government through April 28.

Anxiety is less pronounced in the general population, where 49 percent of respondents say they are worried about a government shutdown.

Despite these high levels of worry, the majority of survey respondents are still hopeful that lawmakers will ultimately avert a shutdown. The Index reveals that 71 percent of military families are confident that Congress will take positive action. That's down 14 points from December. In comparison, 61 percent of the general population reports feeling confident in Congress. That's about the same as recorded in December.

“Looming prospects of another government shutdown are creating a complex mix of emotions for our Nation’s career military families,” said Scott Spiker, chairman/CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “The last shutdown led to interruptions in and cancellations of active duty work and training and in some cases directly affected the daily lives of service member families. But these families have seen Congress avoid a number of potential government shutdowns in recent years, so they remain optimistic that lawmakers will ultimately find a path forward”

Meanwhile, the Index shows continuing anxiety over other government–related financial issues, specifically cuts to defense spending and military pay and benefits.

“Sequestration is an issue of great concern, with seven out of ten military families feeling anxious and anticipating being financially impacted by the cuts,” Spiker said. “We expect high levels of worry over the financial impact of government decisions – and indecisions –to continue in the months ahead.”

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

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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