First Command News & Events

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 10, 2013

Government Employee Furloughs Negatively Impacting Lives Of Military Families, First Command Reports

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Government employee furloughs are adversely affecting the lives of servicemembers and their families at a much higher rate than their civilian counterparts, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®

In a survey taken before the government shutdown, 72 percent of middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) indicated that they had been negatively impacted by the Defense Department furloughs of roughly 650,000 civilian employees under the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester. In contrast, just 32 percent of middle-income Americans in the general population reported feeling unfavorable effects.

When asked to pinpoint how furloughs were impacting their lives, nearly half (46 percent) of military respondents identified reduced operating schedules at commissaries and exchanges. Members of active-duty families also reported that they had experienced the effects of:

  • Congestion at access gates to military installations (22 percent).
  • Hiring freezes (19 percent).
  • Reduced hours or closures of federal facilities (15 percent).
  • Unpaid furlough days (15 percent).
  • Delayed or decreased access to medical treatment (15 percent).
  • Restricted overtime due to spending cuts (14 percent).
  • Limitations to community service programs (12 percent).
  • No bonuses due to spending cuts (11 percent).
  • Longer waits for access to federal facilities (7 percent).
  • Deferred maintenance at government-owned housing (5 percent).

“While the recent furloughs obviously impacted the financial lives of hundreds of thousands of civilian defense workers, many military families are also feeling the effects,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “It’s worth noting that a significant subset of active-duty households include a federal employee. These families were hit twice by the furloughs – through a reduction in various services to the military communities as well as smaller paychecks for federal workers.”

In related news, First Command has committed to help its military and federal employee clients deal with potential financial hardships during the government shutdown. The company is offering clients a variety of banking services through its subsidiary First Command Bank as well as financial guidance and coaching by First Command Financial Advisors.

“During the summer we stepped up to help our clients who were affected by the furloughs instituted by the Department of Defense,” Spiker said. “Our latest survey results underscore the importance of continuing to address the needs of military and federal employee families as lawmakers work through the complex issues and challenges of the continuing resolution, sequestration and long-term defense downsizing.”

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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