First Command News & Events


Job Security Concerns Intensify In Career Military, First Command Reports

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FORT WORTH, Texas — As the military downsizes, America’s career servicemembers and their families are feeling increasingly worried about their near-term job security.

The April results of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveal that 43 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) are concerned about their job security in the coming months. This represents a jump of 17 points since January and the highest level of concern recorded since the question was added to the monthly survey in spring 2013.

“Defense downsizing is intensifying the concerns our men and women in uniform are feeling about the continued viability of their military careers,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Middle-class servicemembers and their families see how defense downsizing is impacting their lives, and they worry that the cuts may bring their military career to a premature end.”

The April survey reveals that anxiety about sequestration remains high, with three out of five respondents saying they feel anxious. Three quarters of military families say they expect to be financially affected by anticipated cuts to defense spending.

Notably, the Index reveals that some specific job-related anxieties have eased for America’s career military. When survey respondents were asked “how is sequestration impacting you and your family,” they identified:

  • Reduced possibilities for promotion (15 percent, down 15 points from March) and /li>
  • Increased likelihood to experience early separation or not serve to full retirement (15 percent, down seven points).

These numbers represent the lowest levels reported so far this year.

“While this improvement is encouraging, we don’t yet know if it reflects the start of a new trend or is a one-time event,” Spiker said. “We may find the drop was fueled in part by recent news reports that some lawmakers are resisting Department of Defense proposals to cut spending on servicemembers and their families. We fully expect to see concerns rise and fall over the coming months as lawmakers continue to address long-term federal budget issues. Meanwhile, military families are responding with a variety of positive financial behaviors, including spending less, saving more and seeking out knowledgeable assistance from financial planners. Financial planners coach their clients in positive behaviors that are critical to the pursuit of financial security and feeling more confident about the future. We expect to see a growing number of military families seek out professional assistance as part of their response to career uncertainty and other concerns related to sequestration and 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.

First Command Financial Services, Inc., is the parent of First Command Financial Planning, Inc. (Member SIPC, FINRA), First Command Insurance Services, Inc. and First Command Bank. Financial planning services and investment products, including securities, are offered by First Command Financial Planning, Inc. Insurance products and services are offered by First Command Insurance Services, Inc. in all states except Montana, where as required by law, insurance products and services are offered by First Command Financial Services, Inc. (a separate Montana domestic corporation). Banking products and services are offered by First Command Bank. In certain states, as required by law, First Command Insurance Services, Inc. does business as a separate domestic corporation. Securities products are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee and may lose value. A financial plan, by itself, cannot assure that retirement or other financial goals will be met.


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