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First Command Reports: Military Families Commit To Grow Financially In 2016

First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals top financial resolutions for new year

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FORT WORTH, Texas – The majority of America’s career military families feel their financial situation will pick up in 2016 – and they plan to help it along through a set of money-themed New Year’s resolutions.

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals that 84 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) are confident that their household finances will improve in the new year. That confidence aligns with a variety of positive financial aspirations, with most survey respondents identifying at least one positive strategy or frugal activity they will pursue in 2016.

The top New Year’s resolutions from military families for 2016 are:


Get out of debt

32 percent

Improve credit score

31 percent

Be financially independent

28 percent

Use cash or debit more often instead of credit cards

28 percent

Learn to budget responsibly

28 percent

Cut back on excessive spending

28 percent

Learn not to live beyond your means

25 percent

Start saving money for retirement or put more money into retirement savings

24 percent

Make sound investments in the stock market

19 percent

Keep track of financial activities

19 percent


These New Year’s resolutions come at a time of continuing financial uncertainty related to sequestration and defense downsizing. The November survey reveals that 75 percent of military families are anxious about cuts to defense spending, reflecting a long-term trend.

Financial planners are helping many families counteract feelings of uncertainty about the future. The Index reveals that 59 percent of active-duty families who have a financial planner feel confident their financial situation will improve in the next year. That compares to just 33 percent who do not have a financial planner.

“As we look back on another year of uncertainty over defense downsizing and cuts to military compensation, our men and women in uniform are responding through a variety of frugal spending strategies,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Families who work with a financial coach are more likely to enact many of these strategies in their pursuit of financial security. We look for a growing number of military families to put their trust in knowledgeable financial professionals as they look for new ways to grow their household finances in 2016.”

About the 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.

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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