First Command News & Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — December 18, 2014

Career Servicemembers Believe Congress Will Void Sequestration, First Command Reports

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals almost half of middle-class military families believe Congress will void sequestration before the full return of the automatic budget cuts in 2016

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FORT WORTH, Texas — America’s military families are optimistic that Congress will roll back sequestration in the coming months, according to the latest results of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®.

In a late October survey taken immediately before the midterm elections, 47 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) said they believe Congress will void sequestration before the full return of the automatic budget cuts in 2016. The Index reveals that 28 percent do not believe Congress will roll back the cuts and 25 percent don’t know.

This optimism is particularly notable as the defense portion of sequestration was a key campaign issue for career military families in the days leading up to the Nov. 4 elections. Among October survey respondents who said they planned to vote, 67 percent identified changes to the Department of Defense budget – specifically those that could potentially impact their military benefits, compensation and career – as extremely or very important in choosing who to vote for in the midterm elections. Also, military respondents showed a clear preference for Republicans over Democrats (36 percent versus 30 percent), which is reflected in the GOP winning control of the U.S. Senate.

In contrast, the general population appears considerably less optimistic that Congress will roll back the sequester. Just 14 percent of middle-class civilians believe that Congress will void sequestration before the full return of the cuts. They were also less interested in sequestration as a midterm campaign issue. One in four civilian voters said changes to the DoD budget were an extremely or very important campaign issue.

These findings come at a time when servicemembers and their families have grown more supportive of Congress. The October survey reveals that 42 percent of military respondents approve of the way Congress is handling its job. That’s up from a year-to-date low of 2 percent in February. The approval rating in the general population is just 4 percent, which is statistically unchanged for the year.

“These findings suggest that our career military is hopeful that lawmakers will successfully resolve this critical issue,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Eighty percent of career military families are anxious about cuts to defense spending. More than half are concerned about their job security over the coming months. We must continue to urge Congress to address sequestration so our men and women in uniform can continue to pursue long-term financial security and successfully transition to the military of tomorrow.”

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 Educational Foundation

First Command Educational Foundation (FCEF) has been proudly supporting scholars and their families since 1983. FCEF is a 501(c)(3) public charity, and has worked tirelessly to promote their mission to educate those who serve. To that end, FCEF has awarded over $4 million in scholarship grants to help offset the costs of higher education, and has educated over 60 thousand individuals on numerous financial literacy topics.

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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