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Servicemembers Outpacing Civilians In Adoption Of Online Money Tools And Apps, First Command Reports

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FORT WORTH, Texas — Middle-class military families are a technologically engaged lot, outpacing their civilian counterparts in the adoption and use of online tools and smart phone apps for managing household finances and preparing tax returns.

The latest results of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveal that 56 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 using online financial tools. That compares to just 44 percent of the general population.

Among those who use online financial tools, about 90 percent of both military and general population households pay their bills online. But servicemembers outperform civilians in the use of other popular online tools, including those for:

  • Automatic funds transfer (84 percent of military respondents versus 65 percent of the general population)
  • Tax preparation (67 percent versus 50 percent)
  • Investments / stock trading (63 percent versus 46 percent)
  • Retirement planning (50 percent versus 32 percent)
  • Managing loans and minimizing interest expense (44 percent versus 25 percent)
  • Household budgeting (40 percent versus 22 percent)

Online tools for household budgeting are particularly popular among military families who work with a financial advisor. These tools are used by 47 percent of military families with financial advisors compared to 35 percent of their do-it-yourself colleagues. Notably, the Index shows no difference in usage among those in the general population.

“Military families who put their trust in financial advisors are not passive delegators, but active participants in managing their finances,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “By delegating some or all long-term planning responsibilities to a professional, they may actually free up time for monitoring key aspects of their monthly finances. This is yet another compelling example of the value a trusted financial coach can bring to the lives of America’s career military.”

By no means are middle-class consumers adopting the latest online tools in all categories. They have yet to embrace the growing trend of mobile apps for filing taxes.

Among those with a smart phone, just 2 percent of military respondents and 1 percent of civilians say they currently use a phone app to file their taxes. And the vast majority of both groups say they are unlikely to use them in the future. The top reason for not wanting to file taxes on a smart phone? They want a larger screen.

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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