First Command News & Media

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — March 27, 2015

Servicemembers Support Ending Sequestration, First Command Reports

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals career military families are significantly more likely than other middle-class Americans to believe that Congress should repeal federal spending caps

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A majority of America’s career servicemembers think it’s time for Congress to repeal the military spending caps they enacted in 2011 under sequestration.

The latest results of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveal that 80 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) believe Congress should reverse the military spending caps. And almost half of that group believe Congress should also repeal the domestic spending caps under sequestration. Just 20 percent of servicemember families think all sequester cuts should be retained.

Opinions are divided in the general population. Almost half (46 percent) of civilian survey respondents believe Congress should reverse the military spending caps. Out of that group, almost half believe Congress should also repeal the domestic spending caps. Fifty-four percent of the general population think sequestration should be kept in place.

Servicemembers think the odds of rolling back the sequester look good. Almost half of military families (48 percent) believe that Congress will void sequestration before the full return to the automatic budget cuts in fiscal year 2016, which begins in October. The general population is significantly less optimistic. Just 17 percent believe that Congress will void sequestration for 2016.

Meanwhile, military families are responding to cuts to defense spending through increased financial preparedness. The Index reveals that 86 percent are taking some form of action. When asked how they are preparing for sequester cuts, 50 percent of February survey respondents indicated they are cutting back on everyday spending. Other actions include:

  • Increasing the amount they are saving (41 percent)
  • Decreasing the aggressiveness of their investments (25 percent)
  • Moving investments to cash (16 percent)
  • Starting to work with a financial advisor (12 percent)

“While many servicemembers and their spouses are optimistic that lawmakers will repeal the sequester cuts, they are not waiting on Washington before they get their own financial house in order,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Military families are engaged in a variety of proactive behaviors, including seeking out professional help with their personal finances. Financial advisors are helping military families develop positive financial behaviors at a time of great concern about compensation and career security.”

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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