First Command News & Events

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - January 21, 2013

Sequestration Delay Leaves Military Families Bracing For Financial Blow, First Command Reports

FORT WORTH, Texas — While Americans are celebrating the last-minute deal to avoid the fiscal cliff of higher taxes, military families are bracing for the looming defense cuts that still lie ahead.

“The decision to delay sequestration by another two months gives lawmakers some breathing room, but it also extends the indeterminate financial state that has been hanging over military families since 2011,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Regardless of the resolution of the approaching sequester, our men and women in uniform understand that major military cuts are coming. The longer-term efforts to shrink the armed forces may well deliver a financial blow to many active-duty families. Military households are preparing for defense downsizing by making meaningful changes to their family finances.”

Recent survey results from the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveal that middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) expect sequestration will affect their financial lives in a variety of ways. They anticipate defense downsizing will mean:

  • Reduced retirement benefits (50 percent)
  • Increased responsibility for healthcare costs (47 percent)
  • Reduced personal expense benefits, such as housing, clothing and food (40 percent)
  • Reduced education benefits (32 percent)
  • Decreased discretionary income for non-essentials (31 percent)
  • Reduced likelihood to be promoted (28 percent)
  • Increased likelihood of early separation or not serving to full retirement (28 percent)
  • Forced relocation due to Base Closure and Realignment (21 percent)

Active-duty families have been taking action to prepare for these changes. They have been shoring up their personal finances in a variety of ways, including:

  • Cutting back on everyday spending (48 percent)
  • Increasing the amount they are saving (28 percent)
  • Decreasing the aggressiveness of their investments (20 percent)
  • Moving investments to cash (9 percent).
  • Starting to work with a financial planner (5 percent)

Notably, these efforts are helping military families feel more optimistic about the months ahead. The Index reveals that 43 percent are extremely or very confident their own financial situation will improve in 2013. This compares to just 26 percent of the general population.

“Military families are responding to an uncertain future by spending less, saving more and paying down debt,” Spiker said. “By making positive changes in their financial lives these families are finding the peace of mind that comes from feeling more secure and confident in their financial future.”

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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