First Command News & Events

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - September 26, 2013

Servicemembers Doubt Congress Will Act In Time To Avoid Government Shutdown, First Command Reports

First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals majority of military families lack confidence that Congress will be able to pass continuing resolution by Sept. 30.

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FORT WORTH, Texas — The majority of servicemembers and their families doubt that lawmakers will take appropriate actions to avoid a government shutdown in October or a second round of sequestration in the coming year, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®

The latest survey results reveal that 86 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 not confident that Congress will pass a continuing resolution to fund the government by Sept. 30 and avoid a partial shutdown of federal operations. And 71 percent doubt that lawmakers will be able to take appropriate action to avoid another sequester in the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.

“This lack of confidence in lawmakers comes at a time when our men and women in uniform are experiencing continued concern over sequestration and military budget cuts,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Roughly three out of five military families feel at least somewhat anxious about sequestration. About two thirds of military families report that they have been impacted by government employee furloughs and spending cuts.”

Despite a lack of confidence in Congress and worries about sequestration, active-duty households are growing more optimistic about their own financial futures. August survey results reveal that:

  • 43 percent are extremely or very confident that their financial situation will improve next year (up seven percentage points from January) ,
  • 45 percent feel extremely or very financially secure month to month (up six points) and
  • 42 percent are confident in their ability to retire comfortably (up 11 points).

Notably, financial planners are having a positive impact on feelings of financial security and confidence. Military families who have a financial planner are more likely than others to feel extremely or very confident that their financial situation will improve next year (53 percent versus 36 percent). And those who work with a planner are also more likely to feel extremely or very confident in their ability to retire comfortably (58 percent versus 33 percent).

“In this period of fiscal uncertainty, we see that many military families are proactive in their financial preparedness,” Spiker said. “Four-in-ten survey respondents indicate that they are cutting back on spending as a result of sequestration, and one-quarter say they are increasing savings. Financial planners coach their clients to spend less, save more and adopt other positive behaviors that are critical to achieving both near- and long-term goals in the pursuit of financial security and feeling more confident about the future. Looking ahead, we expect a growing number of military families to seek out the assistance of a trusted financial professional.”

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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