Advice Boosts Confidence for Military Families

Military families with a financial adviser are more likely to feel confident about retirement than those not receiving advice, new research shows.

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index survey shows more than half (51%) of military families with a financial planner say they feel extremely or very confident in their ability to retire comfortably. Just 30% of families that don’t engage with a financial adviser reported the same.

Overall, more than one-third (36%) of military families plan to start saving more money for retirement during 2014.

“Families have been spending less and cutting debt, freeing up new dollars to help push their monthly savings rates to record highs,” says Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command in Fort Worth, Texas. “These meaningful results are helping military families feel better about their finances, and they appear to be inspiring them to recommit to frugal living for the new year.”

When queried for the survey, military families listed their top 10 financial resolutions for 2014 as:

  • Cutting back on excessive spending (42%);
  • Getting out of debt (38%);
  • Starting to save money for retirement or putting more money into retirement savings (36%);
  • Keeping track of financial activities (26%);
  • Learning not to live beyond their means and improving credit score (25% for each);
  • Using cash or debit cards more often, instead of credit cards (22%);
  • Learning to budget responsibly and being financially independent (20% for each);
  • Making sound investments in the stock market (18%);
  • Shopping more at discount stores or for discount brands, and buying a house (16% for each); and
  • Increasing charitable giving (14%).

The survey results also show that a strong majority (85%) of military families are confident that their financial situation will improve in the new year. Many respondents (81%) also indicate that they feel confident in their ability to retire comfortably.

In addition, 40% of military families feel they are better off than they were a year ago. And another 36% say their personal financial situation is about the same. Just 21% say they are worse off than last year.

 “As we look back on another year of financial uncertainty for military families, men and women in uniform are confident in the future and are taking positive steps to get squared away in their finances,” says Spiker. “Families who work with a financial coach are more likely to spend less, save more and pay down debt in their pursuit of financial security. We expect to see a growing number of active-duty households put their trust in knowledgeable financial professionals in 2014.”

The survey, compiled by Sentient Decision Science Inc., queried approximately 530 U.S. consumers, ages 25 to 70, with annual household incomes of at least $50,000.

First Command Financial Services and its subsidiaries assist families in building wealth, reducing debt and pursuing their financial goals.