Price Takes a Backseat to Trustworthiness of Advisers for Service Members


Service members who work with an adviser cited financial know-how and moral fiber as the top attributes they look for, a survey found.



The cost of planning services is not as significant a consideration. Only three out of 10 respondents chose “low price for services” as the most important factor in a planner, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index, a monthly survey that assesses trends in financial behaviors and attitudes.

“Financial planning is not a commodity that consumers shop for based on price alone,” said Scott Spiker, chief executive of First Command Financial Services Inc. “Consumers are willing to pay for planning services when they feel the planner has technical expertise and personal integrity.”

Recent survey findings from the First Command Financial Behaviors Index reveal that about three quarters of middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers with household incomes of at least $50,000) chose “trustworthy,” “knowledgeable” and “honest” as the most important characteristic for an adviser.

 “Financial planning is a profession built on personal relationships with people you trust,” Spiker said. “These survey findings underscore the unique combination of economic and emotional assistance provided by financial planners as they coach service members and their families in the fiscal behaviors associated with financial security and success.”

The top attributes military families look for in a financial planner are:


  • Trustworthiness (75%);
  • Knowledge (73%);
  • Honesty (72%);
  • Positive word of mouth or referral (55%);
  • Willingness to listen (53%);
  • Many years of experience (48%); 
  • Confidence (43%);
  • Personal relationship (41%);
  • Understanding (41%);
  • Low-priced services (30%);
  • Patience (30%);
  • Optimism (13%); and
  • Boldness (5%).

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