Despite continuing economic and inflation concerns, financial optimism remains strong in career military families especially those who work with a professional advisor.
Despite continuing economic and inflation concerns, financial optimism remains strong in career military families – especially those who work with a professional advisor.
The latest quarterly results of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveal that 76% of career military families (commissioned officers and senior NCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) report feeling extremely or very confident their financial situation will improve in the next year. That’s statistically unchanged from the end of 2021, when stock market values were near their peak.
Financial confidence is particularly strong in families who receive financial coaching from a professional advisor. Eighty percent of families with an advisor say they feel extremely or very confident their financial situation will improve in the next year. That’s almost double the 45% rate for those who are not working with an advisor.
Military families who work with an advisor are significantly more confident in their long-term finances, too. The Index reports that 81 percent of career military families who work with an advisor feel extremely or very confident in their ability to retire comfortably. That compares to just 45 percent of military families without an advisor.
Recent economic concerns come at a time of continuing financial worries related to the pandemic. During the first quarter, concerns about being financially impacted by COVID-19 jumped 7 points to 22%. The top primary financial concerns due to the pandemic are higher cost of everyday goods, a weaker economy, and increasing personal debt.
Financial concerns are particularly acute in families who are not working with a financial advisor. More than half of these families (55%) said the state of the economy was a top concern. That compares to just 27% of those who receive financial coaching and guidance from a professional advisor. The Index identified similar differences between the two groups for the:
- Cost of everyday goods (52% of those without an advisor versus 27% of those who work with an advisor).
- Cost of gas (48% versus 26%).
- Ability to retire comfortably (32% versus 24%).
Career military families with an advisor are contributing more to savings and retirement accounts than those without an advisor – $2,278 per month versus $1,165. And they report average long-term savings and retirement holdings of $210,861, about $27,000 more than those without an advisor.
“Economic uncertainty is weighing heavily on many career military families as they negotiate the financial uncertainties of 2022,” said First Command President/CEO Mark Steffe. “But those who work with a financial advisor are well positioned for the future. Through strong savings and investing behaviors, these families are growing their net worth. Working with a financial advisor aligns with feeling more confident in the future than those who go it alone.”
Looking ahead, military families who work with an advisor are more likely than their DIY counterparts to say they intend to increase their monthly contributions to savings and investments. These positive savings intentions helped drive the latest quarterly Index score to 180 for those with an advisor versus 136 for those without an advisor.
The Index is set to a benchmark of 100, which was assigned when the Index launched in 2008.
About the 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. For more details on our research, please email MarketingInbox@firstcommand.com. http://www.firstcommand.com/fbi/
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 Brokerage Services, First Command Advisory Services and First Command Bank, coach our Nation’s military families in their pursuit of financial security. Since 1958, First Command Financial Advisors have been shaping positive financial behaviors through face-to-face coaching with hundreds of thousands of client families.
©2022 First Command Financial Services, Inc. is the parent company of First Command Brokerage Services, Inc. (Member SIPC, FINRA), First Command Advisory Services, Inc., First Command Insurance Services, Inc. and First Command Bank. Securities products and brokerage services are provided by First Command Brokerage Services, Inc., a broker-dealer. Financial planning and investment advisory services are provided by First Command Advisory Services, Inc., an investment adviser. Insurance products and services are provided by First Command Insurance Services, Inc. Banking products and services are provided by First Command Bank (Member FDIC). Securities 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. First Command Financial Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with, authorized to sell or represent on behalf of or otherwise endorsed by any federal employee benefits programs referenced, by the U.S. government, or the U.S. Armed Forces.