Online Tools Used More by Military Than Civilian Investors

Online bill paying popular among both military and civilian respondents

Servicemembers are more likely than civilians to use online tools in financial planning, according to the most recent First Command Financial Behaviors Index.

First Command released the latest results on Monday, showing that 56% of middle-class military families use online tools, compared with 44% of the civilian population.

Online bill-paying tools were the most commonly used among both populations (90%). However, military respondents were far more likely to use other tools than their civilian counterparts.

The survey found 84% of military respondents have set up automatic fund transfers, compared with two-thirds of the civilian group. They were more likely to go online to manage loans (44% versus 25%) and make a budget (40% versus 22%), too.

In addition to using online tools for their day-to-day financial needs, military respondents were more likely to use online tools for longer-term planning, too. Half of military respondents use online tools for retirement planning and more than two-thirds for tax preparation. By comparison, less than a third of civilians use online tools for retirement planning, and half use them for taxes, the survey found.

Military respondents’ high use of online tools isn’t limited to those who are doing their financial planning on their own. Almost half of respondents who work with an advisor use these types of tools.

“Military families who put their trust in financial advisors are not passive delegators, but active participants in managing their finances,” Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, said in a statement. “By delegating some or all long-term planning responsibilities to a professional, they may actually free up time for monitoring key aspects of their monthly finances.”

One thing respondents aren’t using are mobile tax tools, and most say they probably never will. Just 2% of military respondents and 1% of civilians said they file their taxes through a mobile app.

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