Middle-Class Servicemembers Increase Retirement, Short-Term Savings

Military members who work with advisors saving twice as much as DIY investors

Military middle-class families are committed to saving, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index. First Command released on Thursday the latest results of the survey of senior NCOs and commissioned officers with household income of at least $50,000.

Average short-term savings are up 18% since the end of 2013 to $1,080. Long-term and retirement savings showed a more modest increase, rising 11% to a monthly average of $2,374.

“Although military families continue to encounter financial challenges and uncertainties, they remain proactive in the savings behaviors,” Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, said in a statement.

He stressed that servicemembers who work with advisors are better positioned and more confident than those who try to take on financial planning by themselves.

“Theindex shows that those who work with financial advisors display fewer financial concerns and more feelings of financial security and confidence than those who go it alone,” he said.

More than half of military families with work with an advisor say they feel “very” or “extremely” financially secure, compared with 45% of families without an advisor. Indeed, military families that work with an advisor put more than twice as much money into savings accounts as those who don’t work with a professional, the survey found. DIY investors saved an average $709 in short-term accounts, compared with more than $1,720 for military families with an advisor.

They’re clearly hearing the message about retirement, too. Families with an advisor saved an average $3,951 per month for retirement and long-term savings. Those without an advisor saved just $1,467.

The difference in retirement confidence was even more pronounced. Half of military families with an advisor said they feel confident about their ability to retire. Just 32% of those without an advisor agreed.

“By coaching their clients to remain focused on positive money behaviors, financial advisors help our men and women in uniform deal with the financial and emotional uncertainties of sequestration and defense downsizing,” Spiker said.

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