The First Command Financial Behaviors Index reveals that 65 percent middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) say that someone in their household has experienced a mental or physical health problem during the past year. But those who work with a financial planner are less likely to report experiencing many of these physical and psychological challenges. Significant differences between those with and without a planner are found for such health-related issues as:
- Muscle tension (16 percent with a planner versus 29 percent without)
- General increase in stress (15 percent versus 33 percent)
- Increased feeling of anxiety (13 percent versus 35 percent)
- Unhealthy diet (9 percent versus 21 percent)
- Increased arguments in relationships (7 percent versus 17 percent)
Notably, middle-class families in the general population are experiencing a drop in these health issues. The Index reveals that 58 percent say that someone in their household has experienced a mental or physical health problem during the past year, down from 70 percent a year ago. During the same period military families have continued to experience these challenges at roughly the same rate.
“While a steadily improving economy is easing financial stress in the general population, the military budget cuts associated with sequestration are creating new worries for service members and their families,” says Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Six out of ten career military families say they are feeling anxious about sequestration. Working with a financial planner can help to lessen the anxiety and stress often associated with financial fears and concerns.”