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Financial Planning > Behavioral Finance

Service members outshining civilians in tracking family finances

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Members of America’s career military are outshining the general population in tracking their family finances, with financial advisors playing a key role in their commitment, according to new research.

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index, a report of First Command Financial Services Inc., reveals that middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior NCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) are significantly more likely than members of the general population to say they are checking a variety of aspects of their household finances extremely or very often.

See also: 10 things veterans should know about retirement benefits

Military families are more likely to:

  • Monitor pay stubs (67 percent versus 53 percent)

  • Make sure they stick to a defined budget (51 percent versus 37 percent)

  • Check credit scores (50 percent versus 31 percent)

  • Monitor personal stock investments (48 percent versus 32 percent)

  • Check mutual fund allocations (47 percent versus 25 percent)

  • Monitor taxes and tax changes (45 percent versus 22 percent)

  • Stay updated on the stock market (43 percent versus 28 percent)

  • Check interest rates on their deposit accounts (42 percent versus 21 percent)

  • Check rates on existing loans (40 percent versus 19 percent)

See also: Top 10 ways military families plan to spend tax refunds in 2016

Professional financial advice is playing an important role in helping military families monitor their finances, the report states. They are significantly more likely than members of the general population to say that they are frequently meeting with a financial advisor (32 percent versus 8 percent).

“Career military families are responding to continuing uncertainty about sequestration and defense downsizing in a variety of positive ways, including conscientiously tracking their finances,” says First Command Financial Services CEO Scott Spiker. “The frequent reliance on financial advisors underscores the important role a professional can play in helping military families make the most of their government incomes and benefits in their continuing pursuit of financial security.”

First Command commissioned Sentient Decision Science to compile the Financial Behaviors Index. A behavioral science and consumer psychology consulting firm with expertise in financial services, SDS specializes in research methods and statistical analysis of behavioral and attitudinal data.

See also:

Best and worst states for military retirees [infographic]

Veterans hide war injuries from companies in civilian jobs

Military families’ top New Year’s resolution: cutting debt



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