Military Families Expect To Reduce Spending For The Long Haul, First Command Reports


First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals top 10 ways military families embrace frugal living


FORT WORTH, Texas – As America’s economic uncertainty drags into another year, a growing number of military families expect to cut back on spending for the long haul, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®.

A recent survey of more than 800 military families making at least $50,000 a year reveals that 63 percent of respondents plan to curtail household spending for a year or more. This commitment to long-term frugality represents a seven-point jump from a year ago, when 56 percent of military families said they expected to reduce spending for at least a year.

“Frugal living is alive and well in America’s military families,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “During the economic downturn we have seen significant changes in spending habits among all middle-income consumers. These habits are particularly evident right now among military families, where they are growing in popularity. These goal-oriented consumers are responding to the continuing global financial turmoil by taking responsibility for their own finances.”

This increased focus on frugal living reflects growing concerns about the U.S. economy. Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of military families say they are worried about the state of the economy, up 15 points from late 2009. The Index also reveals heightened concern about the cost of gas, climbing from 27 percent in late 2010 to a record high of 70 percent. Almost half (49 percent) of respondents predict the economy will fall deeper into a recession, up 12 points from a year ago.

Military families have responded to these economic issues by engaging in a variety of prudent spending behaviors. The top 10 ways military families have been cutting back include:

1.       Cooking at home more often (mentioned by 51 percent of survey respondents).

2.       Reducing electric bills (46 percent).

3.       Bringing lunches to work (45 percent).

4.       Reducing leisure activities (44 percent).

5.       Shopping at discount stores (43 percent).

6.       Increasing coupon use (43 percent).

7.       Reducing holiday spending (42 percent).

8.       Reducing travel (42 percent).

9.       Reducing spending on junk food (40 percent).

10.    Reducing clothing purchases (38 percent).

“These spending behaviors represent a time-tested approach to managing household finances,” Spiker said. “Consumers are rediscovering a more conservative approach to spending, one that can help them effectively weather the current financial storm – and build a strong foundation for the future.”

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 1,000 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 +/- 3.1 percent with a 95 percent level of

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 Bank and First Command Financial Planning, assist American families in their efforts to build wealth, reduce debt and pursue their lifetime financial goals and dreams—focusing on consumer behavior as the first and most powerful determinant of results. Through knowledgeable advice and coaching of the financial behaviors conducive to success, First Command Financial Advisors have built trustworthy, lasting relationships with hundreds of thousands of client families since 1958.

First Command Financial Services, Inc., is the parent of First Command Financial Planning, Inc. (Member SIPC, FINRA), First Command Insurance Services, Inc. and First Command Bank. Financial planning services and investment products, including securities, are offered by First Command Financial Planning, Inc. Insurance products and services are offered by First Command Insurance Services, Inc. Banking products and services are offered by First Command Bank. In certain states, as required by law, First Command Insurance Services, Inc. does business as a separate domestic corporation. Securities products 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.


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