First Command Reports: Military Families Using Tax Refunds to Shore up Finances

First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals top tax refund plans for 2018

FORT WORTH, Texas--()--Career military families are taking a careful approach to tax refunds again this year by committing their dollars to cutting debt, bumping up savings and paying bills.

First Command’s seventh annual survey on tax refunds reveals that the majority of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and NCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) who have received or expect to receive a tax refund plan to spend it on shoring up their household finances. Key strategies include:

  • Paying down debt (39 percent)
  • Bumping up general savings (32 percent)
  • Paying monthly bills (24 percent)
  • Building an emergency fund (24 percent). This particular strategy is growing in popularity, up seven points from last year to reach the highest level in the seven-year history of the survey.

This focus on frugality continues a long-term trend in which the majority of military families report plans to commit their refunds to fortifying household finances.

“Career service member families are spending their tax refund dollars on strategies that help them deal with the near-term uncertainties of military life,” said Scott Spiker, chairman/CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Even with the end of sequestration earlier this year, career worries continue to be an issue. Almost half of military families still feel concerned about their job security in the months ahead. Cutting debt and growing savings are obvious lines of attack for dealing with feelings of uncertainty and pursuing financial security.”

Notably, monthly financial concerns are less pronounced among military families who work with a financial advisor. They are significantly more likely than their do-it-yourself counterparts to dedicate tax refund dollars to:

  • Investments (25 percent versus 6 percent)
  • Vacations (23 percent versus 9 percent)
  • Home improvements (23 percent versus 3 percent)

“Military families who work with a financial coach are already focused on careful money management, so they are moving beyond monthly concerns to address long-term needs and perhaps celebrate with a few discretionary purchases,” Spiker said. “Through ongoing relationships with knowledgeable financial advisors, military families develop sound money behaviors that help them feel better about today and financially squared away for tomorrow.”

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 530 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 +/- 4.3 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. http://www.firstcommand.com/fbi/

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 Financial Planning and First Command Bank, coach our Nation’s military families in their pursuit of financial security. Since 1958, First Command Financial Advisors have been shaping positive financial behaviors through face-to-face coaching with hundreds of thousands of client families.

First Command Financial Services, Inc., is the parent of First Command Financial Planning, Inc. (Member SIPC, FINRA), First Command Advisory Services, Inc., 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., a broker-dealer. Financial planning and investment advisory services are offered by First Command Advisory Services, Inc., an investment adviser. Insurance products and services are offered by First Command Insurance Services, Inc., in all states except Montana, where as required by law, insurance products and services are offered by First Command Financial Services, Inc. (a separate Montana domestic corporation). 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. First Command Financial Services, Inc. and its related entities are not affiliated with, authorized to sell or represent on behalf of or otherwise endorsed by any federal employee benefits programs referenced, by the U.S. government, or the U.S. armed forces.

Contacts

First Command Financial Services, Inc.
Mark Leach, 817-569-2419
Media Relations
msleach@firstcommand.com

Release Summary

First Command reports that career military families are taking a careful approach to tax refunds.

Contacts

First Command Financial Services, Inc.
Mark Leach, 817-569-2419
Media Relations
msleach@firstcommand.com