Military families save better for retirement with the help of a financial planner.
That’s according to the First Command Financial Services Inc.'s Financial Behaviors Index, which found that 75 percent of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior noncommissioned officers in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) who work with a financial advisor contributed to savings and retirement accounts during the first quarter. That’s 32 points higher than those who do not use an advisor.
Service members who work with a financial advisor were also more likely to contribute to short-term savings (79 percent, compared with 53 percent for those without an advisor). Monthly median contributions for the two groups are $500.
Long-term savings benefited, too. Seventy percent of those with an advisor socked money away for goals that lie further in the future, compared with just 24 percent for those without an advisor. Monthly median contributions differed, too, with the former saving $357 and the latter only $250.
And when it comes to retirement, 77 percent of those with an advisor contribute, compared with 51 percent of those without. The monthly median contributions for the two groups are $500.
Military families who use financial advisors are also more likely to say they will increase their savings in the months ahead (36 percent vs. 28 percent). They are more likely to believe their financial situation will improve in the next year (62 percent vs. 36 percent), and also to believe in their ability to retire comfortably (62 percent vs. 30 percent).
“Maintaining strong money habits will be critical for our career service members and their families now and in the times ahead,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of Fort Worth, Texas-based First Command, which focuses on providing investment advice to military members.
Spiker added, “For several years, they have experienced the impact of cuts to military personnel costs as part of sequestration and defense downsizing. They are dealing with another year of reduced pay raises and housing allowances and proposals to overhaul Tricare. And they are striving to understand the impact of a new military retirement system, which will cut the traditional pension by 20 percent. Despite these multiple sources of anxiety, military families with a financial advisor by their side continue to maintain confidence in their financial future.”