Military Families Losing Confidence in Retirement Savings

November 29, 2011 ( - The long-term financial confidence of military families is beginning to unravel, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index.

The survey reveals just 37% of middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) are extremely or very confident their financial situation will improve over the next year, down from 41% in the first quarter. Only 34% are extremely or very confident in their ability to retire comfortably, down seven percentage points from the first quarter.  

Congruent with concerns about the economy and retirement benefits, many military families are changing their financial behaviors for the better. Two out of five service members are moving to more conservative investments, and many families are working harder to pay down debt and cut spending. During the third quarter average monthly debt payments reached a two-year high of $1,103 for short-term debt and $1,371 for long-term debt.   

And half of military families report cutting back on everyday expenses. A previous Index survey revealed two-thirds of military families expect to reduce their holiday spending.  

At the same time, though, these families are finding it more difficult to save. During the third quarter, survey respondents reported putting an average of $2,630 per month into short-term, long-term and military retirement savings accounts – down more than $200 per month from the first quarter.  

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