At a time when defense downsizing is bringing new challenges to the lives of active-duty service members, financial planners are continuing to earn the trust of their military clients.
Recent survey findings from the First Command Financial Behaviors Index reveal that 83 percent of middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household annual incomes of at least $50,000) who work with a financial planner say they trust their planner. This level of trust is roughly unchanged from a year ago, underscoring the value of the personalized service that financial planners are delivering in a challenging economic environment.
“The high degree of trust revealed in our survey results highlights the important service that financial planners are providing to service members and their families as they seek to get their finances squared away in this time of uncertainty,” says Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command. “The professional advice, knowledge and service delivered by financial planners are helping to generate feelings of confidence and security among military professionals as they deal with the issues of sequestration, a changing benefits picture and long-term career uncertainty.”
Notably, these feelings of confidence and security are growing over time. The Index reveals that 57 percent of service members who’ve worked with a financial advisor for at least three years feel confident in their ability to retire comfortably. This compares to 47 percent who’ve worked with an advisor less than three years and 30 percent who have no advisor.
Service members who trust their own personal financial planner attribute that feeling to a variety of issues. The top five factors cited by survey respondents are:
- Length of service
- Good communication
- Personal relationship
- Good service
The Index reveals that 42 percent of middle-class military families have a financial planner, and more service members expect to join them. Among those without a financial planner, roughly one in five says that they are likely to engage one in 2013.
Compiled by Sentient Decision Science, Inc., the First Command Financial Behaviors Index assesses trends in the American public’s financial behaviors, attitudes and intentions through a monthly survey of approximately 530 U.S. consumers ages 25 to 70, with annual household incomes of at least $50,000. Results are reported quarterly. . (www.firstcommand.com/research).
Sentient Decision Science is a behavioral science and consumer psychology consulting firm with special vertical expertise in the financial-services industry. It specializes in advanced research methods and statistical analysis of behavioral and attitudinal data.
By Ayo Mseka