First Command Reports: Career Military Families Pinching Pennies for the Holidays

First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals one out of three
service members plan to spend less than $500 on gifts

FORT WORTH, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Gift shopping is a major focus of frugality for career service member
families again this holiday season.

First Command’s annual holiday spending survey reveals that 92 percent
of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior NCOs
in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000)
plan to cut back this year, statistically unchanged from the past five
years. Roughly two out of five (39 percent) expect to spend less on
gifts this year, making it their No. 1 belt-tightening plan for the
holidays.

Military shoppers expect to spend considerably less on gifts than last
year. On average they anticipate spending $1,148, down 30 percent from
the $1,625 they estimate having spent last year. Roughly one in three
families (37 percent) say they expect to spend less than $500 on gifts.

Military families also expect to cut their gift giving expenses by:

  • Giving fewer gifts per person (30 percent)
  • Setting a maximum amount for gifts (28 percent)
  • Buying gifts at discount stores (25 percent)
  • Giving gifts to fewer people (24 percent)
  • Making gifts (13 percent)

Black Friday shopping continues to be a central gift-buying strategy for
career military families. Thirty six percent of survey respondents said
they planned to do most or all of their holiday shopping on the day
after Thanksgiving.

Other ways military families are cutting back for the holidays include
spending less on travel (25 percent), decorations (23 percent) and food
(13 percent).

“The 2016 holiday shopping season marks the ninth consecutive year that
the Index has pointed to leaner spending in military families,” said
Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Notably,
these conservative spending behaviors are helping America’s career
service members feel more confident about their finances. Their
willingness to carry belt-tightening ways through the holiday season
underscores a broader commitment to maintain year-around control over
household finances in the ongoing pursuit of long-term financial
security.”

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 Advisory Services, 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 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