First Command Reports: Servicemember Families Reining In Holiday Spending

First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals two out of five
servicemembers plan to spend less than $500 on gifts

FORT WORTH, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–America’s career military families intend to tighten their belts again
this holiday season, making gift spending a major focus of their

First Command’s annual holiday spending survey reveals that 94 percent
of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior NCOs
in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000)
plan to cut back this year, statistically unchanged from the past three
years. More than one third (37 percent) expect to spend less on gifts
this year, making it their No. 1 cost-cutting strategy for the holidays.

The penny-pinching urge is strong for the 2015 holiday season. Military
shoppers plan on average expenditures of $786, roughly half the $1,464
they estimate having spent last year on holiday gifts. Two out of five
families (40 percent) say they expect to spend less than $500.

Military families also anticipate reducing their gift giving expenses by:

  • Setting a maximum amount for gifts (32 percent)
  • Giving gifts to fewer people (30 percent)
  • Giving fewer gifts per person (29 percent)
  • Buying gifts at discount stores (24 percent)
  • Making gifts (17 percent)

Black Friday surfaced as another frugal spending strategy in the survey.
Two out of five 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 (34 percent), decorations (26 percent) and food
(22 percent).

The 2015 holiday shopping season marks the eighth consecutive year that
the Index has pointed to leaner spending in military families,
reflecting a year-around dedication to frugal living.

“Through careful consumer spending, our men and women in uniform are
giving their families and themselves the gift of financial confidence,”
said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Frugal
financial behaviors are helping military families feel more confident
that their financial situation will improve next year and in their
ability to retire comfortably. This willingness to continue their
belt-tightening ways into the holiday season underscores a larger
commitment to the 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.

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

About First Command

First Command Financial Services and its subsidiaries, including 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
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.


First Command Financial Services
Mark Leach, 817-569-2419