A new survey by First Command Financial Services Inc. says that career military families who work with a financial coach are outsaving their do-it-yourself colleagues and feeling more confident in their preparations for retirement.
The latest quarterly results of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveal that 80 percent of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior noncommissioned officers in paygrades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) who receive financial coaching from a professional adviser are extremely or very confident in their ability to retire comfortably. That compares to just 35 percent of military families without an adviser.
That greater confidence aligns with putting away more dollars for the future. Military families who work with a financial adviser report contributing more to retirement and long-term savings accounts than their do-it-yourself counterparts -- $1,414 per month versus $1,060.
Military families who work with a financial adviser also feel more confident in their near-term finances. About four out of five (82 percent) say they feel their financial situation will improve in the next year. That compares to 43 percent of those who do not work with an adviser. Families with an adviser contribute more to short-term savings than those without one -- $718 per month versus $372.
These monthly savings behaviors are making a real difference in household net worth. Military families who work with a financial adviser report average savings and retirement holdings of $268,158, or almost $164,000 more than those without an adviser.
"Families who seek out professional financial planning help are putting away more dollars than those who save and invest on their own," said Scott Spiker, executive chairman of First Command Financial Services Inc. "By coaching their clients to build strong money behaviors, financial advisers help families strengthen their current finances and pursue lifelong financial security."
Look for the savings trend to continue in the months ahead. Military families who work with an adviser are more likely than their DIY counterparts to say they intend to increase their monthly contributions to savings and investments. These results helped drive the quarterly Financial Behaviors Index score to 179 for those with an adviser versus 132 for those without one.
The Index is set to a benchmark of 100, which was assigned when the Index was launched in 2008.
"Our survey findings and 60-plus years of industry experience continue to reveal the benefits of personal financial coaching," said Mark Steffe, president and chief executive officer of First Command. "Military families who partner with a professional are ideally positioned to maintain feelings of financial confidence today and pursue retirement readiness for tomorrow."