First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals that nine out of ten middle-class military families believe in importance of teaching financial information to children at school and home
FORT WORTH, Texas – As uncertainty over the economy and future military benefits affects feelings of financial security and hope, middle-class military families are focusing on improving the financial literacy of their children.
Roughly nine out of 10 middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) with children living at home believe it is important to educate them about financial matters, according to a survey jointly commissioned by First Command Financial Services, Inc., and First Command Educational Foundation.
Results of the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveal that survey respondents overwhelming believe in the importance of teaching financial information at school as well as in the home (91 percent and 97 percent, respectively).
“These survey results reveal that servicemembers and their spouses clearly recognize the value of preparing their children now for the financial challenges they will face as adults,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Almost half of our survey respondents with children living at home say they often use their own personal financial mistakes to educate their children. These military families are moving beyond factual information to convey their unique experiences with money, thereby reinforcing the importance of taking personal responsibility today and instilling a sense of security and hope for tomorrow.”
Notably, this is the same approach many financial professionals take to foster financial literacy and responsibility in their own children. In a previous survey, seven out of ten First Command Financial Advisors said they use real-life financial mistakes – those made by others as well as their own – to educate their children about money.
Financial Advisors said the best pieces of financial advice they would give to children regardless of age include:
• Learning not to live beyond your means (34 percent)
• Paying yourself first (31 percent)
• Learning to budget responsibly (9 percent)
“When talking to children about money it is important to have an honest and open dialogue,” Spiker said. “Sharing your own financial experiences is an ideal way to help your children deal with some of the anxiety they may be feeling in today’s uncertain economy and prepare them for a financially responsible tomorrow.”
This focus on educating children comes at an appropriate time for First Command Educational Foundation, which is pursuing a national expansion of its popular financial literacy program for high school students. Called Money Matters Online, the new resource is an online version of the Foundation’s financial literacy curriculum approved by the Texas State Board of Education. The program is funded primarily through a $250,000 gift from First Command Financial Services, Inc.
“Money Matters Online represents an important step toward making our dream of financial literacy a reality for all of our nation’s youth,” said Vickie Mauldin, CEO of First Command Educational Foundation. “This new educational resource is
particularly important in light of the nation’s ongoing economic turmoil, which is affecting high school students and their families across the country. Our expansion efforts include developing a military-oriented version of the program as part of our larger goal to help servicemembers and their families feel more secure in their financial lives so they can concentrate on their mission of defending our nation.”
Notably, participation in a financial education program appears to have a positive effect on financial literacy. In a recent test of financial knowledge jointly commissioned by the Foundation and First Command Financial Services, one in four test takers who had completed a financial literacy program answered all questions correctly. In contrast, just 17 percent of test takers who did not complete a financial literacy program earned a perfect score.
To learn more about fostering financial literacy in your children, check out First Command’s Teaching Our Children About Money.
About First Command Educational Foundation
First Command Educational Foundation (FCEF) has been proudly supporting scholars and their families since 1983. FCEF is a 501(c)(3) public charity, and has worked tirelessly to promote their mission to educate those who serve. To that end, FCEF has awarded almost $4 million in scholarship grants to help offset the costs of higher education, and has educated over 60 thousand individuals on numerous financial literacy topics. www.fcef.com
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. www.firstcommand.com/research
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 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 Insurance Services, Inc. and First Command Bank. Financial planning services and investment products, including securities, are offered by First Command Financial Planning, Inc. 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 Educational Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity. It is not affiliated with First Command Financial Services, Inc., or any of its affiliated entities.