The Pentagon once again has plans to submit a budget proposal to Congress that does not take into account the sequester-induced automatic budget cuts. While Department of Defense leaders and members of Congress continue to spar over what can, or cannot, be removed from the DoD budget, the members of our armed forces and their families continue to wait to see how their careers and benefits may be affected. To help readers stay informed about how sequestration is affecting military families, and how those families are reacting, First Command Financial Services has created a new webpage, Bridging the Sequestration Gap.
The page features information on what military families are thinking (and doing) about sequestration, with statistics updated monthly with survey findings from the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®. Current postings include information on servicemembers’ anxiety about sequestration, their views on Congress voiding sequestration and actions they are taking to deal with sequestration. If you prefer to get more detail than the bulleted stats on the page, you can view press releases on recent topics such as how servicemembers are saving more and spending less, and how budget cuts influenced their mid-term election voting plans.
The page also features five articles, one for each service branch, about these challenges that military families are facing, and their need for understanding and guidance in the transition from current uncertainties to the future reality of defense downsizing.
Finally, I invite you to view a short video featuring First Command’s CEO Scott Spiker, in which he presents how the financial services firm is striving to help military families bridge the gap in their knowledge and understanding of these issues, and the impact on their way of life.
With the mid-term elections over and the big wins by Republicans in Congress, it will be very interesting to see what takes shape – whether defense hawks or tea partiers looking to continue deficit reduction will win out when it comes to sequester relief.
Credit problems are on the rise in America’s military families, where concerns over sequestration and defense downsizing are bringing new stresses to bear on household finances.
The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals that 39 percent of middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) experienced credit difficulties during the third quarter.
Other than some pundits and politicians discussing whether the outcomes of the mid-term elections would result in any changes to sequestration, there was not much specific news on the topic this week.
For federal employees, Open Season is the time to choose Federal Employee Health Benefits (FEHB), Federal Employees Dental/Vision Program (FEDVIP) insurance coverage, and whether to contribute to a Flexible Spending Account (FSA).
Financial uncertainty and concern is prompting a record number of middle-class military families to kick off this year’s holiday spending season with a leaner Thanksgiving celebration.
First Command’s annual Thanksgiving spending survey reveals that 82 percent of middle-class military families say their Thanksgiving plans will change as a result of the current economic situation.
Last week, 50 airmen who had been told after the June Enlisted Retention Board that they must separate by January 31 got a reprieve. Due to a coding error, they now have the option to stay on active duty.
Members of America’s career military are increasingly responding to defense budget cuts by intensifying their frugal financial habits, with almost half now focused on saving more and spending less.
Sequestration concerns are an important election issue for middle-class military families. The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals that 77 percent of middle-class military families say that changes to the DoD budget – specifically those that could potentially impact their military benefits, compensation and career – are extremely or very important in choosing who to vote for in the midterm elections.
Established in 1976 to promote goodwill between the military and the public after the Vietnam War, the Marine Corps Marathon is an annual event open to all runners 14 and up, making it one of the few large non-qualifier marathons in the U.S.