The year 2017 just might be a good year for military families and their finances. Not only did they receive their largest pay raise since 2010, but they ended the year optimistic about their financial futures.
According to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® end-of-year survey, nearly seven in 10 military families felt extremely or very confident that their financial situation would improve in the next year. The average confidence level during the first eight months of 2016 hovered around 54 percent, and steadily increased during the last four months of the year, ending the year at 69 percent.
Another year-end high note is the number of military families who feel extremely or very confident in their ability to retire comfortably. After hovering around 50 percent for the first eight months of the year, the numbers steadily increased beginning in September, ending at 62 percent in December.
Many of these families are using the help of a financial advisor. Among those with an advisor, 72 percent of respondents to the December survey felt their financial situation would improve in the next year. Sixty-eight percent of those working with an advisor said they were confident in their ability to retire comfortably.
These high feelings of financial confidence are due in part to positive financial behaviors, and it looks like many families will use their annual salary increase wisely. Fifty-six percent of those surveyed said they will use their 2.1 percent pay raise to increase savings and 44 percent plan to increase debt repayment.