JULY 21, 2015, FORT WORTH, Texas – Financial stress is taking a toll on the mental and physical health of America’s career military.
The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals that 71 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) say that during the past year someone in their household has experienced one or more mental or physical health-related issues commonly associated with financial worries. That’s statistically similar to last year, continuing an upward trend from 65 percent in 2013 and 62 percent in 2012.
Mental or physical health problems are particularly prevalent among military families who report high levels of concern over sequestration and the financial impact of anticipated cuts to defense spending. The Index reveals that 87 percent of survey respondents who feel extremely or very anxious about sequestration also report that someone in their family has experienced one or more of these health challenges. That compares to 64 percent of people who say they are either not anxious or only somewhat anxious about sequestration.
Significant differences between the anxious and not-so-anxious groups were identified for several specific health-related concerns, including:
* Difficulty falling asleep (43 percent versus 28 percent)
* Increased occurrence of headaches and migraines (27 percent versus 13 percent)
* Irritability (19 percent versus 8 percent)
* Strain in relationships (19 percent versus 8 percent)
* Post-traumatic stress disorder (14 percent versus 5 percent)
* Lower sexual drive (13 percent versus 5 percent)
* Heart attack (8 percent versus 2 percent)
“Sequestration and defense downsizing are intensifying the financial stresses faced by servicemembers and their families,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Seven out of ten career military families say they are feeling anxious about sequestration. We remain committed to helping servicemembers through this uncertain time by coaching them in healthy financial behaviors so they can get all aspects of their lives squared away.”