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16 Feb, 2018

U.S. Military Families Stressed by High Cost of Elder Care

FORT WORTH, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–February 07, 2018 – Elder care costs are creating unexpected economic stress for many of America’s career military families and fueling a growing demand for professional financial advice, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®.

First Command’s sixth annual elder care spending survey reveals that 78 percent of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and senior NCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) are currently or anticipate providing care for an elderly parent or other family member. That’s up from just 31 percent in 2012 when the elder care survey was launched.

Military families identify elder care taking place in a variety of settings, most commonly in the home (56 percent in their own home and 52 percent in the elderly person’s home). Respondents say they pay for that care through:

* home care services (29 percent)

* nursing homes (17 percent)

* health care services (8 percent)

The cost of providing elder care can be sizable. The 49 percent of survey respondents who are currently caring for an elderly family member estimate their average monthly outlay at $1,296. Fifty-seven percent of people in this subgroup say costs are more than they expected.

To help manage those costs, many military families are seeking out professional help. The Index reveals that out of all families who are planning for elder care costs, almost half (43 percent) are doing so through a financial advisor. That’s up from 25 percent in 2012.

The trend line is also moving up in the general population, though in a more constrained fashion. Just 37 percent of civilian respondents are currently or anticipate providing elder care. That’s up from 25 percent in 2012.

“Again this year, we see that caring for older family members is a significant issue in the financial lives of many of our men and women in uniform,” said Scott Spiker, chairman/CEO of First Command Financial Services, Inc. “Our six years of survey data indicates that service member families are more likely to be impacted than their civilian counterparts. And they often find that caregiver costs are higher than they expected. Seeking out knowledgeable financial planning support is a smart way to deal with the added financial responsibility of caring for an older family member.”

Look for the elder care trend to continue in the years ahead. Twenty-nine percent of military families say they anticipate providing elderly care in the future, up from 18 percent in 2012.

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. http://www.firstcommand.com/fbi/