Military Families Look To Cut Down On Credit Card Debt

Thursday, March 2nd, 2017

A survey of military families found that their number one goal was to cut back on spending and get out of debt in the coming year.

The First Command Financial Behaviors Index, which polled military officers with household incomes of $50,000 and above, asked folks what their resolutions for 2017 were. Thirty-six percent said they wanted to curb excess spending, while 33% said they’d like to get out of debt this year.

Improving their credit scores was also on the list of things to do, with 29% of respondents saying they wanted to see a significant jump in their creditworthiness by year’s end. And while 89% of those surveyed said they felt their financial situation would improve over the course of the year, most acknowledged that it would take a little work to get there. Keeping track of finances and learning how to budget effectively were top priorities for 28% and 27% of respondents, respectively.

Respondents also said they wanted to put more money toward retirement savings; 25% said they’ll make an effort to bulk up their savings accounts in 2017.

Prepaid and debit cards offer a solution

For families who need the convenience of paying for purchases with a card, but who want to keep their credit card bills under control, prepaid and debit cards are an option that won’t allow them to get into debt. Since the money on a prepaid card is loaded before you can use it, it’s effectively the same as a debit card, which draws funds from a bank account with a positive balance.

Twenty-six percent of those surveyed said they planned to pay for more things using debit cards or cash, rather than credit cards. The survey showed that 31% of military families struggle with credit card debt, while 28% are concerned about their overall debt level.

Sentient Decision Science, Inc. compiled the First Command Financial Behaviors Index, which looks at trends in public finance through the lens of a monthly survey of about 530 Americans ages 25 through 70 with household incomes of at least $50,000.

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