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Troops Worry About Retirement

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- Military families are more concerned about their retirement prospects than economic conditions, inflation, debt and health insurance.

That's the upshot of recent survey results from First Command Financial Services. It found that 71% of middle-class military families (those with household incomes of at least $50,000) cited government cuts to military retirement benefits as the financial issue that concerns them the most. The economy came in second at 54%, followed by the cost of gas at 51%.

Big changes that could be afoot for military pensions are a top financial concern for enlisted men and women.

Just 35% of respondents say they are "extremely" or "very confident" in their ability to retire comfortably.

"These findings are a dramatic indicator of the growing level of concern in active-duty families regarding their long-term financial futures," Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command, says in a statement. "While the continuing economic turmoil weighs heavily on many middle-class families, the proposed overhaul of the military retirement system has become an even more critical financial concern of our men and women in uniform."

The top 10 financial worries cited by survey respondents were: government cuts to military retirement benefits (71%); the state of the economy (54%); cost of gas (51%); ability to retire comfortably (50%); cost of everyday goods (40%); value of real estate (38%); personal debt (37%); ability to send kids to college (31%); stock market (30%); unemployment/job security; and cost of health insurance (21% each).

The survey found that 37% of families have changed their financial behavior as a result of proposed military retirement cutbacks, reporting that they are saving more (59%) and paying more on debt (51%).

"We expect saving more and paying down debt will be among the key money strategies on display in active-duty households in 2012," Spiker says.

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