Basic Training Tips to Help Service Members Invest Wisely
By Lori Schock, Director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy
You train every day to serve our country, and you owe it to yourself to train for your financial future. That’s why the SEC is providing you with some basic training tips on how to invest wisely.
You wouldn’t head off on a mission without a plan, right? Well, the same is true for investing. Start right now and set goals for yourself and your family and then make a plan to achieve those goals. You can use the SEC’s Savings Goal Calculator to see how much you need to save each month to meet your goals.
A fast and easy way to save is by setting up automatic contributions to the Thrift Savings Plan from your paycheck. Get on MyPay to sign up for TSP or to increase your saving percentage. This can help your money grow over time and can be an important part of your retirement plan. And if you’re opting into the Blended Retirement System in 2018, you can get free money through employer match contributions. Who doesn’t want free money? Learn more at the Department of Defense’s BRS page and MilitaryOneSource or talk to your unit’s financial specialist.
But if you have high interest debt – like credit card bills – consider paying those off first. The interest rate on credit cards is often far higher than what you can expect from the returns on your investments.
You protect us day in and day out from threats. When investing, you need to keep your eye out for a different kind of threat. Be aware that there are fraud scams that target service members and their families. Be wary of investments that sound too good to be true like claims that an investment “can’t miss” or offer “guaranteed” returns. Take your time and don’t rush into any investment decision.
Always check out financial professionals before investing. It’s easy to do a background check, just go to the SEC’s Investor.gov website.
And, ask about fees associated with investing. These costs can have a significant impact on earnings over time.
Remember, all investments involve some degree of risk. By picking a mix of investments you may be able to limit your losses and reduce the ups and downs of your returns without sacrificing much in potential gains.
Start training today to be a wise investor. Your best defense is self-defense—through education, research and common sense. Learn more at Saving and Investing: A Roadmap to Your Financial Security Through Saving and Investing and take advantage of all of the free investor education tools and resources at Investor.gov, including our military page.
Thank you for your service.
The Securities and Exchange Commission disclaims responsibility for any private publication or statement of any SEC employee or Commissioner. This article expresses the author’s views and does not necessarily reflect those of the Commission, the Commissioners, or other members of the staff.