You can invest easily, right now, and with great success. You've managed way more challenging tasks in the military. Managing your military investments should be easy by comparison. Think like a military strategist: think short term and long term.
Before they were famous, many truly influential men and women started by serving their country in the US military or grew up in military families.

Investing: Bulls and Bears in the Military

Ever thought you could manage your own portfolio of stocks and bonds? Even with a busy military lifestyle, you can do it. Start with this simple formula approach to military investing:

Mix it up. Divide your money between stocks and bonds. You can use online tools to find the right mix for your age and risk tolerance. The easy way to decide on stock allotment is to subtract your age from 120. If you're 40, put 80% of your long-term savings in stocks and 20% in bonds. For every year you approach military retirement, subtract your age from 120 and adjust the mix.

Try index funds. An index fund doesn't make as sharp moves as a single stock; you virtually own the entire stock or bond market, thus spreading your risk somewhat. ETFs - Exchange Traded Funds - are another interesting choice, whereby you own a mix of stocks in a particular sector or industry. It's nice to spread the risk and spread the wealth.

Invest 10% maximum in any one company's stock. Just like a good military strategy, never put all your eggs into one basket; spread your strength. So never be over-invested in any one stock: no more than 10% of your total portfolio. In fact, you may not want to invest in stocks with more than 10% of your liquid assets. Because even a perfectly good company can fall on hard times - and their stock price will show it fast. Never be over-invested in any one stock, no matter what you think about it's products or services.

Annual fees for a mutual fund: 1% for a large-company stock fund, 1.3% for any other type of stock fund, and 0.6% for a U.S. bond fund. A percentage point here and there may not sound like much, but it can add up. A fund manager needs to pick a lot of great stocks to make up for those costs.

Maybe you'd like the support of a financial advisor to manage your military investments. No problem - there are lots of financial advisors who can show you a multitude of investment products to suit your military lifestyle goals.

In addition to stocks and bonds, there are exotic hedge funds and insurance products and more....but make it easy on yourself by keeping it simple. Buy what you understand and can follow. No need to complicate your already complex military life; investing should enhance, not overwhelm your military life.

The key is to know your military lifestyle goals and needs, and make sure the investment opportunities you choose are geared for your military money success.


You can invest easily, right now, and with great success. You've managed way more challenging tasks in the military. Managing your military investments should be easy by comparison.

Think like a military strategist: think short term and long term.

If you're investing for the long-term, stocks are a good bet. Since 1926, stocks have returned an annual average of 10.5 percent, long-term government bonds returned 5.1 percent, and "cash," measured by Treasury bills and other short-term investments, has returned just 3.1 percent. Short term, the stock market can have more severe drops than the bond market. So if you're a young military serviceperson, you'll have more time to recover from stock-market dips.

Long term, bonds can be more stable for producing financial results. As you near military retirement, gradually move into bonds.

A final tip about investing your military salary wisely: it's all in the mix. Are stocks, bonds, IRAs best? It depends on your military lifestyle and future goals. Balance is also key; if you balance your investments and aim to generate moderately above-average returns while capping losses in your portfolio, it will all add over the years to a more financially solid military lifestyle and a secure military retirement.


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