As a Veteran, you have served to protect America’s liberties and freedoms. At the SEC, we want to serve you and help you protect your own financial freedom by providing you with valuable information and resources on investing for your future.
Whether you’re a recent Veteran, a long-time Veteran or somewhere in-between, there are important saving and investing decisions to be made. The SEC’s Investor.gov website can help you through the various stages of the saving and investing journey.
Start Early! Set Goals and Create a Plan
First things first. Before you invest, check out the free tools and resources on Investor.gov. Here’s a sample of our resources:
- Investor Preparedness Checklist – A quick and easy tip sheet on how to prepare for your financial future.
- Search tool to check the background of an investment professional – Learn about employment history, registration status and more.
- Financial Planning Tools and Calculators – Help you determine how much money you need to save each month to meet your goals and plan for retirement.
Setting goals, creating a financial plan, and saving and investing over a long-period-of-time will help put you on a path toward building a strong financial future. Think about what you want to save for in life−a house, college, an emergency fund, vacation. Then decide your priorities and plan accordingly. Use the SEC’s Savings Goal Calculator to calculate what you should set aside to achieve your goals. Keep in mind that when you start early, your money grows through compounding. Check out the power of compounding.
When creating your financial plan, you should also consider paying off any high-interest debt. For example, the interest rate on credit cards is often far higher than the returns you can expect from your investments. No investment strategy pays off as well as, or with less risk than, eliminating high interest debt.
Before you Invest, Check Out Your Investment Professional
If you plan to use an investment professional, a great first step to protecting your money is to go to Investor.gov to make sure the person you’re working with is licensed and registered.
Take Advantage of Employer-Sponsored Plans and Free Money
Another key aspect of planning for a sound financial future is building your retirement nest egg. Workplace retirement plans, like the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) or a 401(k), are one of your best options for retirement savings since they offer diversified investments, low fees and tax advantages. Employers often match contributions you make to the plans. Don’t leave money on the table; take advantage of any “free money” in your employer’s plan.
Stay Alert to Fraud Targeting the Military
Protecting your money is another important part of your investment plan. Fraudsters often try to gain the trust of a group of people with common backgrounds and interests. As a Veteran, you may be a potential target for fraud. Some fraudsters may even be a Veteran or at least pretend to be. Even if you know the person offering an investment opportunity, make sure you check their background at Investor.gov and conduct your own independent research on the investment. If a “so-called” investment professional tries to pressure you to invest in something right away, promises guaranteed high returns or doesn’t provide you with any documentation, it’s a sure warning sign of fraud. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Through investor alerts and bulletins, the SEC provides valuable information on ways to help you spot fraud and steer clear of con artists and their investment scams.
Information Just For You
Our dedicated military page provides service members, Veterans and their families with information on how to make informed saving and investing decisions, as well as information on how to avoid fraud. We have an investor bulletin on Saving and Investing for Veterans.
Director’s Take Articles Geared to Helping You and Your Family
Director’s Take articles are intended to provide tips and information on a variety of investment topics, including several that are geared specifically to military service members, Veterans and their families. Check out the various articles:
- Veterans: Protect Yourself From Becoming a Target for Investment Fraud
- Military Service Members “Immediate Actions” for Financial Success
- Basic Training Tips to Help Service Members Invest Wisely
- Military Spouses: Ensuring Financial Readiness on the Homefront
We’re Here For You
You have always been there for us, let us be there for you. Throughout the year, we conduct investor education presentations at military bases, VA installations and Veterans organizations. If you know of an organization interested in receiving one of our in-person presentations, please let us know by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions about investing or want to report a complaint, call the SEC’s toll-free investor assistance line 800-732-0330 (dial 1-202-551-6551 if calling from outside of the United States) or email Help@SEC.gov. You can submit tips, complaints and referrals about possible investment scams and securities frauds at www.sec.gov/tcr.
Thank you for your service to our country.
Lori Schock is the director of the SEC’s Office of Investor Education and Advocacy.
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. It does not necessarily reflect those of the Commission, the Commissioners, or other members of the staff.