Invest While Enlisted

I’m a millionaire!!! It’s not as glamorous as you see on late night tv. I am The Millionaire Next Door. No yachts, no Lamborghinis, and not quite as many women in bikinis dancing around me as you would think or I would hope! We live in a nice house, have some reliable used cars, take a vacation or two every year, have one son in college, and own over one million dollars in equities and mutual funds.

One of my twins has recently graduated from “Basic Military Training” for the United States Air Force. Although we are an Army family, we are still proud of him. 😉

While serving in the US ARMY at the age of 20, my wife and I married and immediately began to set aside money for the future. Our money sat in a savings account doing nothing. We wasted valuable years where our money was NOT working for us! As long as your money is NOT working for you, YOU will continue to work for the money!

I wanted to write something about all of this as I am in the process of guiding my son to build as much wealth as possible while in the military.

Step #1 in investing is being willing to sacrifice. I am not advocating staying home every night and eating Ramen just so you can invest every penny. But, avoid the brand new car and purchase a great used car. Growing up, my mom *ALWAYS* drove embarrassing cars. So in my eyes, a nice Honda Civic equates to a Mercedes AMG! (Six years car payment free, by the way! )

When you *KNOW* you are getting that direct deposit on the 1st and the 15th, the temptation to splurge is ALWAYS right there. If you can resist a few luxuries and set aside 10% – 20% per check, you will reap the rewards sooner rather than later. (photo evidence down below)

I didn’t TELL my son to do anything with his money, but I showed him my investment statements and showed him how his money can grow exponentially. He initiated a contribution of $200.00 per month of his E2 pay to an investment account with our family “financial guy”. I said HAVE FUN with your money! Enjoy life! Explore the world! BUT, put a little to the side for emergencies *OR* for when you leave the military.

I have the ability to look where we are now (20+ years of investing) and where he is now (starting out). It’s interesting to see our progress when all we really did was find a reliable investment firm and exercise discipline over the years. NO MATTER WHAT!

Below is a photo of my son’s current account statement and mine. He made his first penny in interest! It’s only a penny, but it’s FREE money! (You can see he has no equities, the money is only in a glorified savings account. A few more deposits to build capital and equities will be purchased.)

My statement shows one of our accounts, and we made about 35K in one month….for nothing! Just the ups (and DOWNS) of the market. Maintain discipline and you can be in a position to have your money work for you.

We did nothing special to become millionaires. There are people WAY more successful than us who have created a business or a product and are very wealthy. We were content to invest in a disciplined manner and raise our family and enjoy life together.

Once we left the military we both found jobs and contributed 5% to 10% to our 401Ks. When we switched jobs we rolled the 401K over to one of the accounts you see above. NOTHING SPECIAL….just a little sacrifice at the time to ensure a great nest egg as you get older. And, unfortunately, I am getting older!

The Thrift Savings Plan was not available to military members when we enlisted. I am NOT an investment advisor, but I was researching TSP information for a friend recently and the “C FUND” is the only one I would own if I were a TSP contributor. (If I ONLY invested in the TSP, I would probably own another fund for diversification.)

My advice to my son is to contribute a percentage to the TSP/C FUND and then allow your outside investment of 200 per month to be your diversification. ( The C Fund mirrors the S&P 500 ! )

I met my “financial guy”, Joe Cremen, in 2001. He guided my family from a small savings account to over one million dollars in stocks, bonds, and some cash holdings. And now, he is helping my son take a portion of his military pay and invest it for life after the Air Force. If he has either one enlistment or serves for a 20-year career, he will enjoy a comfortable life if he remains disciplined.

Shoot Joe an email if you need advice. If he can’t help you, he will direct you to someone in your area or someone better for *YOU*!

But, if you want somewhere to invest and GROW your money, reach out to Joe Cremen.

( I get *ZERO* from this and Joe has no idea I am promoting him. I just have tangible proof that he is a good steward of my money.)

Joe Cremen

303 International Cir., STE 400
Hunt Valley, MD  21030
P: (410) 891-0440 / (855) 711-4950
F: (410) 785-5720

If you are new to the military and want to invest immediately *OR* if you have been in for awhile and you haven’t saved anything, you can begin NOW. You will NOT regret it when you see those returns and that interest compounding! Reach out to Joe Cremen or GOOGLE a local investment firm or just max out your TSP. But do *SOMETHING* and do it *NOW*! Literally, do it RIGHT BLEEPING NOW!

If you feel like you can invest on your own, here is some information for you and an online place to invest with little to minimums to begin.

S&P 500 Index Fund Info

Someone actually reached out and asked if I would share this info. I received no compensation for this, but I am a big fan of index funds, so here you go!

S&P 500 index funds are one of the most popular investments today due to their low cost, reliable returns, and ability to own shares in multiple companies. Our experts at Bankrate have created a great resource that guides readers through the process of buying this passive investment. It includes:

  • Explanations of index funds and the S&P 500
  • Why these investments are popular with investors
  • Researching and purchasing an S&P 500 index fund

Here is the link:

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