FINRA visits FLEACT Yokosuka, provides financial advice
Representatives of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) conducted an investing seminar for military service members and their families at the Fleet Activities (FLEACT), Yokosuka Fleet Theater, Feb. 27.
FINRA was on hand as a part of the Military Saves Campaign support events, Feb. 25 - March 2.
The goal of FINRA is to ensure that military members have access to financial education information that enables them to make crucial financial decisions that are in the best interest of themselves and their families. The representatives provided financial information considered vital for both new and experienced investors.
“What we of fer to you today is free, unbiased advice about some of the things that you should be doing or are thinking about doing with your money,” said certified financial planner and certified senior advisor, W. G. “Bud” Schneeweis. “Of course the biggest reason to save is for retirement. You’ve invested for a while in your military career but that may not be enough to hold you in the lifestyle that you have become accustomed to. There are many ways to do it, but budgeting is one of the key ways that helps you save.”
During their two-day visit, the representatives visited many commands including Defense Logistics Agency, Ship Repair Facility, Personnel Support Detachment, USS George Washington (CVN 73), USS Stethem (DDG 63), USS Mustin (DDG 89), Naval Information Operations Command and Yokosuka Middle School teachers.
Topics covered consisted of not only retirement, but investments for house mortgages, education, automobile purchases and how not to incur credit card debt.
“The average American has a couple of credit cards; 36 percent have four or more credit cards and many are using all of them to a great degree,” said Schneeweis. “They are not necessarily paying off their credit card bills; they are simply rolling over to the next and putting charges on all of their cards and maybe paying the minimum amount every month. That’s simply not a good way to run your personal finances. It’s damaging to your personal financial health.”
Other areas covered were plain vanilla mutual funds that are investments such as variable annuities, exchange-traded funds and 529 college savings plans, while also covering tips and tools to help Sailors and their families make smart investment decisions and avoid costly mistakes.
“The first question to ask is not where do I invest but, what is my plan and what exactly am I trying to accomplish with my money,” said Peter S. Chandler, director, investor education, FINRA. “Once you understand what it is that you are trying to accomplish you can then make the determination about how and what to invest in to achieve that plan. Remember that it really makes a big difference what you are saving or investing for because that will drive how you will invest. It’s very different if you’re saving for a short-term goal such as a cruise a wedding or a vacation, than it is for a long-term goal such as a down payment on a home.”
Upon the completion of the seminar, Sailors had the opportunity to take the knowledge gained and make it work in their favor.
“I am a beginner in investing and I came here to get financial guidance to plan for the future,” said Operations Specialist 3rd Class, Anastasia Williamson of USS George Washington (CVN 73). “I think attending a seminar like this is one way to help me make better financial decisions and also can show me what I can do to make more money with what I have.”
Others in attendance were in agreement with Williamson.
“Actually I am one of the command financial specialists aboard our ship,” said Sonar Technician Surface 1st Class Nicholas Hixenbaugh. “Today was just a refresher for me and I just want to take the information provided here and add to our training program for everyone aboard the ship. But on a personal level, I came to get me more information and gain more knowledge about stocks and investing in programs other than the Thrift Savings Plan.”
For more information on financial issues, search the website at: www.saveandinvest.org