Foolish Military Investors - Form a School Circle!
Mitch is a member of The Motley Fool Blog Network -- entries represent the personal opinion of the blogger and are not formally edited.
That's right, I'm talking to you, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. It's high time we formed a school circle on Foolish investing. Notice that's a capital F, a very important point that we'll talk about later for those of you just finding us. You see, in my 17 years of service I've seen far too many service members giving away their money foolishly (little f) and I think it's time to do something about it.
For many of us, the first time we actually had a long-term outlook on a steady paycheck was when we entered the service. And if you were anything like me, you didn't exactly know what to do with it. I've been there myself and I've made many mistakes along the way. Investing is hard! There is so much to learn! And let me tell you: the more I learned, the more I realized how much I didn't know. I'm not saying I've got all the answers. After all the Foolish way is a lifetime of education. But that's what I hope to bring to the blogging table; getting service members on the path of the best investment they can ever make: their education. Luckily for us, we'll tap into the community of Fools to help with our statistics, calculations, regulations and a big ol' serving of helpful dissent. And if I don't quite reach the simple clarity of Mattel's (NASDAQ: MAT) most popular purple dinosaur then this is your official invitation to ask questions. It's a two way blog, fellow military investors; call it like you see it in the comments.
Now what I'm not here to do is sell you something. You'll get enough of that from the financial planners cruising the mall near your occupational training base; looking for short haircuts, steady paychecks and not enough experience to know better. Instead, I intend to marry the Foolish philosophy with the particulars of the military. For better or worse, investing is a little bit different for those of us in the military. We encounter strange and interesting tax laws, benefits, financial programs, and obstacles. It basically takes a semester's worth of study to figure out how to use all of the programs and maximize your return. If you've got that much time to spare in your first enlistment then tell me how you do it. I was too worried about the multiple other semesters' worth of studying the military gave me while also passing my physical fitness tests.
The fact is, I've found the Foolish philosophy to be very compatible (and lucrative) for the military lifestyle. Warren Buffett, chief executive officer (read: commanding general) of Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-B), and the Fools that love him talk about buying good businesses, not just tickers. They espouse buying on the assumption that the stock market could close down tomorrow and not open for 10 years. For those of us in the military that can be reality. Alright, maybe not 10 years! But a six month or one year deployment can definitely put a crimp on things. For this reason, that pillar of the Foolish philosophy is one of the most important.
As an active duty service member myself, I know how great the thirst for investment knowledge within the military is. So where can someone in the military go to learn about investing from the people that former SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt called, "as close to being an effective investor advocate as any organization in America"? Well, you could try the Fool's military page: www.fool.com/specials/military-fool.aspx. There's just one problem: the last update was over a year and half ago. I'm not saying I'll be here every day or even every week but I'll do better than that. Hit subscribe and let's you and I bridge that gap. I'll share what I've learned and attempt to break down military investing "Barney-style." You keep the questions coming.
So Fool up, troops! There's wealth to be built.
Mitch Rubinstein owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and Mattel. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Berkshire Hathaway and Mattel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.If you have questions about this post or the Fool’s blog network, click here for information.