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Old 06-06-2011, 10:00 AM   #1
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Financial Advisor

I am a young military officer and went to a financial seminar this morning put on by the base. The speaker was a rep from Edward Jones and although he was not allowed to plus his business or himself for financial products, the lady from the base who put on this whole thing did it several times. That wasn't really the main problem. He continued to tote the idea that you should plan on retiring at age 65+ when almost all military will be eligible for pensions at age 42 and below. He also continued to 'quietly' promote himself by telling everyone they need a professional. To restate some of his examples, you need a professional just like if a pilot passed out you wouldn't want to fly the plane yourself, you would want an experienced pilot. My favorite is that you need a professional because they can beat the market 91% of the time. My biggest issue with this whole thing was that the people in the seminar were eating up everything he was putting down. In fact they were asking for more seminars from him.

Someone asked about index funds and he said "that is for your anuities." The whole time I was ready to leave. I was hoping to get some military sepcific information on investing and instead got your standard work until your 65+ answer and you can't do it on your own. I've been thinking about running a monthly financial independence seminar for airmen in my section but I don't have any paper certifications, only knowledge on the concepts that I'd like to share with them. I feel obligated especially after they were just eating up everything he said while I sat in the back practically rolling my eyes. At the same time, maybe it's not my business to get into it and should just focus on my own FIRE plans. Anyways, just venting about the type of financial education given in this country.

Thoughts or comments?
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:13 AM   #2
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Thoughts or comments?
Frustrating, isn't it?

You have to be careful not to appear to be preaching to the airmen you work with or worse yet, that you are attempting to sell them something.

Maybe buy yourself a couple of copies of Nords book, read it, and start talking about some of the investment info. Loan them a copy if they show interest. Since it is written by a military guy and specifically for the military, it should carry some weight with them and provide you with a great tool to get the message across.

Good luck...
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:17 AM   #3
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I think Nords needs to get into the "financial seminar on military bases" field as a counterpoint speaker.
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Old 06-06-2011, 10:42 AM   #4
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I've been thinking about running a monthly financial independence seminar for airmen in my section but I don't have any paper certifications, only knowledge on the concepts that I'd like to share with them.
I'm guessing that Edward Jones guy is certified in a few areas and likely has certifications you can't even get (such as a Series 7). He likely also pays to carry E&O insurance. (errors and omissions, aka professional liability coverage). Those work to cover him much better than you'd be covered if you're attempting to offer advice and direction on how to invest.

Suppose you start preaching the benefits of index investing and asset allocation and all that. A guy you know puts money into a Vanguard small cap value fund based on your discussions and it takes off like a rocket, making him a big return on investment. He'd probably say you're the smartest guy since Warren Buffet. You'd probably feel some sense of pride and share in his success. Now, suppose that same investment, rather than going up, tanks.

REWahoo's advice of picking up some copies of Nords book is a great idea. Maybe also consider starting a local Boglehead's group rather than giving seminars yourself. At the very least, you could casually mention that you've got a plan to retire early or at least be financially independent by the time you retire. That'll perk some ears and then you can at least share your plan and your reasoning.

And, frankly, if the Edward Jones rep gets guys in your section investing rather than spending, they're still on a better path than plenty of their peers.. even if they're making highly sub-optimal choices. You just need to be around to help them optimize, which may be significantly easier than getting them to make lifestyle changes.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:10 PM   #5
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I admire you desire to help others there.

Whether the EJ rep is right for this group, I don't know (I'd guess not.). But your description of the response shows there's a hunger for this information.

Are there advisors that focus on military young age retirees? Don't know. Anyone? Never thought about it. Seems like a significant niche opportunity though.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:12 PM   #6
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^ Well, I learned something that this book exists. And from this site.
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Old 06-06-2011, 12:30 PM   #7
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Looks like your BS detector saw through this clown pretty quickly.
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Old 06-06-2011, 03:43 PM   #8
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Looks like your BS detector saw through this clown pretty quickly.
Can you imagine anything more hopeless than trying to sell financial products, or really almost any products other than travel, to this group?

A saleperson with any sense would run the other way. Who would want to deal with a lot of tightwad know-it-alls?

Ha
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ATC Guy View Post
I've been thinking about running a monthly financial independence seminar for airmen in my section but I don't have any paper certifications, only knowledge on the concepts that I'd like to share with them. I feel obligated especially after they were just eating up everything he said while I sat in the back practically rolling my eyes. At the same time, maybe it's not my business to get into it and should just focus on my own FIRE plans. Anyways, just venting about the type of financial education given in this country.
Thoughts or comments?
First, it's not your job. The only financial responsibility the military has is to avoid blackmail/espionage security risks due to indebtedness.

Having said that, I'd think that at least DoD (if not each service) would have developed financial-management curriculum that could be e-mailed or read from a website instead of wasting everyone's time with a conference-room PowerPoint muster. Nothing used to piss me off waste time more than GMT.

I'd complain to the person who (1) made everyone attend and (2) brought in Edward Jones. Maybe that's the command financial advisor, maybe that's the XO. Either way they need to use a different source of information. Of course unless you're an E-7+ or an O-4+, complaining to the XO has its own risks.

For your own troops, you could put out a notice on your office bulletin board or a shotgun e-mail titled "Additional info from the financial seminar". Fill it with links to Bogleheads, Early-Retirement.org, and "real" financial advisors (and military veterans) like Rick Ferri. Even Military.com is a better source of financial info than EJ.

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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Maybe buy yourself a couple of copies of Nords book, read it, and start talking about some of the investment info. Loan them a copy if they show interest. Since it is written by a military guy and specifically for the military, it should carry some weight with them and provide you with a great tool to get the message across.
Good luck...
Not to be too blatantly self-serving, but I think this is exactly why Impact Publications wanted me to write the pocket guide. Other Impact pocket guides (mostly on job-search topics) have been handed out in transition seminars, VA offices, and career fairs. (Ron Krannich says he's actually been getting a lot of interest in "The Military Guide" from career-fair attendees who've been thoroughly discouraged by the whole job-search culture.) The pocket guide is small, short, a quick read, and cheap... with bulk discounts. If you were going to spend your own money on your troops then you'd get more bang per buck with the pocket guide.

Back in my active-duty days, when I had things like this to give out then I'd put them on a table in the lounge. Everyone could help themselves (or not) out of sight of the command leadership.
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:18 PM   #10
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Recent Army retiree here. Sorry to hear that this financial rep made it on base. We put a stop to these guys coming on Army posts when an organization called USPA-IRA (later called First Command) kept pushing loaded funds.

The Army uses the Army Community Services (ACS) to teach budgeting, real estate purchase basics, and mutual fund selection classes. I attended all of them over the recent years. I cringe when I see our Soldiers buying $40k BMW SUVs but not putting funds into the TSP and ROTH investments.

I'm an early retiree after 23 yrs in the Army (LTC) -so I can relax the rest of the way without working. NCOs however probably will need to work until their 50-60s because enlisted pensions just don't compare (unfair, imo) - E-7s, E-6s can't live off their retirement pensions alone and probably need to work after their military careers. I find most people aren't ready for early retirement in their 40s like I was.
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Old 06-06-2011, 07:49 PM   #11
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It does not sound like he structured his presentation to the military, his audience, who have a different retirement schedule.
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