MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines should always be looking toward the future with the finances and preparing for retirement whether they plan to make the military a career or if they plan to leave the service.
The Marine Corp Community Services offers an Investment Basics class to help Marines take the first steps in investing and help them on their way to an enjoyable retirement, according to Roy R. Ells Jr., the health promotion personal finance education specialist for MCCS.
The class is not designed to tell people what they should do with their money, but it lets them know what some of their options are when they want to invest their money for the future, according to Ells.
“Retirement should be foremost in your mind when talking about investing,” Ells said.
Students learn how to budget their money and invest it wisely without putting a burden on themselves and use money normally for paying on debts for investments.
“Make a car payment to yourself,” Ells said. “Instead of paying money to someone else, you are paying money to yourself.”
The class also goes over the importance of investing early so money can be built up for retirement easier than starting too late and trying to catch up.
Students also learn about different kinds of investments including government bonds, mutual funds and stocks, according to Ells.
Government stocks come in many varieties. Bonds are safe investments but take a long time to mature smaller gains.
Stocks can earn profit quickly, but that profit can be lost just as quickly. Mutual funds allow a person to have different kinds of stocks in different companies, so if one company does badly, money isn’t lost.
The class also teaches how to find reputable financial planners and investment companies to help invest. All official companies and planners are licensed and registered, according to Ells. Information on a planner’s background or company’s can be read for free.
The class also teaches how to shop around for different companies, which will help with investments. The students learn about different fees imposed by companies and if the company charges a commission.
“You, as the consumer, have the right to know how a financial planner is making their money,” Ells said.
The class also explains the benefits of taking advantage of the Thrift Savings Plan and similar programs.
“Getting the knowledge we received in here is the first step,” said Lance Cpl. Christopher Mckelphin, an administrative clerk with 2nd Marine Headquarters Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force. “Nobody thinks about tomorrow, and you can’t just do what I normally do, spending money all the time and being broke.”