Brody Lockwood - Like a typical fledgling, I started down the track of financial indebtedness. Nineteen years old and nothing to lose. Credit - who need it? Savings - that was for older people with responsibility. Debt - my parents were in debt ergo it must be OK. When I was eligible for reenlistment, I reenlisted for a multiple of 3 worth $15K. I was happy to pay off my debt, but would I be able to stay out of debt?
Finally, a Senior NCO sat me down and taught me about mutual funds, debt reduction, and how to be financially responsible, He taught me how to live within my means and still have fun as a young "responsible" adult. I am now that Senior NCO, reteaching the same financial ethics that my teacher taught me. I am a Command Financial Specialist for my battalion. I praise the Savings Deposit Program and the Thrift Savings Plan.
Financially, I am sound. I have no worries in the world. I got started young and invested early. Now I am able to save for my daughter's education in 529 plans all while saving form my own retirement. I wish that others, especially younger service members, could see through my eyes. Learn what I have learned. I thought about where I wanted to be in retirement and I worked my way backwards developing a financial plan. I opened my first mutual fund at age 21 and slowly acquired one after another.
I have suffered through two economic down-turns but I remain resilient and stay invested weathering out the storm. By not allowing myself to time the market and implementing dollar-cost-averaging, my portfolio has responded nicely over time. A day in the market measures your fortitude; a lifetime of investing measures your willingness to be great.
Gunnery Sergeant Robert E. Lockwood II
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