By Staff Sgt. Justin SilversMarch 6, 2018
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- The saying goes, money can't buy happiness, and while that may be true, it can make life a bit easier to manage. That's why the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Office of the Securities Commissioner, held a class on savings and investing Mar. 2, 2018 at the Aloha Center on Fort Shafter.
The guest speakers for the training event were Thomas D. Manganello, Senior Counsel, Office of Investor Education & Advocacy United States Securities & Exchange Commission out of Washington, DC, Peter Kane, SEC office in Los Angeles, California, and Theresa Kong Kee, from the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs in Honolulu, Hawaii.
The class was coordinated between the SEC, and U.S. Army Pacific, and was held for service members as part of Military Saves Week. Manganello described the purpose of Military Saves Week.
"Military Saves Week is a week during the year when the DOD and other federal agencies that care about financial literacy, talk at the base and installation level to people that are active duty about various facets of financial readiness," said Manganello. "This covers everything from smart use of credit and debt, to being an informed investor, to knowing a little bit about common products such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and how to spot and avoid fraud."
During the class, the guest speakers tag teamed speaking on a variety of topics including ways to manage debt and credit, how your credit score impacts lending, strategies for saving and investing, planning for retirement, and tips to avoid fraud.
While the class provided a variety of helpful information, Manganello said there was one key theme he hoped all service members would remember as they returned to their units.
"Our main message to active duty military members this week is to begin a lifetime of saving and investing if they haven't done that yet, and one of the best ways military folks can do that is through the Thrift Savings Plan, said Manganello. "It is a low cost way to automatically invest throughout your career, and let the power of compound interest work for you, and to achieve some diversification.
Staff Sgt. Mitchel Grant, a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear non-commissioned officer with the 311th Signal Command (Theater), said he enjoyed the class and felt the debt portions was the most beneficial.
"I know this class was beneficial (for me)" said Grant. "The thing I took away the most, is when you start a savings plan, you need to kill off your debt first. People don't think like that because cards are so easy to use."
Spc. Myo Mon, a canon crew member with the 2-11th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, also felt the class was beneficial, but it wasn't the debt that got his attention.
"The fraud part stood out to me, a lot of people fall for (scams)," said Mon. "I have a buddy who invested in something that was a pyramid scheme and he lost thousands of dollars in a few days, so this is something people should know."
Manganello concluded the class by highlighting the SEC website, Investor.Gov; noting it was a great repository of free tools and resources on being an informed investor, and how to spot and avoid scams.