Fort Jackson's Army Community Service Center helped community residents become more financially savvy during an investment seminar July 16. The event focused on investments in stocks and how a little start up capitol can help secure financial freedoms.

Retired Col. Jamie Houston, once the U.S. Army Dental Health Activity-Fort Jackson commander, lead the brief, which he originally created while on deployment to the Middle East, was focused on military spouses whose husband or wife were killed in action. He wanted to see these spouses use the death benefits they received to secure their Families financial futures. Now he offers the investment class to the installation's community.

Roughly 40 Soldiers, civilians and retirees attended the lunch and learn at the Joe E. Mann conference center.

"If you were taking this class and doing online training, what do you think you would pay for this hour and a half presentation?" Houston asked to the attendees. "About $175. You just invested in yourself."

The ACS lunch and learn series is free of charge to attend and is open to all Department of Defense ID card holders. Each class in the series focuses on a different financial topic that includes investments, social security benefits, Thrift Savings Plan management, budgeting and credit repair to name just a few.

"It's a powerful tool, learning how to invest money," Houston said.

Houston explained how to understand the various stocks available for purchase and how to read a stocks 52-week high and low. He also explained how daily events such as a plane crash or the merging of two technology corporations can affect the price of certain stocks. Taking into account these factors and more can help a buyer determine the right time to purchase a stock, also called market timing.

He also explained what a DRIP is and how it can benefit an investment portfolio. DRIP, or dividend reinvestment program, allows stockholders to purchase additional stock in that company using the dividends the company pays.

Houston showed the attendees one of his personal investment portfolios to demonstrate the range of companies, or commodities, that he invests in. One of his strongest contenders includes a major, internationally known credit card company.

"What percentage of Americans pay their credit card off on time?" Houston asked. "About 24 percent. Every time someone doesn't pay their credit card off on time, I make money."

At the end of the presentation, Houston opened the floor to answer questions and provided his email and business card for those who may have future questions.

ACS offers various lunch and learn classes throughout the year. To find more information about future lunch and learn classes and additional offerings, visit https://jackson.armymwr.com/programs/army or stop by the ACS building at 9810 Lee Road.