As an aviator, I’d never consider jumping in an airplane, taking off and then start thinking about where I’m going, but in personal finance that’s how it usually works. You start working, bring home the paycheck and spend the money. By the time you realize that you need a plan, months or even years have slipped by. You might find that you’re heavily in debt or that you have a significant need for money and don’t have any available.
Some people get savings and investment advice from their parents, their friends, or the web. For military members there are resources available that can help you get a good plan. You won’t pay a dime for the advice and you don’t need a large minimum investment to get started. Try militaryonesource.com for a resource, or contact the family support center at your base. The financial counselors available there usually have to deal with situations that have gone south, like with people who bounce checks or can’t pay their bills. As a Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) volunteer I loved having clients who had a few dollars and just wanted to plan ahead for the future.
You can also get help at USAA.com. The company, known primarily for their insurance and banking products, also is a great resource for small investors.
There are a variety of pod-casts that are also full of great information. Try the Ray Lucia Show. Ray’s “Buckets of Money” approach is conservative, but also allows for growth for money that you can set aside for a minimum of 15 years. Brian Preston’s “The Money Guy Show” is great for new and younger investors.
Finally, you can use web based sources, like this one, to get ideas and suggestions. One caution, however, is that web sites and blogs can be full of misinformation or even create hazards for scams. Take in information freely, but guard your personal information! It’s valuable.