Category Archives: Back to Basics

Back to Basics-VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRL)

This article was suggested to me by a long-time shipmate & colleague (thanks, Dave!).  Over my life, I’ve refinanced several times using an IRRRL, when it made financial sense for me to do so.  However, it wasn’t until I got … Continue reading

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Back to Basics: Why a HELOC Does Not Equal Liquidity

Most financial planners and counselors advise their clients to maintain emergency savings of somewhere between 3 & 6 months’ living expenses.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous article, saving 3-6 months’ expenses sounds so daunting that many people don’t know … Continue reading

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Back to Basics-What’s Your Marginal Tax Rate?

Tax planning is one of the most fundamental aspects of financial planning.  In fact, many people would argue that financial planning without respect to taxes is not really financial planning.  Yet, in order to fully understand how tax planning works, … Continue reading

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Back to Basics: The Real Costs of a DUI

Preface In the civilian world, there are professions where the impact of DUI conviction might not have an effect on the person’s career.  Not so with the military.  In the military, a DUI conviction is only the beginning, as it … Continue reading

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Back to Basics – College 529 Plans

This is the next article in my ‘Back to Basics’ series, and is meant for people who may have heard about college savings plans and would like to know a little more.  College planning for your children is a topic … Continue reading

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5 Military Considerations About a Debt Management Plan

There are a lot of military families who end up needing help with managing their debt.   Although many people are able to buckle down and work their way out of debt, others may need external help.  One of the most … Continue reading

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Back to Basics – Active Versus Passive Investing

Investing Performance. Most active investors underperform against the index they’re competing against. For example, the 2014 SPIVA (which is basically the Standard & Poor’s scorecard that shows how well actively managed funds perform against various indices) showed that 86.44% of active large-cap mutual fund managers failed to match the S and P 500’s performance over a 1 year period. Continue reading

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Back to Basics – Emergency Fund: How Much Money Should I Have?

When dealing with money, the most important question is: “How much money do I need to deal with unexpected emergencies?” If you can honestly answer this question and put this amount of money aside to address issues that come up, then the rest of your money should be put to work in low cost, tax-advantaged investments that will grow over time. Continue reading

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Back to Basics – Payday Loans and What They Mean

This is the next article in my ‘Back to Basics’ series. You can read my first article, on compounding interest, here. This article is meant for everyone. If you’re a junior enlisted person or junior officer, please share this with a friend. If you’re a leader of junior troops, feel free to use this article as a set of talking points for your one-on-one sessions. The focus of this article is to protect our junior personnel, many of whom may still be trying to get a handle on the responsibilities that military life hands them after high school or college. Continue reading

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Back to Basics – Compounding Interest

I was talking with Ryan Guina, from the Military Wallet and Cash Money Life, and asked him for advice on writing Military in Transition. He told me, “Forrest, you have a lot of detailed articles, but some folks need to know more about the basics of finance. You should write some posts on things like compounding interest, and other basic financial principles.” With that, Back to Basics was born (thanks Ryan!). Every once in a while, I will try to write an article that speaks to a basic concept in financial planning. So, with that said, below is my first piece on compounding interest (thanks again Ryan!) Continue reading

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