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StreetShares Blog - The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

StreetShares Blog

The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses


Spotlight Veteran Business: Q&A with Dr. Joni Johnson of Pediatric Partners

By StreetShares on February 26, 2018

February is Black History Month, also known as African American History Month. It’s an entire month dedicated to African American men and women who have made significant achievements and contributions to the American society. In honor of Black History Month, we’d like to recognize one of our African American veteran small business owners – Dr. Joni Johnson of Pediatric Partners for Attention and Learning, Inc.

Dr. Joni has a strong military background that has spanned more than 25 years. She has spent most of her medical career passionately advocating for military children and families as a physician both in the military and in private practice. She continues her military service as a Colonel with a local Combat Support Hospital and also as the Pediatric Consultant for the U.S. Army Reserves. Her final mobilization was the reason for contacting StreetShares for small business funding.

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9 Ways to Create a Personal Budget – and Stick to It

By StreetShares on February 16, 2018
Everyone knows that a personal budget is key to financial success, but getting started can feel overwhelming. If you’re tired of getting to the end of your budget before you get to the end of the month, we’re here to help.

Money management is tricky but with discipline and determination, you can make your money work for you. There are several steps to take to create a successful personal budget. Creating a successful and manageable budget will keep you in the green and help you better understand where all your money goes. A personal budget will also help you when you ask for a raise or looking to make more money in your career. You will want to look at two to three months of your spending habits to get an idea of your current spending habits versus your income. This will make it easier to understand how savings will factor into your future. Whether you want to save money for a big trip or retirement, you’ll be able to calculate what you need to save and how long it will take. There are several tools you can use or you can go old school with spreadsheets and a traditional bank account. 

Download a monthly personal budget spreadsheet now.

Create a simple budget that you can actually stick to. Here are nine simple things to take into account:

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7 Things to Know About the Military’s New Blended Retirement System (BRS)

By Virginia Newell on February 12, 2018

A huge change has happened for many of our nation’s service members in the form of a new retirement system. The military has begun implementation of the Blended Retirement System, affecting not only military members who will begin their careers in 2018, but also those who currently serve. Why the change? As it stands, only 19 percent of active duty members and 14 percent of reserve members will actually hit the 20-year service mark required to receive retirement benefits from the military – about 1/6 of its population, according to the DoD.

Click here to download our guide to military retirement: Blended Retirement  System

The Department of Defense has rolled out the Blended Retirement System to serve the remaining 80 percent of service members currently left out in the cold. The goal is to offer a retirement system that aligns more closely with a civilian 401(k) plan, as well as to offer benefits for those who serve their country in uniform but not for a full 20-year career. While this new system is designed to save the government money, many benefits are available for military members who understand the new system and want to build their savings for retirement as a veteran who may be seeking to open a small business or become a government contractor with a certification as a veteran-owned smalll business. 

Below are some highlights to help you understand the alterations that will result from the implementation, as well as dig in to better define the significance of these changes. None of this is financial advice. It's just meant to be informative.

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Legacy vs. Blended Retirement System (BRS): How Your Pension is Calculated

By Virginia Newell on February 7, 2018

A quick Google search on the subject of retirement readiness quickly resulted in an overarching feeling that Americans have rapidly been falling behind. For instance, one-third of Americans currently have no retirement savings, according to a recent GoBankingRates survey. So what about you? Will you have enough saved in retirement? Will your retirement be sustainable?

For military members, ‘retirement’ has taken on a whole new set of complications with the updated pension system the government is rolling out in 2018. We’ve provided a guide and outlined the general implications of this Blended Retirement System (BRS), such as whom it affects and when the changes will begin to be implemented; however, there are deeper weeds to dig into about how specifically this new BRS plan will truly affect military members’ retirement from a “numbers” perspective.

Let’s look at how the military’s pension plans, old and new, work and how to think about building your savings for retirement.

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Highlighting Our Heroes: Alpha Coffee

By Thomas Moody on November 13, 2017

Meet Carl and Lori Churchill of Alpha Coffee.

Carl served in the US Army for 21 years, starting as a 17 year-old private and retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel. He is a Desert Storm combat veteran with multiple deployments to the Middle East, Africa, Central America, the Balkans and Asia.

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Highlighting Our Heroes: Building Momentum

By Thomas Moody on November 8, 2017

Meet Brad Halsey.

Brad is a Navy veteran and the CEO & Founder of Building Momentum. Building Momentum provides world-class professional technology education through challenge-driven emerging technology instruction (think robots, 3D printing, and drones). Using StreetShares contract financing, Brad was able to buy the equipment he needed to provide Marine Corps units with technical training in real-world scenarios.

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Take the Road Less Traveled: 8 Awesome Reasons to Start Alternative Investing Today

You know that saving for retirement, education, and life’s big moments is more important than ever. If you’re considering making alternative investments a part of your savings plan, here are 8 great reasons you should get started today.

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“Serving” Again to Support Military Veteran Business Owners

By Ed Walters, Chief Marketing Officer on September 7, 2017

I come from a family of military veterans. I am a graduate of West Point and served in the US Army before entering business. My grandfather served in the Army Air Corps during WWII, my father served as an Infantry Officer in Vietnam, my brother served in the US Army at the same time I did, and now my oldest son is finishing Army ROTC with plans to become an Army medical doctor.

There were times when I wished I had stayed in the Army for a full 20+ year career instead of entering the corporate world. I have worked for amazing companies, but the camaraderie of going through tough shared experiences in the military with my brothers and sisters in arms built bonds that we will forever share. I missed the supportive social network where everyone helped their teammates through the good and bad times, and to be honest, how we joked and ribbed each other in good nature. 

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Traditional Investment Options to Power Your Retirement Savings [Infographic]

By StreetShares on August 24, 2017


Just as military members have carefully and thoughtfully planned countless missions over the years, there’s a mission that anyone, regardless of military affiliation, should be planning for with equal care: planning for retirement.

We’ve touched on this “mission” previously; in fact, we recently shared some ideas on the military’s retirement systems, comparing the new Blended Retirement System (BRS) to the old Legacy Retirement system, and discussing steps to plan for retirement.

In this post, we’ve detailed what everyone, whether you’re in the service or not, needs to know about the most commonly offered retirement savings options. With this information, you’ll be well on your way to creating a retirement plan that works for you – and maybe even help a few veterans along the way. 

Here’s an easy-to-follow infographic on Mission: Retirement, outlining three steps to assist you in determining, calculating and ultimately learning more about your retirement.

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Closing the Civilian-Military Gap with Small Business Lending and Investing

Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Aaron S. Patterson

Many people have asked why a lifelong finance professional like myself, with years of experience from large banks such as Capital One and Wells Fargo, would join a veteran-focused startup even though I’m not a veteran. While the answer might not be clear to some, it is very clear for me. My personal, very focused mission is to give back to veterans who have created this space for me to be free. Some call actions like this an attempt to close the Civilian-Military divide.

During World War II, more than 9 percent of the American adult population served in the military. In the past decade, less than 1 percent of Americans have served in the armed forces, according to the Pew Research Center. The result is that the younger population has less of a family connection with the military. For 18-29 year olds, just 33 percent have an immediate family member who served in the military, according to a survey by Pew Research Center, while 70 percent of adults aged 50 and older do. 

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