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StreetShares Blog - The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

StreetShares Blog

The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

Topics

“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

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

By StreetShares on August 8, 2017

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

By StreetShares on July 19, 2017

 

A huge change is on the horizon for many of our nation’s service members in the form of a new retirement system. The military will begin implementation in 2018, 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.

The Department of Defense is rolling 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 a government contractor. 

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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Highlighting Our Heroes: Earn 5% Interest by Investing in Veterans

Tomorrow we celebrate the Fourth of July, which commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. As we prepare for family reunions, barbecues and cook outs around the country, let’s also remember the reason for this special holiday. The Thirteen Colonies were legally separated from Great Britain after the American Revolution and the United States of America was founded.

This was the beginning of recognizing our veterans for their service and sacrifice for our country. Let’s recognize the men and women who have served our country since the American Revolution. We honor veterans every day as they’re also the ones who are growing the U.S. economy through small business. At StreetShares, we're the go-to financing partner for veteran small business owners looking to grow their businesses with business loans, lines of credit or government contract financing. This week’s Highlighting Our Heroes include veterans from industries such as energy, education, consumer goods and online communities connecting veterans through marketplaces, business and real estate.

Learn more about each hero below and on iHeart Radio’s BIG 100 local Washington, DC radio station or stream online at 5:00pm eastern every week day. Inspired by these stories and want to help veteran businesses? Start investing in them by opening a Veteran Business Bonds account and earn 5% interest. Learn more here.

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Highlighting Our Heroes: Invest in Veteran Small Business

The United States of America will turn 241 years old next week on the Fourth of July. Since its birth, millions have served in the military. As of 2014, there are 21.8 million veterans in the armed forces, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Even more, veterans account for 9 percent of small business in the U.S., according to the SBA.

We honor our heroes every day by working with veteran business owners and helping fund their businesses through term loans, lines of credit, contract financing and veteran business grants. This week, we’re highlighting extraordinary veteran business owners who have founded companies that give back to the community, whether it’s through charities, consumer products, lifestyle coaching, mental health, venture capital or medicine.

Learn more about each hero below, at highlightingourheroes.com and on iHeart Radio’s BIG 100 local Washington, DC radio station or stream online at 5:00pm eastern every week day. Inspired by these stories and want to help veteran businesses? You can start by investing in them by opening a Veteran Business Bonds* account and earn 5% interest. 

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When Should You Cash Out Your Thrift Savings Plan (TSP)?

By StreetShares on June 15, 2017

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt Bobby Yarbrough) (This image was manipulated using filters.)

If you have a Thrift Savings Plan (TSP), you probably signed up for it at the start of your military career, and by now are dimly aware that a percentage of your monthly income contributes to the plan. But since it’s always been that way, you haven’t thought much about it.

Now you’re transitioning. Do you know how much you’ve saved for retirement, whether you should “roll over” your TSP into an employer 401(k) plan, and what all these acronyms and numbers mean? Here are quick answers to all your questions about the TSP, and how to decide whether to cash it out or not.

What is the TSP?

The TSP is a special type of Individual Retirement Account (IRA) maintained by the federal government and offered to federal employees.

Although service members have a 20-year pension plan, they can use the TSP as an alternate or supplemental plan. The TSP is a good deal because the federal government pays the administrative costs of the plan, so your money is never subject to fees for trading, account transfers or anything else.

It’s basically a free IRA for service members and other federal employees.

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Small Business Impact on the U.S. Economy & How Business Funding Helps

Do you realize how much our big economy relies on small business? As we celebrate National Small Business Week, let’s take a look at exactly how much small businesses impact the U.S. economy and more specifically how StreetShares small business owners and veteran business owners make an impact.

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Celebrating Small Business, Military Service and Veteran Entrepreneurs

It’s National Small Business Week and the beginning of National Military Appreciation Month! We’re honored to be associated with these two special celebrations and to get the Professional Services Innovator of the year award ourselves from the Greater Washington Innovation Awards.

At StreetShares, we recognize small businesses, military members and veterans every week as they are who we serve every day. The U.S. Small Business Administration has declared this week as National Small Business Week to highlight the impact of exceptional entrepreneurs and small business owners who fuel the U.S. economy by creating jobs and innovation. 

Senator John McCain designated May as National Military Appreciation Month. During this month, it’s encouraged for Americans to recognize U.S. service members. There are six national observance days to help everyone get involved.

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