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StreetShares Blog - The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

StreetShares Blog

The Resource Center for Veteran Small Businesses

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Are Bonds Really a Smart Investment?

By StreetShares on May 18, 2018

Photo courtesy of JHerbstman on WikiMedia Commons

What do you know about bonds? Not James Bond, investment bonds. If you guessed "something having to do with the stock market," you're on the right track but not completely there!

When you invest in stocks, you know that you own a piece of the company’s value. When the demand for that stock increases, the market value goes up. If you sell when the market value is high, you make a profit.

When you invest in bonds, they are much like loans with you acting as the bank. You get a certificate showing that a business, city, or government owes you money to repay you for your investment in their spending on growth, equipment, construction, and other projects. When your bonds mature, you can cash them in for more than you paid for them.

So what does that mean for you? Are bonds a good investment option or will your money work harder somewhere else? Keep reading to find out!

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Is Your Portfolio the Real MVP or a Benchwarmer? Tips to Keep Your Money Healthy in 2018

By StreetShares on May 17, 2018

Everyone wants to strike it rich in the stock market, but not everyone wants to- or even knows how to- put in the work to maintain a healthy portfolio. A financial portfolio is a collection of assets that includes, among other things, stocks, bonds, and property. The portfolio is a positive investment when it meets an expected return on investment (ROI), your risk tolerance, and the asset liquidity. Obviously all investors wants to maximize ROI, but not everyone wants to accept the risk of uncertainty or barriers to converting investments to cash. By taking steps like hiring an investment advisor and spreading your risk, you can give your investments a health injection in 2018. 

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Keeping up with the Cash: Top 5 Personal Finance Influencers to Follow

By StreetShares on May 15, 2018

You know you're supposed to be saving for your retirement years, but whose advice do you follow? A search on Google will turn up so many different kinds of personal financial advice, and some of it is definitely questionable. So, how do you know who to turn to? That depends entirely on your situation- we all need different types of guidance for different stages in our lives. Are you fresh out of the military and venturing into civilian life? Did you just graduate college? Are you recently married or a new parent? Maybe you've had a 20-year career and have grandkids on the way. No matter your situation, these five personal finance influencers are the top names in the game for any stage of life.

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The Demystification of Diversification: How Diversifying Can Work Magic on Your Portfolio

By StreetShares on May 10, 2018

Diversifying your investments - it's a phrase you've heard, and you know you should do it, but what does it actually mean? Essentially, it means that putting all of your financial eggs in one basket is a bad idea. The market is notoriously unpredictable, and diversification will play a vital role in fortifying your interests. You can reduce your investment risk, stabilize your income flow, and have a better shot at long-term financial success by investing in a wide variety of different assets that are in line with your goals and risk tolerance. 

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How to Diversify Your Savings with Stocks and Alternative Investments

By StreetShares on May 8, 2018

Many Americans know the importance of investing; however, it is not uncommon to have questions about where and when to invest, how to diversify savings, and what alternative investments to consider when building a portfolio. How much time and knowledge should you, well, invest in your investments? A huge concern many face as they prepare to enter the world of investing is the necessary time commitment, and, of course, trusting that the risks match the potential rewards—not to mention budgeting to diversify savings in order to receive the greatest returns.

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7 Free (or Almost Free) Apps to Keep Your Budget on Track

By StreetShares on May 3, 2018

The best budget is the one you actually stick to, no matter whether you are a disciple of Dave Ramsey or Suzi Orman. A personal finance app can help you understand when and where you are spending money, by linking up to bank accounts or notating when you purchase something. They also make record keeping so much easier, allowing you to take pictures of receipts and adding the details to spreadsheets for you. But what is the best personal budget app to use? Here are seven for your consideration.

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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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