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Financial Literacy: Starting Your Stock Investment Program, Part 3 by Captain Bob Houle, USCG (retired)


We start Part 3 of this series on the premise that you are ready, willing, and able to create, maintain and continuously improve a self-directed stock investment program. A program that you fully control. If you need to review part 1 & part 2, log into our MOAA CCC website and navigate to the Financial Literacy Forum and view the Articles Archive.

Control? With our own stock investment program, we are in complete control over all aspects of our plan to become financially independent. We control how much to invest, what to invest in, how long to own it, and when to replace one quality stock with another that offers better returns at lower risk.

But where to start? Investing in individual stocks is more straightforward than many people think! You do not have to be a professional to succeed. You do need the willingness to study and apply some time-tested investing fundamental principles and guidelines. You also need patience, a dash of self-discipline, and of course, the willingness to defer gratification by putting aside savings on a regular basis for our future.

Fortunately, one of the most valuable investment tools is readily available and free for the taking: Time – the weeks, months, and years that are needed to grow modest financial assets into substantial nest eggs. The younger you are, the more time you have. Conversely, the more you delay…

Learning how to pick the best stocks to buy is important for meeting any of our major financial goals. To achieve financial security over the long term, we need to use a time-tested investment strategy for identifying high-quality growth stocks that will help us achieve financial security.

In 2017 our MOAA Cape Canaveral Chapter (MOAA-CCC) forged a partnership with the local North Florida Chapter of BetterInvesting™ (BI) to design, implement and continuously improve a broad-based program of financial literacy for the members of both our MOAA and BI chapters. Since that time, we have published monthly articles on a variety of related subjects and held webinars each year focused on the value of investing for our future. Up until now, our focus has been motivational, urging action. Based on your feedback, we are now transitioning to a more hands-on, how to do it phase, to assist those members who are interested in starting their own stock investment program.

The volunteers in the North Florida Chapter of BetterInvesting™ (NFC) have the knowledge and experience to assist our MOAA-CCC members in starting up their own stock investing program. The BetterInvesting™ approach is built on four investment principles — a foundation that has withstood the tests of time, market fluctuation and economic change. The four principles are:

  • Invest a set amount regularly.
  • Reinvest earnings, dividends, and profits.
  • Invest in quality growth stocks and equity mutual funds.
  • Diversify our investments.

It is important that we follow a consistent approach to analyzing companies that we are interested in owning. The BI approach to stock analysis has not changed since the organization’s founding in 1951. We ask ourselves two questions when studying a stock: Is this a quality company? And is the stock selling at a reasonable price?

Through our partnership with the BI North Florida chapter, we can tap into their program to learn sound, practical investing skills to support our long-term investment strategy. Some of our MOAAC-CCC are already BI members and will be part of the overall team to help others become successful stock investors.

In part 4 of this series, we will learn about stock investment clubs, how to find a club near you to visit and how to start your own stock investment club.

Thank you again for your service to our country and to our fellow members and their families. It is time for all of us to act and help others become financially secure and independent. Never Stop Serving!

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