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I am turning 50 in a month and have no savings or investments, due to injuries I suffered on my last tour in Iraq and the ensuing fight between the military and my civilian job to pay me while recovering. As a result I went without pay for several years and burned through our savings and investments, before ultimately filing for bankruptcy to save our house and keep up with our bills. I was finally medically retired from my civilian job and took an early retirement from the military. I am 70% disabled through the VA and I am finally working again. So I want to figure out how I can invest and save to have money for my kids weddings, school and inheritance once we are gone. My term life insurance policy expires in 10 years as well. So I am trying to figure out what kind of life insurance I should go with, what kind of investments will allow me to build wealth quickly to leave something for my kids when we are gone and what will grow quickly, but also allow me to draw off it for weddings or school or whatever.

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Answers (1)



I appreciate your question and you are not alone as many have gone through similar circumstances.  First of all, let me say THANK YOU for your service.  Not everyone realizes how much military service can affect a person financially.  Let me provide two recommendations.  Firstly, given the complexity of your situation, I recommend seeking financial advice with a financial advisor who can do an in-depth review of your entire situation.  My second recommendation is that with their help, you need prioritize your cash flow.  After being out of work for a few years, having no savings, and filing for bankruptcy, you have essentially lost your financial foundation and by following the order listed below, you can help reestablish it.  Create and follow a budget/savings plan that accomplishes the following: 

  1.  Obtain adequate insurance protection (auto, home, health, life). 
    • You mentioned life insurance and that is one key aspect to protecting your financial goals.  Here is the question to ask yourself.  In 10 years when my term life insurance policy expires, will anyone be financially disadvantaged if I die?  Is anyone dependent on my income to live?  If the answer is yes, then you need to plan for that either through additional savings or life insurance if that is an option. 
  2. Build an emergency fund of at least $1,000
    • An emergency fund of at least $1,000 serves two purposes.  The first is to help you avoid resorting to credit cards in the event of an emergency and the second benefit is that it gets you in the habit of saving to reach the eventual goal of 3-6 months of emergency fund.
  3. Begin saving for retirement
    • The goals you mentioned of saving for legacy to your kid’s weddings and school are amazing goals but let’s keep this in mind.  You can get a loan for each of these things, no one will give you a loan for retirement.  That should lead you to putting retirement as one of your top priorities because it will be the largest bill you will ever pay.
  4. Pay extra towards high interest rate consumer debt
    • Pay down those credit cards, if you have any.
  5. Continue building emergency fund to at least 3-6 months’ worth of basic monthly living expenses. 
  6. Increase retirement savings to help meet retirement goals.
    • Notice that we still have not started saving for kid’s weddings, school, or legacy yet.  Funding your retirement is very important.
  7. Save for education, vehicles, vacations, weddings, legacy and all other financial goals based on your preference.

By following the order we just discussed, it will help reestablish your financial foundation and eventually enable you to accomplish the wedding, school, and legacy goals that you mentioned.  The financial advisor will also be able to help customize an investment plan that matches your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance.