Military Investor Forums Held in Hawaii, Japan and the Persian Gulf
April 2, 18, 20, 21 and 25–29, 2006
Recognizing the importance of bringing unbiased financial education directly to members of the military and their families, the NASD Investor Education Foundation conducted a series of investor forums that took them to duty stations and bases around the world.
The free financial education forums took place in Honolulu, Hawaii; Okinawa and Yokosuka, Japan; and aboard the San Diego-based aircraft carrier, USS RONALD REAGAN, deployed in the Persian Gulf.
The outreach began with a financial forum at the Hawai'i Convention Center in Honolulu on April 12. The event was co-sponsored by Senator Daniel Akaka and offered in partnership with Military Family Support Centers serving the Air Force (Hickam Air Force Base), Army (Schofield Barracks), Coast Guard (US Coast GuardDistrict 14), Marine Corps (Marine Corps Base Hawaii) and Navy (Pearl Harbor).
Nearly 500 attendees from all branches of the U.S. military and Coast Guard attended the forum.
Rear Admiral Michael C. Vitale, Commander Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific welcomed attendees, stressing the importance of saving for the future and avoiding predatory loans and other money drains that can derail financial security.
"The information presented in these forums and the resources available online at SaveAndInvest.org—from tips on avoiding predatory lenders to planning for retirement with the Thrift Savings Plan—are a great benefit to the military community, giving military families the resources they need to help them reach their financial goals," said Admiral Vitale.
Honolulu attendees received a Congressional update from Senator Akaka, who praised the NASD education program for offering unbiased investor education without any sales pitches.
Robert Glauber, Chairman, NASD Investor Education Foundation and CEO & Chairman, NASD offered a number of fundamental principles of sound saving and investing. "Follow the three Ds: diversity, diversity, diversity," noted Glauber. "That doesn't mean you have to buy scores of investments. One well-diversified mutual fund may be all you need."
Mary L. Schapiro, Director, NASD Investor Education Foundation and Vice-Chairman, NASD showed attendees how to use a number of tools found on the SaveAndInvest.org Web site, including NASD BrokerCheck. "I recommend checking to see if the broker has moved around a lot, or how long he or she has stayed at each employer. A red flag could be a pattern of hopping from firm to firm over a short period of time."
In addition to the general session, the Honolulu forum featured financial seminars including Smart Saving and Investing: Avoid the Predatory Loan Trap, presented by a representative from the Securities and Exchange Commission; What to Look for in an Investment Advisor, presented by Hawaii State Securities Commissioner Corinna Wong; Mutual Funds, 529 Plans and More and Smart Saving for Retirement, presented by NASD.
Team Travels to Bases in Japan and USS Ronald Reagan
From Hawaii, a team of three NASD investor education specialists traveled to Camp Foster (a US Marine Base) on Okinawa, Japan; Yokosuka Naval Base, Yokosuka, Japan; and the USS RONALD REAGAN in the Persian Gulf, where they presented a series of investor forums and seminars reaching nearly 1,800 servicemembers of all ranks, from senior officers to enlisted personnel, as well as numerous spouses.
The team was comprised of John M. Gannon, Executive Director, NASD Investor Education Foundation; Peter S. Chandler, Associate Director, NASD Office of Investor Education; and Francis H. Dong, Associate Director, Military Education and NASD Investor Education Foundation.
In Okinawa, the team addressed close to 200 attendees at Camp Foster's Globe and Anchor Club. Sergeant Major Robert E. Mastriano introduced the NASD Team to the troops. A certified teacher himself, with a postgraduate degree in Secondary Education, Sergeant Major Mastriano stressed the importance of basic financial education and thanked the Foundation for coming to Okinawa.
Two forums were held at the Fleet Theatre in Yokosuka, each drawing close to 200 attendees. The forums were introduced by Captain Gregory J. Cornish, who cited data from a recent Employee Benefit Research Institute study regarding how financially unprepared many Americans are for retirement. Captain Cornish also stressed the value of debt management and understanding the basic tenets of saving and investing as facets of overall military preparedness.
After the Yokosuka forums, the team met with Rear Admiral James D. Kelly, Commander U.S. Naval Forces, Japan. The Admiral expressed his appreciation, and thanked the team for sharing its expertise with base personnel and their spouses. "I wish I had received something like this when I was a young officer," he commented.
On the USS RONALD REAGAN, the goal of the team was to integrate itself into the life of the ship. Presentations were made virtually around the clock in an effort to reach both day and nightshift personnel. In all, close to 30 presentations were made during the three days aboard ship, attended by approximately 1000 members of the REAGAN crew.
The team was welcomed aboard by Commanding Officer Captain Terry Kraft, Executive Officer Captain William J. Hart and Command Master Chief James E. DeLozier. At the end of their stay on board, the team was presented with a plaque from Command Master Chief DeLozier, along with praise for giving something of tangible importance to the crew of the ship.
The NASD Investor Education Foundation continues the roll out of its Military Education Program with forums at the Naval Submarine Base in Kings Bay, Georgia, June 13, 2006.