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The following is a conversation I had with an Air Force Airman 1st Class (A1C or E-3) on Reddit Military Finance, a great resource for asking anonymous and difficult military financial questions. I've reproduced it below (with some redaction for privacy) because I think it's useful information for all military personnel.
The lesson here is that it's never too early to start investing! If you can start investing the Roth TSP as a young enlisted personnel you will reap massive benefits in the future. It's time in the market, not timing the market, that yields the greatest returns. Compounding interest takes time so you got to start early.
Good Afternoon Captain, I read your one post about TSP contribution and felt the need to message you and pick your brain a bit if you don't mind.
I'm an E-3 in Air Force and work in Finance. My monthly paycheck is $1000 with monthly deductions/ Car payment $312 for 4 years/ & TSP $200. I'm usually left off with $200 to myself once I pay off my phone bill and car insurance.
My car loan is in the 8% range I can't remember exactly, I purchased the vehicle in November of last year for 10800, currently paying 312 a month on a 4 year plan. I've been thinking today of trying to pay it off earlier would probably be a smarter idea so I could have more disposable income.
I've saved a few months worth of savings, my ideal goal was to have at least $10k in my savings account(too much?). Last week I created an IRA Brokerage account on USAA to get into the world of investing in the stock exchange. In the post you made you said you max out into the TSP and create a IRA Vanguard account and max out into that. Does my IRA Brokerage account give me a tax break? I guess that's something I should of spoke to USAA with? All I know is that the money is tax free when I'm of age and decide to pull the money out.
I created my TSP account in January of 2014, sadly it took me a year to actually do research and switch the allocation out of G and putting it in a C S & I Fund ( 70 – 20 – 10). I have already seen major gains but will be changing it soon from some reading and research.
In the post you told the OP (original poster) once he has made the savings to message you so you could give him more to do. What information could you provide to me? anything would be helpful.