By Amanda Kim Stairrett
Fort Hood Herald
As part of Military Saves Week 2010, some Fort Hood soldiers got tips on investing Friday from the Better Business Bureau's newest class for service members.
Helping with the workshop, titled "Investing for Retirement," was Holly Petraeus, director of the bureau's Military Line. The line "provides consumer education and advocacy for military consumers and their families, both in their communities and online," according to information from the bureau.
Petraeus, whose husband is Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command, said service members are a targeted group.
"Our experience shows that military personnel are frequently the victims of unethical and unscrupulous business practices," according to information from Military Line. "They are young, often inexperienced, consumers whose salaries can be counted on to arrive twice a month, and are a very attractive target for scam artists and other aggressive promoters."
The bureau can help service members realize when someone is about to rip them off, Petraeus said Friday.
Many in uniform don't know that the bureau can also get involved and help with dispute resolutions, Petraeus added.
Military Line officials resolve complaints through conciliation, mediation and arbitration, according to information from the bureau. The services are typically free.
Petraeus said a service member recently came to the bureau after a dispute with a car dealership that sold a lemon. A business is often more forthcoming when learning the bureau is involved, Petraeus said.
Letting soldiers know that there are bureau programs for them is a constant education process, Petraeus said Friday. They earn more while deployed, and she said she doesn't like to see them come back and misspend their money.
"Investing for Retirement" is part of the bureau's new financial-readiness curriculum from Military Line that "covers the basic knowledge every service member should have when considering retirement," according to information from Fort Hood. Topics include emergency savings, investing at a young age, the different types of retirement savings accounts available to military personnel and other things to consider before retirement.
Friday's class was hosted at the Spiritual Fitness Center in the Financial Readiness Branch's headquarters. Other classes there include Budget/Debt Management, Understanding Insurance, Credit Booster and Saving and Investing.
The Personal Financial Assistance Center provides information on budget counseling, credit repair, credit reports and Army Emergency Relief Assistance.
Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7547. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.