What A Retired Army Colonel Taught Me About Money

As a military member myself, I’ll be the first to say that most active duty service members have no idea what they’re doing when it comes to their finances. It’s true that most people in general don’t have a clue, but it almost seems worse in the military. That being said, when I do meet someone in the military who shares my love of finances, it’s an automatic friendship. Enter my friend Eric. A retired Army Lieutenant Colonel and now a financial advisor for First Command.

What a Retired Army Colonel Taught Me About Money

With 20+ years in the service, Eric knows a thing or two about the military and he also knows about money. That’s a rare combination, which is what makes him so interesting.

Here’s what this retired Colonel taught me about money…

The Life of Eric

Eric enlisted in the Army at a young age. He quickly decided that he wanted more out of the military and wanted to give more back to the military so he obtained his Bachelor’s degree and commissioned as an Officer in the United States Army.

He served 22 years on active duty and retired as a Lieutenant Colonel (O-5).

After retiring from the military, he was still young so he decided to go to work for First Command. First Command is a financial advisory company geared toward, but not exclusively for, the military. However, when I say geared toward military, I mean that they really want to help our military get their finances in order. They actually offer free financial planning for military members.

I was first introduced to Eric through my commander. My commander knows I’m a finance nerd, so he thought Eric and I would have a lot in common. He was right and here is what I quickly learned from him…

1. The Science and the Art

I’ve heard a similar idea, but I’ve never heard the terms the “science” and the “art”, as applied to finances. Here’s how Eric explained it to me…

When you make a financial decision, no matter how big or small, you have two sides to it. There’s the science, which is the actual, real, mathematical hard numbers – this is the decision “on paper”. Then you have the art, which is the more emotional side – how it makes you feel and the emotional benefits.

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Soham Rastogi 4 years ago Member's comment

Kalen, I loved the article. Got me thinking how I can pitch my idea to investors.

Derek Aryeetey 4 years ago Member's comment

very interesting thoughts...I have and will learn a lot from the part of regarding benefits more than physical income. Thanks for the advice

Victoria Asusual 4 years ago Member's comment

what is this title, makes me go: oh, well, keep it to yourself

Alexis Renault 4 years ago Member's comment

Really interesting, thanks. Looking forward to that "part 2!" But the main take away for me was that I should find a job which offers a pension. And finding jobs like that are pretty rare these days. Any other tips?

Godfred Klugah 4 years ago Member's comment


Soham Rastogi 4 years ago Member's comment

If you do not have a job that offers pension, Take a SIP i.e. systematic investment plan or ULIP, unit linked Insurance plans. There are many products in the market like these. You will have to look around a bit, but if you keep investing even 1/10th of your income monthly, the earnings would give you something similar to pensions by the time you stop earning.