Morningstar Investment Research Center

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ND_Steel
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:24 pm

Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by ND_Steel »

Military Members (& Civil Service with access of .mil sites),

Wanted to make you aware that you may have access to the Morningstar service for free. This is a good investment tool for assessing stocks and mutual funds. They also have a very good Help & Education section to learn more about stocks, bonds, portfolios, etc. It is very good Jeopardy-style learning...so there's your financial learning CBTs. And, an excellent feature is the Portfolio X-Ray. The X-Ray allows you to enter all your portfolio holdings and provides some analysis of what you are actually investing in, your investing style, risk assessment, diversification, etc.

I know for the Air Force, if you go to your MyAF site and type in Morningstar (all one word) in the Search Bar, it is the first thing found. I would bet it is offered to all branches. This is about a $100-200 free subscription that they don't tell you about. (I have since retired and get my free subscription through T Rowe now)

Try it, if you are from a service other than AF, I'd be interested if you have access so provide me feedback if you would. Thanks, ND_Steel

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cswift01
Posts: 819
Joined: Thu Dec 08, 2016 10:46 am

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by cswift01 »

ND_Steel wrote:Military Members (& Civil Service with access of .mil sites),

Wanted to make you aware that you may have access to the Morningstar service for free. This is a good investment tool for assessing stocks and mutual funds. They also have a very good Help & Education section to learn more about stocks, bonds, portfolios, etc. It is very good Jeopardy-style learning...so there's your financial learning CBTs. And, an excellent feature is the Portfolio X-Ray. The X-Ray allows you to enter all your portfolio holdings and provides some analysis of what you are actually investing in, your investing style, risk assessment, diversification, etc.

I know for the Air Force, if you go to your MyAF site and type in Morningstar (all one word) in the Search Bar, it is the first thing found. I would bet it is offered to all branches. This is about a $100-200 free subscription that they don't tell you about. (I have since retired and get my free subscription through T Rowe now)

Try it, if you are from a service other than AF, I'd be interested if you have access so provide me feedback if you would. Thanks, ND_Steel
Thanks! I never knew. You can also sign up from mil onesource.

Best

Me

crondanet5
Posts: 4324
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:51 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by crondanet5 »

ND Steel did you elect SBP coverage?

ND_Steel
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:24 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by ND_Steel »

crondanet5,

Good question...tough question. I did sign up for SBP...the full 55%. My rationale:
1) First and foremost, peace of mind. I didn't want to jeoprodize my wife's future. I pay attention to investing, finances, and whatnot...she doesn't. Not that she can't budget, I just don't want to put any additional undue stress on her at that point.

2) I do not have a good family health history. I don't like the sunk cost that's for sure...and I considered different options, such as a term life insurance policy, or investing the funds, or a combination of the two...but in the end I felt the SBP made the most sense for us. We remained overseas as well, so any term policy would have been more difficult to get from here (so I am going with VGLI as well for now til I go back to the states and can shop for a good 20 yr term policy).

What I liked about SBP is the pension is for her lifetime...guaranteed income...and increases to roughly keep up with inflation. The premium is not taxable income either; a small benefit.

I think it is a personal choice. I rationalized that I couldn't 'go wrong' (morally) taking it, but I certainly could be wrong if I didn't (though I wouldn't have 'felt all that bad' if my wife got a ~$1.5M tax-free payout upon my untimely demise!). Being overseas played a big role in my decision as well. To be honest though, at this point it is a 'fire and forget' point for me.

You (or anyone else here) could make a strong case for a term-policy and you wouldn't get an argument out of me. I am fairly aggressive with most everything I do investing, but in this case I chose no risk.

crondanet5
Posts: 4324
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:51 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by crondanet5 »

Term policies are useless. Only a 2% payout and the insurance companies keep the rest. And premiums go up with age.

Interesting thing about SBP: if you calculate using various years you have before death, add up your total premiums to that point you will find your wife will get all of it back within 18 months and then the rest is gravy for her to keep up with your grandkids.

Strongly suggest you find a good doctor who likes to analyze a lot of blood samples. Discuss ways of normalizing anything out of normal parameters. Your first hurdle is to live past 3 years of retirement, then ten, then twenty. Also get your health care advocate form in state approved words, do a real will, maybe set up a trust. I don't own the shirt on my back.

ND_Steel
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:24 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by ND_Steel »

Crondanet5,

Not quite sure I'm following you...term policies are useless? Are you saying that most people out-live the terms? If that's the case (and I would assume that it is), great for them! A term policy is actually a bet you want to lose! But the policy's purpose is to cover you for a period of your life, ie. the next say 20 years...for me from say 47-67 when you are vulnerable and people are counting on your income. If you are saying term policies have squirmed out of paying for one reason or another, ie. the fine print, then that is very bad. I've never had a term policy beyond SGLI/VGLI, but my understanding is the premium is a set amount for the given term; however, the longer the term or the more likely you are to die in it, the more expensive the premium. I don't believe the premium goes up...unless you get a new policy at the end of the first. That is my understanding. VGLI is also a term policy, and yes the premiums do go up with age. I'm in my 40s so $88/mo. isn't terrible for $400K coverage. Again, I'm overseas. I've heard getting life insurance can be more expensive/difficult from overseas. I tapped the 'easy button' opting for VGLI for now.

With SBP, I agree, if I should go first and my wife out-live me for even a rather short period of time, SBP will be well worth it. That's why I took the peace of mind. Going another route was a risk I wasn't willing to take. One piece of advice that I heard a little too late...if you are going to go the term policy route...is to lock in your term policy before you start trying to document everything that is wrong with you health-wise to support your VA Claim. You want to show as healthy as possible for setting your term policy premium whereas you do just the opposite during the VA process.

Good suggestions on the health care. I do try to take care of myself...just when you have lymph-node cancer, liver cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, cirrhosis of the liver, etc. and both parents didn't make it to 65...well...not a great feeling. We did a will and updated it before retirement. I am interested in learning more about a trust and long-term health care. When you say "get your health care advocate form in state approved words", what does this mean? Also, you said you don't own the shirt on your back...are you saying you've transferred your wealth to a living trust? Not sure what you are saying there.

Thanks again for the advice, ND_Steel

crondanet5
Posts: 4324
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:51 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by crondanet5 »

The term problem comes with age. Premiums and benefits are inversely proportioned to the point most people end term coverage at the time it might pay medical expenses. A while back I got an insurance policy for a 20 year USAA $100,000 term policy. When I added up the premiums I discovered they totaled $100,000! I would be self paying for the policy, and if I outlived the term, they got the hundred thousand instead of my estate. And to hedge their bet, I had to medically qualify. Take a look at whole life policies and possibly setting up an annuity. They've changed.

Now health care advocate. If you do not have a state friendly health care advocate form designating someone to make life decisions for you a hospital doctor may refuse to discuss your medical condition with your wife. Consult a civilian lawyer in the state you chose to live in. Also have that military prepared will reviewed to be sure it is accepted in your state.

Life expectancy is a challenging topic. We do not live one second longer than our Creator has declared. But perhaps we can make as many moments of that time enjoyable. In addition to the usual smoking, drinking, exercise exhortations I suggest you investigate the Paleo diet. My wife is a Celiac so we follow it. The sweet potato pizza crust is delicious. And she has found a fish batter that is outstanding. It might help with some of your family DNA issues. Work closely with your doctor but since they are primarily dispensers of prescriptions you must investigate things that will make your 80+ years more fulfilling. Diet is an essential part of that pathway.

ND_Steel
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:24 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by ND_Steel »

Good stuff Crondanet,

My older brother and his wife started the paleo diet about a year ago and are doing fantastic. He was actually able to come of some of the meds he was taking for various ailments (diabetic, high blood pressure) and they've lost a good bit of weight. Proud of them both. I try to stay low carb but haven't quite taken the leap. We live here in Japan...so we do eat quite a bit of fish and chicken...and you walk into any grocery store and they have these pre-boiled sweet potatoes lying on hot rocks that smell amazing, love those things!

Copy all on the health care advocate, thank you good to know. Same on the will.

On term policies, like I said, I've never had a term life policy, I've done the rough estimates on-line out of curiosity...never seen what you are talking about ($400+/month premium on a $100k policy, wow... yeah, bad deal). Not a fan of USAA for anything other than auto insurance and maybe renter's ins. I've reviewed investments that some of my Airmen had with them thru their financial advisers and they were not good to say the least. There is a reason that companies like USAA and USPA&IRA (now First Command) cater to the military. It is because we are easy prey...steady income, not terribly well educated on finances especially given that we are away from our family support, young and think we know it all.

As far as term being a problem with age, I likely won't have insurance past 65 as we should have enough wealth not to need it...and no responsibilities as the kids will be grown and gone. While I have insurance now, I actually hope not to have any when I meet my demise at a ripe old age ;). Because that is what insurance is...it is a tool to allow me to die responsibly, not to make my kids rich though I hope they get a good inheritence.

crondanet5
Posts: 4324
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:51 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by crondanet5 »

Your problem in Japan is the wonderful soy sauces. Too much salt.

Investigate long term health care options living in Japan. What will the Japanese cover? Never rule out a cardio/vehicle/fall necessitating long term health care. Are you a citizen of Japan? Will they bury you?

Are your kids planning to live in Japan? What about higher education? Career?

At the start of my Air Force career a Yankee magazine swap column offered: "Will swap a 2 acre 99 year lease property on the side of an extinct volcano in Hawaii for anywhere in New England with four seasons." Good advice. Consider returning to America. We need you.

ND_Steel
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:24 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by ND_Steel »

Your right, lots of salt in the soy and ramen.

No, I retired from the AF over here, wife is a DoDEA teacher, we are both US citizen only on SOFA status. I'm following her now. We will eventually return to the states, maybe 4-5 years from now. Plan is to go to Europe next, then we'll see how mama does when both her boys are in college.

crondanet5
Posts: 4324
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:51 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by crondanet5 »

Sounds like a plan. Work your TSP to make money for medical expenses over age 80. Can your wife carry medical insurance into retirement?

crondanet5
Posts: 4324
Joined: Tue Aug 19, 2008 8:51 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by crondanet5 »

About your will and estate: now that you are no longer a member of the Armed Forces should your will conform to American laws or Japanese estate laws?

ND_Steel
Posts: 41
Joined: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:24 pm

Re: Morningstar Investment Research Center

Post by ND_Steel »

My wife and I are both American, just working abroad on SOFA status, so American laws.

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