Hi, I am 18 years old. I leave July 17, 06 for Marine Corps Basic training. Starting now I want to create a plan to invest my money, and create a profitable investment using the money I make while I am in the service. I figured real estate would be the best way to invest my money, with the fact that the appreciation rate would be on much more money then would be if I put my money into a CD or something similar. I have not built a line of credit yet, and am starting with pretty much nothing. But I am looking for advice on the best way I can invest my money, and what steps I would need to take to be able to invest in buying a house, and then renting it out in about a years time.
My advice (and I wish I had followed it when I started!)…invest every cent that you can while you’re in into whatever vehicle that you can…start good savings habits. Put the max that you can into the TSP that you’ll be offered (as military, they won’t match but it will be tax deferred)…put the max that you can afford into an IRA every year. You will be able to take this off of your taxes, too.
Then, study your butt off on the sector of Real estate that interests you. Start opening some small credit lines and grow your credit.
When I retired from the Army, I had a credit score in the 800s, some money in the bank, two properties, and a plan as to how to proceed.
I agree with Keith. You need to study and learn real estate. Any and all information that you can get. If you can, attend local REI clubs and network with those people and investors. It will help you learn about markets.
Also, saving your money for when you are ready. Having money available will be a big plus. Keep your credit good also, another big plus.
Make sure to start building your credit as soon as possible. Apply for a credit card and use it every month, but pay it off. Charge a tank of gas or something. Then, get another in a few months and start to do the same thing. Down the road, when the time is right, buy a car that you can afford and take out a loan.
Lenders with the best terms generally want to see at least 3 credit lines with an established history of paying on time. Also, a mix of credit is good. If all 3 are credit cards, it is not a strong as, for example, a credit card, a car loan, and a mortgage.
Best of luck in the USMC…I spent 6 years in the Corps…it was the greatest experience ever. Everyone is right do your homework on Real Estate investment before going ahead. Its a tough business and can make and break a person’s finances.