Investment Lessons from a Mission Trip to Quantico

July 26, 2016by Hoy Grimm0

Have you ever served in the Marine Corps? If so, you and the rest of our armed forces volunteers are my heroes. Last week the college and career group from my church, East Maryville Baptist returned to Quantico Marine base in Virginia to conduct a summer camp for elementary kids who live there. With help from four of our college students, I ran the soccer portion of the camp for 50 high-energy but extremely polite kids. Temperatures were over 90 each day and you can’t play soccer in the shade. It was an exhausting but rewarding week.

Each day we commuted by bus onto the base from Stafford, Virginia where a local church hosted our group. As we entered the vast 55,000-acre military campus on our first day, I noticed a large LED street information sign that flashed, “Altered traffic pattern, UXO removal program under way”.

After day 2, I became curious to find out about “UXO” and a google search on my phone pulled up a fascinating history. From the 1930’s through the 1940’s, much of the north end of the base was used for artillery training. As time passed and war subsided, the base developed into the elite command and training center that is modern day Quantico. Housing and schools were erected to serve a population that now numbers more than 12,000 military and civilians working on the base.

Across the street from the Crossroads school where we conducted our camp was the location of the old Russell school, which was demolished to make way for a new one. After demolition, they discovered old, rusted shells left over from the 30’s when it was an artillery range. Some mortar rounds were still live “unexploded ordinance” or UXO. They closed the road each night to search for and remove any UXO that they found. The most common munition they encounter is the 4.2-inch mortar. When they located UXO, they cordoned off a 300-yard area for safety and called technicians in to conduct controlled detonations.

removing UXO at Quantico VA

It was a little concerning that live munitions were buried 150 yards from our camp location but we were too busy sweating to give it much thought.

As I drove home at the end of the week I had time to reflect on my proximity to something so deadly and how unaware that I was to the danger. I realized that investors can fall prey to the same circumstances in their investment portfolio. When was the last time you looked for antiquated, rusty and even dangerous investments in your portfolio that need to be removed and detonated by an expert?

In your portfolio, “danger” comes in the form of risk. We use modern technology to measure, understand and monitor the risk of every single investment that our clients hold, even if it’s in their company retirement plan or at another financial institution. There is no excuse for not knowing how much risk you are taking, individually and collectively with your financial future. You’ll feel the impact when you least expect it.

Your antiquated investments are the expensive broker-sold mutual funds, annuities and “house brand” products that you first started investing in years ago. Upgrade these holdings before the costs rot out a hole in your financial plan. You have ample access to modern, low cost exchange traded funds that are more tax efficient. You can find alternatives that will cut your fund related expenses in half if not more.

If you need help figuring out what is “dangerous” and “rusty” in your portfolio, call us for a complimentary evaluation. We have decades of experience in identifying these mortars in your investment account.

Hoy Grimm

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