(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Whether a service member was in for 20 years or four, good financial health begins with making good financial choices.

Michael Pennica, founder and president of Pennica Financial Group, offered this advice for veterans and anyone else who wants healthy finances:

  • Start early, save early – The earlier the better but it’s never too late to start. “The equation of time and money is critical,” Pennica said.
  • Planning is the key – Pennica stressed that planning is necessary to reach goals. He used the analogy of going on a road trip, noting that a person would not normally leave on a road trip without planning.
  • If someone doesn’t like going through the process of planning their financial future, get a financial adviser.
  • It’s not about the rate of return – Not all investments should be made for the rate of return. A diverse portfolio is important and building a good portfolio takes many components.
  • Evaluate the financial plan and portfolio annually – Checking it yearly allows changes and reevaluation of what works and what doesn’t. “It’s not something to fire and forget,” Pennica said.