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Consumer Watch: Go online for free investment tools

Nov. 30, 2009 - 07:22PM   |   Last Updated: Nov. 30, 2009 - 07:22PM  |  
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Are you looking to tweak your investments at the end of the year?

The Defense Department is looking to help you with some investment information.

Military personnel and their families worldwide can use Morningstar's investment research and tools free, thanks to a contract between the Defense Department and the independent investment research company.

You can check out investments from computers at most base libraries or through the military service portals — Military OneSource, Army OneSource, Army Knowledge Online, Navy Knowledge Online and the Air Force Portal.

If the Defense Department were not paying for it, this service would cost $18.95 a month, or $174 a year.

Sailors have been using the service since 2002, but this allows access to soldiers, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard personnel.

Through Morningstar, you have access to:

• In-depth data reports on nearly 9,500 stocks, 24,000 mutual funds and 800 exchange-traded funds.

• Proprietary analyst reports on 1,800 stocks, 1,700 mutual funds and 350 exchange-traded funds.

• Evaluation tools.

• Screening and portfolio tools.

• An online classroom that provides courses on basic investing concepts such as compounding and expense ratios.

The military service portals have an icon to get to the Morningstar investment research center, but it is not necessarily on the portal home page. Dig into the library or investment information areas, said Carling Spelhaug, a spokeswoman for Morningstar.

Calling all shutterbugs

Authorized exchange shoppers can submit their funniest, most creative or heartwarming photos to the "Memories Etched in Images Holiday Photo Contest" through Dec. 31.

Your creativity could win you a shopping spree. The first-place winner will receive a $1,000 Army and Air Force Exchange Service gift card, and the runner-up will get a $500 AAFES gift card. Third- and fourth-place winners will receive $250 gift cards, and the next five places will each receive $100 gift cards.

Remember, these gift cards can be used to shop online, and any person authorized to shop at any exchange can use the card, regardless of branch of service.

The top 50 entries will be online.

Look for complete contest rules and entry details at www.aafes.com/Patriot_Family/memories.asp">www.aafes.com/Patriot_Family/memories.asp. Shoppers may e-mail their photos to PatriotFamily@aafes.com">PatriotFamily@aafes.com with "Memories Etched in Images" in the subject line.

Include your name, address, daytime phone number, rank or occupation, and photo information.

———

Questions or comments? Contact staff writer kjowers@militarytimes.com?subject=Question from ArmyTimes.com reader">Karen Jowers at kjowers@militarytimes.com">kjowers@militarytimes.com.

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