Being in the military has several implications to how you approach money management and your financial life. It can be an stressful affair for both you and your family. Therefore, it is important that you are financially prepared. This military budgeting series will focus on financial tips pre deployment, during, and post deployment.
Military Budgeting Series: Pre Deployment Financial Management Tips
Who would Look After Your Finances?
Pre deployment, it is important to consider your spouse, parent, or other responsible person whom you trust to manage your financial well-being. Make sure you give the designated person a comprehensive briefing of your current financial situation. Organize your finances. Make a list of all of your bills and their due dates. How do you pay your bills? Is it automatic bill pay or do you write checks every month? Be sure your financial overseer is aware of which bills are due each month and when. Share account numbers, account information, pin numbers, and passwords for accounts so your overseer is prepared to manage your finances while deployed. This way you can ensure and stay on track on credit card payoff.
Make Sure You Choose a Power of Attorney & Draft a Will
By giving someone power of attorney, you are authorizing them to act on your behalf in a legal or business matter. You should give power of attorney to the person you chose as your financial overseer. This will allow them to pay your bills and rent/mortgage as necessary. Also, consider drafting your will to be sure your property and assets are properly handled if necessary.
Review the SERVICEMEMBERS CIVIL RELIEF ACT (SCRA)
This federal law provides protections for military members. It covers issues such as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, eviction, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosures, civil judicial proceedings, automobile leases, life insurance, health insurance and income tax payments. You should contact your nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office to see if the SCRA applies to your particular case. Find your nearest branch using this locator.
Do You Know Your Entitlements?
If you and your financial overseer know and understand your entitlements, it will be much easier to create and stick to a budget. For example, you may be entitled to a family separation allowance (FSA) if you are separated geographically from your family for more than thirty days. However, other restrictions apply. For help determining which benefits you may be entitled to, use this MyArmyBenefits deployment income calculator.
Establish a Budget & Create a Savings Plan
If you do not already have a monthly budget, now is the time to create one. It may seem tempting to spend the extra income you may receive from deployment, but you and your family should not inflate your lifestyle. Instead, you should use extra income to save or get out of debt. Others may experience a decrease in income during deployment. A budget is even more crucial in this circumstance. By maintaining and sticking to a monthly budget, you will better be able to save for financial emergencies and pay down debt. Use our Household Budgeting Worksheet to prepare you and your financial overseer for deployment.
These steps are necessary to ensure your finances are well taken care of while you are away. Your pre deployment plan has a great impact on your financial life while you are away, as well as post deployment.