You’ve just learned you’re going to be deployed, and among the many things you’re thinking about, understanding your finances is a top priority. Here’s some financial advice so you can ensure your money matters are taken care of before you ship off.
Complete Your Benefits Basic Training
As a member of the military, you’re entitled to certain protections under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SSCRA), explained Military Advantage. If you’re not up to speed, school yourself on some benefits, including reducing the interest rates on your mortgage payments and credit card debt, protection from eviction, and the delay of all civil court actions while you’re deployed.
Create a Budget Battle Plan
If you’re not already on a budget, it’s time to start understanding your finances better so you can figure out how much you’re spending, what your fixed expenses are, and if you need to make any adjustments. You should also look into canceling or pausing services you won’t use during your absence, such as a cell phone or gym membership.
Leave Detailed Orders Behind
If you were the person who took care of the monthly bills, it’s important to delegate those responsibilities to whoever will become the ranking officer of your household. In other words, go over your monthly bill obligations with your spouse or significant other, and make sure they have the necessary account information to pay off the balances.
Look Over Classified Materials
Well, not exactly classified, but you should give all your legal documents a once over to ensure they’re updated and accessible. You might also consider setting up a power of attorney regarding who can take care of your financial matters should something happen while you’re deployed.
Take Care of Uncle Sam
If you’ll be out of the country during tax season, make a plan for who can file for you. Or, you might decide to file for an extension.
Set Payments on Autopilot
To simplify your finances even more, set up automatic bill pay for recurring expenses like your mortgage or utility expenses. That way, it’s one less thing for your spouse to deal with.
Protect Your Credit
According to the Federal Trade Commission, you can place an active duty alert on your credit report when you’re deployed, which will make it harder for potential fraudsters to open up new accounts in your name.
Commence Operation Savings
Service members who are deployed in combat zones can take advantage of a Department of Defense savings program, which pays up to 10 percent interest. If your budget allows, you can have part of your salary deposited into this account before and during your deployment, according to WiseBread.
Understanding your finances and preparing financially for deployment will give you peace of mind when you’re away from home.