Life Stages: Financial Planning through Deployment
You’ve been called to serve your country. While this is what you’ve been training for, the thought of being deployed and away from your home, family and friends for weeks or months may be overwhelming. However, focusing on financial preparation for deployment doesn’t have to be. Here are some guidelines to help with financial planning through deployment.
Financial Planning for Deployment
Appoint someone you trust to oversee your finances.
While you may be able to handle many of your finances online, situations may arise where you need someoneto handle things in person for you while you’re away. For married servicemembers, you can create joint accounts at your financial institutions, but you still may want to give your spouse power of attorney, especially if you’ve taken out loans, signed up for utilities, etc. without your spouse’s name on the accounts. You will also want to set up a lock box with all of your important documentation in case they need to be accessed by your family while you are gone. If you aren’t married, you’ll need to appoint someone you trust with power of attorney, which will allow them to take care of your legal affairs in your place.
Create a budget.
Determine your monthly expenses, such as rent or mortgage payments, utilities, insurance, car payments and so on. Then, add a little cushion in case of emergencies. Whether your family will be holding down the fort or someone else you trust will oversee your expenses while you’re deployed, having a detailed deployment financial plan gives them proper guidance regarding what needs to be paid when, and also potentially helps them find ways to save money for you in the process.
Sign up for direct deposit and electronic statements.
While you’re deployed, you are eligible to receive a variety of deployment entitlements that you don’t normally get while on leave, such as family separation pay, per diem and possibly even hardship duty, hostile fire or imminent danger pay. Directly depositing this money into your account and receiving your statements electronically makes record keeping easy while you’re deployed—you never have to worry about missing checks or lost statements. You may even be able to set up specific deposits into different accounts, such as a savings account.
Know your SCRA rights.
The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) provides a broad range of financial protections to people who are deployed in the U.S. military. Some of the SCRA’s protections include preventing eviction in most circumstances, stopping foreclosures and repossessions without court orders and other financial protections. The SCRA may also help you qualify for lower interest rates on your mortgage and credit cards.
Consolidate and eliminate bills.
The fewer bills you have to pay while you’re deployed the better. Before your deployment, go through and determine which accounts, such as subscription services or memberships, can be cancelled while you are gone. The SCRA provides extra protections for certain types of bills. For example, your phone company should allow you to keep your phone number but still disconnect your service while you’re overseas. You may be able to suspend your car insurance, provided no one will be driving your vehicle while you’re gone. It’s also a good idea to consolidate your credit cards and other loans where possible. If your current interest rate is higher than 6 percent, contact your creditor and have that interest rate reduced under the SCRA.
Update your life insurance and will.
The reality is that military service comes with increased risk, so life insurance and deployment planning go hand in hand. Make sure that if something does happen to you while you are gone, your family is financially covered. AAFMAA’s team of life insurance experts can help you determine the right amount and type of life insurance coverage for your specific needs, as well as the best payout options for your beneficiaries when the time comes.
Ask for help.
You don’t have to do this alone. AAFMAA can help you navigate your new financial situation and ensure your family is well cared for while you serve away from home. Download our deployment planning checklist to help you get started, then contact AAFMAA at 888-973-8490 or email [email protected] to discuss your life insurance and deployment planning needs.