How to Prepare Finances for Military Deployment

A grouchy general signs an order, and before long you’re paying a visit to woebegone part of the world. Welcome to the world’s greatest military – notice how it’s always called that, even if your countrymen still use the spear. Except if your country is Vatican City. You don’t even need a military. Come and get us. No? Yeah, that’s right.

A never-ending parade of watches and duty days await you. During deployment you won’t have much time. You should have made a plan beforehand. Oh, right, back to that.

By far the best way to manage your money situation is to give a spouse or trusted family member power of attorney. This will allow them to dispose of your affairs as they see fit even if you’re not available to be consulted. They can pay bills and handle legal issues that may arise, such as resolving a tax lien. This is not the only measure you can take however; it’s better to go with another option before giving some broad rights if you’re the least bit skeptical of their intentions.

It is wise to set all of your bills to be paid automatically paid each month. This can be handled by most merchants. Either dial their customer service number or comb through their web site. You provide checking account or Visa information through their secure server. Many banks will also do automatic payments but fees may apply. Some vendors like Sallie Mae actually offer incentives to enroll in autopay like a reduced interest rate. This is simpler than having to find a post office in a foreign country to buy stamps in a pinch.

Set up an automatic payment to a checking account to which you won’t have immediate access. This is the best way to keep the money that you save up while deployed. When you do get home from deployment you certainly want to make sure that there are some savings waiting at home.

Weight the costs of keeping your current housing against the drawbacks of terminating your lease. It’s more difficult than ever for a service member to forecast how long they’ll be away. Some voyages in the Navy end up being longer than nine months for instance. To keep power on (so the pipes don’t freeze) as well as maintain your living situation you may find that the costs are insane. You’re essentially paying for expensive storage. A nine-month deployment could save you over four or five thousand dollars in rent if you vacate the premises. Consider the costs of breaking the lease, sometimes these can be waived by presenting military orders, as well as costs for storage of your things at another site.

Put your care in long-term storage if this option is available to you. It will be driven daily and no insurance will be required during the duration of your absence. Even if the car loan you have requires full coverage it may be wise to call your insurance company/dealer to tell them the car will be driven very little. They may be able to assist you.

If you have CDs you may want to see if you can extend their duration to get a better rate. It’s not likely you’ll need the money since day-to-day living expenses will be largely subsidized by the military while you’re deployed. If you have stocks make sure you either have a broker looking out for your best interests or you place stop orders as appropriate. It is wise to have a game plan in place when it comes to the volatile portion of your portfolio. If you’re years away from caring what the financial sector does then just rest easy!

Talk to a financial counselor at your command or a civilian volunteering in your military community. They can tailor a specific plan to your needs while this is just a general overview. Good luck and thank you for serving!