There are many uncertainties that come with military deployment, but perhaps the most crucial element for families to plan for is the way finances will be managed when a loved one is overseas. It can be difficult to feel secure about money matters, especially if families have not discussed the topics at length. According to U.S. News and World Report, there are a few ways servicemembers can be sure their families are in good financial standing before they are deployed.
Plan and budget
Some families may not plan spending months in advance, but it's a necessity when a soldier is about to be deployed. Experts suggest setting certain financial goals for the next several months and determining how much money should be set aside for necessities such as utilities, groceries and childcare. Additionally, the publication recommends creating a reserve of around $2,000 to be used for any emergency circumstances.
Make insurance a priority
Life insurance is important for everyone, but that is especially true for members of the military. Soldiers should make sure they are up to speed on the contents of their policy, especially as it relates to what happens in the event of emergency death. For example, AFBA's Better Alternative life insurance will mail $15,000 to the member's beneficiary if he or she is killed in action.
Take advantage of programs
There are often certain benefits available to military families who have a loved one serving overseas, the publication reports. Specifically, legislation like the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) offers families relief on certain expenses such as outstanding credit card debt, mortgage payments and taxes while a family member is away. In a similar vein, military families are allowed to shop at base stores which usually offer goods and services at reduced prices, the Financial Planning Association reports. Military families may also want to request a free copy of AFBA's Financial Planning Guide, which offers more than 100 pages of helpful advice, references and information.
While programs like the SCRA may offer some temporary relief from certain financial obligations, it's best for servicemembers to make sure they can reduce their debt as much as possible before being deployed. Military.com suggests making it a habit of paying more than just the minimum monthly payments on credit cards. This can be done in a number of ways, but perhaps the most effective is putting any extra money toward the drawing down of debt. This way, military family members can be left with one less thing to worry about while their loved one is away.