#MilSpouse Perspective: Deal With Deployment Finances by Having A Plan

By Lauren Chaplin, AFC® Candidate, FINRA Foundation Military Spouse Fellow

Deployment. It’s probably one of the most dreaded words in the life of a military family. The struggle is certainly real. The emotions are real. The roller coaster ride is about to start. The questions begin to form in your head. How am I going to do this on my own?

I’m not here to tell you that it is going to be easy. What I am here to tell you is that if you plan, the little bumps along the way will hopefully not become mountains. Ideally, prior to a deployment, you are already actively involved in your family’s financial situation. Regardless, the following discussions will need to take place before ‘wheels up.’

The following checklist from the Navy JAG Corp is a great resource. The discussion points are geared towards servicemembers, but, you, the military spouse, should also ask yourself these questions.

  • Do you have access to your family’s income?
  • Do you know your account numbers and passwords, as well as answers to security questions? If any changes are made, make sure you are aware to avoid getting locked out of an account.
  • Do you know what bills you have and when bills need to be paid? Who will be responsible to ensure payments are made? Do you know how to access these bills and/or where to send payments? I suggest keeping all accounts, passwords, important billing information, etc., somewhere safe, such as a home safe.
  • Who can you contact when and if you need financial assistance or advice?
  • Do you know your current financial situation (no debt, a little debt, severely in debt)?
  • When tax season rolls around, will you be responsible for filing? Do you have the proper documentation for this—Power of Attorney)?

Along with this checklist, it’s important to understand that you will most likely see a jump in the servicemembers paycheck during deployment. Great, right? Have a plan.

  • Develop a debt repayment and savings plan before the deployment even begins!  Once the new pay starts to take effect, it will be easier to get it going!
  • Consider increasing your TSP or other retirement contributions with the deployment pay increase.
  • Do not get too comfortable with this extra pay! It will end when the deployment ends, so still live within your means!

Having a strong financial plan will alleviate some of the stress you may feel before, during and after deployment. Deal successfully with your family finances throughout the stages of deployment by having a plan, sticking to it and re-evaluating/adjusting that plan as needed. 

Tip of the Day

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