The goal of creating a smooth military deployment can inspire you to successfully manage your military finances now. And that can lead you to the financial benefits of good money management whether you're at home or deployed.
Before they were famous, many truly influential men and women started by serving their country in the US military or grew up in military families.

Lessons from Overseas: Military Deployment Success Stories

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Deployment is a reality of military life that requires adjustment, for the service member and for the military family he or she leaves behind.

But rather than seeing it as a problem, the goal of creating a smooth military deployment can inspire you to successfully manage your military finances now. And that can lead you to the financial benefits of good money management whether you're at home or deployed.

DEPLOYED AND IN DEBT

Anne-Marie and Capt. David Tosh of Leander, Texas, were financially prepared when David was deployed to Iraq in April 2003.

They had always split bill-paying responsibilities, which made the transition easier for Anne-Marie when it was her turn to handle it all. All accounts were in both names, and Anne-Marie had the info on her husband's accounts in writing.

AVOID DEBT CONFUSION

Unfortunately, according to Meredith Leyva, wife of a Navy officer and founder of CinCHouse.com, a website offering financial management advice for military families, many deployed service members unknowingly leave their spouses in a state of financial confusion.

In Leyva's own experience, her husband had forgotten to pay a credit card bill before he was deployed for the first time. Leyva wasn't clear about how much money he owed, and the financial institution wouldn't give her that information because it wasn't a joint account. As a result, his credit rating suffered.

Levya recommends preparing an emergency savings fund, containing three to six months of living expenses, plus an extra $2,000 for the unexpected plumbing leaks, car repairs, and other financial surprises.

SINGLE, DEPLOYED AND FINANCIALLY RESPONSIBLE

There are also financial challenges for deployed service members who are single.

Because while deployment means a change in physical location and lifestyle, your stateside lifestyle - and bills -still need attention.

Navy Lt. Cmdr John Baehr almost got evicted while he was deployed to Kuwait for a year, due to a late rent payment on his stateside apartment.

The solution: he began utilizing his bank's online bill pay and got help from a friend back home to handle his finances.

MANAGING COMBAT PAY, HAZARDOUS DUTY PAY, SERVICEMEMBERS RELIEF

According to Joseph Montanaro, Certified Financial Planner, soldiers can take advantage of tax-free combat pay and allowances (separation pay, hazardous duty, etc) to add to their monthly bottom line.

Managed well, this extra military income could be used in a variety of smart financial moves: to pay off credit cards, add to emergency savings, or create college savings for family members.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2004 may qualify you for lower interest rates on credit card and mortgage debt while you're deployed. The Civil Relief Act has provisions to help avoid eviction should you have any late rent payments while deployed.

MILITARY MONEY MANAGEMENT

So - start now and build solid plan for managing your finances long-distance, before your next deployment takes you overseas.

You can ask a trusted friend or family member back home to handle bill payments and other necessary tasks, using a power of attorney if needed.

Create a record of your accounts to give your at-home money management friend, and take a copy with you.

If you are married, make sure both you and your military spouse have your names are on all accounts.

If you're a single military service member, eliminate rent and utilities. Storage spaces are cheaper and easier to maintain.

Set up automatic deposit accounts and online billpay, making your financial planning completely portable.

Notify all creditors and financial institutions of your deployment, leaving them with contact information if problems should arise.

Prearrange any benefits your family might be eligible for through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act of 2004 and 2008.



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