Managing your military pay is important, for yourself and your military family, especially when you're away on training, or deployment. Consider this when dealing with basic training housing allowances, power of attorney designations, military insurance, and The Servicemembers Relief Act.
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Managing Military Pay Away from Home Base

Managing your military pay is important, for yourself and your military family, especially when you're away on training, or deployment. Consider leaving a clean cash flow management strategy behind and covering all these bases, to make sure your military salary covers all bases.


If you are married, you are entitled to receive BAH, the military's housing allowance you get in addition to your basic military pay, while in basic and in technical school. Your BAH is calculated based on the zip code where your family resides. Depending on which branch of the service you join, you may be away from home for a year or more because of technical schools and the length of basic training. One of the most important things to remember about the military's housing allowance is that it takes time to process. Don't go into the military expecting a financial bailout with the additional pay you'll get from BAH. Processing times may vary and while you should expect this money to come, don't plan on it hitting your first few paychecks. Make financial arrangements that aren't dependent on all your military pay and allowances being activated at the same time.


The best way you can avoid missing payments or racking up service charges due to late payments is to give a spouse or family member access to your checking account or arrange for automatic bill payment through your bank. You may have to pay a small fee for automatic bill pay, but you'll save more of your military paycheck in the long run. You can stretch your military pay by dividing up your automatic payments into two cycles. Pay half your debts with each pay period rather than trying to pay all your debts at once on a single military paycheck. That way you have money left over in each pay cycle to tide you over.


Did you know you can give your spouse or a relative power of attorney to represent you for moving household goods, selling a car or even a home? If you are going on a TDY or overseas deployment, get a general power of attorney if you aren't sure what your spouse needs to do on your behalf. The general power of attorney should not be done lightly--it allows someone to carry out a wide range of financial decisions in your name. If you aren't comfortable giving someone that much power over your money, use a specific power of attorney which can spell out exactly what you want done--power to sell a car or home in your name, etc. Don't take unecessary risks with a power of attorney; make sure you know who you are giving these broad powers to.


Single military members may choose to put their vehicle into storage rather than loan it to a friend or family member while they are in basic training, officer candidate school or on a deployment. Whether you draw officer pay or enlisted pay, nobody wants to pay more insurance than is necessary. Did you know you may not need full coverage on a vehicle in storage? Ask your insurance agent about a reduced policy which covers your car, truck or van while it is stored and not being used on the road. You may find you can get a lower monthly bill for the entire time you are away, but much depends on the insurer. Even if you're only eligible for reduced liability coverage, the lower monthly bills are worth the effort.


In 2003, the President signed the Servicemembers Relief Act, which gives a wide set of protections to men and women in uniform. Did you know you may be entitled to an interest rate of only 6% on pre-service loans or other credit? You must request this interest rate from your bank or lender in writing and provide a copy of your orders. You may also be able to legally terminate car leases if you are given PCS orders or are deployed for 180 days or more.


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