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Pre-Deployment Budgeting

To minimize stress for both you and your family while you are away, be sure you are financially prepared. Follow these steps for financial readiness for deployment:

Choose a financial overseer

Consider your spouse, parent, or other responsible person whom you trust to manage your financial well-being. Before you deploy, give this person a rundown of your current financial situation. Make a list of all of your bills and their due dates. Do you use automatic bill pay or do you pay with a check?  Be sure your financial overseer is aware of which bills are due each month and when. Share account numbers, account information, pin numbers, and passwords for accounts so your overseer is prepared to manage your finances while deployed.

Be prepared legally:choose a power of attorney and draft a will

By giving someone power of attorney, you are authorizing them to act on your behalf in a legal or business matter. You should give power of attorney to the person you chose as your financial overseer. This will allow them to pay your bills and rent/mortgage as necessary. Also, consider drafting your will to be sure your property and assets are properly handled if necessary.

Review the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

This federal law provides protections for military members as they enter active duty. It covers issues such as rental agreements, security deposits, prepaid rent, eviction, installment contracts, credit card interest rates, mortgage interest rates, mortgage foreclosures, civil judicial proceedings, automobile leases, life insurance, health insurance and income tax payments. You should contact your nearest Armed Forces Legal Assistance Program office to see if the SCRA applies to your particular case. Find your nearest branch using this locator.

Understand your entitlements.

If you and your financial overseer know and understand your entitlements, it will be much easier to create and stick to a budget and develop a savings plan. For example, you may be entitled to a family separation allowance (FSA) if you are separated geographically from your family for more than thirty days; however, other restrictions apply. For help determining which benefits you may be entitled to, use this MyArmyBenefits deployment income calculator.

Establish a budget and create a savings plan.

If you do not already have a monthly budget, now is the time to create one. It may seem tempting to spend the extra income you may receive from deployment, but you and your family should not inflate your lifestyle and should use extra income to save or pay down debts. Others may experience a decrease in income during deployment, so a budget is even more crucial in this circumstance. By maintaining and sticking to a monthly budget, you will better be able to save for financial emergencies and pay down debt. Use our Household Budgeting Worksheet to prepare you and your financial overseer for deployment.

American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling agency offering services such as debt advice, debt consolidation programs, and consumer bankruptcy counseling. We have provided thousands of families with financial counseling and helped them with consolidating bills and paying off credit cards. For consumers in need of bankruptcy counseling, ACCC is approved by the Department of Justice to provide both pre bankruptcy credit counseling and post-bankruptcy debtor education.

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