When you’re preparing for deployment, there’s so much to do! One key thing to keep in mind is staying on top of your finances. By planning ahead, you'll feel confident in your finances running smoothly while you’re away. Securing your financial circumstances and being prepared can give you peace of mind and help you stay focused on your mission. Use this checklist to be sure you don’t miss any important steps.
- Investigate how your pay will change while you’re deployed. You may qualify for a number of allowances and different types of pay, which could significantly increase your monthly income. This is a great opportunity to build savings or pay off debt. You may want to decide how you’ll use these funds by creating a plan and following through with it.
- Set up Bill Pay with online and/or mobile banking. Coordinate with your spouse, if you’re married, to be sure you both understand how bills will be paid and the household budget managed during your deployment. You may wish to provide power of attorney so he or she can access accounts to pay bills. Single servicemembers may want to ask a family member or trusted friend to handle their finances while they’re away.
- Request a free Active Duty alert be placed on your credit file. This alert will help protect you from identity theft. It triggers businesses to verify your identity before issuing credit. You can authorize someone to act on your behalf to confirm your identity. You only need to request an Active Duty alert from one credit reporting company—Equifax®, Experian® or TransUnion®. That company will notify the other two to place an alert.
- Review insurance policies and investments. Consider whether your life insurance coverage is sufficient and be sure the beneficiaries you’ve named correspond with your current wishes. Be sure your loved ones know the location of policy documents and how to contact the companies you do business with. Inform investment representatives of your deployment.
- Learn about federal tax advantages of certain types of pay. You don’t have to pay tax on most allowances or on the pay you earn while you’re in a combat zone. If you’ll be deployed when tax returns are due, make arrangements to file your income taxes. You can defer income taxes if your ability to pay is “materially affected” by your military service. You can also get an automatic two-month extension for filing and paying your taxes if on duty outside the United States. If you’re in a combat zone, deadlines are extended 180 days beyond the end of your service in the combat zone.
- Learn about military relief organizations. They provide servicemembers and their families with financial assistance in times of need. While you’re deployed, a family member will need power of attorney or a pre authorization form to receive services without waiting for your permission. Contact the appropriate relief organization for a pre authorization form to leave with your loved one: Army Emergency Relief, Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, Air Force Aid Society or Coast Guard Mutual Assistance.
- Be aware of financial protections available to you through the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA).
- While on Active Duty, creditors must cap interest rates at six percent for debts you incurred before entering Active Duty, as long as you notify your creditors of your Active Duty status and provide them with your written orders.
- While on Active Duty and one year after that, creditors cannot foreclose on your home unless the foreclosure is pursuant to a court order.
- You can terminate some lease agreements in certain circumstances.
Find more help getting and staying on track with your financial goals with MakingCents from Navy Federal Credit Union.