Tips to ease financial stress after deployment
Now that you’re back, it’s important that you take time to revisit your financial affairs. Your income and monthly expenses will change since you’re no longer deployed. Evaluating your financial health to make sure your obligations and needs are covered will help you prevent unwanted financial stress during this readjustment period. Consider using the following tips and tools highlighted in the Real Warriors Campaign article, “Planning for Financial Health After Deployment,” to help give you financial peace of mind as you reintegrate to life at home.
Determine financial management roles
While you were away, a spouse, parent or other responsible individual may have served as your financial overseer and managed your financial obligations. Now that you’re home, re-evaluate these roles to establish who will manage your family’s financial responsibilities moving forward.
Revisit legal affairs
Before you deployed, you may have established a power of attorney to legally grant a family member or friend the right to make decisions on your behalf. Any existing power of attorney will remain in effect until the expiration date, if it was included, or until you revoke it. If the power of attorney established prior to your deployment doesn’t have an expiration date or if the expiration date hasn’t yet arrived, you may take steps to revoke the power of attorney by working with your lawyer or contacting the legal office at your installation. You should also revisit your will to make sure it still meets your needs and preferences.
For assistance with revoking your power of attorney or updating your will, contact the legal office at your installation or use the U.S. Armed Forces Legal Assistance locator to find legal help near you.
Update personal information
It’s important that you regularly maintain your Servicemembers Group Life Insurance and Record of Emergency Data forms. Revisit them at least once a year to make sure they’re current.
Review your leave and earnings statement
The additional special pays and allowances received throughout deployment will expire and taxes will be applied to your income since you’re no longer serving in a combat zone. Be sure to check your leave and earnings statement to confirm that your post-deployment income is accurate.
Develop a financial management plan
To help you and your family adjust to the new monthly income, develop a financial management plan. This plan will help you understand your total take home pay after deductions; account for expenses such as a car loan, rent, mortgage, groceries and utilities; pay off credit cards and other debt; and save money for the future. To get started, complete Military OneSource’s Financial Management Plan worksheet and visit MyMoney.gov for more tools to help manage your monthly spending.
For recurring payments, consider setting up allotments through the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to have money automatically deducted from your pay and distributed on your behalf.
Spend and save responsibly
As you reintegrate to life at home, it’s important that you and your family follow the financial management plan that you developed based on your post-deployment income. Sticking to your plan will prevent overspending and the possibility of incurring debt.
If you have extra money available, explore options for saving or investing it each month. It’s never too late to start saving.
For more on these tips and resources to ease financial stress after deployment, read this Real Warriors article. And visit our previous blog posts on preventing financial stress: “Financial Planning Tips Before You Deploy” and “Avoid Financial Stress While Deployed.”