Getting ready for a husband or wife in the military to be deployed is an emotional time. Financial issues might not be at the forefront of your mind, but having a plan in place for taking care of all the money issues before your spouse leaves can help to relieve some of the financial stress later on.
• Attend a pre-deployment briefing if your spouse’s unit is offered one.
• Make extra copies of all important financial documents since you may need to supply these at various times during your spouse’s time away.
• Make sure you are aware of all the financial responsibilities your spouse was handling so that you can make a plan to take them over.
• Consider setting up auto-pay for any bills your spouse was paying manually.
• Make sure you know the location of all important documents, including those that might be in a safe or lock box. Get the combinations, codes or keys for anything you might need entry into.
• Create a budget to deal with the new income/expense levels during deployment. This is often a great time to beef up savings, especially by using the military’s Savings Deposit Program.
• Consider making the greater Thrift Savings Plan retirement contributions that are allowed during the deployment period.
• Check to make sure that the contact information for all financial accounts is yours and not your spouse’s.
• Get passwords for any accounts or sites you may need to access while your spouse is gone.
• Create a power of attorney document so you can control your spouse’s financial matters during deployment.
• Consider adding your name to any accounts that are just in your spouse’s name to make the process easier if changes need to me made while your spouse is away.
• Make sure your spouse’s will is up-to-date.
• Review your Servicemembers Group Life Insurance (SGLI) elections to determine if your coverage is sufficient.
• Check the beneficiary information on life insurance, investment and Thrift Savings accounts.
• Call your cell phone company to terminate or suspend cell service for your spouse during the deployment.
• Contact your car insurance company to have your spouse taken off the policy during the time of deployment.
• Some creditors will lower interest rates during deployment, so contact yours to see if you are eligible.
• Know the location of your spouse’s credit cards and move them to a safe place if they aren’t in one already.
• Contact one of the credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian or TransUnion – to have an Active Duty security freeze placed on your spouse’s credit reports. You only have to contact one bureau; that bureau will contact the other two to let them know to follow suit.
• Check to make sure everyone in the family is enrolled in Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System (DEERS) and thus eligible to receive the medical benefits you are entitled to.
• Renew all ID cards that could expire while your spouse is away. Renew the ones you can now and make a plan to renew any that will expire while your spouse is away.
• Know when vehicle stickers will expire and how to renew them.
• Sign up for a myPay account at mypay.dfas.mil if you haven’t already so that you can get tax preparation documents when you need them. If your spouse already has an account, make sure to get the username and password.