Financial Tips for Military Personnel
Serving in the military is an incredible vocation and commitment, but it can also prove to be very stressful, especially when it comes to dealing with everyday issues like your banking in the face of a deployment or reassignment. The following tips are designed to help you consider ways to reduce your financial stress so you can focus on your duty and your family.
- Plan for deployment. Before deploying, have a conversation with your family about managing the household budget. Consider granting power of attorney to your spouse, should they need to make any urgent financial decisions while you are gone. Check with your bank to see if they have pre-printed forms you can use for bank accounts, and if you haven’t done so already, be sure to sign up for online and mobile banking services and electronic statements. Decide on the best use for that extra cash, whether it be paying off debt or additional savings contributions.
- Meet with your banker before active duty. The Servicemember Civil Relief Act offers all military personnel entering active duty a variety of financial protections. The SCRA covers issues ranging from interest rate reductions to limits on debt accrual. Ask your banker about the key provisions of this law and how they can help you.
- Consider housing options. With mortgage rates at notably low levels, homeownership can seem like a no-brainer. However, servicemembers should consider their options. Frequent relocations and deployments can make owning a home challenging and expensive. Renting may be a smart option for short-term assignments. Decide what’s best for your family and your finances.
- Budget for a single-income household. Frequent moves are an inevitable part of military life and can make it difficult for spouses to establish stable careers. As a precaution, make plans to operate on a single-income household budget. That way, should your spouse’s employment status change; your family will be prepared.
- Set up automatic bill pay. Whether you’re stationed state-side or overseas, automatic bill pay will give you and your family one less thing to worry about each month. It can be particularly helpful during deployments in regions where internet access is unreliable and mobile banking isn’t an option.
- Consult a financial advisor. Schedule a visit with a financial advisor to make sure you understand all of your retirement savings options. As a military member, you have access to the Federal Thrift Savings Program as well as many other private-sector investment options that you may want to consider.
Thank you for your service!