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6 Simple Ways to Manage Your Finances While Deployed

You've been deployed, to a combat zone, or on some other mission. Here are some steps to take to manage your finances while gone.

6 Easy Steps to Managing Your Finances While Deployed

There are a lot of ways to get in a financial jam when you’re deployed. Fortunately, there are even more ways to prevent that from happening. Here are some.

The deployment orders have come down. You’re heading out with the unit — for three months, or six months, or even a year or more. Anything goes wrong with the bank account, forget about not being in the same zip code, you won’t be in the same time zone, or even the same country.

You might not even be on the same continent.

That thought’s sobering! Fortunately, there are plenty of mechanisms for protecting yourself while away doing military service.

#1 Power of Attorney

DO give this to a trusted relative such as a parent or grandparent, or your wife. DON’T give this to a friend or someone you do not trust with all of your possessions, or you will risk losing all of your possessions.

Power of attorney means you’ve delegated authority to this person to act as you, legally speaking, when it comes to anything — paying bills, entering into contracts, buying and selling, and so forth. They can pay any bill of yours. They can buy or sell stocks, or your home. They are, in legal terms, you.

So choose carefully.

Cloning yourself is, unfortunately, not yet an option | Giphy

#2 Make a Plan

This seems intuitive but there are many, many things that can get in the way of a serial procrastinator, especially when said serial procrastinator may be suffering some anxiety about being away doing something dangerous for months or years. Folks, it's not called “hazard pay” for nothing! The more planning you can do ahead of time, the more comfortable you can feel while away. 

Put your bills on auto-pay. Set up deductions from your paycheck so the checking account always has a healthy balance — with room for emergencies. Let the credit card company, your insurance company, and your bank know ahead of time that you’ll be away, and to flag suspicious activity.

Just be a little more astute than Charlie | Giphy

#3 Wind Down Obligations

Cancel subscriptions. Finish purchasing big-ticket items. Complete loans. Anything that might bite you if for some reason payment gets fouled up — try to close before you roll out on deployment. Including your 2012 Ford Mustang.

less obligations = less headaches | Giphy

Let’s not focus exclusively on the things that can go wrong. Why not look at some of the things that you can do proactively and positively while on deployment?

#4  Befriend Someone on Rear-D

Those people are like everyone else — like you — they’ll do their job, but there’s a lot that needs doing on any particular day. There’s no reason to go the extra mile for someone if they don’t have to, and the Rear-D is going to be understaffed and overtasked. One way to make sure you have an ace in the hole if something goes sideways is if you make it your business to grab lunch a couple times with Specialist Smith, because it’s always possible they’re the only thing standing between you and a flooded basement on a weekend when the hurricane hits.

A quest to Mordor is not required | Giphy

Anyway, worst case scenario, you got to know Specialist Smith, someone you’d only ever seen in formation.

#5 Invest!

Take advantage of the military’s Savings Deposit Program, that can make you 10% on your investment annually with a maximum deposit of $10,000. On a deployment of 1 year, you could earn $1,000 bucks. That’s a pretty outrageous guaranteed rate of return. Even putting away $1,000 will net you $100 when you get home — money for the redeployment party.

Seriously, take the time to save up some extra cash | Giphy

#6 Save for Retirement

If you’re deployed you’ll almost certainly be pulling in more money per month than normal — in many cases, significantly more. You’re probably already saving as much as you can with the TSP or Thrift Savings Program. Well done. There’s an interesting loophole here for you to exploit (don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal).

People who read carefully on Monday may have noticed a subtle distinction between the Traditional TSP and Roth TSP. The Traditional TSP taxes withdrawals on the backend, when you withdraw money after the age of 59. And the Roth TSP taxes them when you make the contribution — so when you withdraw it later, that money is tax free.

Your income is not taxed while on deployment (up to a maximum of $112,000). If it strikes you as strange that you should be able to permanently avoid paying any taxes on income placed in a Roth TSP while deployed, well, maybe it is. Don’t worry too much about it!

I know we all love paying taxes, try not to be too sad! | Giphy

There you have it, some of the ways to prepare yourself financially for a deployment. Cover your bases financially, cover your bases legally, and cover your bases professionally and socially, then take advantage of the weird rules that surround deployments. You won’t regret it!


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