Weekly Series on Deployments: Series 2, Family Preparedness, Finances
FAMILY PREPAREDNESS FINANCES
Experience with previous deployments and separations indicates some spouses are financially unprepared for their spouses’ departure. The following information can help spouses overcome many financial obstacles during deployment:
Check to Bank
Open a joint checking account. Go to your PAC and request paperwork which will send your paycheck directly to the bank, the easiest, fastest, and safest way to get to your money! If you desire, allotments can be made to various financial institutions for the purpose of paying bills. It is strongly recommended that all married soldiers have a joint checking account with their spouse.
Eliminate Credit Cards
Keep plastic money to a minimum. It gives you a false sense of wealth where there really isn’t any money.
Service members should start allotments for recurring payments prior to deployment. Discretionary allotments are authorized for commercial life insurance, car loans, support of dependents, mortgages, consumer credit loans, and deposit to a financial institution. If you have to take casual pay for any reason such as emergency leave, your allotment will still be secure. This eliminates a surprise shortfall in pay to family.
Power of Attorney
Service members should provide their spouses with a special power of attorney to obtain copies of Leave and Earnings Statements (LES) and enable them to deposit or cash U.S. Treasury checks. The special POA can be obtained at the military legal assistance office. Spouses should understand how to read an LES. Family members should be aware that under some circumstances BAS pay is terminated because soldiers receive their meals at no cost while deployed. Spouses are encouraged to utilize unit family support channels for financial inquiries, emergencies, or assistance.
Financial Aid Programs
Army Emergency Relief (AER) provides loans and grants under emergency conditions. If they cannot help they may refer you to Red Cross, but you must start with AER.
Keep a good credit rating by paying your bills on time! Remember to keep a record of personal finances to stay on top of your recurring bills. The following is an example you may want to use in tracking your bills:
Address: __________________________________________________________________________ __
Due Date:_____________________ Does coupon go with payment: Yes____ No__________________
1. Do you and your spouse have a joint checking account?
2. Will YOUR bank accept a Power of Attorney?
3. Do you know:
- How deposits are made?
- How to balance your checkbook?
- How to read a bank statement?
- How to write checks?
- How to order more checks?
- What service charges are?
- What minimum balance means?
If you answered “NO” to any of these questions, call ACS and set up an appointment with the Consumer Affairs/Financial Assistance Program manager.