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Four Steps to Put Your Financial House in Order

Airmen prepare for deployment.

With deployment, comes more money. During your deployment, you may be eligible for military pay entitlements, such as a family separation allowance or combat pay.

This is an ideal time to save money, pay off debt or just tidy up your finances. Here are four steps to get the most out of your money and help reach your family’s financial goals:

First step: save

Set and execute savings goals. Don’t let that extra cash burn a hole in your pocket. Put it toward something that will make a difference. Pay off your car. Save for retirement. Sock it away for the kids’ college savings. Or save for a post-deployment vacation. Your savings roadmap:

  • Enroll in the military’s Savings Deposit Program. Those serving in combat zones can build up savings quickly. You get 10 percent annual interest on deposits!
  • Make saving automatic. Set up an allotment or automatic transfer into a savings account from your pay via myPay. It’s an easy way to save and track your Leave and Earning Statements.
  • Take the Military Saves pledge. Join the tens of thousands of service members who use Military Saves’ advice and tools to create savings goals and a plan.
  • Contribute to your Thrift Savings Plan. Make sure you put something toward retirement. You’ll thank yourself down the road.

Second step: deal with housing

Consider your home. If you own a house, it’s probably your biggest asset. If your family moves closer to loved ones — or if you live in the home alone — do the math to see what makes sense: selling or renting out your home. Otherwise, consider having a family member or friend stay there if you want to avoid selling or renting.

Before renting out your home, take these steps:

  • Visit your installation’s legal assistance office to understand your rights and responsibilities as owner before writing a leasing agreement.
  • Check with your homeowners’ association to see about any restrictions on renting.
  • Contact your insurance company about coverage on renting out your home.
  • Consider hiring a property manager who can find renters, collect rent and do maintenance.

Renting? You can break a lease early if you get a permanent change of station or deployment orders for more than 90 days, thanks to the Servicemembers Civil Rights Act.

Third step: communicate, communicate, communicate

Talk with your spouse or partner about the financial aspects of deployment—and possible money issues that may arise. You want to get on the same page regarding what do to with the extra income and the assets you have. Having a plan you both buy into increases the chances you’ll reach your savings goals.

Last step: seek free, professional money advice

Remember, not just anyone can do your job. So you shouldn’t be expected to know all the ins and outs of money management. We have your back. Most military and family support centers can provide deployment support, as can your installation’s legal assistance office. Or contact Military OneSource at 800-342-9647.

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