There’s a lot to consider before your spouse leaves on their next military deployment. No matter where they’re deploying to, or for how long, the checklist can help make the military deployment process smoother for you and your family.
1. Protect your documents
Make sure you and your spouse both have access to a lockbox safe or safe deposit box with the following documents:
- Your service member’s most recent LES
- Marriage/divorce documentation
- Birth certificates
- Wills and powers of attorney
- Insurance policies
- Social security cards
- Military ID
2. Set up direct deposit
Direct deposit ensures that money will automatically appear in a joint bank account each pay day. Ensure you have Power of Attorney in place and a joint account so that both parties have access to funds.
3. Automate your bills
Financial obligations generally fall to the military spouse during deployments. One way to make the deployment process smoother is to set up automatic payments. This will remove some of the burden families’ face when shifting to a temporary “one parent” household. To further organize your finances, mark down important bill payment deadlines, financial obligations and goals on a wall calendar, phone calendar or planner. Make sure you are also organized and aware of your weekly and monthly household budget.
4. Notify your car insurer of the upcoming deployment
Let your current insurance provider know that at least one car in your household with reduced mileage. Additionally, for your pre-deployment car preparations, make sure you set up roadside assistance services or at least an emergency kit in your car. One support resource you had (your spouse), is now deploying; so, you’ll have to be able to make alternate arrangements should you need them.
5. Shop for better auto insurance
When is the last time you compared auto insurance rates? If you need to adjust your auto insurance to prepare for deployment anyway, it makes sense to do a quick comparison to make sure you're still paying the best rates. Many auto insurers provide discounts for active duty or veteran military families, too. We've seen up to a 15% discount, which can translate to hundreds of dollars each year.
6. Notify your credit card companies and banks
Most banks will stop your cards if they notice unexpected overseas activity. Prior to the deployment, make sure you give your banks a heads up. It’s also wise to make sure any credit and debit cards your service member has won’t expire during the deployment.
7. Start saving now
Most experts suggest saving between three and nine months’ of expenses to prepare for an unexpected emergency. How much you save will depend on your current financial situation. If you don’t have an emergency fund underway just yet, start now.
8. Set up a line of communication
One of the best ways to stay in touch while your spouse while he or she is overseas, is through Skype and other connection programs. Make sure these programs are installed and updated on your home computer prior to deployment so you’ll be able to see each other as clearly and as often as possible.
9. Are your children registered with your local Child Development Center?
Even if you’re not planning to use this resource, register your children. If you become ill while your spouse is deployed or you must travel suddenly, this resource is something you’d rather have and not need than need and not have arranged. Similarly, be sure that your family has the numbers to get in touch with rear-detachment and family support groups.
Being proactive will help your entire family remain better organized and ready to deal with whatever situation comes your way. Your deployed spouse will also be able to rest easy knowing their family back home is prepared for the deployment.
If you have questions about making the military deployment process smoother, be sure to contact an AAFMAA representative to get those questions answered.