While They Serve
By Edie Melson

Pre-Deployment Financial Checklist (Part 2)

Today's guest blogger is Ellie Kay, author of the popular military family book, Heroes at Home. She has appeared on ABC News shows "Money Matters" and "Good Money." In Part 1, she began a financial checklist for soldiers, single and married, about to be deployed. That list continues here in Part 2.

The items on the previous checklist from Part 1 combined with this list will make all the difference in minimizing stress not only for yourself, but for your loved ones as well during your next deployment:

  • Budget: If you are married, then set up a budget with your spouse that can be used throughout your deployment. Make sure they know when bills are due and how much is owed for regular payments.

Military family financial advisor Ellie KayIf you email me at assistant@elliekay.com and request the “Sixty-Minute Money Workout,” we will send you a free guide that can help you set up your budget with your spouse or a “money buddy” so that you can establish a budget and discuss financial matters with your mate without arguing.

Mint.com has an excellent budgeting app and there’s an interactive, free budgeting tool at elliekay.com as well.

  • Will: This includes a living will or advanced medical directive. Don’t get so busy that you rely on the laws of the state in which you have residence to administer your estate.

Instead, make sure you have a will that not only includes who will have control over your financial assets, but where you would like to be buried and if you want cremation or not.

We once lost a pilot in a routine training accident in our squadron. His wife was left with a six-week-old baby girl, and she had to face his parents who insisted he be buried in their hometown while she had other ideas of what he wanted.

The more specific you are, then less stress your family will endure when they are already dealing with tremendous loss.

  • Accounts and Autopay Bills: List all accounts (credit card, car, utilities) and any passwords or accountt numbers for the person taking care of your bills. If possible, set up these accounts to pay automatically to avoid late fees and a resulting hit on your FICO (credit) score.
  • Legal Documents: Gather all legal documents such as birth and marriage certificates, deeds, mortgages, and automobile titles and put them in one central location so they can be easily accessed by your spouse.
  • Emergency Financial Assistance: In the event your family may need assistance while you're away, it's best to take care of this before deployment. You can pre-authorize assistance by going to the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society.

Whether you are single or married, it’s important to check off the above items to make sure you and your family are financially covered while you're deployed.

And, importantly, thank you for your service and a special thanks to those family members who support you as well!

 

Ellie Kay is also a national radio commentator, a frequent media guest on Fox News and CNBC, a popular international speaker, and the best-selling author of 14 books including her newest release, Lean Body, Fat Wallet.

She’s the wife of an Air Force career fighter pilot, the mom of a Marine in Afghanistan, the mom of a senior at the United States Air Force Academy and the mom of a son in the Army at West Point, who is a sophomore. 

Follow Ellie on Twitter @elliekay or at www.elliekay.com.

Edie Melson is a leading professional in the publishing industry. She also knows what it’s like to send a loved one off to war. Her oldest son went from high school graduation, to Marine Corp boot camp, to Iraq; where he served two tours fighting on the front lines as an infantry Marine. Fighting Fear: Winning the War at Home When Your Soldier Leaves for Battle, is Edie’s heart project. Look for her two newest books for military families debuting in 2014: While My Son Serves and While My Husband Serves. You can also connect with Edie on Twitter and Facebook.