Avoiding Post-Deployment Financial Hazards
As much as you’re focused on the day you’ll complete your deployment, planning for post-deployment financial security should not be set aside until you return home. Giving some thought to your financial stability during your military service will help you avoid some common post-deployment hazards.
- Plan to Earn Interest on a DFAS Account - During your deployment, plan to have your Savings Deposit Program (SDP) earnings work for you. You can earn up to 10% interest on a deposit of up to $10,000. Any military finance office in theater can help you establish an account.
- Savings Set You On the Right Foot – While you’re deployed, your savings will help you start on the right foot after deployment. If you had high-interest credit cards or other debt, plan to clear that debt to better position yourself in your future career.
- Value Your Credit – By clearing up your past debt, you can begin an investment program and strengthen your credit. You can obtain a free credit report from any of the three main credit bureaus; obtaining your credit report is another way to strengthen your credit, and assure there were no incorrect facts associated with your good credit during your deployment. It’s a good idea to check your credit once a year.
- Check Your Statements and Bills for Accuracy - Identity theft is becoming more and more prevalent. While you’re deployed, you might fall victim to credit card theft or other charges you did not incur. If you discover something that was not charged by you, contact your financial institution promptly.
- Keep Up With Your Bills – Your government charge card is there to help you, but must be paid each month. It is not a credit card.
- Leave and Earning Statement (LES) Accuracy – Be sure your LES reflects your start and stop dates appropriately. If money is deposited incorrectly, the government will eventually correct the error, so be sure you’re not spending money that is not truly yours.
- Incidental Pay – If you are redeployed, be sure you complete your travel voucher to cover any expenses. Your Incidental Pay of $3.50/day will add up.
- Re-establish Your Accounts – Your post-deployment affairs will need to be re-established. Car insurance, phone bills, or other living expenses have been on hold while you’ve been away, so bring all those current.
- Plan Your Budget Accordingly – Your income may take a little time to re-establish, too. Especially if you were receiving combat zone tax exclusions or other entitlements, you’re going to need to develop a budget according to what your monthly income will now be.
- Take Advantage of Discounts – You will find that there are numerous organizations, hotels, amusement parks, and businesses who offer veteran and military discounts. Don’t hesitate to ask. Check with your MWR office for special discounts in your particular area. Visit militaryconnection.com under Deals and Discounts for a comprehensive list of businesses anxious to thank you for your service.