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Title: Financially and Emotionally Prepared: A Guide for Military Families Preparing for Deployment

Title: Financially and Emotionally Prepared: A Guide for Military Families Preparing for Deployment

April 17, 2024


As military families prepare for deployment, they face a unique set of challenges that extend beyond the logistical aspects of deployment readiness. Managing both the financial and emotional aspects of this transition is essential for maintaining stability and well-being during periods of separation. In this guide, we'll explore strategies for preparing for deployment both financially and emotionally, including budgeting for pre-deployment expenses, managing family finances during separation, and accessing resources for financial assistance and support.

Budgeting for Pre-Deployment Expenses

Before deployment, it's crucial for military families to anticipate and budget for various pre-deployment expenses. These may include:

  1. Travel and Accommodation: Depending on deployment locations and arrangements, there may be costs associated with travel, lodging, and transportation for pre-deployment preparations and farewells.

  2. Legal and Administrative Costs: Ensure all legal and administrative matters are in order before deployment, such as updating wills, powers of attorney, and beneficiary designations. Budget for any associated legal fees or administrative expenses.

  3. Deployment Gear and Supplies: Allocate funds for purchasing or updating deployment gear, uniforms, and supplies required for the duration of the deployment. Consider any specialized equipment or personal items needed for deployment tasks or personal comfort.

  4. Emergency Fund: Build or replenish your emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses that may arise during deployment. Aim to save enough to cover several months' worth of living expenses to provide a financial safety net for your family during the separation period.

Managing Family Finances During Separation

Managing family finances during deployment requires open communication, careful planning, and a shared understanding of financial responsibilities. Consider the following strategies:

  1. Establish a Deployment Budget: Create a deployment budget that outlines expected income, expenses, and savings goals during the deployment period. Review the budget regularly and make adjustments as needed to accommodate changes in circumstances or unexpected expenses.

  2. Automate Finances: Set up automatic bill payments, transfers, and savings contributions to ensure that essential financial obligations are met consistently during deployment. This can help reduce stress and streamline financial management for both the deployed service member and their family.

  3. Communicate Regularly: Maintain open communication about financial matters with your spouse or family members throughout the deployment. Schedule regular check-ins to discuss budget updates, financial concerns, and any changes in circumstances that may affect the family's financial situation.

  4. Utilize Military Financial Resources: Take advantage of military-specific financial resources and support services available to service members and their families, such as financial counseling, budgeting workshops, and deployment-related financial assistance programs offered through military installations and support organizations.

Accessing Resources for Financial Assistance and Support

Military families facing financial challenges during deployment can access a variety of resources and support services to help alleviate financial stress and meet their needs:

  1. Military Relief Organizations: Explore resources offered by military relief organizations such as the Army Emergency Relief (AER), Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS), and Air Force Aid Society (AFAS), which provide financial assistance, interest-free loans, and grants to eligible service members and their families facing financial hardship.

  2. Financial Counseling Services: Seek assistance from military-affiliated financial counseling services, such as the Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP), which offers confidential financial counseling, education, and resources to help service members and their families achieve financial stability and resilience.

  3. Community Support Networks: Connect with local military support networks, family readiness groups, and online communities to access peer support, information, and resources for navigating deployment-related financial challenges and emotional stressors.

Conclusion

Preparing for deployment involves more than just packing bags and saying goodbye—it requires careful planning and preparation to address both the financial and emotional aspects of separation. By budgeting for pre-deployment expenses, managing family finances during separation, and accessing resources for financial assistance and support, military families can navigate deployment with greater confidence, resilience, and peace of mind. Remember that you are not alone—reach out to your support network, utilize available resources, and prioritize self-care during this challenging but ultimately rewarding journey.