While May is Military Appreciation Month, remembering and honoring the service of our United States military and the sacrifices they and their families make to protect our nation is something that should happen all year long, says High Country Bank.
“Military families do an incredible service for this country,” said Gail Granzella, executive vice president of High Country Bank. “The nature of their jobs is inherently stressful, but financial stress shouldn’t be part of it.”
In recognition of military families, High Country Bank has highlighted six financial tips to help make the lives of military families a little easier.
* Plan for deployment. Before deploying, have a conversation with your family about managing the household budget. Consider granting power of attorney to your spouse, should he or she need to make any urgent financial decisions while you are gone. Check with your bank to see if it has pre-printed forms for bank accounts. Military personnel also receive additional funds while deployed. Decide on the best use for that extra cash, whether paying off debt or additional thrift savings plan contributions.
* Meet with your banker before active duty. The service member Civil Relief Act offers all military personnel entering active duty a variety of financial protections. The SCRA covers issues ranging from interest rate reductions to limits on debt accrual. Ask your banker about the key provisions of this law and how it can help you.
* Consider housing options. With mortgage rates at lower levels, home ownership can seem like a no-brainer, but service members should consider their options. Frequent re-locations and deployments can make owning a home challenging and expensive. Renting may be a smart option for short-term assignments.
* Consult a financial adviser. Schedule a visit at a personal financial management program (PFMP) office, located in your military and family support centers. They offer free one-on-one counseling, as well as other financial education resources.
* Budget for a single-income household. Frequent moves are an inevitable part of military life and can make it difficult for spouses to establish stable careers. As a precaution, make plans to operate on a single-income household budget. That way, should your spouse’s employment status change, your family will be prepared.
* Set up automatic bill pay. Whether you’re stationed state-side or overseas, automatic bill pay will give you and your family one less thing to worry about each month. It can be particularly helpful during deployments in regions where internet access is unreliable and mobile banking isn’t an option.