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Having some type of financial plan in place should be a priority for everyone who earns an income, but especially for members of the armed forces and their families. That's because there are so many factors associated with military life.

Factors like deployment, relocations, and the physical risks associated with armed conflict can quickly devastate a family that does not have control of its finances.

Planning Basics:

  • Make your deposit and credit accounts joint accounts so one spouse can pay bills and manage expenses while the other one is deployed.
  • Legal documents like a will, a living will, a durable power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney will help make life more bearable for family members or close friends if something happens to you.
  • Get life insurance. If you already have it, review your policies to be sure they will meet the needs of your survivors. The military offers low-cost group life insurance, but if you feel you need more, be sure that every policy you have covers combat-related death. Many private policies do not.
  • Pay yourself first. Save consistently by setting up automatic withdrawals from each paycheck. Believe it or not, you will not miss the money going into savings, and you'll be surprised at how fast it grows.
  • Check your credit regularly. All consumers are entitled to one credit report from each of the three national credit bureaus every year.

Bad Credit Can Affect Your Military Career

If your debt is out of control, it could affect your career in many ways. You could be denied reenlistment or a security clearance required for your job. The military is less likely to grant a high level of clearance to someone with money problems.

Financial problems could also be perceived by the military as obstacles that can keep you from focusing on your job. That could definitely redefine your career if you're working your way toward a job or rank that requires high security clearance.