When preparing for a deployment, stress can be high and your decision-making ability could be compromised with all the added pressure to get everything done in time. The day before my spouse left on deployment, he got a call from his roommate with bad news. His roommate drove up to San Diego the night before with their belongings to walk onto the ship for the next six months. That evening, his car was broken into and several valuable items were taken. Luckily by searching the nearby dumpsters some of the items were recovered. I asked Chad Storlie, the Going Civilian community manager, who has plenty of deployment experience, if he had any lessons learned and what he would do to avoid any missteps.
Chad gives pre-deployment preparation tips for these four areas:
- First, consider setting up a separate credit card and bank account not linked to your primary accounts. This is to create a safeguard if the card is stolen or you become a victim of fraud it does not drain your spouse's or family’s account or the account linked to pay your bills.
- Next, do not make major financial decisions on or before deployment - give it a while.
- Load up your savings - don't spend. Here are some ways to save on Auto Insurance on deployment.
- LIMITED Power of Attorney. Many single soldiers give FULL Powers of Attorney to people that they should not trust fully when a single POA is all that they need. Learn more about the different types of POA here.
- Check out these 3 Legal matters you should be aware of prior to deployment
- For long deployments, I think a lot of people should consider moving out of their apartments and put everything in storage. This is a great way to save for single service members. Deploy with a 300-400-dollar laptop and your basic electronics (nothing too expensive in case it gets damaged or lost). When I got back from Iraq my uniforms, t-shirts, etc. were in such bad condition that I threw away everything. Lesson learned, don't take nice stuff on deployment because it won't stay nice.
- Purchase a budget friendly E-reader (like Kindle) loaded with books. It pays for itself and it’s a quality tablet.
- Prepay for flowers and gifts for your spouse, kids, etc. to deliver on their birthdays before you leave. It is more affordable when you set it up in advance and you won't miss the date.
- Here are some ideas to stay connected to your children during deployment.
Chad’s advice can help reduce some of the stress that comes during the deployment preparation period. I was glad that my husband and I started tackling the pre-deployment paperwork and tasks about a month before his planned deployment date. My husband’s roommate’s story is a good reminder to not leave valuables in your car overnight.
Do you have a lesson learned from your pre-deployment preparations?