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Protect Your Assets While You Defend Your Country

You are dedicated to your country as well as to your family. Leaving, however, doesn't have to mean a financial hardship for you and your loved ones. Safeguard your money before you are called to protect your nation with this surefire personal finance strategy.

Review the past to prepare for the future

Carefully examine your family's income, expenses, liabilities, and assets. Identify the ways in which the financial situation will change while you are gone. You may need to make a plan to modify spending habits and expenses so they - and you - are prepared when you leave.

Act as a (family) unit

Lead a financial affairs meeting with your family. You know there is strength in numbers, so involve your spouse and older children in the decision making process. Give them the opportunity to talk about individual goals, concerns, and hopes. Ideally, you will want to leave everyone feeling financially comfortable and secure. By discussing the upcoming challenges, family members will feel better when you depart, even if they have to make some difficult concessions.

Return debt-free

Instead of leaving your family with excessive debt (and you a stack of bills to contend with when you come home), pay off what you can now. If you can't eliminate the balances entirely, establish a reasonable payment plan with your creditors before you go.

Get organized

If you are currently the primary money manager, get ready to transfer fiduciary responsibilities to your spouse (or other designated family member). By properly preparing him or her for the new duties, you will both be relieved of stress. Locate and store pertinent financial documents in a safe and accessible place. Explain your method of bill paying. You may need to set up a joint checking account for household expenses. Make sure he or she has account numbers, addresses, due dates, and phone numbers for all necessary accounts. Your social security number, mother's maiden name, and place of birth may also be relevant to share now, if you haven't already.

Get your information straight

If you haven't seen a copy of your credit report recently, obtain one as soon as possible. Because there is often incorrect information on a credit report, experts recommend pulling copies from all three credit bureaus annually. Fixing mistakes can take months of paperwork, so start now.

Dupe the enemy

Don't give thieves the opportunity to exploit what you have laying around. Close unnecessary credit instruments, shred documents containing personal information, and notify your creditors and financial institution that you will be away and will not be using certain accounts for an indeterminate amount of time. Also see Identity Theft Solutions.

Get professional assistance

BALANCE Financial Fitness Program, a service partner of Global Credit Union, is your best source for money management assistance. Their financial counselors can help you through this unique time by providing advice on how to prepare for the future today. From developing workable spending plans, to helping you obtain and explain your credit reports, to establishing a repayment plan with your creditors, BALANCE can help. Planning is vital right now. Allow the professionals to give you quality and objective assistance so you can leave feeling confident and come home to financial peace.

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