Guide to Managing Finances for Deploying Service Members

Life in the military offers some distinct experiences compared to civilian life, and that includes your budget and finances. The pre-deployment process can feel overwhelming, especially when you’re organizing your money and bills. 

It’s important you provide your family with everything they need to keep you and any dependents comfortable and stable. This means gathering paperwork, making phone calls to service providers, creating new budgets, and organizing your estate. The more you prepare ahead of time, the less you have to worry about the state of your investments and finances when you return home. 

To help make the process easier, we’ve gathered everything you need to know for deployment finances. Read on or jump to a specific category below:

Pre-Deployment Needs

  • Review Your Estate
  • Reassign Financial Responsibilities
  • Update Your Services
  • Build a Budget
  • Prepare a Deployment Binder

Deployment Needs

  • Protect Yourself From Fraud
  • Adjust Your Savings
  • Financial Assistance

Post-Deployment Needs

  • Update Your Budget
  • Pay Off Debt
  • Review Legal Documents

Before Your Deployment

There’s a lot of paperwork and emotions involved in preparing for deployment. Make sure you take plenty of time for yourself and your loved ones, then schedule time to organize your finances for some peace of mind. 
investments, and dependents. It’s an important conversation to have with your partner and establishes:

  • Power of attorney
  • Living will
  • Last will and testament
  • Long-term care
  • Life insurance
  • Survivor benefits
  • Funeral arrangements

Anyone with property, wealth, or dependents should have some estate planning basics secured. These documents will protect your wishes and your family in the event you suffer serious injury. There are several military resources to help you prepare your estate:

  • Defense Finance And Accounting Services’ Survivor Benefit Plan and Reserve Component Survivor Benefit Plan
  • Department Of Defense’s Military Funeral Honors Pre-arrangement 
  • Service Member’s Group Life Insurance
  • Veterans Affairs Survivor’s Benefits
  • The Importance Of Estate Planning In The Military
  • Survivor Benefits Calculator

Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) allows you to cancel a housing or auto lease, cancel your phone service, and avoid foreclosure on a home you own without penalties. Additionally, you can reduce your debt interest rates while you’re deployed, giving you a leg up on debt repayment or savings goals. Learn more about the SCRA benefits below:

  • Terminating Your Lease For Deployment
  • SCRA Interest Rate Limits
  • SCRA Benefits And Legal Guidance

 

Build a Deployment Budget

Your pay may change during and after deployment, which means it’s time to update your budget. Use a deployment calculator to estimate how your pay will change to get a foundation for your budget. 

Typically, we recommend you put 50 percent of your pay towards needs, like rent and groceries. If you don’t have anyone relying on your income, then you should consider splitting this chunk of change between your savings accounts and debt. 

Make sure you continue to deposit at least 20 percent of your pay into savings, too. Send some of this towards an emergency fund, while the rest can go towards your larger savings goals, like buying a house and retirement. 

Use these resources to help calculate your goals and budgets, as well as planning for your taxes:

  • My Army Benefits Deployment Calculator
  • My Army Benefits Retirement Calculator
  • Mint Budget Calculator
  • IRS Deployed Veteran Tax Extension
  • IRS Military Tax Resources
  • Combat Zone Tax Exclusions

 

Prepare a Deployment Binder

Mockup of someone completing the deployment checklist.

Illustrated button to download our printable depployment binder checklist.

It’s best to organize and arrange all of your documents, information, and needs into a deployment binder for your family. This will hold copies of your estate planning documents, budget information, and additional contacts and documents. 

Make copies of your personal documents, like birth certificates, contracts, bank information, and more. You also want to list important contacts like family doctors, your pet’s veterinarian, household contacts, and your power of attorney. 

Once you have your book ready, give it to your most trusted friend or family member. Again, this point of contact will have a lot of information about you that needs to stay secure. Finish it off with any instructions or to-dos for while you’re gone, and your finances should be secure for your leave. 

While You’re Deployed

Though most of your needs are taken care of before you deploy, there are a few things to settle while you’re away from home. 
Romance and identity scams are especially popular and can cost you thousands. 

  • Social Media Scams To Watch For
  • Romance Scam Red Flags
  • Military Scam Warning Signs

 

Adjust Your Savings 

Since you won’t be responsible for as many bills, and you may have reduced debt interest rates, deployment is the perfect time to build your savings.

While you’re deployed, you may be eligible for the Department of Defense’s Savings Deposit Program (SDP), which offers up to 10 percent interest. This is available to service members deployed to designated combat zones and those receiving hostile fire pay.

Military and federal government employees are also eligible for the Thrift Savings Plan. This is a supplementary retirement savings to your Civil Service Retirement System plan.

  • Savings Deposit Program
  • Thrift Savings Plan Calculator
  • Civil Service Retirement System
  • Military Saves Resources

 

Additional Resources for Financial Assistance

Deployment can be a financially and emotionally difficult time for families of service members. Make sure you and your family have easy access to financial aid in case they find themselves in need. 

Each individual branch of the military offers its own family and financial resources. You can find additional care through local support systems and national organizations, like Military OneSource and the American Legion. 

  • Family Readiness System
  • Navy-marine Corps Relief Society
  • Air Force Aid Society
  • Army Emergency Relief
  • Coast Guard Mutual Assistance
  • Military Onesource’s Financial Live Chat
  • Find Your Military And Family Support Center
  • Emergency Loans Through Military Heroes Fund Foundation Programs
  • The American Legion Family Support Network

After You Return Home

Coming home after deployment may be a rush of emotions. Relief, exhaustion, excitement, and lots of celebration are sure to come with it. There’s a lot to consider with reintegration after deployment, and that includes taking another look at your finances. 

 

Update Your Budget

Just like before deployment, you should update your budget to account for your new spending needs and pay. It’s time to reinstate your car insurance, find housing, and plan your monthly grocery budget. 

After a boost in savings while deployed, you may want to treat yourself to something nice — which is totally okay! The key is to decide what you want for yourself or your family, figure if it’s reasonable while maintaining other savings goals, like your rainy day fund, and limit other frivolous purchases. Now is not the time to go on a spending spree — it’s best to invest this money into education savings, retirement, and other long-term plans.

In addition to your savings goals, make sure you’re prepared to take care of yours and your family’s health. Prioritize your mental health after deployment and speak with a counselor, join support groups, and prepare for reintegration. Your family and children may also have a hard time adjusting, so consider their needs and seek out resources as well. 
FTC | NFCC 

The post Guide to Managing Finances for Deploying Service Members appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

Money Market Vs Savings: What’s The Difference?

Money market accounts and savings accounts have a lot of similarities than you may think. Among other things, both allow you to achieve your saving goals risk-free or very low risk.

However, the choice between money market vs savings accounts often boils down to interest rates and fees. So, before you decide on which account to open, it’s important to compare many of their features.

Money Market vs Savings: Overview

Money market accounts and savings accounts have a lot in common.

Both types of accounts allow you to deposit a certain amount of money with a bank and you get some type of interest on your money in return.

Your money in a savings account and a money market account are FDIC insured. There are some key differences, though. Money market accounts offer a higher interest rate than savings accounts.

CIT Bank Member FDIC Savings Builder that fits your lifestyle.
Earn up to 0.95%APY.

Open an account today and start earning.

Minimum monthly deposit of $100 OR minimum balance of $25k.

LEARN MORE

Most savings accounts require no minimum balance, while money market accounts usually require a high minimum balance–around $1,000.

Savings accounts are very liquid, meaning that you can easily transfer money between checking and savings accounts.

On the other hand, money market accounts, while also liquid, will penalize you if you fall below the minimum required deposit.

Money market accounts have check writing privileges, while savings account have none.

Click here to open a money market account today.

*TOP CIT BANK PROMOTIONS*
PROMOTIONAL LINK OFFER REVIEW
CIT Bank Money Market 1.00% APY Review
CIT Bank Savings Builder 0.95% APY Review
CIT Bank CDs 0.75% APY 1 Year CD Term Review
CIT Bank No Penalty CD 0.75% APY Review

Money Market vs Savings: Table

This table below compares some of the features found in savings and money market accounts. 

Money Market Accounts Savings Accounts
FDIC-insured Yes–up to $250,000 Yes–up to $250,000
Checks 6 check per month No
Minimum balance Yes –usually $1,000 None
Transactions 6 per month 6 per month
Interest rate Yes Yes
Best Account CIT Bank Money Market Account CIT Savings Builder
Money market vs savings

What Is A Money Market Account?

A money market account or MMA is a type of bank savings account, but with some additional and different features than a regular savings account.

The interest rate on money market accounts are better than that of savings accounts. Moreover, they offer check-writing privileges.

That means you can write checks to 3rd parties, typically up to 3 per month, against your balance. They even offer debit card privileges as well.

Lastly, the FDIC insures MMA up to $250,000, just like a savings account.

One thing to note is that you should not confused MMAs with money market funds.

While they are great place to park your money as they invest in short-term investments such as certificate of deposit, treasury bills, and other government securities, they are not the same thing.

Pros & Cons of Money Market Accounts

Pros

1) Interest rates

One of the reasons most people prefer an MMA is the fact they offer a much higher interest rate than savings accounts.

2) Check writing and debit card privileges

MMAs offer check writing and debit card privileges. But there is a limit. You can only write six checks per month against your balance.

So, MMAs are best for those who do not need to write more than six checks. Also, there is no penalty when withdrawing your money.

3) FDIC insured

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC),an independent federal agency, insures money market accounts, just like savings accounts, up to $250,000. 

Cons

1) Account minimums

MMAs generally require a deposit minimum amount to open the account and requires you to maintain a minimum balance to receive the best interest rate.

So MMAs are a good choice for those investors and savers who can maintain a high daily balance in the account.

2) Account fees

Another drawback of MMAs is the fee. If you don’t maintain the required minimum balance, a fee will apply.

So, maintaining the minimum balance is important because any fee will eat out your interest or earnings.

What is a savings account

A savings account is a deposit account that you can open at a bank or other financial institution. This account pays very little interest.

However, it is very safe and it is a good option to save your money.

Savings accounts are generally good for students or those with very little money and those who want easy access to their funds without penalty.

They are a good place to save money for short-term goals such as saving money to buy a house, or building an emergency fund.

You have unlimited money withdrawals. However, you can only make six withdrawal transactions.

Click here to open a savings account now.

Pros and Cons of Savings Accounts

Pros

1) FDIC insured

Savings accounts are FDIC insured-or NCUA insured (if offered by a credit union)

2) Liquidity

Savings accounts are very liquid. That means you get quick access to your funds at any time without any penalty.

3) Minimum balance

Unlike money market accounts, savings accounts typically have no initial deposit or minimum balance requirement.

However, a high-yield savings account may require a minimum balance. And a maintenance fee or a penalty may apply if your balance falls below the required minimum.

Cons

1) Interest

A regular savings account pays interest just like a money market account, though the interest paid by a savings account is very, very low.

Money Market vs Savings: which one should you choose?

Best Money Market Accounts

CIT Bank Money Market Account

The CIT Bank money market account is one of the best ones out there. Currently, the money market account offers a 1.0% APY.

This is very competitive comparing to other MMAs.  Moreover, CIT Bank’s MMA has a required account minimum of only $100.

Open a CIT Bank Money Market Account.

Best Savings Accounts

CIT bank Savings Builder

SAVINGS ACCOUNT

The CIT Bank Savings Builder is among the best savings accounts where you can a very competitive interest rate.

In fact, you can earn a better rate with CIT bank Savings Builder than most money market accounts. The Savings Builder is currently offering a 0.95% APY.

To get this competitive rate, you can 1) open the account with a minimum of $100 and deposit at least $100 per month afterwards.

Or, (2) open an account with a minimum of $25,000.

Open a CIT Bank Savings Builder today.

What should you use a money market account and savings account for?

Both MMAs and savings accounts are great places to park you hard earned cash safely. Indeed, they are great places for short term goals like:

Emergency fund: If you’re saving money for a rainy day such as a loss of job, paying medical bills, major car repairs, an MMA or savings account is a good place to do it. The reason is because the money is safe there and you have quick and easy access to it. According to experts, you should have at least 3 to 6 months of living expenses in that fund.

Down payment: Savings accounts and money market accounts are great places for a down payment on a house.

Other popular reasons for saving money in a savings accounts and MMAs are for large purchases such as a car or vacation.

Money Market vs Savings: the bottom line

Deciding on a money market account and a savings account depends largely on what is important to you. For example, are you looking for a better interest rate? If so, an MMA is a better choice.

However, if one of your concern about whether you choose an MMA or a savings account is liquidity, then a savings accounts may be appropriate.

Another factor to consider is how frequently you will need to access your funds. Both accounts however are safe. They are both insured by the federal government up to $250,000.

One thing to keep in mind, however, these accounts generally offer interest rates that are inferior to other investments such as mutual funds or stocks are offering.

For that reason, use these accounts for short-term solutions.

Related:

  • CIT Bank Savings: How Much Can You Earn
  • 7 Short Term Bonds to Buy in 2020

Speak with the Right Financial Advisor

  • If you have questions about your finances, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc).
  • Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.
*TOP CIT BANK PROMOTIONS*
PROMOTIONAL LINK OFFER REVIEW
CIT Bank Money Market 1.00% APY Review
CIT Bank Savings Builder 0.95% APY Review
CIT Bank CDs 0.75% APY 1 Year CD Term Review
CIT Bank No Penalty CD 0.75% APY Review

The post Money Market Vs Savings: What’s The Difference? appeared first on GrowthRapidly.

Source: growthrapidly.com