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Reservists: Prepare Financially for Activation7/27/2022

If you are a reservist, it’s important to prepare your finances before you are called to active duty, just as you would for any other of life's emergencies. Attending to this now will enable you to feel confident that your home and family will be taken care of during your deployment and give you one less thing to worry about.

There are several steps you can take now to prepare for activation.

  1. Keep your debts manageable. Keep in mind that debt payments you consider manageable now may not be so in the future. There are cases of people making over $8,000 per month in civilian employment, but when activated making only $4,000.
  2. Start saving. By saving a small amount out of every paycheck, you'll hardly notice it's gone, but it will start adding up. Should you have an emergency, like needing new tires, a new washing machine, or being activated as a reserve, you’ll have this nest egg to rely on. As you progress in rank or career, bump up the amount you save each paycheck.
  3. Reduce the number of credit cards you have. This will help you to avoid increasing your debt. Also consider consolidating debt into one loan.
  4. Set aside money for once-a-year, recurring expenses. A lengthy deployment could result in overlooking obligations such as vehicle titles and property taxes.
  5. Estimate how your expenses change after activation. Will you need someone to handle work you do around the home, like lawn care, home repairs, and childcare?
  6. Keep your list of beneficiaries updated. Make sure you know who is on your accounts and who isn't.
  7. Sign up for online bill pay services and automatic transfers. They will enable you to access accounts wherever you have internet access or cell reception.
  8. Make paper copies of important documents. These include membership accounts, insurance policies, loan documents, mortgage documents, and other financial records. Keep everything current and make sure both spouses have access. Store the documents in a fireproof lock box at home or in a safety deposit box.

Federal law requires employers to make jobs available to returning reservists, although not necessarily the same jobs they left. Employers are not required to supplement reservists' military salaries.

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