What You and Your Spouse Need to Talk About Before They Deploy
There are a lot of preparations that need to happen before a service member deploys. He or she will go through a lot of pre-deployment tasks from packing their bags to paperwork within their units. They will have bags ready to go weeks if not months before they leave.
And as time counts down to the start of a deployment, you are working hard to keep things together and to prepare yourself for their departure. As you do this, there are some things you should probably talk about with your spouse before they go. Some of these are difficult to talk about but they need to be done before they leave.
Here is what you and your spouse need to talk about before they deploy:
What you will do
Talk about what you will do during the deployment. Will you go home for the deployment or stay put? If you do go home, when will you leave and how will you get there? Will you go before they deploy or wait until after the deployment starts? Who will you stay with and how will that change how you budget?
If you are going to stay, what will you do with their car? Will you put the car in storage or plan to drive it every so often? Will you visit home while they are gone? Will you visit anyone else? Talk about all of these things, so you two are on the same page about where you will be when they are deployed.
And whatever you decide to do you need to make sure you notify the Command/FRG with your updated address. They need to know this information before you go.
This is the hardest thing you will have to talk about with your spouse before they go. Is their will updated? What do they want to have happen if something does happen to them? Have you talked about where they want to be buried, what they want to have at the service, and any other wishes they might have about this?
You also should talk about your options, where you might go, what would be best or even that you have no idea what you would want to do. Talking about this type of thing is hard. Most military spouses are only in their 20s and 30s, and this isn’t something that generally comes up until later on in life. But as military spouses, who send our loved ones off to war, we need to have these discussions.
Make sure you get a POA (Power of Attorney) before they go. You will need a general one; you might need a limited power of attorney. If you have plans to buy a car while they are gone, you might need to get a limited/special POA for that. Think about what you might need and discuss all of this together.
How will you communicate? Will they expect a care package every so often? Will you want a letter once a week? Talk about expectations before they go. While you might not know for sure how often they will be able to talk with you before they get there, talking about what you both expect is important.
Some service members are better at communication while overseas than others. If communication is hard for your spouse, make sure to talk about what both of you can do to make being away from one another easier. This will help with hurt feelings and not knowing why you are not hearing from your spouse as often as your friends are.
What will you do with the extra deployment pay? Do you know how much it will be? If your spouse is in the National Guard or Reserves, what will the pay compare to what they are making now? Budgeting is always important, and budgeting for a deployment is a must.
If you do get extra money, will you use it to pay down debt, put it into savings, or for something else? What will your “fun budget” be? Will that change now that they are gone? What about your grocery budget? When one adult moves out for a time, that can change a lot.
If your service member gets BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence) right now, that could stop if they deploy. This seems to be something that is based on the deployment. Sometimes they pull the BAS, other times they don’t. Make sure to keep that in mind as you are making up your deployment budget.
Talking about what you will be doing with your money while they are deployed will allow you two to be on the same page. This will help down the line as both of you will know what you can spend and when you could be overspending. If you have the same financial goals, you will be more likely to achieve them.
While there is no way to prepare for a deployment 100%, make sure that you do have these discussions so that you can start off the deployment on the same page.
What do you and your spouse make sure to discuss before they deploy?