Talking about money issues under normal conditions can be stressful. Talking about them while a servicemember is on active duty in a remote location can be more so.
The best remedy is to communicate regularly about household finances. That way there are no surprises or added headaches when orders arrive.
The following list contains tips to help you initiate financial discussions with your spouse and family members:
- Plan ahead and make a list of financial matters to discuss. You want to make every moment of your conversations count. Collect any documents you may need (e.g., mortgage, loan, and other financial papers). Planning ahead helps you get a lot accomplished in a short time, keeps you on track, and shortens financial discussions so you can spend more time on other things.
- Practice the discussion. If you’re apprehensive about having it, consider sharing your list of discussion points with a trusted friend or confidant. Ask for guidance on how to conduct the discussion. Keep it focused and positive, and make it the most helpful for your spouse.
- Give your spouse a heads up about your desire to discuss some financial matters. Your spouse may need time to locate financial documents before you talk.
- Keep your emotions in check. An approaching deployment is stressful enough for both of you, so try to keep emotions out of your financial discussions. You might consider having a trusted friend or confidant join your discussion to help moderate emotional issues.
- Ask your spouse for his or her opinion on the family’s financial situation. Then listen. Stay engaged in the financial life of your family.
- Suggest ways your spouse can get financial help. Financial readiness resources are available through your Family Services or Support Centers.
- Discuss ways to manage costs. Listen to ideas your spouse has for managing costs, then add your own.
- Recap at the end of the discussion. Go over what you and your spouse are going to do after your conversation and express your encouragement.
Using this framework for financial discussions before deployment also prepares you for financial discussions that take place while you are deployed.
For more information on how to manage the financial impact of PCS moves and deployments, read Money and Mobility.