When you return home from a long deployment the last thing on your mind is checking your finances -- it should be the first. Some returning reservists find that they have been victims of identity theft, or that their money was mismanaged while they were away. In fact, most reservists find they need help managing their finances when they return home, reports the American Institute of Financial Planners Association. If you want to ensure that your finances are protected, follow these seven steps published by Bankrate.com:
1.) Check your credit. Amendments to the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act (SSCRA) prohibit both creditors and insurers from notifying credit agencies, denying credit or changing terms against servicemembers who exercise their rights under the federal law. To make sure the SSCRA was followed, get credit reports from all three major credit reporting agencies and look for any adverse reports added during your time on duty.
2.) Take a look at your insurance. Make sure all insurance polices are active. A reservist called to active duty is entitled to reinstatement of any health insurance that was in effect when he or she was called up, even if a health condition has changed.
3.) Undo powers of attorney. Write a letter revoking power of attorney to anyone that you granted it to. Even if the person holding power of attorney is a family member, written notification eliminates misunderstandings.
4.) Talk to your creditors. The 6 percent interest rate available to reservist on active duty ends when their active duty ends. Your creditor will know that date because it's on the call-up orders that you submitted when you asked for the rate reduction. If your creditor doesn't notice right away, you're under no obligation to tell him. But if he notices later, the creditor can collect interest retroactively, unless you seek forbearance within 30 days because you can't pay. If that's the case the creditor is obligated to give you a reprieve that is at least, but not longer than, the amount of time you were on active duty.
5.) See your lawyer. Legal proceedings such as bankruptcy, eviction, foreclosure, divorce and civil suits that have been put on hold will be rescheduled based on the date of return on your orders. If you need more time, your lawyer will have to petition the court for a stay. Normally these are granted for a 60-day period.
6.) Pay your taxes. Any income, property or other taxes that are due during your period of active duty must be paid within six months of your return date to avoid penalties.
7.) Review your situation. If you took a cut in pay during your period of active duty, you are undoubtedly facing some financial challenges. The best way to get back on your feet is to plan and budget. Bankrate.com and Military.com offer numerous tips for strategies on how to manage your cash flow.
For more financial information or advice visit, Military.com's Finance Center.