Part 1 of series
Single in the Military
"Critical steps for
I'm Already Home... Again
The Road Home
Pocket Flip Tips
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As you get ready to deploy, are currently deployed, or planning your return home you've probably noticed that there are many available resources to help a married serviceperson, yet little offering advice to those of you who are single. Many families of single service members also feel there isn't much that addresses their needs either. This next series of articles is created to help bridge that gap. You will find tips and ideas designed to help you, your friends, and your family prepare for whatever phase of deployment you are in, including being a single parent.
- Recognize the support system that is in place for you. When you're single, your friends and family members are your support and while wonderful, this can feel different from having a spouse and children.
- Realize that friends have lives of their own, so don't be surprised if they don't stay as closely connected with you as you'd expect while you're gone. This is ok.
- Remember that you need support, too. Go ahead and attend meetings, events, and briefings that are designed for married families. You'll still pick up some great ideas that you can twist to work for your own situation.
Preparing for Deployment
Just like those deploying who have a spouse and children, you have paperwork and legal documents you need to take care of. In many circumstances, responsibilities automatically transfer to a spouse but when you live on your own you need to make other arrangements.
Be sure you know where the following documents can be found:
A contact list of doctors, insurance agents, veterinarians, banks you use, and immediate family members with addresses and phone numbers
- Birth certificate
- Medical and dental records
- Insurance policies
- All vehicle documents like titles, registrations, and maintenance records
- Divorce papers if applicable
- Leave and Earnings Statement - your most recent
- Banking information and investment statements
- Have sufficient copies of your deployment orders and be sure they're correct and up-to-date. Your family may need these to respond to legal or contractual issues that might arise. A copy of the orders may come in handy for your family to take advantage of military discounts or benefits.
- Select certain family members and/or special friends to be kept up-to-date on your deployment status including your travel arrangements. This is a good time to also select your emergency contacts.
- Write or update your will. Be sure your emergency contact has a copy and knows where the original is located. Some law offices and insurance companies provide a storage service for documents such as these.
- Carefully select your Power of Attorney. Often this person is a parent, but can also be a trusted friend. This is a sensitive position, so please take time to thoughtfully consider who will assume this role. You will be placing a great deal of trust in this person.
- Know your rights and obligations concerning ongoing leases or contracts you have signed. These can include:
- Rent on your apartment
- Cell phone
- Cable TV
- Automatic payments already set up
- Place where you will store your personal goods
- File a change of address form or a forwarding address with the Post Office
- For ongoing bills, consider setting up an automatic payment system on accounts that permit this. It takes away the possibility of missing a payment.
- Determine who will take care of your vehicle while you're gone.
- Check on the status of your vehicle insurance because you don't want it to lapse if someone will be driving the car while you're gone. If your vehicle will be sitting unused, there are less expensive, special policies designed to cover your car for theft or damage. Remember - with this policy you can't let someone borrow your car without reinstating insurance.
- If you choose to store your vehicle, be sure to find a safe, secure, and preferable covered location. Have someone check on the car for you and start it up occasionally.
- Check on your vehicle registration and driver's license. Is either due to expire in your absence? Your state may have policies in place for automatic renewal, or have someone else do it for you. They may need a copy of your orders for this.
- Decide how you will pay for things while you're away from home. Many base and post assignments are different with different amenities.
- Cash - It's convenient for short-term purchases, especially from vendors in market places. Take about $250 and find out if you'll be able to cash checks at finance offices.
- Credit cards - Taking one card with you gives you a convenient way to buy things at the BX or PX. Consider how you will make your credit card monthly payment.
- Checks - Take a few for backup. You may be able to cash one at a finance office or use them to make deposits into a military savings deposit plan.
- Make plans for the care of your pets.
The next article will address deployment, reintegration, being a single parent, and tips from single service members including how to handle aggression.
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- For military family books and information on briefings, visit www.ImAlreadyHome.com or email Elaine@ImAlreadyHome.com