3 Hard Conversations to Have Before Deployment

 This post is sponsored by USAA Life Insurance Company and USAA Life Insurance Company of New York. All opinions are my own.

It’s no secret– the weeks leading up to a deployment are some of the hardest days that military families will face in their military life journey.

Most military families would love nothing more than to squeeze every last moment and memory into those hours together, but the reality is that there are plans to be made and to-do lists to tackle in those days leading up to a deployment.

When it comes to preparing for a successful countdown, carving out time for intentional planning and conversation can make an incredible impact!

Here are three hard conversations that we believe every military family should make time for before the start of a deployment:

1. Budgeting & Bills

Whether you plan for every cent spent or dread the word “budget”, having a clear plan for managing your family’s finances during deployment is critical. Getting everyone on board with how to tackle the financial challenges (and financial opportunities) that this season presents can reduce stress and keep your family on the right financial path:

Ahead of a deployment, our family finds it helpful to schedule a time where we can review our current expenses and income, and also talk through how budgets and bills might change during our time apart.  If your family doesn’t already have a system in place for financial planning or managing budgets, deployment is the perfect moment to bring everyone onto the same page.

Questions to consider asking: 

  • Who is responsible for tracking and paying bills? 
  • Are there any major financial goals or milestones we’d like to meet in these next few months? 
  • How will we handle any increased expenses or added income that may come up during deployments? 

2. Communication Expectations

 The way that we communicate with our partners can be dramatically different during seasons of deployment, simply because so much has changed.  New routines may leave less space for quick messages, and changes in time zones often leave precious little space for overlapping availability to call or video chat. 

Setting up a time before deployment to imagine what these shifts in communication will mean for your family can help to lay the framework for what everyone can expect when it comes to staying connected and keeping everyone in the loop.

Questions to consider asking: 

  • Will we set regular times for calls or messages? 
  • What information is most important to share with one another? 
  • Who is responsible for keeping parents, in-laws and other family members informed.

3. Military Life Insurance

Although it can feel like a particularly difficult discussion to have, military families recognize that deployments increase the risks that our service members face.  And while it can be uncomfortable, acknowledging this reality allows us to make important decisions that can help our families to feel more secure in an already stressful season.

Understanding our unique needs when it comes to life insurance, and seeking out the right level of military life insurance coverage is the first step.  Although your service member may have some level of life insurance coverage through Service Members Group Life Insurance (SGLI) many families find that their actual military life insurance needs are greater than what is covered.

The best place to begin is by reviewing your family’s unique financial situation to determine exactly what amount and type of military life insurance coverage is necessary.  Working with a military insurance company like USAA Life Insurance Company and USAA Life Insurance Company of New York, who offer a free review of your life insurance needs.  USAA Life even offers personalized insurance support over the phone at 800-531-LIFE so that your family can connect with a life insurance specialist who can answer any questions that may come up.  You can also check out their totally free Life Insurance Calculator which is a great place to get started! These tools make it easy to start this conversation and understand the military life insurance coverage that would best support your family. 

Questions to consider asking: 

  • What level of military life insurance coverage does our family currently have?
  • Is there anyone in our family who does not have life insurance who should? 
  • How much would it cost our family to pay off all debts and maintain our standard of living for at least 5 years? 

Looking for more deployment support & inspiration?
PILLAR is a digital retreat where you’ll find 3 days of non-stop encouragement, advice and inspiration to help your family thrive during seasons of deployment.  Thanks to their presenting sponsor USAA Life Insurance Company and USAA Life Insurance Company of New York, this online event is completely free for military spouses to join!  Grab your free ticket here to join this year’s retreat!