Don’t Touch That Money

When I go to SpouseBUZZ Live events, one of the moderator’s favorite questions is “If you had one piece of advice to tell a new military spouse, what would it be?”  My usual answer will be helpful to the person who wrote me today, asking what to do about a surprise pending deposit in her bank account.

Here is my position: If you get a deposit that you aren’t expecting, or if a paycheck is surprisingly large, do not use that money.  Move it to a savings account and let it sit there until you are able to figure out why it is there and if it is correct.  There are mistakes made in payments all the time, and if your deposit is a mistake, the DOD is going to want it back eventually.  Most of the time, they want it all back pretty quickly, although they will set up a payment plan if it is a large amount.  No one wants to be surprised with a zero paycheck because of an accidental overpayment before.

If you find yourself with a surprisingly large balance in your account, and you don’t know why, keep that money aside until you find out why it is there.  If it is correct, you will have the opportunity to use it once you verify that it is yours.  If it is incorrect, you will be glad to have the funds to repay Uncle Sam without being broke.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.