Planning for your future civilian life is a busy time. The last thing you’ll want to worry about when you leave service is paying back a debt. Taking the following steps while you’re in uniform can help you avoid debt.

1. Attend any separations brief or information session offered by your service.

Each service is a little different when it comes to your final pay so you’ll get all your specific pay details– like how long it takes to get your last regular paycheck-at this briefing. It’s also a great opportunity to ask questions and get personalized answers about what pay you are eligible for.

2. Update your contact information.

To ensure you get your pay and entitlements, update your contact information with your personnel office and on myPay. You’ll have access to your myPay account for 13 months after you separate, and connecting your personal email address to your account will make logging into the system easier.Some important pay information is mailed hard-copy only, so if you move after you’ve left service, remember to update your mailing address.  See a step-by-step guide on how to prepare your myPay account for separation.

3. Know when to expect your final pay.

The majority of service members get their final pay when they separate or not long after. But it’s always smart to plan for the worst – which could be a wait of 120 days or more in the event your account is flagged for additional audit.

4. When in doubt, go to your separating finance office.

 If you have questions about your final pay, or if your final paycheck isn’t accurate, contact your finance office.

5. Keep your current bank account open for a year.

If you are entitled to any payments, you’ll get them quickly as an electronic deposit if you keep your account open and connected to your myPay account. If you do have to close or change your account, be sure to update your myPay account.