You might think you're bound for the safest place in the country, but then read about coordinated suicide attacks on the post. The bottom line to all this is that you just don't know.
One of the few certainties, however, is that on the 1st and 15th of every month, you're going to get a direct deposit sent your way by Uncle Sam. That's important, because with automatic bill payments these days, a big chunk of that might be needed for the real humdingers like the mortgage, the insurance, and the utilities. And one of the few upsides to a deployment -- for the soldier and for his/her dependents -- is that the incentive pays make that twice-monthly check just a bit sweeter. It's really one of the few saving graces, and it's even the reason that many unemployed or semi-employed Guardsmen and Reservists jump on deployment after deployment.
So when we heard today that the whole "1st and 15th" thing might get interrupted, people were pretty much shocked. I have no idea whether it'll really happen, or whether this is all some kind of media/political stunt. My days are too jam-packed to follow politics, so I won't even attempt to go there. On a way more practical, personal level, I'm glad for one thing -- even though I have a good chunk of consumer debt to pay off, I didn't liquidate my *rainy day* fund to do it. Some financial advisors and writers start all their screeds with, "Pay the cards off first."
I think that's bad advice.
The FIRST thing anyone should do, if possible, is build a six-month cushion that could soften the blow posed by a sudden layoff, illness, or "black swan" scenario like a natural disaster or government shutdown. THEN worry about the cards. If the government shutdown really happens, I really may miss some paychecks. But the good news is that all the money will come back to me down the road. I'm not really sweating that part. More important, I'm not sweating the impact this could have on the two souls back home who depend on me to provide for them. The piggy bank is there, and the hammer is at the ready.