PCS Most Popular Articles

  • Eielson Air Force Base housing. Senior Airman Yash Rojas/Air Force
    Living on Base: Pros and Cons
    Military.com
    Military installations try to offer accommodations that ensure most families want for nothing. However, living on a military ba...
  • A servicemember carrying a box
    Your Personally Procured Move (PPM)
    Military.com
    The Personally Procured Move (PPM) move allows you to be reimbursed by the government for moving your belongings yourself.
  • Car
    Vehicle Registration for Military Families
    Military.com|
    Military families have a long checklist of things to do when going through a PCS move. One of those tasks is vehicle registration.
  • Moving furniture
    PCS Moves and Household Goods
    Military.com
    The government will ship your household goods when you are transferred to a new permanent duty station.

A Financial Guide for PCS Moves

Amanda Crowe, executive director of In Gear Career, and her family.

Active duty military personnel make permanent change of station (PCS) moves about every two to four years. To prepare for a life of moves, you need to know what to expect both before and after a move. That means asking a lot of questions, doing some research and planning, and setting aside funds for making a move.

First, decide if you are going to live in on-base housing, rent or buy a home. Before buying, ask yourself:

  • Can I afford to buy a home?
  • How easily could I sell a house in this area?
  • What tax issues would I face if I sold my home?
  • How easily could I rent my home?

Make sure you review what items the military will move, school transfers, car insurance, and the implications of moving with pets.

When your move is imminent, gather the paperwork and records you will need to take with you.

After you settle in, organize your receipts and submit all qualified expenses for reimbursement. Make copies of receipts, and note which moving expenses do not qualify for reimbursement but may qualify as deductions on your income taxes. When the reimbursement checks arrive, pay off any debts incurred in the course of your move and put any extra money away for your next move.

Determine how much the move cost you. Did you have enough in savings to cover expenses that were not reimbursed—or did you have to rely on credit cards or other loans? Establish a "Moving" file and include dated notes about what worked for you and what did not work for you during the latest move. As you come up with ideas about how to make future moves easier, file them as well.

If your spouse is not in the military and wants to work, find out what employment assistance programs the new base or post offers. Many installations have partnerships with employers in the local community and try to help place spouses. Some organizations even offer training programs, such as the FINRA Investor Education Foundation Military Spouse Fellowship Program, to help spouses update their work skills. 

The last step is to create a moving fund and a long-term plan for your family's financial future.

More information about financially preparing for PCS moves is available at www.SaveAndInvest.org.

© 2016 Military Advantage