Military.com estimates that during a Permanent Change of Station -- or PCS -- servicemembers spend an average of $1,725 in non-reimbursable costs. When you consider that most military personnel make PCS moves about every two to four years, that adds up to a substantial amount of money. Here are some tips to make sure you don't pay more than you have to, and ways to limit the financial worry and stress associated with PCS.
To minimize your exposure in a move, you must understand what the military and Uncle Sam will cover. This topic is too complex and varied to cover just in this column, so we'll focus on the big items here. But anyone facing a PCS move should consult with their military branch or base transportation and finance resources to determine the full extent of the government's reimbursable expenses.
However, while a DITY move makes you responsible for coordination, it also offers an opportunity to make some extra money. In a DITY move, the government will reimburse you 95% of what it would cost them to move up to your maximum authorized weight allowance (determined by pay grades and dependents) and supply $25,000 of insurance coverage. In some cases, they will even prepay some of this money. If you plan well and spend less than the government's payout, you can keep the difference.
There are four types of eligible DITY moves. You can learn more about them by clicking on this Military.com link.
There are a number of other entitlements military personnel can take advantage of during a move that you can research online or learn about at your base resource centers. It is equally important that as you prepare for a PCS, you consider the proactive planning and budgeting steps you can take to lessen the financial impact of a move.
The key to successfully managing your finances in a PCS move is to be proactive. Plan ahead -- by being well informed and in front of the curve it is possible to limit your exposure and possibly even make some money.
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Ethan Ewing is a veteran consumer financial services and online marketing executive. He manages all aspects of Bills.com, a leading consumer finance website that provides practical financial advice and free financial tools and resources. Ethan is a driving force behind Bills.com’s growth. He has held leadership positions at two Experian companies and built a lead generation business for Ameriquest Mortgage. He holds a BA from Denison University.
A reader wrote in asking about the division of military retirement in a divorce. I have edited this email to remove personally identifying information and to make it more clear, but the gist is definitely still there: I am a MSG who will be retiring this year with 20 years of service. I was married […]