PCS Financial Tips for Military Families
Whether your family is planning for a PCS move now or in a few years, questions about finances undoubtedly will arise. The following tips can help you plan financially for your next move.
- Get on the same page. Start by talking with your spouse about your family's finances. These steps can help you initiate a discussion that is productive and may help prevent potential financial difficulties.
- Close out and transfer accounts. Make a list of all your financial accounts. Note which accounts can be transferred and ones that need to be closed and reopened in your new location. Take advantage of the move as a way to shop for lower rates on some financial products (e.g., homeowners' or renters' insurance).
- Pay all your current bills. To avoid negative impact on your credit, be sure to pay all close-out bills such as electricity, water, etc., before leaving. Provide all organizations with a forwarding address as there may be unpaid bills that will follow you.
- Compare the value of your housing allowance. Sixty-five percent of military personnel live off-base. As you create a budget detailing expected income and expenses at your new duty station, be sure to compare current and future Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) to determine how much house you can afford. Use the BAH Calculator from the Defense Travel Management Office to find out your specific allowance.
- Save those receipts! Be sure to keep all your receipts and put them in a central place -- including expenses that don't qualify for reimbursement -- because they may qualify as tax deductions. Pay off your bills immediately.
- Get answers to your questions. As you plan your move, financial questions may arise, such as whether to buy or rent a home. The Foundation's Money and Mobility publication includes a chapter dedicated to PCS moves, complete with resources, worksheets, checklists and the Make a Moving Fund worksheet to help you plan.
I regularly receiving letters from family members who are worried about their current or former servicemember. The military is confusing enough if you are in it, and it is more confusing for people who don’t have experience. Today’s letter is fairly typical: Perhaps you can help me. My son spent 6 years in the military [...]
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