If you 9re like the 700,000 military service members who are reas- signed to new locations each year, you shell out an average of $1,725 for non-reimbursable expenses. When you combine moving costs with the difficulty of uprooting your life every few years, relocations can take a big toll. While some moving hassles are unavoidable, you can ease the financial pain of PCSing with a little advance planning.
Consider following this timeline for your next move: What to do now: Avoid budget blues Whether your move is days or weeks away, develop a moving budget in advance to keep your finances on track and avoid last- minute costs. " Find out exactly what the military will cover, and what costs fall on you. You can visit your family center or finance office for more information.
" Budget for shipping charges, tem- porary housing expenses, and start-up fees for utilities. " Make a list of things you 9ll have to buy when you move in and esti- mate those costs. " Use this budget to determine how much you should save for your next move.
What to do before you leave: Prevent moving mishaps Some moving horror stories result from damaged or lost property. ... more. less.
So it 9s critical to have the right levels of insurance before you PCS. In the case of a moving mishap, insur- ance can mean the difference between disappointment and finan- cial disaster.<br><br> " Find out how much of your per- sonal property the government movers will insure. If it 9s not enough to provide full protection, a temporary renters insurance pol- icy could be an affordable way to cover the difference. " If you 9re shipping a vehicle, review your auto insurance policy to find out if moving-related damages are covered.<br><br> If they 9re not, ask your insurer about purchasing ship- ment coverage. What to do after you arrive: Fine-tune your finances Once you settle into your new place, consider fine-tuning your finances to make your next move easier. The stop-and-go that comes with a PCS 3 stopping everything and starting over again in a new area 3 can be a shocker to your finances.<br><br> Military members can find some relief by working with companies that cmove with you d and serve your needs wherever you go. " Consider using online banking so you don 9t have to worry if there 9s a branch bank near your new home. You can also set up automatic bill payments to make your life easier during future transitions.<br><br> " Choose an insurance company that offers coverage in all 50 states and abroad, so you don 9t have to change providers with every move. " Open a separate savings account and contribute enough each month to ease the cash crunch before your next move. " Set up automatic transfers for investment accounts to ensure your savings habits won 9t slip.<br><br> If you do get into financial trouble, do not forget that all Services have an emergency relief fund, which can be accessed on any military installation through the Family Center 9s Financial Assistance manager. With the right preparations, your next PCS could be financially pain- less 3 leaving a surplus in your cash supply instead of draining it. Joseph cJ.J. d Montanaro is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioner with USAA Financial Planning Services, one of the USAA family of compa- nies.<br><br> Montanaro served in the U.S. Army for six years on active duty during which he PCSed four times. He is currently a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S.<br><br> Army Reserve. USAA is a diversified insurance and financial services organization that has served the military community since 1922. USAA Financial Planning ServicesSM refers to financial planning services and financial advice provided by USAA Financial Planning Services Insurance Agency, Inc.<br><br> (known as USAA Financial Insurance Agency in California), a registered invest- ment adviser and insurance agency, and its wholly owned subsidiary. USAA means United Services Automobile Association and its affiliates. 24 www.AmeriForce.net Budgeting for Your PCS Three ways to take the financial pain out of your next military move Prepare Yourself By Joseph Montanaro Managing Your Move Online " Visit www.militaryhomefront.dod.mil for moving-related information.<br><br> " Visit www.dfas.mil for complete information on pay and travel benefits. " Visit www.usaa.com to order a free PCS guide. " The United States Postal Service offers a change of address and a moving guide at www.usps.com .<br><br> Money Savers: Your Benefits The most up-to-date information on allowances and entitlements is on the Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee website at www.defensetravel.dod.mil/perdiem Some basic PCS benefits you may qualify for include: " Advance Basic Pay " Advance Basic Allowance, Housing (BAH) " Dislocation Allowance (DLA " Monetary Allowance in Lieu of Transportation (MALT) " Per Diem Allowance " Temporary Lodging Expense (TLE) Visit the relocation manager in your family center for more information on your benefits.