PAYING FOR YOUR MOVE
Establish an emergency fund: An emergency savings fund should be a top priority. Your emergency fund should have six months’ worth of your current living expenses and payments. This safety net is vital to your financial health as it will provide you with a buffer against unplanned or unexpected expenses, like emergencies and car or home repairs. Although you will receive travel allowances, there are usually additional expenses and purchases associated with moving and settling into a new home.
Prepare for dual households: There are circumstances where Marine families find themselves with dual households, either short- or long-term. This can be for various reasons, such as the transfer timeframe is not conducive due to school schedules, employment, or housing issues. COVID-19 created situations where Marines under Stop Movement Orders residing in base housing have a mortgage payment for a new mortgage at the next duty station. These families are expecting severe financial stress. Maintaining two households is a difficult economic and emotional decision. Please do not go it alone. Contact the installation’s Personal Financial Manager for guidance and support.
Keep receipts: Keep track of and save receipts for all expenses you incur that will not be reimbursed. Marines on active duty who move because of a PCS can make a deduction when calculating their federal income taxes for unreimbursed moving expenses. Such expenses may include moving an extra car, hauling a trailer, and additional travel and lodging expenses.
Save money in transit: There are phone applications to locate the least expensive gas in all areas. Also, many hotels and restaurants offer military discounts upon request. Lower your food expenses by purchasing food, beverages, and snacks from your commissary that travel well while in transit.
MOVING YOUR BELONGINGS
Maybe you prefer a Personally Procured Move: Typically, with a PCS move, the government hires a commercial contractor to pack and move household goods at no cost to the Marine, up to the authorized weight limit. You can elect a Personally Procured Move (PPM). You can receive reimbursement up to 100 percent of the amount it would have cost the government to move your personal property if you hire a commercial carrier, or an incentive payment of 95 percent of Government Constructed Cost (GCC) if they move the property themselves. An advance payment of a percentage of the estimated reimbursement claim can be authorized to offset for out-of-pocket expenses like packing materials, insurance, contractor, fuel, and tolls for the move. It is important that you contact your Personal Property Office (PPO) Also refer to MARADMIN 128/19. Use the resources on Move.mil to help you determine the most cost-effective form for your move.
Trim your belongings: Ask yourself this question, “Is there anything I do not want to take to my next duty location that I could sell before leaving?” This will help you to stay below your weight limit on your household goods and earn some extra cash for the move.
Take Inventory: Photos and/or video are a great way to document your property and its condition prior to packing. Carry a copy of the inventory with you—do not pack it away. Consider carrying with you any items that you consider priceless, such as family heirlooms, pictures, or items of emotional value.
Consider additional insurance: Consider getting additional insurance on your household goods to cover potential losses beyond what the Marine Corps reimburses. Often, your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance will cover your household goods in shipment. REMEMBER: Replacement value reimburses you for the cost to replace the item with the same or similar item at the present time and according to its current value. The actual cash value is the replacement value minus the depreciation of the property.
MANAGING YOUR CREDITORS AND BANKS
Review your credit report: Solve problems before you get to the other side. You can get a free copy of your credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com. Remember, landlords and utility companies review past payment history when determining the need for a deposit and often times, the size of deposit.
Notify all creditors: Notify all creditors of your upcoming move. Change address now (especially if OCONUS) so that you can avoid any missed statements and you avoid having any statements stolen. This strategy can help you avoid late payments, late fees, or increases in interest rates.
Obtain reference letters: Obtain letters of reference from the current utility, cable, and telephone companies to reduce or eliminate deposit costs at your new location.
Transfer bank accounts? Maybe not: Hopefully, you have a financial institution that will move with you, so you will not have to keep closing and opening accounts. Do not close your checking and savings accounts until you open new accounts at your new location. Also, ensure that all allotments and electronic fund transfers have been successfully shifted to the new account. Leverage online accounts.
Get prequalified or preapproved for a home loan: If you are going to be buying a home at your new duty station, prequalify or get preapproved at your bank or credit union for a home loan.
Maintain dependent health care: If you are currently enrolled in TRICARE Prime, stay enrolled at the old duty station until you arrive at your new duty station. If you are transferring overseas, investigate TRICARE Europe or TRICARE Pacific. If you are not enrolled in TRICARE Prime, determine what health care facilities are available at the new duty station.
Fill prescriptions: Before your move, fill your prescriptions and bring the medications with you rather than packing them. Doing this will ensure that important medications don’t get lost and that you don’t run out during the move.
Update Wills and Power of Attorney: Visit your base legal office or a qualified legal assistance attorney and have your will reviewed. They will ensure it conforms to the new state’s laws and have a Power of Attorney (POA) prepared for all adults involved in the PCS, if needed. A POA can make handling PCS details easier for whichever adults are involved.
Exceptional Family Member Program: If you have a dependent with special health or education needs, please contact the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) Liaison/Coordinator at your current duty station for information, if needed, and for the contact information of the EFM Liaison/Coordinator at your new duty station.