Sense & Centsibility Blog

Military Saves Week: Relocation

Moving can be a frustrating process for anyone. Service members face an entirely unique set of challenges as they approach relocation. However, facing the uncertainty with the right advice and resources can help ensure the best results possible.

How can relocation affect a service member’s ability to manage his/her finances?

The lives of military family are riddled with change, unpredictability, and uncertainty. The limited number of job opportunities for military spouses combined with the spouses being unfamiliar with the area and the options available, may greatly limit their possibilities of employment from the very beginning. Combine this with the possibility of having to change financial institutions, so they have a local resource to do their banking at, can throw finances into a whirlwind of uncertainty and chaos. 

How much should be saved up for a moving fund?

This can vary greatly depending upon how far away you are moving and what the local cost of living is in the new area you are moving to.  Generally, it would be best to have 3 months of income saved for a big transition in life. 

Is there any kind of financial assistance for service members relocating?

There are Relocation Assistance Program specialists to help service members prepare for this unique transition.

From A Relocation Assistance Program specialist services review a Needs assessment and planning for individuals and families tailored to their personal circumstances and requirements. A visit to your RAP specialist will help you identify exactly what you need so that you can ask the right questions as you navigate through the rest of the relocation process. Visit the Relocation Assistance Program office at your Family Center.

How can you stay secure and avoid the possibility of identity theft after you move?

Check your credit card, bank accounts and credit reports regularly for fraudulent use. Many people learn that they are victims of identity theft, or discover the scope of the problem, when they find suspicious activity in their credit report or account statements. You can also “freeze” your credit report, which blocks the credit bureaus from sharing your information with potential creditors. You may temporarily “thaw” the freeze if you want to open a new account or apply for credit.

What’s the best way to stay financially organized during the move?

Create a binder to organize your move! Moves often come with large amount of paperwork, so keeping it all organized in one location will save a great deal of time and frustration. You can also use your moving binder to store important documents you'll need access to during the move and packing/moving checklists you might be using to organize your move.

How can credit affect the process of relocating?

Credit Inquiries. When you apply for an apartment or other rental, the landlord will most likely perform a credit check.  If your credit is poor you will have a hard time find a place to live. 

Is it better to use the government’s contracted commercial mover or find a mover yourself?

If you decide to perform a personally procured move, you will receive 95% of what it would cost the government to organize the relocation for you. Allowing the government contracted move to move you will put all liability on them.  This way, you won’t assume liability for possible broken or damaged items during the actual transportation. Be mindful that the professional packers will provide all the packing supplies required for a fast and safe packing.  Always do your research and weigh the pros and cons of both options.

What are some ways to save money while moving?

  • Be smart when looking for moving boxes. Seek out free options!
  • Do whatever packing and moving as you can without hiring movers.
  • Limit your spending in your new home by limiting major purchases like furnishings.

What are some ways to track money and pay bills when deployed overseas?

Harness the power of technology to make your deployment a smoother experience. 

These questions were answered by Katie Eastman, an LSS Financial Counselor. All questions are a part of Experian’s weekly Twitter chat.