PCS Coming? Ask Yourself These Money Questions

By The USAA Educational Foundation

If you’ve just received your permanent change of station (PCS) orders, you’re likely experiencing a mix of emotions — excitement, fear, stress and more.

While there’s no sure-fire way to guarantee things will go smoothly, asking yourself (and family, if applicable) the following money questions might help from a financial perspective.

  • Should I (we) rent this time?
    Whether you’re in the “buying makes more sense for military families” camp or the “renting makes more sense” camp, you can probably agree with this: homeowners typically have to pay for a lot of things their renting neighbors don’t.

    Sure, owning gives you freedom to make your home the way you want it, and it creates the possibility (not a certainty) of making money when you sell for your next PCS. But owning a home also has some downsides. One of the biggest is that homeownership can be a major drain on your cash flow; much more so than renting. So if your cash is (or will be) tight, renting might be the better approach this time around. If things don’t end up as tight as you thought they’d be, you can always save the extra money to make your next PCS that much easier.
  • Should I (we) hit the financial reset switch?
    We’ve all made financial moves we wish we could undo. Whether it’s buying too much house, living a lifestyle that’s too expensive, or driving a car that costs too much, most of us have been there. Fortunately, a PCS provides the opportunity to fix some of these problems without all of the emotional baggage that might otherwise come with such a change.

    Think about it: It’s unlikely any of your new neighbors will know the type of house you used to live in, the lifestyle you used to maintain, or the car you used to drive. They’ll only know the version of you who shows up at the new installation. So if you’ve got some financial cleaning up to do, your next PCS might be a perfect opportunity to do just that.

For more help with your PCS, check out this Planning Your PCS publication from The USAA Educational Foundation.

The USAA Educational Foundation, a nonprofit organization, does not endorse or promote any commercial supplier, product, or service.

Tip of the Day

  • Written by Guest Blogger | April 22, 2014

    Is your child a victim of Identity theft? Find out!  http://ow.ly/C7B3q

Saver Stories View all »

Naval Battalion's Effort Yields Team Success

Written by Super User | November 26, 2010

Construction Battalion Five, DETAIL CHINHAE would like to share our campaign success story with you!

Currently we have 23 members on our Det, (all of whom have registered with militarysaves) and out of them 16 are planning for retirement by saving and investing money in the Federal Thrift Savings Plan.

Read more...

Setting a Goal Leads to Success

Written by Super User | May 24, 2019

Growing up, Marisa’s dad had always talked about saving first, but she said she didn’t really internalize it until much later. “I was drifting along with no plan, carrying a little bit of revolving debt, saving some money here and there, but without a real plan for it.”

Read more...

When You Start Small, Saving is Easy

Written by Lila Quintiliani | August 12, 2019

When Attiyya first got married, she and her Marine husband had just graduated from college and were focused on paying off student loan debt. They had both attended private schools and had sizeable loans. Then three months after the wedding, the couple found out they were pregnant with their first child.

The first year of their marriage, says Attiyya, was a balancing act between paying down debt and saving for the future.

Read more...