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So, you’ve just gotten your orders for a permanent change of station (PCS). You, your spouse or your kids may be excited or anxious—maybe a bit of both. No matter your situation, you can make the transition easier with these tips.

  1. Write it down. Create a calendar or checklist with all the relevant information and dates, like when the move is effective, school hours in the new location (if you have kids) and when you have to report in to work. Keep these files on your computer or tablet. If you’re a paper person, a three-ring binder with separate tabbed sections such as “Calendar,” “Schools” and “Homes Toured” can be helpful.
    Also, create a written inventory of everything that will be moved. It may be helpful to take photos, especially of valuable furniture and collectibles, in case there’s any damage during the move.
  2. Contact a real estate agent. A real estate agent at the new location can be a valuable resource, with in-depth knowledge of neighborhoods and schools. Also, don’t forget to consider whether you want to live on-base or not. Read “On- Or Off-Base? Weigh Your Housing Decision”.
  3. Do your homework. Before choosing a neighborhood or area to live in, figure out how far it is from local transportation, recreational activities and parks, schools, houses of worship, work and your spouse’s job, if relevant.
  4. Gather important documents. Make copies of everything, including current lease, PCS orders, insurance, birth certificates, passports, wills, pet records, medical records, driver’s licenses, financial account records, military ID and children’s school records. This will be a huge help should the originals get lost.
  5. Prepare to pack and ship. If you’re like most of us, you’ve amassed a lot more stuff than you need. You may even have unopened boxes from your last move. Consider a garage sale or donate unwanted items. Normally, the military will pay for a commercial mover to pack and ship your household goods to the new location, up to your authorized weight allowance. Paring down may help you stay within your rank’s weight limit.
  6. Keep receipts. You may want to move a few things (or everything) on your own. In that case, keep careful records and receipts that you can submit for reimbursement.
  7. Take a breath. Relocating is a big step. Try to focus on the positive aspects, like making new friends, exploring a new part of the country (or world), learning new job skills or enjoying a promotion. Before you move, look into fun things to do in your new area and make a list. Then, once you’ve arrived in your new place and unpacked a few necessary boxes, take a walk through your neighborhood. Visit a nearby park. Have a picnic dinner for your first meal in your new home base. And, schedule time to go through your fun list.

Remember—no matter where you’re stationed, Navy Federal Credit Union is there to help you manage your financial life. For tips on buying a home, visit MakingCents.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.