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United States Army
Financial Readiness Program
830 Chisholm Avenue
Fort Meade, MD 20755-5070
Resources are available to help you understand and manage your finances, including one-on-one financial counseling to assist you and your family with financial readiness. Services are designed to focus on money management issues throughout your active-duty lifecycle and into retirement. Financial readiness educational opportunities range from basic planning to long-term investing. Check out the information below to see what’s available at your installation.
The Fort Meade Financial Readiness Program offers classes as well as no-cost, personal, one-on-one counseling sessions to help you take control of your money. Whether it is preparing a spending, saving or credit management plan, renting or buying a home, learning about the Thrift Savings Plan, protecting yourself from identity theft or fraud, the Financial Readiness Program is here to educate and assist. Army Emergency Relief is also located within the Military and Family Support Center to provide financial assistance during times of crisis through no-interest loans and grants.
Because of its premier location, in the midst of the Baltimore/Washington corridor, Fort Meade is in a high cost of living area. Before you leave your losing command, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your finance staff at your losing command and budget for your move. He or she can give you guidance as far as getting advances on your pay and housing allowances, and paying these advances back.
Your finance specialist can tell you exactly what is reimbursable, and the entitlements you are allowed such as travel pay, per diem, dislocation allowance, temporary lodging expenses, advance pay, advance BHA (which has to be paid back). Don't forget to fill out a travel voucher, and keep records and receipts of all expenses incurred from the move.
You may also contact the Army Community Service/Family Service Center for financial advice through the financial management program.
First, you will need money for temporary lodging expenses. Set aside enough money to cover however many nights you plan on staying in temporary lodging, plus taxes. You are entitled to ten days of TLE (Temporary Lodging Expenses); however you must first pay the lodging bill, then get reimbursed.
There are many expenses involved in moving. For example, if you live off base (“on the economy”), you need to be prepared to pay a security deposit, which could be equal to a full month’s rent, and first month’s rent upon move-in. If you have pets, you could have to pay a pet deposit fee and additional monthly amounts, too. Utility companies may require deposits and account set-up/installation fees. Sometimes being able to provide letters of good credit from previous utility companies will result in waived or reduced deposits. Taking house-hunting leave before you detach from your command will give you the chance to search for affordable housing in your gaining location and learn about differences in the cost of living. Don’t forget how commuting costs, both in terms of gas, parking, public transportation, and time could affect your housing choices. [See Community Housing Section]
Additional Expenses to Remember
Create a moving budget. Think about new expenses you will have before you move (professional house and carpet cleaning, house and job hunting trips, extra child and pet care expenses, shipping items not authorized in government shipments, purchasing required clothing for new location, etc.); expenses you will have while you are on the road (hotels, fuel, tolls, food, transporting pets, recreation and sight-seeing, etc.); and expenses you will have upon arrival at your new home (temporary lodging, security deposits, restocking the refrigerator and cleaning supplies, vehicle registration and inspections, etc.).
Learn about the government relocation allowances you may be entitled to such as Dislocation Allowance (which you must request in advance of travel); Per Diem for each day of authorized travel and Temporary Lodging Expense (both paid after settlement of your travel claim). For entitlement questions and current amounts, contact your PSD travel section.