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Department of the Air Force
Geilenkirchen NATO Air Base
Neuteveren Germany 52511
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.
Due to the cost of living, it is recommended you work with your local Airman and Family Readiness Center to review your spending plan before you PCS to Germany. When you arrive at Geilenkirchen, we will discuss unique topics for the local area, including the Euro/dollar exchange. Please ensure you attend Newcomers Orientation conducted by the Airman and Family Readiness Center to get specific answers to your questions. The Airman and Family Readiness Center is here to assist you and your family throughout your tour. Regardless of where you are financially, we can provide education and resources for you and your family, including money management and how to reach your short-, mid- and long term financial goals.
Before you move to Geilenkirchen, it is highly recommended you review of your entire financial situation. It is also a great idea to project your future expenses so you can prepare for all contingencies.
If you are married, please include your spouse in this preparation. If you need any help, your local Airman and Family Readiness Center can provide you with budgeting assistance and/or financial counseling.
Since there are several factors that demand more financial planning, financial preparedness is essential prior to your overseas assignment to Geilenkirchen. Due to the unique environment, people may find moving to Geilenkirchen is more expensive than other PCS moves. There are many hidden costs involved in moving overseas so please plan for as many as you can. Your local Airman and Family Readiness Center can assist you before you leave and we are here to assist when you arrive.
When securing rental housing at a new location, you will often be required to pay additional costs upfront such as deposits and/or first month’s rent. This initial expenditure can be a considerable amount. It is recommended, you find a house under your overseas housing allowance because the euro/dollar exchange rate can fluctuate and any out-of-pocket expense can become a burden. Check with the Finance Office to see if your security deposit can be suspended until it is returned to you, normally the end of your tour. At that time, you must pay it back. This alleviates any undue hardship in large repayment amounts.
The standing order is used in Germany to pay regularly recurring payments of a set sum, such as rent, monthly utility deposits and insurance premiums. The direct debit is the method of payment for recurring sums that vary in size, such as the telephone, gas and electric bills. These services are easily obtained if you set up an account with local financial institutions.
Air Force Aid Society
The Air Force Aid Society assumes that expenses for most Air Force moves are covered by official sources; however, unique circumstances demand a flexible response to both PCS costs and subsequent local relocation.
Under certain circumstances, AFAS may be able to help with unexpected emergency situations and cover PCS costs not reimbursed by the Air Force.
AFAS generally does not fund convenience moves and does not assist with setting up newlywed households or moving separating or divorcing couples. However, unique circumstances will arise and we will not hesitate to call the headquarters AFAS loan office for advice. By all means, let us know the specifics to see if we can help. The AFAS also implemented a new need’s based program for people who need to ship their pets overseas.
Auto insurance may be more expensive.
Most American car parts may not available in Europe and may need to be ordered from an online U.S. auto parts retailer.
The cost of utilities will vary from member to member and depend on the size of the family and the amount of usage. While your overseas housing allowance and utility allowance will cover the cost of your rent and utilities, there are some costs associated with running a household that can add to your overall monthly expenses.
The cost of electricity, gas, oil, trash pick-up and disposal, telephone services and water can be more expensive in Germany. The costs associated with utilities and household expenses will be a major adjustment for most families.
The expense of disposing of household waste is another expense most members find puzzling. Typically, a monthly estimated trash pick-up and disposal fee will be assessed on your household by the local municipality. It is usually part of your additional costs the landlord will charge, called “Nebenkosten,” which can fluctuate based on usage. The fee is based on the estimated weight of your household waste. In Germany, household waste is weighed at time of curb pick-up. If you and your family have exceeded the estimated amount, at the end of year you will have to reconcile the difference with the landlord and pay the difference. Recycling in Germany can help reduce your expenses for disposing of household waste.
Average Monthly Utility Payments
Monthly payments for electrical and natural gas utilities are typically set up by companies based on an estimation of monthly usage. Estimates are determined by the number of family members living in the home, size of the home and number of rooms. However, the utility estimates are also based on a typical German family living in the home. Members assigned to the local area usually have higher than average household expenses.
The monthly utility payment should be viewed as a deposit toward your yearly usage. It should not be seen as a monthly bill. Your usage of electricity and/or natural gas throughout the year and your monthly payments will be reconciled to determine if you overpaid or underpaid for your utilities. If during the reconciliation process it is discovered that you overpaid, you are likely to receive a refund. However, if your monthly utility usage has exceeded your monthly payments, you will be responsible for paying the difference to the utility companies.
To avoid financial hardships, you should adjust your habits on electricity usage accordingly and learn to conserve energy when possible. The money you receive with your overseas housing allowance is intended to be used for your utilities. It would be wise to set aside any unused monthly utility allowance money for your year-end reconciliation.
Utility Tax Avoidance Program
The Utility Tax Avoidance Program, authorized under the Status of Forces Agreement, offers all U.S. military and Department of Defense civilians the opportunity to avoid paying local taxes on electrical and natural gas utilities. The current tax rate is 19%, but there are hidden environmental taxes that can add up to as much as 30% of your utility bills. Enrolling in the UTAP eliminates these taxes from your bill for your entire tour. Enrolling is simple and only requires a small fee that will save you more than $1,000 per utility during your tour. The UTAP is administered by the U.S. Valued Added Tax office in Geilenkirchen. Call DSN 314-458-4114 or commercial 011-49-02451-637219.
You will have easy access to foreign currency in the Geilenkirchen area by using an ATM card. Work with your financial institution to find out how many ATM transactions you are allowed before the bank or credit union imposes a fee. Be sure you know your personal identification number before leaving the United States.
Save yourself money in finance charges before you leave the U.S.: Contact your credit card company and see what kinds of deals they offer to military members stationed overseas.