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United States 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.
When you arrive at Geilenkirchen there are many financial adaptations you will have to make when living with the Euro/dollar exchange. Please be sure to attend Newcomers Orientation conducted by the Airman and Family Readiness Center to get specific answers to your questions. Financial guidance is offered to those experiencing money management difficulty or for those who wish to be in control of their finances. The Personal Financial Management Program Manager will work with you to prepare a personalized budget and spending plan designed to make life easier.
Before you move to Geilenkirchen, you should sit down and make a general broad review of your entire financial situation and project your future expenses so that you can prepare for all anticipated contingencies. If you are married, your spouse needs to be included in this preparation. If you need any help or assistance, your Airman and Family Readiness Center can provide you with budgeting assistance or financial counseling through its Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP).
Financial preparedness is essential prior to your assignment to Geilenkirchen. There are several factors which demand more financial planning for the service families here, than to any other Air Force assignment. Making a PCS move is expensive. There are many hidden costs involved in moving, you need to plan for as many as you can. Some that you need to consider are finding a home and auto insurance.
Remember that in securing rental housing at a new location, you will often be required to pay the first month's rent in advance and put down a deposit equivalent to a month's rent. This initial expenditure can be a considerable amount. You must try to get a house under your overseas housing allowance because the euro/dollar exchange rate can fluctuate and a manageable out of pocket expense can become a burden. If an advance is taken for a security deposit that exceeds $1,000.00 US dollars, that debt may be suspended until the time in which 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 (AFAS) assumes that expenses for most Air Force moves are covered by official sources. However, unique circumstances demand a flexible response to both PCS cost and subsequent local relocation.
AFAS helps to smooth the bumpy road with Move Assistance Program (MAP). MAP is designed to provide assistance to help with those unexpected out of pocket expenses due to a PCS. Recognize that significant cash outlays are required. Actual costs might well exceed government reimbursement. Under certain circumstances, AFAS may be able to help with temporary lodging when departing from/arriving at a duty station, advance rental, security, utility, telephone and similar deposits required to set-up a new residence, minimum essential household furnishings (i.e. beds, eating table and chairs, cooking utensils) and special local needs such as wardrobes, transformers and light fixtures.
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 HQ AFAS loan office for advice. It's possible you might be working with the PFMP in proposing a local move that will put a member/family in a stable financial situation. By all means, let us know the specifics to see if we can help.
Auto insurance will generally be more expensive. German insurance is based on the horsepower of the engine, not the value of the car according to local insurance companies.
Most American car parts are not available in Europe and will need to be ordered from an online US auto parts retailer.
The cost of utilities will vary from member to member and depend on the size of the family. While your Overseas Housing Allowance and Utility Allowance will cover the cost of your rent and utilities, there are some costs associated in 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 are typically more expensive in Germany and across Europe. 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. The fee is based on the estimated amount of weight in household waste. In Germany household waste is weighed at time of curb pick-up. However, 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. Learning to recycle while in Germany can help reduce your expenses for disposing of household waste.
Average Monthly Utility Payments
Monthly utility 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 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 towards 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 on your utilities or underpaid. If during the reconciliation process it is discovered that you overpaid you are likely to receive a refund for the overpayment. However, if your monthly utility usage has exceeded your monthly payments, you will be responsible for paying the differences 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 Utility Allowance 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 for your year-end reconciliation.
Utility Tax Avoidance Program (UTAP)
The Utility Tax Avoidance Program (UTAP), authorized under the Status of Forces Agreement, offers all US military and DoD civilians assigned 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 bill(s). Enrolling in the UTAP eliminates these taxes from your bill for your entire tour. Enrollment is simple and only requires a small fee which will save you over $1000 per utility during your tour. The UTAP is administered by the US VAT Office on Geilenkirchen. You can contact the office at DSN: 314-458-6104 or Comm:011-49-02451-632258.
You will have easy access to foreign currency in the Geilenkirchen area by using an ATM card. Work with your financial institution on how many ATM transactions you are allowed before they impose a fee. Be sure you know your Personal Identification Number (PIN) number before leaving the States.
Save yourself money in finance charges before you leave the US, send a copy of your orders to your credit card company and see what kinds of deals they offer to military members stationed overseas.