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United States Navy
Fleet and Family Support Center
Naval Base Guam, Bldg. 106
Santa Rita, GU 96915
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 Guam Fleet and Family Support Center offers several classes that can help with your financial health, we offer Car Buying Strategies, Retirement Planning, Million Dollar Sailor, Saving and Investing, Managing Your Credit, Developing a Spending Plan, Tax Tips, Keys to Home Ownership, and Surviving Holidays Financially. Our Personal Financial Management Program can assist with budgets and spending plans. Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society can also assistance with budgets, spending plans, and emergency loans. Your command should also have a Command Financial Specialist (CFS) who can assist with financial education and budgets.
Cost of Living
Because Guam is an island, most goods must be flown in or shipped which is the main reason for the high cost of living experience on Guam. While living on Guam you will receive Cost of Living Allowance, COLA, which will help with the high cost of living on the island. The exchange and commissary are limited to what you can buy and at times you may have to go off-base to purchase what you need. There is a significant price difference between the commissary and exchange and the grocery and department stores out in town which tend to be more expensive.
Temporary Lodging Allowance
Personnel arriving on Guam with family members or bachelors with out available government quarters when they arrive are eligible for Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA); once you arrive, check-in with your command and then housing to get your TLA started. Getting situated on Guam can be disastrous if there isn't any financial planning before arriving, you should plan on having at least $1,500 (cash in hand) and at least one major credit card. Keep in mind TLA is available for 30 days, paid in ten-day increments with the first payment usually received on the 11th day. An extension may be requested through your command’s Personnel Support Activity. Many families require funds before they receive their first TLA check. Meals which can range from $7.50 to $25.00 per person, and other expenses may be incurred during the first ten days stay at the hotel. Most hotels can cost about $85 - $200 a night.
Average Costs for Housing
If you plan on living off-base, it is highly suggested that you have at least $2,000 saved up. Most landlords will require a security deposit (usually the same cost as a month’s rent), plus first and last month’s rent. One should also budget for utility connections which require security deposits. Those who are authorized to live out in town will receive an Overseas Housing Allowance or OHA. Your OHA is based on your pay grade, authorized dependants, and your rent. You will also receive a one time Move-in Housing Allowance (MIHA) and a monthly utility allowance. Your monthly OHA and utility allowance are paid to you through your regular pay; it is your responsibility to pay your landlord and utility agencies, unless you use an allotment. Rent on the island is quite high, average rent for a 1,700 square foot, three bedroom, two baths, is about $2,500 a month and that does not include utilities. Utilities on Guam are also very expensive; the average power bill is about $500 a month.
Car Insurance Coverage
Vehicle insurance costs vary depending on which insurance company you sign up with. Please make sure to check with your insurance company before moving to Guam to verify coverage for your vehicle on Guam. If not, you will have to look for a company that does or sign-up with a local insurance company; because Guam is frequented by typhoons it is highly suggested that your vehicle be insured for weather damages.
Navy Federal Credit Union
If you are a member of Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU), we recommend not closing your account. There are ATM machines located at the NEX on-base as well as at their branch office. Pentagon Federal Credit Union also has a branch on Andersen AFB, Guam. Off-island checks may be deposited into your account, but there is generally a waiting period of ten to twenty-one days before the funds are available for your use. Personal checks, including Navy Federal and Pentagon, are generally accepted with military identification or a valid driver’s license. Both personal checks and traveler’s checks may be cashed at the Navy Exchange, AAFES, or DECA Commissaries with proper identification.
Most major credit cards are accepted locally (American Express, Visa, and MasterCard to name a few). ATM machines that accept a large array of cards (Pulse, Plus, Visa, MasterCard, Armed Forces Military Financial Network, etc.) are available throughout the island. Cash withdrawals at these machines are generally more expensive than stateside charges (approximately $3.00 per transaction). Gas credit cards (Mobil, CircleK/76 and Shell) are accepted at most gas stations. Many gas stations also accept Visa or MasterCard. You may have to reapply for the major gas cards as these stations are Japanese owned and your stateside accounts are not valid here. Navy Exchange accepts Visa, MasterCard or the Military Star Card at their pumps. Continue to make payments to your creditors while awaiting mail to catch up with you. Ensure creditors receive your new mailing address as soon as you have one. Notify them that you are making a PCS move and explain your payments may be late. Most creditors are willing to work with you, if you keep them informed of your situation. Financial Assistance programs and workshops are offered by the Fleet and Family Support Center regularly.
During your transit to Guam there may be a need to use emergency assistance. If you find your self in need of assistance find the closest military base, American Red Cross, USO, or Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society. Because moving is quiet expensive there is a possibility of drawing Advanced Pay, which will be automatically withdrawn from the service member’s pay monthly, reducing the monthly income, in some case, drastically. It is strongly recommended that you visit the closest Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society (NMCRS) to create a budget and/or receive a loan before drawing Advance Pay. The Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society can provide interest-free loans or grants to help with emergency needs such as: