Showing 1 - 1 OF 1
ACS Financial Readiness Program
Rue Brialmont, Bldg. 318
SHAPE Belgium 7010
Contact information for key programs and services at this installation.
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.
Service members are allowed to take one month's advance of their pay prior to leaving their post, then two month's advance upon arrival at a new post. If you use this option, be very cautious. Repayment of any advances will be taken out of your pay during your first year here in Belgium, the period when most settling-in costs are incurred.
Like many countries in Europe, consumer prices in Belgium are quite different from the United States; they’re higher. It is essential that prior to leaving your current duty station, you develop a projected saving and spending plan based on what your pay and allowances will be in Belgium.
Be aware that landlords will require an amount equal to one month's rent as a security deposit. Utility meters are read annually (versus monthly), which can result in a large reconciliation amount -- sometimes more than 1,500 euros -- that must be paid by the tenant. Too many families experience severe financial problems because they don't have a good handle on their spending and haven't set aside money for things such as the utility reconciliations and emergencies.
Because there are significantly fewer employment opportunities for spouses in Belgium compared to the U.S., the loss of the second income can also put a strain on family finances. You will receive a Cost of Living Allowance, but if living off base, we recommend banking at least $300 per month for the first 12 months. Having a healthy financial reserve will ensure you are not caught short by utility reconciliations or other unexpected costs here in Belgium. You can check on COLA rates, which are calculated each pay period, on the Defense Travel Management Office website.
Tip: Get overseas insurance for your vehicle from a stateside (USAA or GEICO) or Belgian insurance broker, and ensure your automobile is in good working order before shipping it to Belgium. Be aware that parts for some U.S. brand vehicles may be very difficult and/or very expensive to get here. Also, a number of U.S. companies do not ship to Army Post Office addresses, so you may not be able to get replacement parts or other items shipped to you in Belgium.
These agencies are represented by your Army Emergency Relief officer. Emergency financial assistance is available to members of the U.S. armed forces -- and their dependents -- on extended active duty for essential travel, basic needs, auto repairs, etc. Call your AER Officer to discuss what you determine as a financial need; we are here to help.
It is extremely important to develop a financial plan before departing for (or, if you're already en route, immediately upon arrival) United States Army Garrison Benelux. Army Community Service Financial Readiness can assist you in developing a projected saving and spending plan. They can also help resolve existing issues, including eliminating debt and cleaning up credit reports, plus providing education and information on a range of financial topics such as home buying, investing, retirement, insurance, car buying and more. Take advantage of this resource and schedule an appointment with a financial readiness counselor. A strong financial and transition plan will ensure that you start off on the right foot at USAG Benelux/Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe-Chièvres.
Overseas and move-in housing allowances
If you are authorized to live off base, you will receive Overseas Housing Allowance. You can calculate what your OHA will be on the Defense Travel Management Office website. For the "rent" amount, you only receive the actual amount of your rent. You will receive the full utility amount regardless of the actual cost of your utilities (so conserving it can make you money after moving into your off-base quarters you'll also receive your Moving In Housing Allowance). Be aware this amount may not be enough to cover the unique costs associated with establishing your household in Belgium.