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Returning from Guam

by PCSgrades Staff - January 17th, 2022

Returning from Guam

You did it! You made it through a Guam tour, and our guess is you didn’t just survive, you thrived. The excitement of island living may be coming to a close, but we all know military life is one adventure after the next. We’re guessing you may remember some of the quirks of PCSing to Guam - the medical clearances, pet quarantine, boonie cars, and boonie furniture. Moving back is a little different. 

Save all the money in the land

In our “Know Before You Go - Guam edition,” we recommended you save your money for all the incredible travel opportunities and furniture buying you could possibly do. Now, we’re recommending you save all your money for things like basic living expenses, because holy cow, does moving back to the States cost a lot. Start this long before you get orders. 

Moving home adds up quickly: You may very well have to go out of pocket for temporary lodging while you try to find a house in the States. You may have to buy a second car once you get back, and you might need a security deposit if you’re renting. Add that to the fact that the service member’s paycheck will no longer include COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) and all of a sudden you’re making less and spending more. While you will have some entitlements, it’s a good plan to have at least $5,000 in your savings to account for the aforementioned expenses. 

Start house shopping now

If you’re looking to rent or buy, get in touch with a real estate agent now to help you find a place to live. If the housing market in 2022 is anything like it was in 2021, you won’t want to wait until you’re physically in the States to start your shopping. Generally speaking, the military will allow you 10 days of paid Temporary Lodging Allowance (TLA) on your return to the States. That means outside of 10 days, it’s on your dime. Consequently, the sooner you can line up your housing, the better. Find a trusted real estate agent used to working with the military community on PCSgrades, and you may even earn up to $7500 cash back through Realogy Military Rewards when buying. 

Ship your goods as early as possible

When you moved to Guam, you lived only on your Unaccompanied Baggage and “boonie furniture” the base provided. Channel that nostalgia by doing it on the backend, too. Just as you waited several months for your household goods to arrive on island, your HHG is going to take likely just as long to make their way back across the Pacific. Consequently, the earlier you ship your HHG, the sooner you’ll have them stateside, eliminating the need to buy all new couches, beds, TVs, and really just about everything you want to have immediately in your new location. Many of the stateside bases lack a “loan locker,” so absent of begging, borrowing, and thrifting, you’ll either have to wait or buy new, and as we mentioned, you’re already spending a ton just to move back. The earlier you can schedule your HHG return, the better. 

Plan for your pets

Just as you did when you moved to the island, be sure you have a plan for your pets to move back with you. Make sure their paperwork and vaccinations are up-to-date and you understand what your responsibility is for quarantining before going to your next duty station. Contact the Guam Department of Agriculture to ensure you know what steps you have to take, and when. 

Have your family come to you

Everyone and their mom (and probably your mom too) is going to want to see you when you get back from the States. Take it from us: You are going to be mentally and physically exhausted (and a little broke). Rather than booking that trip to see family as soon as you land at your new duty station, ask friends and family to come to you once you’re settled in your new house. 

Allow yourself time to adjust

Moving back from island life can be challenging. Sure, you’ll be thrilled to walk through a Target with a Starbucks in hand looking at affordable produce, especially if it’s in a season other than Guam’s “forever summer,” but you may miss some of the unbelievable perks Guam offers: the incredible friendships, the lazy schedules, the lack of a real hustle and bustle that comes with island life. And don’t get us started on “meat on a stick” at Chamorro Village on Wednesday nights. Give yourself time to acclimate to being back in the States.

PCSgrades Staff

PCSgrades and Realogy Military Rewards

For over 30 years Realogy’s nationwide network of A-Team agents has served the military and veteran community with 95% of their customers, just like you, recommending their agent and the program. PCSgrades is proud to offer Realogy Military Rewards.

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