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Military families budgeting for summer moves

May 23, 2022

FORT WORTH, Texas – Career military families who are relocating to a new duty station this summer are busy shoring up their household budgets for the move, according to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®.

Results of the fifth annual PCS survey reveal that 83% of middle-class military families (commissioned officers and NCOs in pay grades E-5 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) who expect to make a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) this summer have budgeted for the costs of their relocation. Fifty-five percent of these families say they expect out-of-pocket costs of less than $500, and 15% expect to spend between $500 and $2,000. The average expected out-of-pocket cost is $1,425.

“A Permanent Change of Station is a normal and frequent part of active-duty life, but it comes with financial challenges that make it critical to carefully manage the costs of these moves,” said First Command President/CEO Mark Steffe. “Military families know that government benefits don’t cover everything, and they prepare accordingly so they will be in a sound financial position when they reach their new home. Our survey reveals that 84% of relocating families feel extremely or very financially confident about their preparations.”

Optimism is also strong among military spouses who will be looking for work in their new location. Eighty-five percent report feeling extremely or very confident about their employment opportunities.

Service member families are eligible for a number of valuable PCS benefits, First Command coaches service members to take full advantage of these benefits so they can keep out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum.

“We recommend that military families keep out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum by doing their homework before a PCS move,” Steffe said. “A financial plan and advice from a knowledgeable expert can help families prepare for a move. Four out of five of our Financial Advisors come from the ranks of veterans and military spouses, so they know from experience the challenges of budgeting for unexpected costs that are not covered by government benefits. Through their deep experience and understanding of military life, they help coach our clients through PCS moves and other financial challenges.”

The Index reveals that 62% of survey respondents expect to have a PCS move this summer. Peak season for PCS moves runs from May through August.

About the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®

Compiled by Sentient Decision Science, Inc., the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® assesses trends among the American public’s financial behaviors, attitudes and intentions through a monthly survey of approximately 530 U.S. consumers aged 25 to 70 with annual household incomes of at least $50,000. Results are reported quarterly. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. For more details on our research, please email

About Sentient Decision Science, Inc.

Sentient Decision Science was commissioned by First Command to compile the Financial Behaviors Index®. SDS is a behavioral science and consumer psychology consulting firm with special vertical expertise within the financial services industry. SDS specializes in advanced research methods and statistical analysis of behavioral and attitudinal data.

About First Command

First Command Financial Services and its subsidiaries, including First Command Brokerage Services, First Command Advisory Services, and First Command Bank, coach our Nation’s military families in their pursuit of financial security. Since 1958, First Command Financial Advisors have been shaping positive financial behaviors through face-to-face coaching with hundreds of thousands of client families.

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