Airman and Family Readiness Center
Unit 14002, Box 17
APO, AP 96543-4002
Phone (DSN) 315-366-8136
Fax (DSN) 315-366-8267
Cost of Living in Guam
Keep addresses of creditors to make payments while awaiting mail to catch up. Cost of living on Guam is high; TLA is based on reimbursements (not advances), so you must be able to pay for hotel accommodations and meals up front, usually a week or two at a time. As with all PCS move, try to have at least $1500-2000 (cash, credit cards, and lines of credit) available for incidentals prior to arrival; families should have more.
Plan a PCS Budget
Apparently individuals who are going PCS are being told that they cannot get cash advances and that they should put all of their expenses on their government Visa travel card. When they file their claim for reimbursement, they find that they owe much more than their entitlement. This is true of any PCS, but is usually even a bigger problem when moving overseas, especially on a remote tour.
Personnel need to know that they are likely to incur greater expenses than their entitlement and they must be prepared to pay the bill off in full. If they have charged these expenses on their travel card, they could have a huge bill waiting for them when they arrive. Since the entire amount of the bill is due when received (no provisions for payments over time), they find themselves "in trouble". If they cannot pay the entire bill, they show up on the "delinquency list". This is even affecting some of our senior people and has potential to negatively impact our mission.
The greatest financial difficulty members and military family members have are controlling long distance telephone bills. In fact, the two greatest causes of command required PFMP counseling are debts from long distance telephone calls (often totaling in the thousands of dollars for a 2 month period) and easy credit payment plans (DPP at the AAFES Exchange).
Most major credit cards are accepted locally (American Express, Visa, MasterCard, Discover, Diner's Club). Local checks (including Pentagon Federal Credit Union and Navy Federal Credit Union) are generally accepted on the economy with military ID. Money machines or ATMs that accept a large array of cards (Pulse, Plus, Cirrus, MasterCard, Armed Forces Military Financial Network, etc.) are everywhere. Cash withdrawal charges at these machines are generally expensive unless on base ($1.50 or about double stateside charges). Name brand travelers checks are nearly universally accepted, as long as the amount of change returned is not to great ($100 or less). Financial institutions and the exchange will change large denomination travelers checks.
Off-base gasoline retailers accept their own brand gas cards. Many gas stations (including all those on base) also accept Visa and MasterCard. Personal checks presented with proper military ID are accepted at on-base gas stations. With military ID, the Exchange and Commissary will accept personalized checks from stateside banks for cash or merchandise.
When it comes to deciding whether to open a local banking account or not, one needs to consider the possibility that off-base commercial and government agencies may not accept checks from off-island. The Pentagon Federal Credit Union is generally considered off-island because it only operates on the installation. You'll need to make the decision individually.
If you have an account with them, local banks and credit unions will accept off-island second party checks. The money deposited by you will not be credited to your account for approximately 10 days to two weeks. Otherwise off-island checks, with the exception of the Bank of Hawaii, are not readily accepted on the economy.
Personal Financial Management Program
The Airman and Family Readiness Center can help you with many of your financial questions and concerns.
Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) is here to educate you and assist you in developing financial management skills. The PFMP provides guidance in solving even the most difficult financial issues during a one on one appointment, which can be made by talking to the PFMP counselor at the Center. Many seminars are conducted for all ages and the topics range from managing a checkbook to home buying.
Air Force Aid Society
Air Force Aid Society (AFAS) is the official charity which exists worldwide to provide emergency assistance during times of need. An interest free loan can be obtained for such crises as: basic living expenses, funeral, dental, medical, travel and vehicle expense. Personal Financial Management Program (PFMP) is here to educate you and assist you in developing financial management skills. The PFMP provides guidance in solving even the most difficult financial issues during a one on one appointments which can be made by talking to the PFMP counselor at the Family Support Center. Many seminars are conducted for all ages and the topics range from managing a checkbook to home buying.
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