Moving & PCS

Effects of Moving on Military Families

The Full Restart

Military families move, on average, every 2.5 years, every move bringing great change and the need to start anew for each member of the family. Military life has pros and cons, but among the downsides is the stress from these restarts.

“It is a substantial setback. It usually takes us three to four months to ‘reset’ after moving due to security deposits, cleaning the old house, pet deposits at the new place, setting up electric, buying pantry supplies, etc.”

– Spouse of a National Guard/Reserve member in Minnesota

New schools, new jobs, finding new homes, securing child care, and settling in to a new community can mean a lot of adjustment. Layer on top the reality that, when military families move, they are often without the support of the extended network of support (e.g., family members) that so many rely on for big life events. So, for military family supporters, lending a hand, bringing over a meal, or simply saying, “Welcome to the neighborhood,” can make all the difference.


Financial Implications

The financial implications are significant. According to MFAN data, the average military family paid just shy of $5,000 in moving costs, including unreimbursed move expenses, unreimbursed damage, and household goods. When you move every 2.5 years, that adds up.

There are hidden expenses, too. Imagine these scenarios.

  • Moving from Alaska to Florida (Yes, it happens!): Your family will require a whole new wardrobe.
  • Restocking the pantry and fridge.
  • Paying security deposits and/or the first and last month’s rent.

You get the idea: Moves are expensive.

We recommend military families try to save $10,000 per move, but we also know that for many, that is impossible.


Resources That Can Help

You can tap into the resources below for move-related support. Don’t be shy — these programs are there to help. If you are eligible, use them!

Aid societies. Service aid societies offer move-related support, including child care, loans, and grants.

Finding a home and local move support. Check out Millie. Millie Scouts are available to put eyes on properties for you and even support with move-related tasks.

Moving & Financial Stress Infographic

Military families typically move every two to three years and each move can set the average military family back about $5,000.