I’ve been thinking about this question for over two years now as I’m just about to enter my third year as geographical bachelor. I’ve been stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland with the 1st Recruiting Brigade and my family maintains residence on Hanscom AFB in Massachusetts.
So, someone please tell me what problem military commands have with being a geographical bachelor? I do the math about twice a month (always on pay day as I look at my USAA bank account and ponder bills) and I have come up with this: $30K. Thirty thousand dollars! $30,000!!! That’s what not having a geographical program in the Army has cost me in the two years I’ve been in Maryland and that figure only rises every month that I don’t PCS.
I know that to become a geo bach was my choice and that I knew that there was no program available when I chose to do it. That being said, I think I made the right choice when I did it. My wife was in school and had a good job that she has had for 8 years now, on base. My kids were in school, one a senior and the other two enrolled in college. More than that, they were ingrained in the community of Hanscom AFB and Bedford, Ma.
Some Issues Caused By Army Geographical Bachelor Status
It didn’t really start bothering me, though, until I started to hear rumors of empty barracks space that was going unused. Then I saw friends and colleagues try to sell or rent out houses as their whole family PCS’ed in a bad housing market. They took losses on their house sales or were forced to “eat” the mortgage payment until they found a renter-sometimes for 6 months to a year!
I know that I’ve personally been put into financial dire straits by having to support two households for over two years. My savings has been near depleted and I now live month-to-month, paycheck-to-paycheck. The only smart thing that I’ve done, and may save me in the long run, is that I never stopped contributing to my TSP fund even though that monthly money could be put to good use every pay period, but it helps to reduce military taxes.
So, I’m looking to hear from other geographical bachelors out there, from any service. What has your geo bach experience been like? Financially? Impact on the family and your marriage?