There are some significant differences in the cost of living between BFG and UK. If you are used to receiving Local Overseas Allowance (LOA), you will not be eligible to receive it in the UK and may need to sit down and review your monthly budget. See this section for the Finance Calculator.

For those that have been receiving Kindergeld, you must cancel it before you are due to leave BFG as you are not entitled to receive it in the UK. As a result you may need to consider your monthly budget accordingly. 

If you are a driver you may notice that you will be spending more on fuel, as you will no longer be receiving the subsidised fuel rates that you have enjoyed in Germany. Being aware of the differences and taking them into account as you budget for life in the UK can help make the transition smoother for you and your family. 

Important

You must have repaid debt or have processes in place to repay debt upon leaving Germany. Debt will follow you - failure to repay debt or ensure debt continues to be repaid may result in you being pursued by debt organisations through the courts in the UK. In addition, any unpaid debt left in Germany is likely to lead to arrest on re-entry to Germany.

For advice on debt visit: www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk or www.moneyforce.org.uk

Why does LOA stop when I move back to the UK?

LOA contributes towards the neccessary additional costs of day to day living when soldiers are requested to serve overseas. Therefore when you move back to the UK, this entitlement is stopped. 

Are you starting to wonder how your finances will compare when you move back to the UK? Knowing your disposable income will allow you to start to plan spousal employment, decide what cars you will run and have an idea of how much money you will have left over. The BFG Finance Calculator has been put together to help you understand the main differences between Germany and the UK.

Finance Calculator

Best viewed on a desktop computer, you will need to accept the conditions and enable macros.

 

The graphics below show some generic examples. 

single difference

married soldier difference

married officer difference

Disclaimer

The calculations provided are for guidance purposes only and not intended to provide you with financial advice. Although every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided is as accurate as possible, no representative or warranty, express or implied, is given to its accuracy and the MOD does not accept any liability for error or omission. 

Finance: Cancellations

Many contracts in Germany operate differently to those in the UK, often running on a two-year cycle, and require cancellation in writing prior to the end of the cycle. If you cancel a contract during the two year period, you may be liable to pay for the remainder of the contract, depending on the provider, so don’t be surprised if this happens. Some companies may let you out of a contract early with no penalty if you provide a copy of your AO/Certificate in lieu at the point of cancellation.
Try to give as much notice of your departure as possible.
Information and examples of cancellation letters in English and German are available from your UWO, the HIVE and BFGnet.

Top Tip

You should ensure all cancellations are done in writing and request a written confirmation of final termination. 

Car Insurance

Check that your car insurance is valid for residency in the UK and arrange cover with a UK company. There is a legal requirement to register your car with DVLA and you will not be able to de-register your vehicles in BFG without it. If changing companies, remember to get your ‘Certificate of No Claims’ from your existing provider before you leave. 

Kindergeld

All recipients of Kindergeld are reminded that they must inform the relevant authority when they are leaving BFG in order to cease Kindergeld payments. Please provide your UK bank details when you cancel your Kindergeld so that final payments may be made after you have closed your German bank account. Cancellation forms are available at your UWO, the HIVE and BFGnet. If you have applied for Kindergeld and are still awaiting a response, you should contact the Kindergeld office to inform them of your UK bank details and forwarding address. 

Breakdown Cover

Make sure you review your breakdown cover. If you choose to cancel your policy on move to the UK, please make sure you find an alternative provider. However, if you choose to stay with your current cover, remember to update your address.

German Bank Accounts

Prior to cancelling your German bank don’t forget to finalise any bills – while your German account is still active, you need to take into account any outstanding or final payments that may be due. 

The bank should be notified at least 4 weeks prior to the closure of your account. The application for closing bank accounts has to be signed personally. Should you have a joint account with your partner, both signatures are required. Be prepared to leave a forwarding address with the  bank. You should ensure that sufficient money is left in the account to cover any remaining payments before closure. 

Phone and Internet Contracts

You must ensure that you cancel your Phone and Internet contracts prior to leaving Germany, this includes WiFi contracts in SLA. A few tips to remember when you cancel your contracts:

TIP 1 – Cancellation.

This applies to contracts with companies that do not allow early termination of the contract without paying for the unused months. When it comes to cancelling your contract on assignment outside of Germany and your end-of-tour date is  after the end-of-contract date, give notice in time for the end-of-contract date and ask if you can extend the contract for those weeks or months. If they agree, you have saved the cost of any unused contract period.

TIP 2 - Get ready for cancellation.

Check your end-of-contract date NOW, write it on your contract together with the last date for termination without paying for any unused months, so it is to hand when you get your assignment order. Alternatively check online or by telephone to get those details. If the company writes back after your cancellation demanding half the payment for the remaining months, DO NOT IGNORE IT. If you do, they may sell your debt to a debt collector in Germany or in UK, and if/when they find you, you will possibly have to pay much more than the original debt amount. Cancellation forms can be found on BFGnet: telephone-contracts.html

Disclaimer

Please note that this information is based on that given by the companies to the Service Liaison Office. The Service Liaison Office can not guarantee the validity of this information. 

Finance: Set Up

As well as having to cancel contracts in Germany, you will wish to set up contracts for some of the services that you will require for your life in the UK.

Utilities

For most SFA properties and all private hirings, the utilities (gas, electric and water) are paid directly to the utility provider: most users set up monthly direct debits. On move in, you should receive paperwork detailing the current providers along with the current meter readings. You are free to source an alternative provider if you wish. Often it does pay to shop around to see which provider will offer the best rates, but this is your responsibility. Price comparison websites can be a useful starting point when checking the rates offered by different companies:

www.moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricity

www.comparethemarket.com/energy

TV Licence

It costs £150.50 for colour and £50.50 for a black and white TV Licence. Armed Forces Personnel are not exempt from requiring a TV Licence. In Ministry of Defence (MOD) accommodation on or off base, you need to be covered by a valid TV Licence. The MOD fully supports authorities in administering TV Licensing legislation. For more information on how to apply for a licence visit www.tvlicensing.co.uk

Car Insurance

If your vehicle insurance company does not cover you once you are resident in the UK, you need to ensure that, a new car insurance policy is set up. With more companies to choose from, you may find that your insurance is more competitively priced than it was in Germany. Again money comparison sites will assist you to find the most competitive deals.

Car Tax

Your car will be taxed as part of the de-registration process. You should note that you no longer need a paper tax disc displayed in your vehicle. All vehicle tax is completed online in the UK. 

You have to pay an extra £310 a year if you have a car or motorhome with a ‘list price’ (the published price before any discounts) of more than £40,000.

You only have to pay this rate for 5 years (from the second time the vehicle is taxed).

www.gov.uk/vehicle-tax-rate-tables

Telecommunications

When you arrive in the UK, you may wish to set up a contract for a monthly mobile bill, subscription or new insurance policy. Contacting a variety of providers to obtain the best price and most suitable package for your needs is recommended: many offer special deals for new customers.
Please be aware that, depending on the provider, you may find it difficult to set up an initial monthly phone contract if you have never (or not recently) had a UK address. You may have to set up a ‘pay as you go’ tariff initially until you have built up a credit score to be eligible for ‘pay monthly’ packages.