Australian Defence Force (ADF) families often have to relocate every few years, which can be both an exciting and a daunting prospect – some big decisions need to be made, the most important one being where you’re going to live. Children’s education, distance to work for both the member and spouse/partner, home insurance and lifestyle preferences are all factors to be considered.
RAAF partner for more than 20 years, Michelle Hoare believes that Defence families need to be well informed and should try to plan their move.
‘Our first move was a bit of a blur for me,’ she says. ‘Luckily my husband grew up in a military family and knew how to manage it all. Once we had children, it added more complexity than when we moved as a couple.’
Planning and being organised weeks prior to moving decreases the anxiety associated with the many deadlines looming. Michelle suggests starting to run your fridge and pantry down to avoid wasting food in the final packing at the end.
‘The less you have to move, the less you have to unpack. We have a bit of a rule that if you haven’t used it in the last posting it’s time to let it go.
‘The hardest moves for us were when our daughters were younger. Long travelling days often create very tired children. And adults. Ensuring everyone remained well fed was key to happy children in unfamiliar surroundings. I’d collect small toys and card games to provide the girls with entertainment on short notice.’
ADF partners face a number of challenges balancing their careers with the demands of military life. A recent survey of ADF families reported 58% of civilian partners found it difficult to re-establish their own employment following relocation.
‘With frequent relocations, sometimes the resume of an ADF partner can be lengthy and varied. I think it’s good to consider the transferable skills gained from managing relocations. Skills such as versatility, resourcefulness and adaptability make ADF partners effective project managers. These types of skills are invaluable to a potential employer.’
Over the years, Michelle has learnt the art of balancing career with the demands of frequent relocation.
‘I managed to secure a job in Sale, Victoria and then we were reposted to Canberra. Assuming my employer would decline my request, I asked to work remotely. But she agreed and we trialled working remotely for three months. It pays to think outside the box because I ended up working for that organisation from Canberra, Townsville and Canberra again for eight years.’
So what is the easiest part of the move?
‘Updating our insurance policies’, says Michelle. ‘Before we discovered DSH Insurance, we were with a few other providers over the years. After a discussion with my father-in-law (who is a Vietnam veteran), we discovered that DSH Insurance was also available to us. It’s now a lot easier just to change our address with the same organisation each time we move.
Did you know the “change of site” is an additional benefit available through your Home Contents Insurance Policy? If you are moving into a new home within Australia, DSH Insurance provides cover for your contents at both sites for a maximum of sixty (60) days. Notification of your change of address needs to be made within sixty (60) days of first moving to the new home.’