Civilian Contractor with family of 6

13 posts in this topic

Posted

I am a contractor looking to take a job with my company in Darmstadt/Weisbaden and wanted to know if I can survive with a family of 6 on 50-60k for living allowence.

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Posted

you mean 50-60k for lqa? it'd be tough, but doable as you're going to need an unusually large house for Germany. Are your kid school aged? you'll get creamed by the taxes on dodds, literaly bankrupt creamed unless your spouse homeschools.

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Posted

Are your kid school aged? you'll get creamed by the taxes on dodds, literaly bankrupt creamed unless your spouse homeschools.

If he's a military contractor his children should be allowed to go to dodds schools for free, I believe.

He shouldn't have to pay for schooling if he's getting an allowance for housing according to what I've read on some of the other threads.

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Posted

we had 3 kids in school at one time and our tax bills were colossal!! Can't imagine having 6!! You should easily be able to get by on $60,000 for LQA though.

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Posted

Nicole, what kind of tax if the children are in the school?

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Posted

Presumably he has 4 kids since he mentions that it's a family of six.

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Posted

Yes I have 4 kids and a wife and she home schools them. I was told that my contract covers for the DOD schools if we wanted to, so the 50-60k would be for housing and utilities (LQA).

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Posted

The LQA is intended to offset the cost of housing expenses in an overseas assignment. I don't know of any DOD contractors in the Darmstadt/Wiesbaden area who are having problems finding adequate housing with the combination of salary, LQA, and COLA.

The processing of DODDS payments for contractors vary, but generally these are considered other direct costs. The DODDS payments are added to the contractor's salary for US federal (maybe state) tax reporting.

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Posted

Don't rent a house heated by oil; with 6 people in your family you will go through the oil in nothing flat and it will be incredibly expensive to fill up the tank 2-3 times per year.

Be sure to bring a copy of your marriage certificate and copies of birth certificates for all of your children. You may need this documentation to obtain military/contractor ID cards. Shot records too.

German landlords are not required to provide smoke/CO detectors. Buy at least four and ship them over with your household goods. Buy the combination smoke/CO detectors because you might end up renting one side of a duplex, your neighbor may have a furnace, etc.

If you are allowed to shop at the PX, the first thing you will want to do is buy a GPS with USA and European maps. Yes, it will be expensive but it will be worth its weight in gold. Buy a GPS with a reset button, or buy a separate stylus to be used to reset the GPS. Never, and I mean never even for 1 minute, leave your GPS in the car...when you exit the car, take it with you.

Make a car rental reservation from the States when you make your flight arrangements, you can probably get unlimited mileage. Recommended length is 3-4 weeks. Verify with the rental agency that you can return the car early w/o penalty. It will take several weeks for your vehicle(s) to arrive, and daily public transportation for a family of 6 will be expensive.

Anyone in your family need glasses or contacts? Go to the optometrist now and buy glasses/contacts before you leave the States.

It is incredibly cold in Germany. Recommend flannel lined jeans for everyone and down coats. And don't forget boots and shoes, the selection at the PX stores is not the best.

Good luck!

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Posted

Ha ha. I thought it was incredibly warm in Germany.

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Posted

Cold is relative...as in it's relatively cold out. I've a brother (relative!) which lives in Canada and he's laughs when I tell him how 'warm' it is here (it's like -30C there -often).

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Posted

ooh - my math was indeed bad. Still, only 4 kids in DODDS would still be a killer at tax time but home schooling and 4 kids you'll be fine with that LQA. Check and see if your relo will cover immobilien fees (most do for contractors).

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Posted

Also check to see if your company will pay you an allowance towards education. my Husband's company paid for DoDDS school or International school tuition and if you chose to home school, they paid $4000 per child towards it.

At one time, we had 3 kids in school and that added an additional $75,000 to our taxes, this in turn put us in a higher tax bracket, despite the foreign earned income credit, so it worked out that we were paying approximately 28% on each school fee in taxes. One year the company paid DoDDs late in January, so we had two years of school fees. That year we owed about $27,000 in taxes :(

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