An All-Inclusive Change-of-Address Checklist
Whether you’ve just graduated and accepted a great job offer on the other side of the country or the time has come to move out of mom’s basement, moving involves a lot of headaches. Even though changing your address doesn’t require a lot of muscle power, it does take time and some legwork.
Fortunately, nearly everything about moving goes easier with a checklist. Here’s what you need to know about changing your address before the landlord or real estate agent hands over the keys to your new pad.
1. Decide on Mail Delivery or a P.O. Box
Most people typically use their home address for correspondence, but doing so isn’t the safest choice for all. Renting a P.O. box costs little but keeps your home address private, so those with not-so-nice exes may wish to consider this option.
The downside of a P.O. box includes needing to travel to pick up your mail. Also, some vendors still refuse delivery to P.O. boxes, although paying a bit more to rent one at a shipping and packing store with a street address instead of directly through the post office can eliminate this issue.
2. Contact Your Creditors
Believe it or not, some people prefer sitting down to write out checks to pay their bills for accounting reasons. While online bill pay and direct debit have made paying possible without the need to buy stamps, creditors need to know how to reach you, and most prefer to do so through U.S. mail for safety purposes.
For example, what happens if you lose one of your credit cards? Your lender will need an address to mail the new card and PIN to. If they still have your old address on file, who knows who may receive all they need to run up serious bills in your name? Unless your move involved leaving home for the first time, call your creditors.
3. Don’t Forget the IRS
The taxing authorities do not typically contact citizens through any means other than U.S. mail to protect security. Plus, if you’re waiting on a sweet refund from the treasury to outfit your new digs, you’ll be waiting for a considerable amount of time if the address on your tax return doesn’t match what the IRS has on file.
To make sure you get your money back from Uncle Sam in a timely manner, fill and file Form 8822 with the IRS and contact your new state department of revenue as well.
4. Get Street Legal
Most states provide a certain period of time for you to get a new driver’s license. Failure to do so may result in a fine if you get pulled over. Additionally, each state has its own insurance coverage requirements for drivers, so you’ll need to find a local agent or call your current carrier to make the switch.
You’ll also need to register your ride — operating an unregistered vehicle can result in hundreds of dollars for one traffic ticket.
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5. Research Banking Options
Even if you’re moving for a fresh start, you’ll still need to update your current bank. Since many people telecommute these days, they often overlook this step until their debit card gets declined even when their account is full. Spare yourself the embarrassment at the checkout.
Many banks require a billing zip code, so if yours has recently changed or is about to, let your institution know. If you lose your debit card, your financial institution needs to know where to send the replacement.
6. Update Personal Contacts
The upside to moving is, with few exceptions, you have the power to choose who you hand out your new address to. Those seeking a fresh start by moving after a breakup don’t need to tell their exes where they’re going unless they have children in common who will travel between homes.
Likewise, those less than keen on keeping in touch with college keg buddies need not fill everyone in on their change of address. Write out a list of which personal contacts need to know your physical location. Everyone else can keep in touch through social media.
Address Change Made Easy
With the help of this change-of-address checklist, changing your address when you move doesn’t need to stretch into a month-long process. Once you know what to do, you just need to make time, hop online and pick up the horn.
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