Are you moving, or do you have plans to move? We suggest a three-tiered strategy that will help you update your address quickly and efficiently at a multitude of locations. This approach is convenient if you’ve resided at one spot for years, are unfamiliar with starting the process, or are overwhelmed by the needed changes. It’s not always easy to remember every place you’ll need to change your address.
Log on to the USPS “Find a Zip Code” web tool and verify the proper formatting of your new location, including direction indicators (NE, SW, etc.), or proper notation for a suite or APT number. Be sure to include the Zip+4 Code to help the carriers deliver items more quickly. With 71 streets containing the word “Peachtree,” our Atlanta readers know the pain of misdirected mail due to a slight variation in mailing address.
Tier #1 is all your usual suspects. These are the essential places you’ll need to update your address at first:
- USPS® – Consider utilizing various options available for short or long-term forwarding to get a jump start on the process. Head over to the Official USPS Change-of-Address portal to get started. Enrolling in this service, as well as Informed Delivery®, helps catch items you may have missed.
- DMV – Procure a new driver’s license and a revised vehicle registration. Many states offer various options, many no longer requiring an in-person visit. Your identification with your new address is frequently required for subsequent changes, so get an updated id card now.
- Notify Your Bank/Credit Union – Update all your and any household member’s bank accounts with each institution. Most brands allow you to complete the change online or via their mobile app.
- Credit Card Companies – Your billing zip code will likely change. Keeping it current eases purchases that require billing zip code validation. Save yourself online shopping carts delays of differing billing vs. shipping zip codes.
These are the top priority to change first, as the items in subsequent tiers might require proof of residence that your driver’s license or a piece of mail addressed to your new location would solve.
Tier #2 is your secondary checklist and can wait to be changed until Tier #1 is finished. These locations include:
- Your Employer – Essential for ensuring health insurance benefits and tax withholdings get updated based on your new address. This suggestion applies to remote workers as well!
- Insurance Carriers – Including property, auto, umbrella, and healthcare (especially Medicare and Part D plan – your plans may change due to a new location)
- SSA – Recipients need to provide notification. Your submission flows to other government programs like Medicare.
- IRS and State Tax Authorities – You don’t want to lose refunds or vital notices. Submit Form 8822 and notify the IRS you’ve moved.
- Other Financial Accounts – Investment firms, student loan servicers, retirement and/or pension plans (for retirees or those with future benefits)
- Old Service Providers/Utilities – Before disconnecting services, provide the new mailing address. You’ll receive your final bill or refunds faster if they know the proper place to send it.
- Magazines and Newspapers – USPS doesn’t forward these for very long
You’ll also want to inform friends and family of your address change in writing, especially if you’re the financial advocate or power of attorney for any of your loved ones. Make it as easy as possible for those you love to locate or contact you.
Tier #3 is your less urgent list, however, you’ll still need to change your address at the following places to avoid unpleasant mishaps:
- Online Shopping Sites – Don’t send all your Amazon goodies to your old address.
- Shipping Service Providers – Notify both UPS and FedEx and anyone who sends you packages of the new delivery address.
- Voter Registration – Keep your registration current before you’re turned away from the polling location.
- Pet Tag & Registrations – This also includes the information on your pet’s microchip. Fido can’t give them your address.
- Care Providers – Update all your care providers for yourself, your family, and your pets.
- Friends & Family – Consider sending out a change of address postcard or email.
If you are “paperless,” or think you’re paperless, you still need to keep a current address on file wherever you keep your money or do business. Don’t be caught in a catch-22 and not get something vital due to having an old address on file. You’ll need a current address for all your bank & financial accounts, 1099-SSA forms, tax refund checks, reissued debit cards, and notices (refunds) from tax authorities.
While work is required to change your address, tracking lost or misdirected mail is even worse and time-consuming. Don’t get caught missing vital communications, or you could be reliving the moving nightmare again and again. Don’t rely on USPS or other shipping companies to deliver without delays or confusion. Moving can often be a pain in the neck, but it doesn’t have to be. By following our three-tiered strategy, you’ll be able to put that nightmare to bed once and for all.