What to Do with Mail on Long-term Travel?

Hi,

I’ve enjoyed your regular emails for a couple of years now.

And now I have a question (more of a dilemma) for you two.

My dilemma:

Each winter I leave the cold weather of NE Washington for portions of the winter months.  But it ends up being for less than 30 days or no more than 57 days because mail and paying bills is my major challenge.

The US Post office will only hold mail for 30 days.

The US Post Office will only forward mail for six months.

I have begun the process of paying my monthly bills through automated banking, including; cell phone, TV, and mortgage.  But still I have some that need to be sent by check, like credit card bills.

Snail mail can pile up in no time at all

But I would like to be gone for more than 30 days, more like 90-120 days (oh yeah).  And I can’t have my mail forwarded to an address in Mexico or any other south of the border country.

I would assume there is probably a trustworthy book keeper or accountant that would handle my mail and process (pay) my bills while I am out of the country.

I am curious what do other folks do who leave for an extended period of time?

Thanks,

Tim

Don’t let something simple like your mail hold you back from travel. Click here

Hi Tim

Thanks for taking the time to write. We enjoy hearing from our Readers.

To answer your question, there are a couple of ways to handle your mail when you plan to be out of the country.

The first thing to do, of course, is to minimize any kind of mail that you receive. This means that instead of receiving paper copies of anything (your charge card statement, your brokerage house statement, your health insurance billings, and anything else) — just go paperless whenever possible. And it’s almost always possible. Reduce your junkmail at every opportunity.

The second thing to do is to get signed up for automatic bill pay for anything you have come in on a regular basis. Fidelity is our brokerage house and we have our charge cards automatically paid out of this account. Fidelity also offers a check writing service which will allow you to write a physical check and manage it online. That means that you “write” the check online and Fidelity sends a physical check to your Biller.

Go paperless whenever possible

The third thing is to look into mail forwarding services. People who full time in their RV’s utilize services such as these. These companies will forward your mail to just about anywhere — or you could try Earth Class Mail. This company will let you see (online) an image of your mail and then you tell them what you want them to do with it.

Of course it goes without saying that your taxes can also be done online and that you can deal with your accountant online and do electronic filing of your taxes.

Also, if you have a relative, neighbor or close friend, you could have them take care of your mail if you plan to be gone for any length of time.

This is a process, but eventually, you will have very little snail mail at all. Between your automatic payments and your online check writing ability, you can manage just about anything. There are plenty of options, and once you get started on this category of your life, you will most likely enjoy the simplification it brings.

Good luck to you and again, we thank you for writing!

Best,
Akaisha

Simplify, simplify, simplify

About Retire Early Lifestyle

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired two decades ago at the age of 38 and began traveling the world. As recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel, they have been interviewed about retirement issues by The Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger's Personal Finance Magazine, The Motley Fool Rule Your Retirement newsletter, nationally syndicated radio talk shows and countless newspapers and TV shows nationally and worldwide. They wrote the popular books The Adventurer's Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.
This entry was posted in All Things Financial, Q & A From our Readers and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.