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.
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.
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 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.
The third thing is you could look into Traveling Mailbox. This company will scan your postal mail, forward to any address you tell them, deposit checks for you and will provide you with a physical address while you are on the road. You can check your mail from anywhere in the world so long as you have an internet connection. They are some of the best mailbox services in the business.
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!