According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 10% of Americans moved in 2019. Packing up your possessions and moving to a new residence can be quite the ordeal — especially when you are moving across state lines. The following five tips are intended to smooth the transition:
1. Evaluate the new tax landscape before moving.
When a higher tax rate applies to your new place of residence, you may see a decrease in your take-home pay. If moving for work, identifying any tax rate increases before you sign your relocation package may determine the need to negotiate a salary increase to match your new living expenses. It is important to pay close attention to property and sales taxes, which tend to be higher in states that don't tax income.
Depending on the amount of time you have to prepare before moving to a state with meaningfully higher income taxes, it may make sense to recognize some income before moving — if state-specific recapture rules don’t apply.
2. Request employer assistance with moving costs.
If you are moving for a new job, you can check to see if your new employer will pay for a portion of your moving expenses. This issue could be raised when negotiating salary and other benefits. Employers are typically willing to be accommodating when they are recruiting a new team member outside of their geographical region and may help cover temporary housing costs, a moving truck (especially for cross country moves), lease cancellation fees, expenses related to transporting vehicle(s) and/or storage costs.
If your employer is unable to assist with moving expenses, you can ask your tax preparer if a portion of your expenses are tax deductible.
3. Select a new financial institution.
If your current bank isn’t located in your new state, you may need to pick a new one.
First, decide what kind of financial institution may work best for you — whether it is a bank with multiple branches, an online bank or a credit union. While bank convenience is important, you should also pay close attention to costs. Ideally, you will find a bank that won’t charge fees for basic services (i.e. checking/savings accounts, direct deposits, ATM withdrawals, etc.). Avoid closing your old bank account until any automatic payments you make through your financial institution are switched to your new accounts.
4. Update creditors and financial institutions with your new mailing address.
Many of us automatically pay our bills via online accounts, but some bills may still arrive via mail. To avoid becoming delinquent on a bill that was mailed to your old address, you should update your creditors and financial institutions with your new mailing address immediately upon moving.
You should also prioritize completing a change-of-address card from your post office to ensure your mail arrives at your new address without delay.
5. Visit your new local Department of Motor Vehicles branch.
Every state has its own laws regarding how quickly you must register your car and obtain a new driver’s license after moving, so it is important to visit your new Department of Motor Vehicles branch soon after moving. Be sure to also inform your car insurer that you’ve moved. Depending on where you are moving, the price of your car insurance may change.
Though moving out of state often requires juggling many logistics, it is important to stay in control of your finances throughout the process. Following these five tips will help you strategically prepare your financial plan for your move.