How do you get your mail?
Another question from the inbox. Giving up a house and being on the move means you don’t have a mailbox to go wait by. So how do we handle mail?
This is probably obvious, but our first step was to reduce the amount of physical mail we got.
- Got off as many mailing lists as possible
- Requested online billing for as many bills as we could
- Had client payments sent directly to our bank
You can’t eliminate physical mail entirely. We still get:
- Medical bills
- Explanation of benefits from our insurance company
- Verizon (even though we also get it online)
- Life insurance updates
- Driver’s license and license plate tags from the State of Michigan
- Letters from our Compassion Child
- Birthday/holiday cards
- LLC related mailings from State of Michigan
- College & armed forces marketing materials for the kids
For most of that remaining mail we outsource it to a mailing service. The service provides an address for physical mail. They scan the envelopes and send us a PDF via email. We can then direct the service to:
- Dispose of the mail
- Open the mail, scan the contents, and send that as a PDF in email
- Forward it to us at a current physical address
There are a number of mailing services available. We choose http://www.mailboxforwarding.com because they offered addresses close to where we used to live. We figured an address change of ~30 miles would seem less significant to friends, family, and clients than an address change to a new state.
So, that’s how we handle most of our mail. But the conversation doesn’t end there, because - at least as Michigan residents - we can’t use that mailing address as our legal residential address.
We got the mailing address set up. Then we went to the DMV and updated our driver’s license addresses, specifying the mailing service address as our new residence.
About a week and a half later we got a letter from the State of Michigan saying that the mailing service address wasn’t a residential address so we should update our driver’s licenses with a new address, and please use a residential one this time.
Or, they would just go ahead and suspend our driver’s licenses.
Can We Come Live With You?
So we have no house. We aren’t renting an apartment. Condo? Nope. Our house is on wheels and can be anywhere. But we need to have a residential address to basically lie to the State of Michigan and tell them that we “live” there.
We tapped our family and “moved in” with my in-laws, hoping no one would figure out that their downtown 17th floor apartment wasn’t really big enough for 6 people. It’s worked well. My father-in-law saw no changes in his insurance policies or had any other impact to his world due to us claiming his address as our residence.
They’ve just had to deal with the rest of our physical mail showing up there - mainly the State of Michigan related stuff that was going directly to the address we listed on our driver’s licenses.
As a bonus - having our residential address at my in-laws gave us a bit of warning when CPS was looking for us.
We Just Moved Again
My inlaws recently left their apartment to become fulltime RVers - so we lost the use of their address.
We “moved” to my parents’ this time, but also learned that we can give the State of Michgan both a residential address and a separate mailing address. This should stop any and all mail from showing up at our residential address and keep it all going to the mail service.
In the fall of 2016 my parents decided to sell their Michigan residence. With our youngest now 18 and almost graduated, we’ve begun to think about changing our domicile - so giving up our State of Michigan residency and choosing another state.
South Dakota, Florida. and Texas are popular for RVers. We started the research but quickly got overwhelmed.
For ease of taxes (and to buy some time for additional research) we decided to find another Michigan-based relative to move in with. This time, MsBoyink’s sister was the lucky recipient of our residency.
Different State by State
Different states have different laws regarding the address you use on your driver’s license - so if you aren’t a Michigan resident be sure to check and see what you can do. We’ve talked to other fulltime RVers that can use their mailing address as their residential address which would make things much easier.
How About You?
What do you do for mail? Have you had to “move in” with a friend or family member just to keep the government happy?