Interactive Investor

How I kept my finances in order after escaping to the countryside

After recently swapping her London pad for rural life, Faith Glasgow shares her experiences and has some financial lessons for anyone deciding to do the same.

16th November 2023 13:36

by Faith Glasgow from interactive investor

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Having relocated from the big city to a quiet village in Somerset a few weeks ago, I am currently an undisputed authority on the complexities of moving your life wholesale across the country.

In many ways, the internet makes the process of updating your details, closing accounts, and registering for new services much simpler. However, there are undoubtedly bleak moments when you find yourself disappearing down an administrative rabbit hole, or stuck in an automated phone service that doesn’t offer the option you want, and thinking murderous thoughts.

To try and smooth the whole business, here’s a brief guide based on personal experience, outlining who to inform and how to let them know. It’s not comprehensive as I’ve focused mainly on financial services and areas where I got into particular difficulties, but hopefully it’s a start.

Alternatively you could pay £35 and make use of SlothMove, a dedicated online address updating business. I didn’t come across it in time but would probably have used it if I had, although it depends on companies signing up to enable the service and therefore isn’t necessarily comprehensive.

Bank/building society: I found it easy enough to update my details online, but this is not something to do in advance, as your current home address is an important factor if you’re ever asked to prove your identity. For that reason, do let your bank know as soon as you’ve moved.

Don’t forget savings or current accounts with other banks that you maybe don’t use so often.

Investments: interactive investor, my investment platform, required me to update my address via the website; you can’t do it on the app. I did it a day or two before the move.

Again, don’t forget about any other odd investments you may have with other brokers or platforms. This may be a good incentive to consolidate on a single platform, but you will need to ensure your address has been updated in both cases before the transfer takes place.

Premium Bonds: this isn’t one of the most time-sensitive changes to make, especially if you’re using a mail redirection service, but if you don’t update your address, you might eventually miss hearing about that life-changing win. It can be done easily online.

Credit cards: you may have a credit card with your bank, but if you have others with different companies, don’t forget to let them know promptly when you move. That will ensure monthly statements and bills are sent to the correct place and reduce the risk of identity theft. Your correct address will also be used as part of the identification process, should you need to get in touch with them.

If you have an online account, you should be able to make the change on the website.

Store and loyalty cards: it’s worth updating your address on any you use a lot and have accumulated points on, and particularly where home deliveries are involved.

Loan companies: If you have a loan with a separate company, you’ll need to let them know when you’re moving and where to, either over the phone or online.

Pension provider: whether you are contributing to a workplace pension run by your employer or receiving a pension income, you’ll need to notify the pension company in question.

It’s important, if you have other separate pensions from past jobs, to let those providers know too. Moving house is one of the main reasons why people lose track of old pensions: they forget to let the provider know, stop receiving statements and other paperwork, and then overlook the whole account when they eventually come to retire.

This could therefore be a great opportunity to consolidate any bitty pensions you have, either into your current employer’s pension scheme (if it’s a defined contribution (DC) or ‘pot of money’ plan) or into a separate personal pension such as a self-invested personal pension (SIPP).

However, it’s again important to ensure your personal details have been updated before embarking on a transfer, because any anomaly between details held by your old provider and those held by the new one will delay the process.

State pension: if you receive the state pension, you’ll need to let the Pension Service know you’ve moved. For some reason this can only be done by phone or in writing. Full details are available here.

HMRC: most of HMRC’s online services require you to set up and sign into a Government Gateway account. Once you’re logged on, you can update your personal details; this will cover tax returns, National Insurance, and state pension contributions.

Benefits: if you receive benefits such as Universal Credit or Child Benefit, your details can be updated via the government link.

Insurance: your car, home, travel, life, and medical insurance providers all need to be told you’ve relocated. Some types of policy (car, buildings and contents) fix their premiums partly according to postcode, so, depending on where you’re moving from and to, you may find you receive a welcome refund (as we did) - or conversely, that you’re having to pay extra. Either way, failing to inform the insurer that you’ve moved will mean the policy is invalid.

Charities: if you have direct debits set up for regular charitable donations, or are a member of an organisation such as the National Trust,RSPB or National Art Fund, let them know online via your account. Many can be changed directly online; some require an email.

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a useful way of consolidating your charitable donations tax efficiently, and saves you having to notify each charity separately.

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Others who need to know

Utilities: you’ll need to inform your provider at your old address; even if you want to stay with that provider when you move, your account at that address must be closed. The provider will ask for a final reading on moving day, although you don’t have to do that if you have a smart meter.

When you arrive at your new home, energy will still be being supplied by the existing provider, and you will probably find (or shortly receive) a letter from them, trying to persuade you to become a customer.

If you are happy to sign up to that companys services on an ongoing basis, it’s just a matter of setting up an account and choosing the tariff that suits you best.

But even if you don’t want to continue with that company, you will have to set up an account to pay for the energy used after your arrival. Make sure you stick with the standard variable tariff and there is no exit penalty attached, if you plan to switch.

This interim account has to be in operation for at least two weeks after you arrive, in order for all national energy databases to be updated. You can then make a switch to a new provider in the usual way.

Water: contact your old provider to let it know you’re moving and provide a final date for the billing. Find your new water and waste management companies using the Consumer Council for Water website, if you’re not sure. 

TV licence: amend your address via the TV licensing website up to three months ahead of your move. Your licence is not valid at any address other than the one it’s registered to.

Broadband: you may be happy to stay with your current broadband provider in your new place, especially if you’re mid-contract. However, do check its service covers the new locality.

If it doesn’t, or you’re out of contract and want to shop around for a better deal anyway, you’ll need to contact to cancel the service with effect from your moving date.

You should also get in touch with the new provider to register in advance of your move. There was no current broadband in place in our new house because it had been empty for some time and the account had been closed, so we had about a week without internet until an engineer came out to connect the line up again.

In that situation, it’s well worth signing up with your new supplier as soon as you have a moving date, to book an early slot for the engineer’s visit and minimise the internet-free period.

Mobile phone: call in or update your account online.

Council tax: you’ll need to let your existing council know you’re leaving via its website; to find out which council oversees your new address, use the government link.

Electoral roll: register to vote in your new locality via the government link.

DVLA: the government link allows you to update your driving licence details, and also to change the particulars on your car’s log book, form V5C. 

Doctor: if you register with a new practice on arrival in your new home, it will arrange for your records to be transferred from your previous surgery. The same goes for dentists, opticians, and vets.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

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