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Six Ways to Prepare Snowbird Finances
Heading south for the winter? Here are six steps for preparing your finances before your trip.
In addition to stopping newspaper delivery, refilling prescriptions, locking windows and asking a trusted neighbor to keep a watchful eye on the house, snowbirds heading south to avoid winter weather also should ensure that their finances are in order before taking flight.
Florida and other Sunbelt states see populations rise during the winter months, an annual phenomenon that may be credited to snowbirds looking to escape cold temperatures in exchange for a balmier climate. Such an escape often is meant to be a relaxing retreat and travelers heading south can avoid undue stress by being personally and financially prepared.
“Our bankers work with snowbirds from all over the world because sometimes clients overlook the details involved in preparing personal finances,” said Melissa Mickle, PNC Bank’s executive vice president of retail banking for Florida. “Our team makes them feel a lot more comfortable about the ‘migration’ south. We share some basic tips that help them avoid financial surprises, such as missed credit card payments or phone calls from the bank asking about out-of-state charges.”
To ensure a sunny season, free of financial worries, Mickle suggests six actions snowbirds should consider before flying south this winter:
- Alert your bank and credit card companies to travel dates so they know where and when to expect out-of-state charges on your account.
- Forward your mail by visiting the post office or filling out a form online. You also should update your address with your bank and credit card companies to ensure you receive important financial documents directly and without delay.
- Find your bank’s closest branch and ATM and make a list of other branches and ATMs in the area of your home away from home.
- Write down phone numbers for your northern and southern branches.
- Check the due date of all your bills to avoid missed payments. Consider signing up for online bill pay or scheduling automatic payments. Travelling can disrupt your typical bill-paying routine, but it’s important to continue making payments on time.
- Sign up for online banking and download your bank’s mobile app to more conveniently manage your money and make deposits at home or while on the go. If you're less tech savvy, visit a branch before departing so a bank representative can walk you through these processes.
- Store valuables in a safe deposit box so they’re protected if something happens to your house. Be sure to only store items or documents in the box that you won’t need to access while you’re away.
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Melissa Mickle says organizing your finances before heading south can help snowbirds avoid financial missteps
PNC offers several ways to manage your money while you’re away from home:
- Mobile banking: check your balance, pay a bill or transfer money from your mobile device
- PNC alerts: receive a text or email notification when there’s activity on your account
- Online bill pay: pay all your bills in one place and schedule payments ahead of time
- Online statements: see all your statements in one place
- PNC Finder: find an ATM or branch on the go
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