International Mail Forwarding

One Of The Biggest Challenges You’ll Face As A Retiree Abroad

One of the biggest challenges you can face relocating to another country, especially to a developing country, is creating a reliable system for having your mail delivered.

Not your e-mail. That’s easy these days. You can get an Internet connection in all the places I write to you about in these dispatches.

But real mail? The old-fashioned kind that requires an envelope and a stamp? That can be a big problem.

Over the past 13 years, Lief and I have experimented with many systems. First, we tried using my mom’s address in Baltimore as our catch-all U.S. address. My mom would receive our mail and forward it to us once a month.

But sometimes once a month isn’t often enough. And, careful as my mom tried to be, sometimes things went missing. Things like letters from the IRS or driver’s license renewal notices…

Since then, we’ve tested a series of mail-forwarding services, with, frankly, often less success than we had using the Mom System. Here in Panama City now, the questionable reliability of the Miami-based mail-forwarder we’ve been working with has been compounded by this city’s lack of street addresses.

Magazines finally make their way to us sometimes months past their newsstand dates, and we’ve been awaiting an important check for three weeks and counting.

Today a friend told me about a new mail service he’s discovered that we’re going to try next. It’s called Earth Class Mail, and it allows for online mail management. The “Comprehensive” service is US$39.95 per month.

All your mail goes to Earth Class, which scans the front of every envelope into your account, where you can review it online and decide what to do with it. Toss it, shred it, store it, ship it, or scan the entire contents of the envelope so you can have immediate access.

You can have a P.O. box for your Earth Class address, which is free, or a real street address, for which the charge is an additional US$15 per month.

As Lief responded when our friend told us enthusiastically of his find: “There’s no good way to deal with snail mail when you move around the way we do.”

That’s been our experience.

But I’m keeping an open mind. And signing up for Earth Class.

More here:

Kathleen Peddicord

Retire Overseas Conference Banner