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Although we may want to retire in place, it may not be the place in which we spent the tail end of our working years. We may want a quieter, or a more stimulating, environment. We may long for four seasons or decide to give up shoveling snow. We may want to be closer to grandchildren or live in a place more congenial to pursing retirement interests. We may simply want to downsize.

When moving in retirement, keep these14 tips in mind for working with movers

But moving can expose us to frauds and scams: overcharging, loss or damage to property. To help avoid these, be sure to

  1. Interview multiple movers
  2. Be wary of online reviews (which may be planted)
  3. Obtain a written quote or estimate.
  4. Agree with the mover on a list of “high value” items which you are not personally transporting.
  5. Pack as though your goods might be stored in high heat and humidity.
  6. Do what you can to avoid storage, with the risks of unloading and reloading and unpredictable climate conditions.
  7. Do not buy new things to be moved, unless you are absolutely sure that they will be unavailable or much more expensive in your destination.
  8. Pay for insurance, assessing your possessions at replacement value.
  9. Read the policy carefully. Do not sign any document with blanks.
  10. Make sure that the mover is insured or registered online with the federal government. Registration, insurance information and complain records can be found by calling the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration at 800-832-5660.
  11. Receive two brochures which federal law requires the mover to provide:
    1. “Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move”
    2. “Ready to Move”
  12. Strenuously object to a mover’s statement that you have more items than were estimated.
  13. Do not pay cash and do not pay a large deposit before the move.
  14. Resign yourself to the probability that something will be lost or broken during the move – and that it may take a year of unpacking to discover it!


Elder law attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is an Approved Guardianship Attorney. She assists people in elder law, estate and special needs planning, guardianship and settling estates. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.

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