I recently realized that most of my money is going into my checking account where it's just sitting there losing value due to inflation, etc. I want to open a savings account at a different bank (which has high APY) and move most of my money there but gradually. However, I heard that the government monitors transfers of over $10K. Is this something I need to worry about as I move money from my current account to new one? Is there any legal requirements I need to meet before moving money?
However, I heard that government monitors transfers of over $10K
No this is wrong. They want to know about cash or cash equivalent transactions over 10K, or small cash or cash equivalent transactions that are structured to look like they are under 10K.
So if you write a check to move the money, or you move the money electronically, the government doesn't care.
But if you ask for 10K or more in 100 dollar bills, they want to know. In fact two reports would be filed one for the withdraw and the second for the deposit.
They are trying to stop the underground economy. Where income can be hidden. They aren't trying to stop people from moving their own money between accounts.
Depending on the rules for the bank and how the money is transferred the new bank may restrict your access to the funds until they know the check was good. Talk to both banks if the amount of money is large, to see if they have any internal rules you may need to know.
No, there is nothing you have to worry about.
You can move much larger amounts between your accounts, even in different countries, without any issues.
The government is interested in large cash amounts, and in large amounts that appear from thin air (meaning they are illegally earned, or you 'forgot' them in previous year's tax filings).
Will your transaction be monitored? Probably.
Should you worry about it? Probably not.
Banks and governments tend to monitor the system for reasons like fraud prevention, anti money laundering and perhaps even tax evasion. And certainly big flows of money will be scrutinized more carefully than small amounts.
However, assuming you are making a legal transaction, between two (or in this case 1) individuals who are proper citizens, and the income to enable transaction has been taxed... then the worst thing that might happen with any likelyhood is that someone might contact you to ask what the transaction is for.
So in short, you transferring 10k to your own savings account is not likely to raise any suspicion, and will definitely not get you into trouble.
I've moved amounts larger than that between my investments and my bank account, or between accounts I have in two different banks, on a fairly regular basis over the years with no problems. The bank may have reported it, but I wasn't doing anything unreasonable so I had no reason to worry; more work for them, but invisible to me.
(Anecdotal digression about a specific multibank transaction removed, since someone seemed to object.)
At worst, you might get audited. If you haven't been trying to do something illegal, that's really nothing to be afraid of; most audits are on the order of "we think you might have made a mistake here, please answer a few simple questions."