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Old 19-06-2010, 14:20   #16
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osirissail has it pretty well nailed down. A couple points about USAA. IMO because they were formed around serving the banking needs of the US Armed Forces, they are really focused on serving their customers (and they do it pretty cheaply). The second point is if you have a father, mother, brother, sister, who qualifies for USAA, you do too!

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Old 19-06-2010, 14:48   #17
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Addendum: USAA charges 1% on any type of foreign transactions be it credit card, ATM or cash advance. Domestically they do not charge for ATM - sort of - they refund to you ATM local charges up to a maximum of $20/month.
- - If you can get a better deal elsewhere and complete internet access to service your accounts, then I suggest going with the better deal. No matter how good the "insurance" company half of the operation is or has been, when it comes to banking it is all about costs and conveniences. I have been with USAA for 50 years and the banking half since they started it - and - as with everything in this world, banking service and access has dramatically decreased over the decades. Ah, I miss the good old days.
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Old 19-06-2010, 16:14   #18
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We spend half our time in Thailand and put everything we can on the credit card, groceries, gas, households, etc., so the "no foreign exchange transaction fee" that we get with HSBC is invaluable. And of course, there are rebates/cash refunds from the use of the cc like everywhere these days. We keep actual cash expenditures to a minimum.
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Old 19-06-2010, 16:27   #19
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I do the exact opposite using cash for everything possible and reserving the credit cards for very large expenditures. When my wallet is empty I stop spending so I have to regulate how fast those paper greenbacks are flying away. It took me 20 years of self-flagellation to learn to keep my plastic "fountain of endless desire fulfillment" under my dribble of income replenishment. The temptation to "over-extend" expenditures into the far future via plastic is very, very difficult for ordinary people - witness the $20K average credit card debt per American. I admire people with the stone solid willpower to contain/restrain the lure of plastic money to stay within their income stream limit.
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Old 19-06-2010, 16:38   #20
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Yes, you have to be disciplined and pay it off every month; otherwise, you can get in big trouble. As a CPA, I spent a lot to time helping clients work through this problem so i know to avoid it. Another advantage to using the cc or a debit card these days, is you have a good record of where the money went. And knowing where it goes is the beginning of good financial management. But there is also a good argument for using cash, it makes you more "aware" of how much things cost; whereas with swiping the cc you may not be as aware at that point in time. Both methods have their advantages, just pay off the cc each month.
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Old 25-06-2010, 18:25   #21
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go offshore. get your money out of the U.S. You can set up a company, bank account, credit card,debit card and invest your money tax free in one of a dozen jurisdictions in a matter of days. If you are going cruising and are not going to reside in the U.S then stop paying huge taxes that you are not benefiting from. there are dozens of copanies who specialize in helping you set this up and for a few thousand dollars you can set yourself up. here is one company that i know of but just google offshore incorp. Offshore Companies | Offshore Banking | Merchant Accounts | Debit Cards
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Old 25-06-2010, 18:55   #22
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go offshore. get your money out of the U.S. You can set up a company, bank account, credit card,debit card and invest your money tax free in one of a dozen jurisdictions in a matter of days. If you are going cruising and are not going to reside in the U.S then stop paying huge taxes that you are not benefiting from. there are dozens of copanies who specialize in helping you set this up and for a few thousand dollars you can set yourself up. here is one company that i know of but just google offshore incorp. Offshore Companies | Offshore Banking | Merchant Accounts | Debit Cards
Just so you know what you are doing. This is illegal and is called tax evasion, no matter what these companies tell you. Remember they do this to make money for themselves.

How would you look in stripes? Is it worth it?
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Old 25-06-2010, 20:10   #23
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It should go without saying that you should not do anything illegal. Breaking the law is not an option. But try thinking outside the box. The laws that apply to NON resident U.S citizens are different from persons who work and reside in the U.S. The United States is one of only two countries (the other is Libya) in the world that tax non resident citizens on income earned outside the U.S. Get some professional advice, and pay less taxes while you are off cruising.
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Old 25-06-2010, 20:21   #24
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It should go without saying that you should not do anything illegal. Breaking the law is not an option. But try thinking outside the box. The laws that apply to NON resident U.S citizens are different from persons who work and reside in the U.S. The United States is one of only two countries (the other is Libya) in the world that tax non resident citizens on income earned outside the U.S. Get some professional advice, and pay less taxes while you are off cruising.
If you are a non resident alien, you only pay on US source income. If you are a resident alien in the US, you pay on your worldwide income. If you are a US citizen you pay on your worldwide income no matter where you are living.

I am a professional.
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Old 25-06-2010, 21:11   #25
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If you keep up on the world news you will have noticed the US IRS going after "offshore" banking for the purposes of tax evasion - which is illegal. Tax avoidance is legal. So setting up offshore banking /investing as a US citizen must be reported on your IRS returns. Since the IRS is "hot" on this area currently, keep your offshore banking to strictly legal endeavors.
- - There are plenty of opportunities to earn significantly higher interest in offshore banks/investments which is legal so long as it is reported and the US portion of taxes paid. I get 10% interest on an offshore bank account deposits versus 1% on US Bank accounts, so it is attractive and worthwhile to have offshore financial accounts.
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Old 25-06-2010, 21:12   #26
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I have also used HSBC Premier for many years and have opened up accounts in transit cities like HK, London, Singapore and Sydney for the occasional visit.

They excel in multi-currency accounts and can thus quickly facilitate currency exchanges when favorable.

Because, with Premier you get a Concierge level of service from each “personal banker” it helps in any country that has HSBC to make contact and explain your particular cruising needs.

While 99% of what is done is via Internet so all cards are auto paid…you can daily receive up to $10k cash in crisp, logged notes and exchange anywhere at the best local rate.

Great service!
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Old 25-06-2010, 21:29   #27
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HSBC tops
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Old 26-06-2010, 21:32   #28
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Gee, I thought "HSBC Premier" must be worth some looking into. Which I just did and ran into this little footnote:
"1. To qualify for an HSBC Premier relationship, you need to open an HSBC Premier checking account and maintain $100,000 in combined U.S. personal deposit and investment balances. Business owners may use their commercial balances to qualify for personal HSBC Premier relationship. A monthly maintenance fee of $50 will be incurred if minimum balance requirements are not maintained. . ."

- - For those who can afford to keep that kind of money in a "checking account" or an investment account with them - great, but it definitely out question for most middle class retirees and those living on Social Security, etc.
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Old 26-06-2010, 21:42   #29
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Gee, I thought "HSBC Premier" must be worth some looking into. Which I just did and ran into this little footnote:
"1. To qualify for an HSBC Premier relationship, you need to open an HSBC Premier checking account and maintain $100,000 in combined U.S. personal deposit and investment balances. Business owners may use their commercial balances to qualify for personal HSBC Premier relationship. A monthly maintenance fee of $50 will be incurred if minimum balance requirements are not maintained. . ."

- - For those who can afford to keep that kind of money in a "checking account" or an investment account with them - great, but it definitely out question for most middle class retirees and those living on Social Security, etc.
Hey that's down in the fine print. You aren't suppose to be reading that!

Actually, we have a Premier account and you can qualify by moving any IRA investments to them which is what I did. You can leave it invested in whatever you're in, e.g. XYZ bond fund, ABC stock fund, etc. They just put it in a broker account and hold it for your direction. Easy and painless. No fees either.
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Old 26-06-2010, 22:18   #30
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Gee, I thought "HSBC Premier" must be worth some looking into. Which I just did and ran into this little footnote:
"1. To qualify for an HSBC Premier relationship, you need to open an HSBC Premier checking account and maintain $100,000 in combined U.S. personal deposit and investment balances. Business owners may use their commercial balances to qualify for personal HSBC Premier relationship. A monthly maintenance fee of $50 will be incurred if minimum balance requirements are not maintained. . ."

- - For those who can afford to keep that kind of money in a "checking account" or an investment account with them - great, but it definitely out question for most middle class retirees and those living on Social Security, etc.
Orrasail…. Like everything else it is negotiable depending on your overall relationship with the Bank.

I seem to remember outside the US, it was a lesser requirement and they would waive all fees for good customers
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