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Old 16-06-2010, 18:47   #1
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Banking Outside the US in Western Hemisphere

OK guys next month my divorce will be final, I have a paid for boat, 6 figures in the bank and 40k for life yearly. Lifetime medical from my retired from company in US. I am 63.

From my studies, here mostly, I think I am OK.

The question is this, where should I have my retirement funds sent to for best, easiest access? Please guide me? Bank of America? UBS? American express? Is there abetter way? Help.

Idid a search here and I looked through dollars and cents and did not see a discussion, I am sure I missed it.
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Old 16-06-2010, 19:02   #2
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I'd say it depends on where you plan to be traveling. We use HSBC, an international bank with a presence in Thailand, because we spend a large amount of time there, but if your plans are not firm but international in general, I'd say any large international bank. Bank of American and USB would be two I'd consider. One thing I like about HSBC is with their Premier account you get a MasterCard that does not charge you a foreign transaction fee and we use the card overseas all the time.
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Old 16-06-2010, 20:04   #3
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Get it out of the bank, get a money manager at a brokerage firm and open an age-appropriate investment account. Conservatively you should easily average 5% or more. Money transfers from your account can be made per your request at little or no cost to any bank any where in the world. You should also get an international credit card/debit card with that account.
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Old 16-06-2010, 20:10   #4
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I was assuming the OP wasn't looking for investment advice but how best to transfer cash as he needed it. Investment vehicles are a whole other ball game.
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Old 16-06-2010, 20:24   #5
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Check out Charles Schwab. You can set up brokerage accounts to handle the retirement funds and separate bank accounts for the living expenses. They also have a VISA card that does not charge foriegn transaction fees. Cheers.
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Old 16-06-2010, 20:49   #6
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Since the OP is looking for advice on where his retirement money is sent so he can access it abroad, the question is not about moving his equity investments or pension plan assets. Although having an investment bank account that allows low balances and give fee free cards would be nice as most commercial banks charge around 1% (+/-) for any "foreign" transactions.
- - What I would suggest is finding a major USA based bank that has easy internet access to your cash/savings accounts and also has ATM and credit cards with minimal fees for transactions. The reason for major USA bank is that cash in a "foreign" bank has to be accounted for to the IRS every year and attracting their attention is something I will pay to avoid.
- - Being ex-military I use USAA in Texas but other banks like professional Credit Unions are good places to park cash that has been direct deposited from retirement funds/plans/Social Security, etc. There are also commercial big name banks that offer the same services but be careful to carefully investigate the "fees/charges/access" considerations.
- - You want to be able to walk into an ATM anywhere in the world and withdraw local cash for your local living needs. I use the Maestro system for ATM withdrawals. Debit cards are to be avoided as they can be used to suck your account dry by making purchases in foreign stores and shops. An ATM card can only be used in an ATM machine. They are hard to get as your bank will usually want you to use the debit card.
- - Credit card purchases overseas are only for major large purchases as most stores/shops will give discounts for local cash or on the flip side charge you a fee for a credit card. Your Federal credit card purchase protections are only good inside the USA and offer nothing outside the USA.
- - So I use local cash for 90% of all purchases and costs. If a major purchase is needed like a major boat part or service (marina slips, fuel) then I use the Visa or Mastercard from the same bank that all my retirement funds are being direct deposited. Via the internet I can watch the charges appear and guard against fraudulent charges. Then pay off the cards by internal transfers from my cash or savings account.
- - You need at least two or three credit cards handy. About once every year or two one of the cards gets "attacked" with fraudulent charges (or I lose the card) and the account has to be shut down. Then it is a month or two for a new card and account to get mailed to you. So you use your alternate card during that hiatus.
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Old 16-06-2010, 22:19   #7
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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Since the OP is looking for advice on where his retirement money is sent so he can access it abroad, the question is not about moving his equity investments or pension plan assets. Although having an investment bank account that allows low balances and give fee free cards would be nice as most commercial banks charge around 1% (+/-) for any "foreign" transactions.
- - What I would suggest is finding a major USA based bank that has easy internet access to your cash/savings accounts and also has ATM and credit cards with minimal fees for transactions. The reason for major USA bank is that cash in a "foreign" bank has to be accounted for to the IRS every year and attracting their attention is something I will pay to avoid.
Just to clarify something here, having money in an "international bank" is not the same as a "foreign bank account". If your money is in the US branch of a USB or HSBC Bank then it's in a US bank and not subject to the foreign transaction reporting requirements. By the same token, if it is in the Thailand branch of the Bank of American it IS in a foreign bank and subject to the reporting. Also, if you don't have over $10,000 in the account(s) at anytime during the year you are exempt from the reporting.
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Old 16-06-2010, 22:43   #8
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The question is this, where should I have my retirement funds sent to for best, easiest access? .
If I get the question right its how to get daily living cash in weird countries.

Most banks these days have online accounts so you can work with them on the internet.
We have a Visa Debit Card (not a credit card) and a Maestro Card (Debit card that works on the Mastercard system). Between those 2 cards all Auto Teller Machines in the world will splatter us out money.

There are teller machines everywhere in the world now because Vias and Maestro have been making a fortune on money shuffeling, so believe me you will not be far from cash.

With security, theres lots of different ideas... My account numbers and passwords are blanked out on my computer so I really don't know what the numbers are. They appear like 12345667 (highligh that line) and I copy and paste them into online banking. No key logger can get them.
With accounts, there are several so any excess money isn't in the Visa/Maestro account (What excess money?!). So if the cards are stolen they can only get a few dollars and not the main supply of oodles of cash

We have found banking so very easy! There is really no reason to carry large amounts of cash stuffed up some pipe on the boat. Just your normal wallet cash is fine


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Old 17-06-2010, 05:30   #9
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funds

we use UBS and are happy with them
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Old 17-06-2010, 06:45   #10
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On the lighter side, the old saying was even on deserted islands with one palm tree you could probably encounter a Tee-shirt shop/stand. Now it is revised that the Tee-shirt shop/stand is gone and there is an ATM nailed to the palm tree.
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Old 17-06-2010, 07:39   #11
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As others have said ATMs world wide so no need for large amounts of cash. Probably not the cheapest way of drawing cash but then you don't need large amounts for day to day stuff. Afterall what are you going to do with Egyptian pounds in your pocket as you head off across the Med to Greece

What I did find useful was an American Express card, although I lost it with the rest of my wallet in Gibraltar. Called into the Amex office and after a quick chat with coffee to identify myself, they cashed me a cheque (without guarrantee card) on the spot. Plus had a replacement card read for collection the following day. That sort of service when abroad stuck in a foreign country is nice to have if you don't mind the annual service charge.

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Old 17-06-2010, 07:58   #12
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The Bank of America has a very big internation branch presence, as does HSBC (with whom I mainly do my cruising banking). Using ATMs isn't an issue as long as they subscribe to your debit card's system - I carry one card which uses MAESTRO and another with CIRRUS and that pretty much covers me. Some ATMS (notably in Antigua!) only allow credit card withdrawals, but I've found those pretty rare. I've been able to get cash all over Europe, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean (plus North America, of course) with nary a problem apart from physically getting to a machine. Of course it doesn't matter where you are to do online banking.
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Old 17-06-2010, 08:06   #13
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The only place I have ever failed to use a credit or debit card btw is on French fuel pontoons (all of them). They only take French credit cards and of course, France just happens to be our nearest foreign country.
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Old 17-06-2010, 17:24   #14
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Many decades ago when I was crossing oceans weekly the only way to go was with American Express. But for the last decade or so American Express is almost "personna non gratis" in most of the western countries. They want Visa or MasterCard with Mastercard having an edge over Visa. A lot of stores/shops have to pay a volume based "commission" on credit card sales to the credit card company so the stores/shops want to handle only one credit card system to take advantage of volume discounts. That coupled with American Express's reported double high commission rates has caused many stores/shops, etc. to drop them. I haven't seen their logo displayed in stores/shop in years. Only Visa/Mastercard and the French cards.
- - And with the advent of ATM everywhere, the American Express Offices and their Amex Travelers Checks are ancient history. Even finding the old fashioned "Change" booths and such are disappearing.
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Old 17-06-2010, 17:27   #15
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Get it out of the bank, get a money manager at a brokerage firm and open an age-appropriate investment account. Conservatively you should easily average 5% or more. Money transfers from your account can be made per your request at little or no cost to any bank any where in the world. You should also get an international credit card/debit card with that account.

The only year I lost money was when I did this. Be very careful before you let someone else manage your money.
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