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.