Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

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scarabrad
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Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by scarabrad » Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:20 pm

Bogle Wizards,

Looking for a little bit of advice from those far more savvy than me.

My daughter was accepted to and will likely attend the University of Toronto this upcoming fall. We live in the US and would like to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate between the USD and the CAD (somewhere near a 12 year high).

We would like to open a bank account in Canadian and start funding it while the exchange rate is favorable. I am prepared to fund in $50,000 USD increments, or more. Anyone have an idea what would be the most favorable means of doing this? Banks typically charge a fairly large spread on currency exchanges and I don't think I can simply wire transfer funds to the university.

Looking for some creative ways to "pre-fund" college at today's rates. Just as an example, tuition, room and board for international students is ~$59,000 CAD (compared with something like $20,000 all in for Canadians!!!); this does translate into ~$41,000 USD, still a veritable bargain compared with US college rates.

Would appreciate any insight from y'all.

Thanks in advance.

SR

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LadyGeek
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:15 pm

Welcome! May I suggest you ask this same question in our sister Canadian forum Financial Wisdom Forum? You'll get expert advice.

They have a an excellent wiki, such as: Cross-border and expatriate issues - finiki, the Canadian financial wiki
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by itstoomuch » Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:59 am

DS used Toronto-Dominion Bank while in Canada (TDBank USA).
He was grad student (CS, UT'07) on full-ride and didn't need to have a large US$>CD$ exchange. He made money going in and coming out. :happy
IIRC he needed to show at entry, his acceptance to UT and adequate funding (award letter) during his time in Canada.
When he got to Canada he simply opened an account and had a wire transfer. Check with TDBank. You/daughter may have to make a short trip to Toronto/Ca nada to establish an account. Stick with established methods of money exchange, you don't want any problems later on.

He had a grand time. His undergrad friends found a way to visit.
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BF2011
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by BF2011 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 2:45 am

If I were you,
1. Open a fidelity cash management acct and put daily expense in there for her to withdraw using the ATM card in any Canadian bank machine. They will refund the ATM fee and there is not forex fee. Exchange rate you get is very close to spot.
2. Buy FXC or call option on FXC to lock in the rate for the amount you will be needing down the road
3. Search for foreign exchange services in Toronto. Quite a few places in Markham area. They usually give much better rate than banks will

Good luck

jjface
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by jjface » Sat Jan 16, 2016 4:55 am

Open an account with a canadian bank and then you can simply use one of the many online currency exchange places like xetrade, worldfirst, transferwise etc to transfer money. You send us dollars from your account, they exchange it and send canadian right to your canadian account.

slick_dealer_05
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by slick_dealer_05 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 6:46 am

For that much cost difference, your daughter might as well become a dual citizen and pay lower tuition fees

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InvestorNewb
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by InvestorNewb » Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:07 am

Norbert's Gambit is the cheapest way to exchange money. I live in Canada and have converted USD->CDN and CDN->USD multiple times using this method without any hassle.
My Portfolio: VTI [US], VXUS [Int'l], VNQ [REIT], VCN [Canada] (largest to smallest)

scarabrad
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by scarabrad » Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:09 am

Great advice thus far.

By dual citizen, I assume you mean marry her off to a fine Canadian? Neither I nor my wife are Canadian!!!

At 17, she just might not be agreeable with this plan...

Thanks again for the input.

SR

halfnine
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by halfnine » Sat Jan 16, 2016 7:43 am

jjface wrote:Open an account with a canadian bank and then you can simply use one of the many online currency exchange places like xetrade, worldfirst, transferwise etc to transfer money. You send us dollars from your account, they exchange it and send canadian right to your canadian account.
This. However, it is not always easy for US citizens especially non-resident ones to open bank accounts abroad. Furthermore, once you exceed 10K (USD equivalent) you will have additional reporting requirements to various US agencies.

Alternatively, currency futures could work if you are interested in locking the current exchange rate. Since the central bank rates are fairly close, utilizing margin and a high yield savings account (see postings by Johno on futures for how this works) it likely wouldn't cost you much if anything using this method to lock in rates.

slick_dealer_05
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by slick_dealer_05 » Sat Jan 16, 2016 8:59 am

scarabrad wrote:Great advice thus far.

By dual citizen, I assume you mean marry her off to a fine Canadian? Neither I nor my wife are Canadian!!!

At 17, she just might not be agreeable with this plan...

Thanks again for the input.

SR
[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]

MSchleicher
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by MSchleicher » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:22 am

slick_dealer_05 wrote:
scarabrad wrote:Great advice thus far.

By dual citizen, I assume you mean marry her off to a fine Canadian? Neither I nor my wife are Canadian!!!

At 17, she just might not be agreeable with this plan...

Thanks again for the input.

SR
[OT comment removed by admin LadyGeek]
I would suggest researching permanent resident status prior to researching naturalization and Canadian citizenship.

In order to become a Canadian citizen, you have to have PR (permanent resident) status for 1,460 days of the six years prior to the application date of your application for citizenship.

Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/citizenshi ... asp#status

Martello Shores
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by Martello Shores » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:32 am

We have cottage and small business in Canada, and use TD. A while back at least, Canadians in the US also liked Royal Bank of Canada, but I haven't compared services recently.

When our son was looking at colleges a few years ago, I seem to recall that accredited Canadian universities were among those eligible for 529 spending--you might want to check if you have such an account.

Be sure to look into health coverage. I think Ontario universities offer OHIP to their international students, and some US health plans, at least, cover some health care over there. My most recent experiences with urgent care (a cut, a burst eardrum) is that you pay up front, then seek reimbursement from your US insurance co. A few years ago, Ontario used different codes, so translation was interesting experience!

Your family will be crossing border frequently. Always best to be honest, but especially now that binational computer tracking is being expanded to US and Cdn citizens, e.g., goods, length of stay, etc.

What a wonderful college experience for your daughter!

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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:36 am

I removed an off-topic comment. As a reminder, see: General Etiquette
We expect this forum to be a place where people can feel comfortable asking questions and where debates and discussions are conducted in civil tones.
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by LadyGeek » Sat Jan 16, 2016 9:39 am

InvestorNewb wrote:Norbert's Gambit is the cheapest way to exchange money. I live in Canada and have converted USD->CDN and CDN->USD multiple times using this method without any hassle.
Here's the link: Norbert's gambit - finiki, the Canadian financial wiki

It's a technique named after one of the members of the Financial Wisdom Forum (and here) - Norbert Schlenker.
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hmw
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by hmw » Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:10 pm

LadyGeek wrote:
InvestorNewb wrote:Norbert's Gambit is the cheapest way to exchange money. I live in Canada and have converted USD->CDN and CDN->USD multiple times using this method without any hassle.
Here's the link: Norbert's gambit - finiki, the Canadian financial wiki

It's a technique named after one of the members of the Financial Wisdom Forum (and here) - Norbert Schlenker.
My father, who is a Canadian citizen, has been doing this for years. I think he came up with this technique on his own, :happy

To the OP, I am not sure that a Canadian discount brokerage will let your daughter open a trading account. Better call them to find out.

Valuethinker
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:23 am

http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Canadian-En ... 0195445937

http://www.amazon.com/Xenophobes-Guide- ... 190604225X

both of these are probably worth reading. As is a Dummy's Guide to Canadian history (she will then know more than many of her peers).

The thing she needs to know about the Maple Leafs is that they are the most profitable team in the NHL, and they have not won the Stanley Cup since (?1966? without checking). A source of constant disappointment to Torontonians who are loyal to a team that never succeeds.

The CFL football rules are different than the NFL ones. College football is just not as big a thing at Canadian universities. Due to its academic programmes U of T has an excellent reputation for producing Olympic level athletes eg in Women's Ice Hockey, Rowing (both genders).

Raptors are relatively new but have built up a following for a game (ie basketball) which was not common in Canada. Blue Jays are a source of huge loyalty.

If your daughter is any good at baseball she may well find a place on the intramural team. At least at the graduate level, the departments with a lot of American postgrads (Medieval Studies, Computer Science) are accused of giving baseball scholarships!

Canada on the other hand does field good rugby squads (for a country where there is really only collegiate rugby), and that's a good game to cultivate an interest in either as a player (pretty sure there is women's rugby) or spectator- -the American universities it plays against tend to be the "posh" ones: Ivys, places like Duke and UVA (I think) etc.

Canadians are sometimes blighted by systematic stereotyping of Americans especially around the subjects of guns and religiosity-- at least in my day we were not as cosmopolitan as we believed**. The drinking age in Ontario last time I checked is still 19-- I think generally this is good because it means the kids drink at functions sponsored by their faculties and colleges so there are older students and adults around. Given that young adults will generally drink, they might as well learn about it in supervised venues.

As a parent visiting, the Intercontinental Hotel on Bloor Street (runs across the top of the main campus of U of T) gets decent reviews on tripadviser. I would also recommend the Cambridge Suites Hotel (downtown, just east of Yonge below Queen ie only about 6 subway stops from the 3 main subway stops for the University: Queens Park (College), Museum and St. George)*- -we've never had a bad experience there (they do have some stiff warnings in the elevators about outsiders coming in after 10pm so they may have had problems with parties-- but management is on it).

I believe that as a foreign student at U of T one is registered for Ontario Hospital Insurance Programme (OHIP) and presumably has to pay a premium. This will almost assuredly be cheaper and more comprehensive than most American insurance plans. Basically you show up at a medical facility, they take your Ontario Hospital number, and there's usually not much worrying about payment. Most medical procedures are significantly cheaper than in the USA. The downside is if you need specialized care and/or expertise, that may take time.

U of T has huge numbers of foreign grad students and so this path will be well marked and trodden.


* the way it works with the subway is it is brutal *inbound* in the morning, and outbound in the late afternoon/ early evening. The Yonge St line (N to S) is brutal around 8am and 5-6.30pm.

BUT from Queen St in the morning you either walk across the "U" of the subway line to the Spadina Line (public transport is the TTC -- Toronto Transit Commission, and the regional trains are GO/ Metrolinx) to the west side (Osgoode Station) and then go straight up to the university, or ride down round Union (the busiest station other than Yonge-Bloor because it connects with the commuter trains, and then back up to the university.

(slightly confusingly, the western edge of the University is "University Avenue" then "Queens Park" (ie the legislature) then "Avenue Road" (very creative naming ;-)) when it gets north of Bloor.

The main campus is bounded by:

Bloor St to the North (Bloor Street, which becomes Danforth Avenue further E, is the main E to W artery of the city)
Queens Park to the east (with some parts further east towards Yonge St, the main N to S street)
Spadina to the West
College St to the South

"The Annex" is roughly the areas to the west of Spadina (along Harbord) and also N. of the university anywhere west of Avenue Road. Once quite run down, it's now very gentrified in most parts. Ossington is the new "hip" street, apparently-- and that used to be really scummy in my day.

These days, every 'hood in Toronto advertises its neighbourhood identity below the street name.

** to quote The Economist's advice about doing business in Canada "Canadians have a complex inferiority and superiority complex about the United States. Travel with care".
Last edited by Valuethinker on Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:55 am, edited 2 times in total.

Valuethinker
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:25 am

scarabrad wrote:Bogle Wizards,

Looking for a little bit of advice from those far more savvy than me.

My daughter was accepted to and will likely attend the University of Toronto this upcoming fall. We live in the US and would like to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate between the USD and the CAD (somewhere near a 12 year high).

We would like to open a bank account in Canadian and start funding it while the exchange rate is favorable. I am prepared to fund in $50,000 USD increments, or more. Anyone have an idea what would be the most favorable means of doing this? Banks typically charge a fairly large spread on currency exchanges and I don't think I can simply wire transfer funds to the university.

Looking for some creative ways to "pre-fund" college at today's rates. Just as an example, tuition, room and board for international students is ~$59,000 CAD (compared with something like $20,000 all in for Canadians!!!); this does translate into ~$41,000 USD, still a veritable bargain compared with US college rates.

Would appreciate any insight from y'all.

Thanks in advance.

SR
I would have thought U of T does take wire transfers, but it might be a good time to lock in a low exchange rate-- although I could see the CAD falling below 70 cents US given the current economic problems.

Textbook prices are obscene, like they are in the USA, but the textbook store does do a rental arrangement I believe.

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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by Martello Shores » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:38 am

Some predict that loonie exchange rate (v US dollar) might go as low as $.59 by end of year:
http://calgaryherald.com/storyline/the- ... f-the-year

Valuethinker
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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by Valuethinker » Sun Jan 17, 2016 11:50 am

Martello Shores wrote:Some predict that loonie exchange rate (v US dollar) might go as low as $.59 by end of year:
http://calgaryherald.com/storyline/the- ... f-the-year
I could see it. Alberta and Ontario are both in fiscal messes, and Prime Minister Trudeau's priorities are economic stimulus. As the Fed raises rates, I can see the Bank of Canada holding firm.

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Re: Advice needed...US citizen attending college in Canada

Post by LadyGeek » Sun Jan 17, 2016 1:20 pm

Please stay on-topic, which is:
scarabrad wrote:My daughter was accepted to and will likely attend the University of Toronto this upcoming fall. We live in the US and would like to take advantage of the favorable exchange rate between the USD and the CAD (somewhere near a 12 year high).

We would like to open a bank account in Canadian and start funding it while the exchange rate is favorable. I am prepared to fund in $50,000 USD increments, or more. Anyone have an idea what would be the most favorable means of doing this? Banks typically charge a fairly large spread on currency exchanges and I don't think I can simply wire transfer funds to the university.

Looking for some creative ways to "pre-fund" college at today's rates. Just as an example, tuition, room and board for international students is ~$59,000 CAD (compared with something like $20,000 all in for Canadians!!!); this does translate into ~$41,000 USD, still a veritable bargain compared with US college rates.
Opinions of economic policy are off-topic.
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