Vanguard Investments while living overseas

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kathy
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Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by kathy » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:56 pm

A few days ago I saw a post on this forum about maintaining an address with
Vanguard USA while (permanently) living overseas. Would appreciate any
comment on this post or if someone could be re-post it.
Very many thanks to all.
kathy
kathy

jjface
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Re: Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by jjface » Mon Sep 12, 2016 3:59 pm

I doubt they will allow it if they ever found out you were resident abroad. At best you accounts would be frozen ie no more buying (but they will allow dividend reinvestment).
There are some brokers that are more internationally friendly like Schwab and interactivebrokers.

*3!4!/5!
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Re: Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by *3!4!/5! » Mon Sep 12, 2016 5:35 pm

Good question. I wonder about this for taxable investment accounts and IRAs. Also checking/savings accounts and debit/credit cards. What happens with all these if you are permanently/mostly living overseas? (I'm thinking of the case where accounts/cards are established while a US citizen/resident, then becoming a US citizen/non-resident.) Sorry if this is a hijack - just expanding the OP's question.

asset_chaos
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Re: Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by asset_chaos » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:06 pm

There seems to be contradictory stories about this, and I don't know what Vanguard's official policy is. But, I've lived abroad for 20 years and had opened my Vanguard account 10 years before that. I've never had my account frozen or restricted, I've opened new accounts for children and a trust, I;ve had Vanguard wire money to me abroad when I bought a house. Vanguard certainly knows where I live; it's no secret. On the few occasions I've needed to call them on the phone, they know where I am to arrange a convenient time to call due to the time difference. If they object in general to accounts in the name of US citizens resident abroad, they've concocted some special reason to exempt me. And since my account's not big enough for them to go too far out of their way, I doubt that.

The only thing I can think of is that Vanguard may treat people who open their first account post the law changes on foreign account holders differently from those who had long tenured accounts prior to the changes. But that's merely speculation on my part.
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AlohaJoe
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Re: Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Sep 12, 2016 9:43 pm

I've had the same experience as asset_chaos. I have no problems with my Vanguard accounts abroad and they certainly know where I am. But there are certainly a fair number of stories of people who have had problems. My theory is the same as asset_chaos's: if you set up the account long enough ago you are grandfathered in. But for new accounts they seem more strict.
*3!4!/5! wrote:Also checking/savings accounts and debit/credit cards. What happens with all these if you are permanently/mostly living overseas?
In my experience, none of those organisations care where you are. However, you may run into logistical issues where their systems and processes just aren't set up to handle someone who is not in the US. The most common one of these is just that their forms & systems don't have any notion of a non-US mailing address, so when your card expires and you get a new one they can't send it to you.

Most expats deal with that by setting their mailing address to a friend or relative.

Some other situations where they aren't explicitly anti-expat but just have a US-centric view:

- Often have no notion of non-US phone numbers, which causes problems with any kind of SMS verification. (Wells Fargo, Vanguard, and others do this.)
- Not all services are available online. Wells Fargo told me to just go into a branch to do a wire transfer. That's not really an option....
- Expect services that don't exist outside of the US. Like a Medallion signature on a form.

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in_reality
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Re: Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by in_reality » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:58 pm

AlohaJoe wrote: Most expats deal with that by setting their mailing address to a friend or relative.

Some other situations where they aren't explicitly anti-expat but just have a US-centric view:

- Often have no notion of non-US phone numbers, which causes problems with any kind of SMS verification. (Wells Fargo, Vanguard, and others do this.)
- Not all services are available online. Wells Fargo told me to just go into a branch to do a wire transfer. That's not really an option....
- Expect services that don't exist outside of the US. Like a Medallion signature on a form.
It's best to get a US number. Anveo.com can get you a cheap(1) US number that accepts SMS verifications. It works with Wells Fargo!!

I use my bother's address for banks since that's where I grew up, have my DL and am in public records at.

Before having a US number, I tried to give Vanguard my overseas mobile and ended up with frozen accounts. Was fighting them over mistakes in my account so that may have played a role. Also, I think much depends on your country of residence. Schwab has an international account, but even they can't accept new customers from certain countries (list is growing) due to that country's laws. Interactive Brokers maintains office in most country are able to accept you just about anywhere.

Get a credit card before you leave, they aren't going to accept income from overseas when they run a credit check.

(1) It's really really cheap actually. If you want the SMS to come to your mobile (instead of using their web interface to send/recieve), then you need a monthly package of $8 or so/month. Otherwise it's just pretty low charges if you make an international call and SMS usage fees. By far the cheapest out there and the only place that seems to support SMS. Don't let them know how good they are.

Diogenes
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Re: Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by Diogenes » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:30 pm

in_reality wrote:
AlohaJoe wrote: Most expats deal with that by setting their mailing address to a friend or relative.

Some other situations where they aren't explicitly anti-expat but just have a US-centric view:

- Often have no notion of non-US phone numbers, which causes problems with any kind of SMS verification. (Wells Fargo, Vanguard, and others do.
It's best to get a US number. Anveo.com can get you a cheap(1) US number that accepts SMS verifications. It works with Wells Fargo!!

(1) It's really really cheap actually. If you want the SMS to come to your mobile (instead of using their web interface to send/recieve), then you need a monthly package of $8 or so/month. Otherwise it's just pretty low charges if you make an international call and SMS usage fees. By far the cheapest out there and the only place that seems to support SMS. Don't let them know how good they are.
Google voice works well for this, including SMS verifications, and it's free...
The SMS goes to your email - no problem. The voicemails also. You can port a U.S. Mobile number to GV if you have not yet left and wish to keep the same number.
I've used it for this purpose for some time.

AlohaJoe
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Re: Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by AlohaJoe » Mon Sep 12, 2016 11:53 pm

in_reality wrote:It's best to get a US number. Anveo.com can get you a cheap(1) US number that accepts SMS verifications. It works with Wells Fargo!!
I looked at anveo a while back. I couldn't justify spending $2/month on them. I need an SMS about once every three months, so that worked out to $6 per SMS. I ended up going with NextPlus http://www.nextplus.me/ for now, which works for my limited needs and so far hasn't cost me anything.

My hope is that more companies realise that SMS authentication is bad -- https://www.wired.com/2016/06/hey-stop- ... ntication/ -- and just use apps. But it will probably take a few years for that to happen, given how backwards US banks are compared to their global competition.

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Kitty Telltales
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Re: Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by Kitty Telltales » Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:17 am

I've just admitted a week ago to Vanguard that I actually live abroad, in Germany. It's taken me 10 years to come clean with some of my American banks that I really live abroad. I have a Florida address, but I am only there a few weeks a year. I've tried using relative and friend's addresses, but I feel like I am imposing, and they weren't especially reliable in the past.

At the moment I am trying transfer an IRA from Capitalone360 (they believe I am in Florida) to Vanguard. Vanguard asked for a Medallion signature for the transfer. I was on vacation in Florida so I thought it would be easy peasy. I spent and afternoon going to several banks and even a Schwab office trying to get a Medallion signature and it was impossible. Was told by Bank of America that they haven't provided that service for years, Schwab couldn't help either, others wouldn't help because I didn't have an account with them. I called Vanguard's customer service feeling quite frustrated and was told that although their transfer form says the Medallion signature is required, it's probably not necessary if I don't transfer a really large amount, what ever that may be.

I'm back home in Germany and keeping my fingers crossed that all goes well. Life is interesting.

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aj76er
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Re: Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by aj76er » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:33 am

Kitty Telltales wrote: I spent and afternoon going to several banks and even a Schwab office trying to get a Medallion signature and it was impossible. Was told by Bank of America that they haven't provided that service for years, Schwab couldn't help either, others wouldn't help because I didn't have an account with them.
FWIW, Wells Fargo offers this, and I believe Fidelity does as well. I needed this to open a Treasury Direct account, and was able to get it from Wells Fargo instantly (although I am an existing customer).
"Buy-and-hold, long-term, all-market-index strategies, implemented at rock-bottom cost, are the surest of all routes to the accumulation of wealth" - John C. Bogle

canga
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Re: Vanguard Investments while living overseas

Post by canga » Tue Sep 13, 2016 9:47 am

I've lived overseas for a decade and not had any problems with Vanguard. Using parent's address and pay $9.99 for a USA phone number via MagicJack. I've noticed that MagicJack cannot receive text messages from Vanguard, but receives the automatic phone calls just fine.

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