Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

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lynneny
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Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:23 pm

Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by lynneny »

I “surprise” retired at year end, in a megacorp layoff. At 61, I’d hoped to work a couple more years, but will start a little earlier on the retirement plan: move from HCOL U.S. city to a warmer, LCOL area. I’ve picked Mexico.

It’s harder now for American expats to keep their financial accounts than when I lived overseas (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, London, Spain) for my job. I know one option is to simply use a relative’s U.S. address and not say I’ve moved abroad, but I’d rather be aboveboard about where I live as long as I don’t end up bank-less.

So I’m thinking of making two major financial moves, and would like to know what Bogleheads think:
1. Roll over my 401(k) to an IRA at Vanguard, where my Roth is (I’m a Vanguard fan). My understanding is that Vanguard will let me keep my accounts as an expat as long as I don’t buy anything, and only sell (except for dividend re-investment). That’s fine.

2. Move taxable account/checking/ATM debit card to Schwab. I spent an hour with a VP at a Schwab office this week, and he conferenced in a knowledgeable person from Schwab International. The key points: She says I can open U.S. checking and brokerage accounts now, and transfer all my investments in-kind. When I move to Mexico around the end of this year, I can convert to an international account. I’ll keep the same account number, ATM card, and investments. The conversion takes about five business days, and I can access my account as usual during the transition. As an expat, I can buy ETFs, but not mutual funds (except dividend re-investment). That’s fine. I won’t need a U.S. address, although I’m welcome to give them one if local mail delivery is unreliable in Mexico (it is!). I can send wire transfers via Schwab to and from Mexico. And set up direct deposit in future for pension and Social Security checks. Schwab can provide a letter of verification I’ll need to open a local bank account in Mexico. Schwab International offers 24-hour service.

An an expat, I can’t buy new CDs from Schwab, but can keep existing ones. I hope to sell my U.S. home this year, and may put that money, which will be my budget for my next home, in a CD for a year or two while I rent until I’m sure I’ve made the right move. But I’d buy that CD while I’m still in the U.S.

Apparently all this can vary somewhat by country. She said Schwab International doesn’t do business in some countries; expats in Canada and New Zealand, for example, can keep their accounts but can only liquidate, and not add to them.

Apologies for insanely long post! I was very impressed by Schwab customer service, especially because I made it clear I’ll manage my account and am not looking for paid advisor services. Sounds like this could be the right (financial) place for me, but I’d love to know what other expats, or Schwab users, think.

Gracias!
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randomizer
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by randomizer »

Very interesting. I hope it works out for you at they said it would.
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in_reality
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by in_reality »

lynneny wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:27 pm So I’m thinking of making two major financial moves, and would like to know what Bogleheads think:
1. Roll over my 401(k) to an IRA at Vanguard, where my Roth is (I’m a Vanguard fan). My understanding is that Vanguard will let me keep my accounts as an expat as long as I don’t buy anything, and only sell (except for dividend re-investment). That’s fine.
As long as it doesn't restrict any rebalance you might need to do.

I'm keeping an annuity frozen at Vanguard in that manner.
lynneny wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:27 pm 2. Move taxable account/checking/ATM debit card to Schwab. I spent an hour with a VP at a Schwab office this week, and he conferenced in a knowledgeable person from Schwab International. The key points: She says I can open U.S. checking and brokerage accounts now, and transfer all my investments in-kind. When I move to Mexico around the end of this year, I can convert to an international account. I’ll keep the same account number, ATM card, and investments. The conversion takes about five business days, and I can access my account as usual during the transition. As an expat, I can buy ETFs, but not mutual funds (except dividend re-investment). That’s fine. I won’t need a U.S. address, although I’m welcome to give them one if local mail delivery is unreliable in Mexico (it is!). I can send wire transfers via Schwab to and from Mexico. And set up direct deposit in future for pension and Social Security checks. Schwab can provide a letter of verification I’ll need to open a local bank account in Mexico. Schwab International offers 24-hour service.

An an expat, I can’t buy new CDs from Schwab, but can keep existing ones. I hope to sell my U.S. home this year, and may put that money, which will be my budget for my next home, in a CD for a year or two while I rent until I’m sure I’ve made the right move. But I’d buy that CD while I’m still in the U.S.
It seems the rules for Vanguard and expats is rather undefined. I had my accounts frozen while others say they can continue openly. Perhaps it has to do with when one started as regulations recently have been tightened. Maybe some people were grandfathered in. The downside of a relative's address is that sometimes mail arrives. Even selecting electronic delivery only at Vanguard didn't do the trick and more mail than I'd like goes to the address I used. Also, after discussing with my Flagship rep. about how to get my frozen account reinstated, I complied by sending in a utility bill from one of my US properties only to have compliance reject the previously stated requirements and demand a pay-slip from a US employer. So my advice it to be wary about trying to use a US address or trying to continue at Vanguard from abroad. Not saying it can't work. (though your plan to just withdraw from a frozen account seem fine).

I've had a very good experience with the Schwab One International Account. It was a shame last year when the brokered CDs became unavailable, but those are the rules apparently.

I really like the 2FA dongle for secure logins.

I opened from overseas and so didn't get access to Schwab bank. The brokerage account does have checks, but I keep a US bank account to do bill pay (and with a child doing boarding school in the States -- man bills, bills, bills) as well as a credit card. Transferring between bank and Schwab's Intl One brokerage is easy.

Some people warn against advisor's at Schwab trying to sell things. That's always something to be wary of, but has never happened to me. I used to have a dedicated advisor but they switched to a team and called to check in - asking how my experience had been, commending me for using their cheap ETFs, and recommending TIPS or treasuries when I lamented about CDs not being available. I thought they were very professional but knew their office was in Orlando (a second international office is in SF apparently) and asked because they'd just been hit by a big hurricane. Sure enough they said about half the staff were going home to no power. Anyway, I appreciated their professionalism.

I continue to hold some Vanguard admiral shares, and use some Vanguard etfs (mid cap value, international REIT) at $4.95/trade. But mostly am in Schwab ETFs.

Schwab breaks international into separate holdings -large/mid developed, small developed, large/mid emerging. To see a market cap weighted allocation, I put a simple calculator up at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =842559917

(note: the calculator pulls data from Morningstar who sometimes changes their format. If something is offline, feel free to PM me. I don't look at it everyday)
Topic Author
lynneny
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by lynneny »

Thanks, that's just the kind of feedback I was hoping for. It's very reassuring that you've had such a good experience with the Schwab One International account as an expat.

I appreciate the link to your calculator. I'm just starting to figure out Schwab ETFs. It will definitely make sense to (gradually, for tax reasons) move into Schwab ETFs and a few Vanguard ETFs.

And I'll be wary of Vanguard. Before I roll over my 401(k) to Vanguard, I'll talk to a more senior person there to try to make sure my account will be ok as long as I'm just withdrawing from it. Although they don't seem to be very consistent about applying their own rules, or even knowing what they are.
cinsea
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by cinsea »

Ally Bank will let you keep your account as an expat and may be a good solution for banking.

If your can maintain over 100k balance you could use Interactive Brokers, who are expat friendly, including for countries like Canada. But Schwab may be enough. With the 100k balance IB won't charge you a monthly fee.
cinsea
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by cinsea »

Also I would recommend getting a local currency bank account wherever you go and use a company like Transferwise to move cash. Much better rate than letting the bank do it in most cases.
Diogenes
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by Diogenes »

cinsea wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:55 am Also I would recommend getting a local currency bank account wherever you go and use a company like Transferwise to move cash. Much better rate than letting the bank do it in most cases.
This is a good idea. Have you also looked at Interactive Brokers? They're easy to deal with as an expat and also good for buying/holding and transferring foreign currency. The Peso is quite unstable as you know, so you may want to send funds only as needed.

I've had normal Schwab accounts and never had any issues with the last 10 years overseas. The only small problem I ran into was with Fidelity. They asked for a medallion signature guarantee to set up a standing wire order. You can only get that in the States, it's not available in Europe or anywhere else that I know of.
I'm totally upfront also but I don't volunteer information they don't ask for. Keep a U.S. mailing address with a mail forwarder. TravelingMailbox is great for that and very efficient.
With the large number of American part and fulltime expats in Mexico, I doubt you will have any real issues unless you hold up red flags. Believe me, you will always be deemed a U.S. person for tax purposes by the IRS anyway...
Alotoftravel
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by Alotoftravel »

I too have a normal Schwab account and had no issues living aborad for 3 years. I recommend them highly. I am curious, besides of not providing Schwab a USA address, what are the benefits of having international Schwab accounts.
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in_reality
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by in_reality »

Alotoftravel wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:07 am I too have a normal Schwab account and had no issues living aborad for 3 years. I recommend them highly. I am curious, besides of not providing Schwab a USA address, what are the benefits of having international Schwab accounts.
Having an account in good standing without worrying about the address issue is the only benefit I know.
txranger
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by txranger »

Been expat 10 yrs now. No real issues, keep a valid US address. Few snags I hit with with opening Schwab bank (not brokerage) account from overseas — they tracked my IP, had to go in person on next trip to the US to fix that but no issues since. Fidelity, vanguard, Schwab, and TDA no real issues o/w. Just opened Acct w Merril for transfer bonus, they gave me a hard time but then settled down. Will keep it for bonus and credit card rewards but can’t rely on it.
This address issue is always in back of my mind now tho, started using vpn a lot. Keep accounts open at multiple brokers for that reason. If get frozen out, plan is to do in kind transfer to Schwab I guess. Anyone got frozen out of major brokers after having accounts for a long time like this? My impression on this as long as u keep a valid US address, they will leave u alone. Partic if u have a large account w the firm. Curious as to anyone else’s experiences.
FBN2014
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by FBN2014 »

When the Schwab checking account is linked to your portfolio account at Schwab there are no fees for checks, transfers or bill pay.
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Trav
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by Trav »

in_reality wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:00 am
lynneny wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:27 pm So I’m thinking of making two major financial moves, and would like to know what Bogleheads think:
1. Roll over my 401(k) to an IRA at Vanguard, where my Roth is (I’m a Vanguard fan). My understanding is that Vanguard will let me keep my accounts as an expat as long as I don’t buy anything, and only sell (except for dividend re-investment). That’s fine.
As long as it doesn't restrict any rebalance you might need to do.

I'm keeping an annuity frozen at Vanguard in that manner.
lynneny wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:27 pm 2. Move taxable account/checking/ATM debit card to Schwab. I spent an hour with a VP at a Schwab office this week, and he conferenced in a knowledgeable person from Schwab International. The key points: She says I can open U.S. checking and brokerage accounts now, and transfer all my investments in-kind. When I move to Mexico around the end of this year, I can convert to an international account. I’ll keep the same account number, ATM card, and investments. The conversion takes about five business days, and I can access my account as usual during the transition. As an expat, I can buy ETFs, but not mutual funds (except dividend re-investment). That’s fine. I won’t need a U.S. address, although I’m welcome to give them one if local mail delivery is unreliable in Mexico (it is!). I can send wire transfers via Schwab to and from Mexico. And set up direct deposit in future for pension and Social Security checks. Schwab can provide a letter of verification I’ll need to open a local bank account in Mexico. Schwab International offers 24-hour service.

An an expat, I can’t buy new CDs from Schwab, but can keep existing ones. I hope to sell my U.S. home this year, and may put that money, which will be my budget for my next home, in a CD for a year or two while I rent until I’m sure I’ve made the right move. But I’d buy that CD while I’m still in the U.S.
It seems the rules for Vanguard and expats is rather undefined. I had my accounts frozen while others say they can continue openly. Perhaps it has to do with when one started as regulations recently have been tightened. Maybe some people were grandfathered in. The downside of a relative's address is that sometimes mail arrives. Even selecting electronic delivery only at Vanguard didn't do the trick and more mail than I'd like goes to the address I used. Also, after discussing with my Flagship rep. about how to get my frozen account reinstated, I complied by sending in a utility bill from one of my US properties only to have compliance reject the previously stated requirements and demand a pay-slip from a US employer. So my advice it to be wary about trying to use a US address or trying to continue at Vanguard from abroad. Not saying it can't work. (though your plan to just withdraw from a frozen account seem fine).

I've had a very good experience with the Schwab One International Account. It was a shame last year when the brokered CDs became unavailable, but those are the rules apparently.

I really like the 2FA dongle for secure logins.

I opened from overseas and so didn't get access to Schwab bank. The brokerage account does have checks, but I keep a US bank account to do bill pay (and with a child doing boarding school in the States -- man bills, bills, bills) as well as a credit card. Transferring between bank and Schwab's Intl One brokerage is easy.

Some people warn against advisor's at Schwab trying to sell things. That's always something to be wary of, but has never happened to me. I used to have a dedicated advisor but they switched to a team and called to check in - asking how my experience had been, commending me for using their cheap ETFs, and recommending TIPS or treasuries when I lamented about CDs not being available. I thought they were very professional but knew their office was in Orlando (a second international office is in SF apparently) and asked because they'd just been hit by a big hurricane. Sure enough they said about half the staff were going home to no power. Anyway, I appreciated their professionalism.

I continue to hold some Vanguard admiral shares, and use some Vanguard etfs (mid cap value, international REIT) at $4.95/trade. But mostly am in Schwab ETFs.

Schwab breaks international into separate holdings -large/mid developed, small developed, large/mid emerging. To see a market cap weighted allocation, I put a simple calculator up at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... =842559917

(note: the calculator pulls data from Morningstar who sometimes changes their format. If something is offline, feel free to PM me. I don't look at it everyday)
How did Vanguard know that you were living abroad? Couldn't you just use a US address and then a VPN from abroad?
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in_reality
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by in_reality »

Trav wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:25 am How did Vanguard know that you were living abroad? Couldn't you just use a US address and then a VPN from abroad?
I didn't know I needed to worry that much about it. Wells Fargo Private Bank and a previous advisor before them didn't really care as long as I had a US address.

Vanguard had some trouble with my account (missing assets) and was calling my US address which was the telephone number on record. My brother's wife didn't like the calls because of a sleeping baby and so I gave Vanguard a non-US number to call and said I was traveling. Again, the places I'd been prior was happy to file a foreign mailing address and phone number along with the permanent US address.

Then when the results came back from the dispute resolution complaint I filed because my trade confirmations and monthly statements didn't match, the answer was "we have frozen your accounts for being overseas".

So I don't know if Vanguard is usually that strict about being overseas or if they were dodging my complaint that their bookkeeping errors were keeping me out of the market.

In any case, I am happy to be at Schwab. If Vanguard brokerage has so much trouble keeping the difference between (+) and (-) straight, then I have no business being there. The way it debits for an incoming dividend payment, then credits when transferring out to sweep then credits the sweep account is not only weird but systematically error inducing for them on certain transactions. Not sure if that's how the new combined account works, but that's how it used to be.
halfnine
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by halfnine »

I view being "bankless" as a major PIA. So, two separate banks/brokerages for everything and a VPN when accessing accounts.
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siamond
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by siamond »

I've been pondering about such a move, thank you for the experiences being shared here, very interesting thread.
Diogenes
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by Diogenes »

in_reality wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:46 am
Trav wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:25 am How did Vanguard know that you were living abroad? Couldn't you just use a US address and then a VPN from abroad?

Vanguard had some trouble with my account (missing assets) and was calling my US address which was the telephone number on record. My brother's wife didn't like the calls because of a sleeping baby and so I gave Vanguard a non-US number to call and said I was traveling. Again, the places I'd been prior was happy to file a foreign mailing address and phone number along with the permanent US address.
Suggest Google Voice. Phone problem solved!
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in_reality
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by in_reality »

Diogenes wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:38 am
in_reality wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:46 am
Trav wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:25 am How did Vanguard know that you were living abroad? Couldn't you just use a US address and then a VPN from abroad?

Vanguard had some trouble with my account (missing assets) and was calling my US address which was the telephone number on record. My brother's wife didn't like the calls because of a sleeping baby and so I gave Vanguard a non-US number to call and said I was traveling. Again, the places I'd been prior was happy to file a foreign mailing address and phone number along with the permanent US address.
Suggest Google Voice. Phone problem solved!
Too late now. I just really didn't know.

Actually, I tried but wasn't able to get a US number from Google. I started using Anveo after the fact though. I can get short code SMS messages that way (from banks or other places requiring verification).
halfnine
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by halfnine »

I switched my cell phone number to google voice when I left. I also set up a SkypeIn number for the USA as well as additional numbers for other countries. OTOH, it's around 50 USD per phone number per year. I am sure there are probably other options these days but having a local number in various countries with Skype has worked for me.
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lynneny
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by lynneny »

Thank you for all the ideas and insights!

Good to know about Ally and Interactive Brokers, and I'll definitely open a local currency account at a bank in Mexico, and only transfer money into pesos as needed.

Diogenes, thank you for the great tips about Traveling Mailbox and Google Voice. I do want a U.S. address for mail forwarding (family members are lovable but not too reliable so I'd rather pay for the service). I see Traveling Mailbox has a lot of addresses to choose from in different states. Is there any reason to choose a particular state, such as a state like Florida that has no state income tax, so I don't give the IRS any reason to think I owe state income tax in addition to the federal return I'll file? (Maybe I'm overthinking this).

I'll keep you guys posted on how this all goes!
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in_reality
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by in_reality »

lynneny wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:04 pm Thank you for all the ideas and insights!

Good to know about Ally and Interactive Brokers, and I'll definitely open a local currency account at a bank in Mexico, and only transfer money into pesos as needed.

Diogenes, thank you for the great tips about Traveling Mailbox and Google Voice. I do want a U.S. address for mail forwarding (family members are lovable but not too reliable so I'd rather pay for the service). I see Traveling Mailbox has a lot of addresses to choose from in different states. Is there any reason to choose a particular state, such as a state like Florida that has no state income tax, so I don't give the IRS any reason to think I owe state income tax in addition to the federal return I'll file? (Maybe I'm overthinking this).

I'll keep you guys posted on how this all goes!
Anveo is a great way to get a US number too. It also gives you short SMS codes which means a bank can use it for 2FA. There are different level of service but the cheapest is pay by usage only at low fees. I have unlimited incoming call @ $2/month for the US line and $1.20/month for 911 fees (it's really a US line). SMS and messages get forwarded to my overseas phone. Very useful for banks that occasionally require a confirmation code.
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aj76er
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by aj76er »

Google FI seems like a good option. It uses google voice "under the hood" and the base plan is only $20 (and data usage is the same cost no matter where you are even internationally). In fact, I can have Google Hangouts in a tab on my computer on WIFI and have the exact same functionality as my phone (phone calls, texts, video calls, etc.. to my mobile number).

I've read that Traveling mailbox is a good solution. If you set up residence in a tax-free state prior to moving, then I don't see a problem setting up a TM address there. For example, rent a place in Miami or Seattle for bit and then register your TM mailbox in one of those states prior to leaving.

Both Fidelity and Schwab have excellent debit cards that reimburse all foriegn ATM fees. I don't see any reason to have a local bank. As others have said, use Ally or Fidelity/Schwab CMA checking accounts along with ATM machines.

You may want to start reading some FIRE blogs of folks that travel extensively. One that I follow is "www.gocurrycracker.com"
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halfnine
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by halfnine »

lynneny wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:04 pm ....I do want a U.S. address for mail forwarding (family members are lovable but not too reliable so I'd rather pay for the service). I see Traveling Mailbox has a lot of addresses to choose from in different states. Is there any reason to choose a particular state, such as a state like Florida that has no state income tax, so I don't give the IRS any reason to think I owe state income tax in addition to the federal return I'll file? (Maybe I'm overthinking this).....
You're not overthinking this. Here is one of the better discussions about state domiciles I've seen. It is geared toward RVers but very relevant for expats as well.

http://www.technomadia.com/2012/07/chap ... nd-voting/
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in_reality
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by in_reality »

halfnine wrote: Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:14 am
lynneny wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:04 pm ....I do want a U.S. address for mail forwarding (family members are lovable but not too reliable so I'd rather pay for the service). I see Traveling Mailbox has a lot of addresses to choose from in different states. Is there any reason to choose a particular state, such as a state like Florida that has no state income tax, so I don't give the IRS any reason to think I owe state income tax in addition to the federal return I'll file? (Maybe I'm overthinking this).....
You're not overthinking this. Here is one of the better discussions about state domiciles I've seen. It is geared toward RVers but very relevant for expats as well.

http://www.technomadia.com/2012/07/chap ... nd-voting/
Come to think of it, that probably is an advantage of the Schwab One International account. It won't be tied to a State. It's a disadvantage too because naming a beneficiary for a brokerage account is administered under state laws so you either have to put it in your will and have it probated or make some kind of trust.

Per Schwab's Designated Beneciary Plan Agreement:
The Plan is not available in Louisiana. If your primary residence changes to a state where the Plan is not offered, this designation will no longer be valid. Also, if your primary residence is outside the United States, your account is not eligible for this Plan.
That is only for taxable. I have beneficiaries on my IRA and ROTH (at least they are listed -- that was set up before transferring to Schwab so maybe it's actually nullified). Hmmn, guess I should find out. Or you can ask and let us know! :sharebeer
retired early&luv it
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by retired early&luv it »

My only comment is on the retirement accounts. I highly recommend moving the 401k to Rollover IRA at the same institution as the Roth. That way it makes it very easy to each year to convert some of the IRA to the Roth. I converted all of my IRA to a Roth over seven years, finished that process last year when I converted the last of it.
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by TheGreyingDuke »

Diogenes wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:56 am

I've had normal Schwab accounts and never had any issues with the last 10 years overseas. The only small problem I ran into was with Fidelity. They asked for a medallion signature guarantee to set up a standing wire order. You can only get that in the States, it's not available in Europe or anywhere else that I know of.
I was once in need of a medallion guarantee for Vanguard while in China, the US Consulate was able to do something that satisfied Vanguard. I have since gone to voice verification and the need for such guarantees has disappeared.
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lynneny
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by lynneny »

I'll check out Anveo as well as Google Voice.

Yes, I like GoCurryCracker.com too on living/traveling abroad. He also has very knowledgeable commenters who add a lot of good information.

Good to know Vanguard accepts voice verification now in lieu of medallion guarantees.

I didn't realize beneficiary designations are state-governed and wouldn't apply on an international account, at least a taxable one; I'll ask my new friends at Schwab about that.
AlohaJoe
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by AlohaJoe »

lynneny wrote: Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:27 pm Apparently all this can vary somewhat by country. She said Schwab International doesn’t do business in some countries; expats in Canada and New Zealand, for example, can keep their accounts but can only liquidate, and not add to them.
Yeah, it varies by country. When I called Schwab International and asked about setting up an account they said they don't do business with residents of the country I live in. Oh well.
hafjell
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by hafjell »

aj76er wrote: Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:56 amBoth Fidelity and Schwab have excellent debit cards that reimburse all foriegn ATM fees. I don't see any reason to have a local bank. As others have said, use Ally or Fidelity/Schwab CMA checking accounts along with ATM machines.
Doesn't Fido charge 1% of any withdrawals from foreign ATMs. Anybody found a way around that?
MnD
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by MnD »

That sounds like a great plan and great service from Schwab.
Regarding that CD you have to buy before the transfer, you might ask if you can buy/sell Treasury bills, notes and bonds as a Schwab International customer. Treasuries are available in many durations including 1 and 2-years and are highly liquid if you need sell them before maturity, albeit with no guarantee of an exact price if you sell prior to maturity.
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by bawr »

hafjell wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:08 pm Doesn't Fido charge 1% of any withdrawals from foreign ATMs. Anybody found a way around that?
Fidelity charges 1% for debit card purchases. It charges nothing for ATM withdrawals.
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seed4great
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by seed4great »

What a great topic, with very useful info! But I do have a question to those who keep US home address, while living abroad and use debit card from Fidelity or Schwab for extended time: how do you notify card issuer about your location, and at the same time have US home address in their records? They may refuse service, when card is being used in foreign country without advance notice.
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by ivk5 »

seed4great wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 10:10 pm What a great topic, with very useful info! But I do have a question to those who keep US home address, while living abroad and use debit card from Fidelity or Schwab for extended time: how do you notify card issuer about your location, and at the same time have US home address in their records? They may refuse service, when card is being used in foreign country without advance notice.
I have lived abroad for years while maintaining US mailing address for financial institutions (family member), have not done travel notifications, and no issues with transactions being declined.

I do occasionally get texts asking me to confirm I initiated a particular transaction, but transaction still approved.
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seed4great
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by seed4great »

ivk5 wrote: Fri Jan 25, 2019 3:39 am I have lived abroad for years while maintaining US mailing address for financial institutions (family member), have not done travel notifications, and no issues with transactions being declined.
I do occasionally get texts asking me to confirm I initiated a particular transaction, but transaction still approved.
Thank you. It looks like the only problem would be to get the actual debit card by mail, when the old one expire. I don't think it is possible to use ATM abroad through Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Pay without physical card available.
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PhilSunkel
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by PhilSunkel »

halfnine wrote: Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:14 am
lynneny wrote: Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:04 pm ....I do want a U.S. address for mail forwarding (family members are lovable but not too reliable so I'd rather pay for the service). I see Traveling Mailbox has a lot of addresses to choose from in different states. Is there any reason to choose a particular state, such as a state like Florida that has no state income tax, so I don't give the IRS any reason to think I owe state income tax in addition to the federal return I'll file? (Maybe I'm overthinking this).....
You're not overthinking this. Here is one of the better discussions about state domiciles I've seen. It is geared toward RVers but very relevant for expats as well.

http://www.technomadia.com/2012/07/chap ... nd-voting/


The couple from the Technomadia website had significant issues with Schwab and residency. The commercial mailing service addresses are all flagged by the financial institutions. Also from the website:
"We have run into pretty major problems with Charles Schwab, who would not accept a family member’s address unless we also provided proof in the form of utility bills in our name at that address. They did however say we could use a ‘RV space lease agreement’ instead, but that was not possible for us at the time as we were not in one location for any length of time.

We recommend having a residential address ready to give your financial institutions – whether it be a family members or a friend. Try not to divulge too much information about your traveling status, as they’re really just trying to fill in blanks on a screen. Any confusion you raise could result in difficulties with your account that are just best avoided.

Keep in mind your domicile intentions, as having an address on file at a financial institution that is not in the same state as your domicile could cause future problems should your residency status come into question. If you use a family member’s address in a tax aggressive state, you could find that state coming after you for taxes or registration fees in the future."
Having spent several years travelling full-time in an RV my experience with Schwab was very similar, to the point of Schwab notifying me that they would be liquidating a taxable portfolio, which would have caused me to incur significant capital gains, unless I could provide them with a verifiable residential address in relatively short order.
hafjell
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by hafjell »

bawr wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 8:28 pm
hafjell wrote: Thu Jan 24, 2019 3:08 pm Doesn't Fido charge 1% of any withdrawals from foreign ATMs. Anybody found a way around that?
Fidelity charges 1% for debit card purchases. It charges nothing for ATM withdrawals.
Hmmm. So to be clear, if I withdraw $500 in equivalent foreign currency from a foreign ATM, Fido charges me $500? If I buy $500 worth of stuff, food, clothing, etc. on my debit card, Fido charges me $505? So cash is fee-less?
Why do I think I read that they charged 1% on all debit ATM withdrawals overseas and baked the fee into the withdrawal amount shown on the statement?
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seed4great
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by seed4great »

hafjell wrote: Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:53 pm Hmmm. So to be clear, if I withdraw $500 in equivalent foreign currency from a foreign ATM, Fido charges me $500? If I buy $500 worth of stuff, food, clothing, etc. on my debit card, Fido charges me $505? So cash is fee-less?
Why do I think I read that they charged 1% on all debit ATM withdrawals overseas and baked the fee into the withdrawal amount shown on the statement?
I used Fidelity debit card at ATM to get cash in local currency in multiple countries, most are in Europe and has never been charged. There is no FTF, and they say they reimburse ATM fees if any but I managed to use ATMs which does not charge a fee.
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hafjell
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Re: Retiring abroad. Move taxable/checking accounts to Schwab?

Post by hafjell »

seed4great wrote: Fri Jan 25, 2019 5:53 pm
hafjell wrote: Fri Jan 25, 2019 2:53 pm Hmmm. So to be clear, if I withdraw $500 in equivalent foreign currency from a foreign ATM, Fido charges me $500? If I buy $500 worth of stuff, food, clothing, etc. on my debit card, Fido charges me $505? So cash is fee-less?
Why do I think I read that they charged 1% on all debit ATM withdrawals overseas and baked the fee into the withdrawal amount shown on the statement?
I used Fidelity debit card at ATM to get cash in local currency in multiple countries, most are in Europe and has never been charged. There is no FTF, and they say they reimburse ATM fees if any but I managed to use ATMs which does not charge a fee.
Thanks a lot. I'll be using more cash this trip. Much appreciated.
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