R2I Finances – Setup to maintain accounts in the US

Around 6.5 million Americans live overseas – more than 2% of the population. Despite this, businesses are not always comfortable serving expatriates. Some businesses accept international addresses and phone numbers while others don’t. As noted, we setup a virtual address primarily to provide a valid US address to businesses that did not accept our overseas (Kochi, India) address.

For R2Iers (Return to India), some choices exist depending on the immigration status and plans for the future and there are different ways to set things up. Maintaining financial and similar accounts in the US after R2I is a priority for many, especially for US citizens with plans to live in different parts of the world. Our mindset paralleled this and hence we looked to maintain our US accounts while in India.

Below is a summary of our experience:
  1. Government Notification: While notifications are not mandatory, it is best to notify the IRS, the state tax body, and the US consulate/embassy of change of address and residency abroad. For IRS notification, we sent in the completed Form 8882 and for the Franchise Tax Board of California, it was Form 3533. Doing so allows the tax authorities to send forms to the new address and also allows the embassy to easily track you down in case of emergencies. There is no acknowledgment with either of these forms. For US consulate/embassy notification, one can also either approach the nearest consulate with proof of citizenship (US passport) or phone in – if it is in person, passport data will be recorded at the consulate/embassy allowing for easier replacement if it is ever lost.
  2. Banking: Some banks allow online change of address only within the US while some permit online change of address to an international address. Yet other financial institutions do not support online change of address at all. We did our research on this and chose to maintain accounts with two banks – one with the address set to the virtual US address and the other to our new Indian address. Two years since R2I, we still maintain the US bank account with the virtual US address (Bank of America) but has since cancelled the other one (Chase). It is now possible to switch address online to an overseas address with Bank of America.
  3. Credit Cards: Our primary credit cards were a Visa Card and an American Express Card through a retailer. We expected the Amex card account to close automatically within a month of closing the retailer account. But, in reality that did not happen – the Amex account did not get cancelled until after 9 months. For its address change, we had to provide the US virtual address for their address change interface did not allow for country selection. The Visa card address change interface said to call them for an international address change – we ended up using our US virtual address, although in due course this should change. One caveat with using an overseas address is that certain US websites will reject your credit card for payments. For this reason, we have resisted changing our Visa card profile address.
  4. Brokerage Accounts: Our primary brokerage account (TD Ameritrade) allowed online change of address to an international address while our secondary brokerage account (E*Trade) allowed online change of address but did not allow choosing a country. We kept both our accounts – the former with our Indian address and the latter with the virtual US address. Some brokerages allow global trading (needs global trading account) at TSX (Canada), FTSE 100 (UK), CAC40 (French), Dax (German), Hang Seng (Hong Kong), and Nikkei 225 (Japan). This is a very useful option especially for expatriates who wish to diversify their asset base away from a concentration in the US dollar.
  5. Retirement Accounts: For anyone who switched employers more than once, multiple retirement accounts is a given. We had our share of multiple accounts. Here again, support for address change to an overseas address is all over the map. Some accounts accepted smoothly the new Indian address via their online interfaces. But, for certain accounts, the interface directed to call the previous employer’s 800 number. We have since managed to set it up with the right address changes for the most part. We also came to know that IRA conversions (with the same provider) using online interfaces were also not that perfect – when we first tried doing this with one account (Schwab), it returned an empty page instead of the form for online new IRA account application. Here again, we have managed to set it up after jumping through a few hoops.
  6. Others: With most other accounts, it is a question of terminating them gracefully. Although one will be in a time crunch and temptation strong to not bother with such accounts, it is best to bring them all to closure. These include things like smart cards at local toll booths, move-out inspection and arrangements to refund any security deposits, cancel accounts with any wholesale retailers, cancel auto insurance policies, canceling all utilities, and other miscellaneous things such as clearing out safe deposit boxes. While this is drudgery, the good news is that closing many of these accounts will net you a refund check as they refund your deposits or other upfront security payments.
With respect to your banking and brokerage accounts, it is also good to setup electronic fund transfer between your accounts using ACH (Automatic Clearing House), which is free in most cases. In essence, as the service levels for expatriates vary widely among businesses, it is imperative to research the service level before hand with respect to one’s banking, brokerage, retirement, and other accounts and act accordingly.


Related Posts:



No comments :

Labels

401k ( 15 ) Abad Turtle Beach ( 1 ) Abrams Capital Management ( 5 ) Acoustic Electric Guitars ( 1 ) Acoustic Guitars ( 1 ) ACT ( 1 ) Activist ( 4 ) Address Change ( 2 ) Advanced Placement ( 4 ) air asia ( 2 ) airlines ( 2 ) Akre Capital Management ( 18 ) Alex Roepers ( 5 ) AP ( 4 ) apartments ( 2 ) Appaloosa ( 15 ) ARIUS ( 1 ) Arlington Value Capital ( 3 ) Atlantic Investment Management ( 5 ) Ayemenem ( 1 ) Bangalore ( 3 ) Bangkok ( 2 ) Bannerghatta National Park ( 1 ) barbuda ( 2 ) Battery Park ( 1 ) Baupost ( 2 ) Baupost Group ( 17 ) bay area ( 2 ) BDCs ( 3 ) Benjamin Graham ( 2 ) Benjamin Graham Model ( 2 ) Berijam Lake ( 2 ) Berkshire Hathaway ( 30 ) best sites ( 9 ) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation ( 13 ) Bill Ackman ( 19 ) Bill Gates ( 14 ) Blue Ridge Capital ( 13 ) Blum Capital Partners ( 12 ) books ( 4 ) Boone Pickens ( 2 ) BP Capital Management ( 2 ) Brave Warrior ( 3 ) Brave Warrior Advisors ( 12 ) british honduras ( 2 ) Bruce Berkowitz ( 19 ) Bruce Fund ( 12 ) Camcorders ( 3 ) canada ( 4 ) cancun ( 3 ) CANROYs ( 7 ) Cantillon ( 12 ) carl icahn ( 9 ) Carl Ichan ( 8 ) casino ( 3 ) Casio ( 2 ) CBRE ( 2 ) CEF ( 2 ) Charles Akre ( 15 ) Charlie Munger ( 13 ) Chase Coleman ( 13 ) Chou Associates ( 18 ) Christmas gifts ( 7 ) Christopher H. Browne ( 7 ) Chuck Akre ( 13 ) Cisco ( 2 ) Class Action Settlements ( 2 ) CLEP ( 1 ) Coatue Management ( 13 ) Cochin ( 2 ) coin collecting ( 266 ) collectibles ( 266 ) Consumer Product Reviews ( 29 ) cook islands ( 2 ) coonoor ( 2 ) Covered Calls ( 2 ) credai ( 4 ) Daily Journal ( 13 ) Dalal Street ( 8 ) Dan Loeb ( 10 ) DAT ( 1 ) David Abrams ( 5 ) David Einhorn ( 22 ) David Swensen ( 17 ) David Tepper ( 15 ) David Winters ( 15 ) DCF ( 2 ) Digital Piano ( 3 ) Dinakar Singh ( 13 ) Donald Yacktman ( 10 ) dry bulk shipping ( 2 ) Duquesne ( 18 ) Education ( 37 ) Edward Lampert ( 14 ) Egerton Capital ( 13 ) Egypt ( 3 ) Elementary Education ( 10 ) Elementary School Textbooks ( 5 ) eReaders ( 2 ) Eric Mindich ( 13 ) ESL Investments ( 9 ) ESPP ( 6 ) ETF ( 2 ) ETN ( 2 ) Eton Park ( 13 ) Everyday Musings ( 58 ) Exam Prep ( 7 ) Exiting the rat race - how to? ( 19 ) EXPLORE ( 1 ) Fair Value Estimates ( 4 ) Fairfax Financial ( 4 ) Fairfax Financial Holdings ( 14 ) Fairholme ( 19 ) Fairpointe ( 13 ) Family Office ( 5 ) FD Laddering ( 1 ) Financial Independence ( 93 ) Fisher Asset Management ( 10 ) Flash Camcorders ( 3 ) flat ( 4 ) flats ( 2 ) Flip ( 3 ) Francis Chou ( 18 ) free ( 17 ) frugal ( 3 ) Frugal Living ( 34 ) Fund Holdings ( 755 ) futures ( 2 ) FVE ( 2 ) gambling ( 3 ) garmin ( 2 ) Genting ( 2 ) george soros ( 21 ) giveaway ( 15 ) Glenn Greenberg ( 16 ) Glenview Capital ( 10 ) GMAT ( 1 ) Google ( 2 ) Gotham Asset Management ( 7 ) gps ( 4 ) GRE ( 1 ) Greenlight Capital ( 22 ) Guitars ( 3 ) Half Marathon ( 2 ) Hawaii ( 2 ) Hedge Funds ( 774 ) HELOC ( 1 ) High School Education ( 7 ) High School Textbooks ( 6 ) HOA ( 3 ) hobby ( 17 ) holiday shopping ( 7 ) Holidays ( 3 ) Holyland ( 11 ) Home Improvement ( 2 ) home ownership ( 5 ) Homes ( 18 ) Homeschool ( 18 ) Houses ( 2 ) Housing ( 3 ) Hykon ( 2 ) Ian Cumming ( 15 ) Icahn Enterprises ( 6 ) india real estate ( 5 ) Infinuvo ( 6 ) Insurance ( 2 ) invesco ( 17 ) investing strategies ( 2 ) Investment Portfolio ( 94 ) Investment Research ( 10 ) Investments ( 7 ) iRobot ( 5 ) Irving Kahn ( 10 ) israel ( 5 ) Jason Maynard ( 10 ) Jefferies ( 2 ) Jeffrey Bruce ( 13 ) Jeffrey Ubben ( 12 ) Jerusalem ( 2 ) Jim Chanos ( 13 ) Joel Greenblatt ( 7 ) John Armitage ( 13 ) John Griffin ( 13 ) John Paulson ( 17 ) Joho Capital ( 15 ) Jordan ( 3 ) Joseph Steinberg ( 9 ) Julian Robertson ( 4 ) Kahn Brothers ( 10 ) Kakkanad ( 4 ) Kanyakumari ( 2 ) Kawai ( 2 ) Ken Fisher ( 10 ) kerala real estate ( 5 ) Kids ( 49 ) Kids Yamaha ( 3 ) Kindle ( 2 ) kochi ( 8 ) Kodaikanal ( 2 ) Korg ( 2 ) Kraft ( 2 ) Kuala Lumpur ( 2 ) KWA ( 2 ) Kynikos ( 13 ) laptop ( 5 ) Larry Robbins ( 10 ) Las Vegas ( 2 ) Leon Cooperman ( 14 ) Leucadia ( 2 ) Leucadia National ( 13 ) Lone Pine Capital ( 9 ) long ( 6 ) long call ( 2 ) long puts ( 3 ) Lou Simpson ( 15 ) LSAT ( 1 ) Mahabalipuram ( 2 ) Malaysia ( 3 ) Marathon ( 2 ) Mark McGoldrick ( 10 ) Markel ( 13 ) Mason Hawkins ( 4 ) MCAT ( 1 ) Melinda Gates ( 7 ) memorabilia ( 266 ) MFP Investors ( 13 ) Michael Dell ( 15 ) Michael Price ( 13 ) Middle School Education ( 4 ) Middle School Textbooks ( 3 ) Mini Notebook ( 2 ) MODUS ( 1 ) Mohnish Pabrai ( 21 ) mortgage ( 2 ) Mount Kellett ( 10 ) MSD Capital ( 15 ) Music ( 6 ) Mutual Funds ( 5 ) mysore ( 2 ) Nelson Peltz ( 9 ) Netbook ( 3 ) Notebook ( 2 ) numismatics ( 266 ) O-Duster ( 1 ) Oahu ( 2 ) offers ( 2 ) Ole Andreas Halvorsen ( 10 ) Omega Advisors ( 14 ) online tax ( 3 ) ooty ( 2 ) Options ( 4 ) Pabrai Fund ( 17 ) passive income ( 7 ) pattaya ( 2 ) Paulson & Company ( 7 ) Paulson and Company ( 9 ) PEG ( 2 ) Pershing Square ( 19 ) Phil Fisher ( 5 ) philately ( 283 ) Philippe Laffont ( 13 ) Piano ( 9 ) PLAN Test ( 1 ) portfolio ( 4 ) Prem Watsa ( 17 ) product reviews ( 13 ) Property Taxes ( 2 ) PSAT ( 1 ) R2I ( 24 ) R2I Finances ( 3 ) R2I Housing ( 5 ) Raising Kids ( 41 ) Rat Race ( 15 ) RBS Partners ( 12 ) reading ( 5 ) real estate ( 6 ) Reducing Expenses ( 2 ) REIT ( 3 ) Retirement Portfolio ( 9 ) Reviews ( 81 ) Richard C. Blum ( 12 ) Robert Bruce ( 13 ) Robert Karr ( 15 ) Robotic Vacuum ( 4 ) Roland ( 2 ) Roomba ( 10 ) schooling ( 2 ) Sears ( 9 ) seeking alpha ( 2 ) Services - Reviews ( 33 ) Seth Klarman ( 19 ) Shipping ( 5 ) Shopping ( 3 ) short ( 5 ) short calls ( 2 ) short put ( 2 ) short puts ( 2 ) short selling ( 7 ) Ski ( 5 ) Sled ( 4 ) Solar Stocks ( 13 ) Soros Fund Management ( 14 ) Southeastern Asset Management ( 4 ) Southwest ( 2 ) spin-offs ( 2 ) SQ Advisors ( 15 ) stamp collecting ( 283 ) Stanley Druckenmiller ( 18 ) Statue of Liberty ( 2 ) Stephen Mandel ( 9 ) Stock Analysis ( 84 ) Stock Investments ( 4 ) Stock Portfolio Updates ( 6 ) stocks ( 3 ) summer ( 2 ) tax ( 5 ) TaxAct ( 2 ) TaxCut ( 1 ) Teacher's Editions ( 5 ) Technology ( 4 ) Test Prep ( 11 ) Thailand ( 3 ) Thekkady ( 2 ) theme park ( 2 ) Third Point ( 10 ) Thomas Gayner ( 13 ) Thyra Zerhusen ( 13 ) Tiger Cub ( 28 ) Tiger Global ( 14 ) Tiger Management ( 12 ) Time Square ( 2 ) TOEFL ( 1 ) TPG-Axon ( 13 ) Travel ( 278 ) Travel Reviews ( 82 ) Trian Fund Holdings ( 9 ) trip report ( 21 ) TurboTax ( 3 ) Tweedy Browne ( 10 ) Vacations ( 28 ) value investing ( 12 ) ValueAct ( 5 ) ValueAct Holdings ( 6 ) Vancouver ( 2 ) Video ( 3 ) Viking Global ( 10 ) Wallace Weitz ( 10 ) Warren Buffett ( 30 ) Wayanad ( 4 ) Weitz Investment Management ( 9 ) wilbur ross ( 17 ) William Von Mueffling ( 12 ) Wintergreen Advisors ( 15 ) Yacktman Asset Management ( 10 ) Yale Endowment ( 17 ) Yale University ( 7 ) Yamaha ( 7 ) YDP ( 1 ) YPG ( 1 )