Easy Ways for Expats to Open Bank Accounts and Access Social Security Overseas—InternationalLiving.com

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A new report from the retire-overseas experts at InternationalLiving.com details the ins and outs for expats of managing finances abroad, including how to access Social Security easily.

“It’s easy to get your Social Security benefits abroad if you wish,” says InternationalLiving.com Mexico Editor Glynna Prentice.

A new report by InternationalLiving.com advises expats on the practical matters of managing their finances when they move overseas. The report offers real-world guidance on bank accounts, Social Security, credit cards and exchange rates.

“It can be useful to have a bank account in your adopted country,” says InternationalLiving.com Correspondent Edd Staton, who moved to Cuenca, Ecuador five years ago. “Some banks allow you to automatically deduct recurring bills like utilities or rent instead of having to pay in person. And in Ecuador if you are 65 or older, you are entitled to retiree refunds on sales taxes for many everyday items.”

Veteran expat Dan Prescher, who has lived in Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Ecuador, advises expats to establish a local bank account with a national bank that is a member of one of the major ATM networks.

“Choose a bank with a branch in your neighborhood for easy access, and establish a personal relationship with the bank manager as soon as possible. Banking is still a very personal thing in many countries outside the U.S., and having a good relationship with your local banker can make banking abroad much easier,” Prescher reports.

Social Security can be deposited directly into bank accounts in 69 countries around the world, among them popular retirement havens like Belize, Mexico, Panama, and Ecuador.

“It’s easy to get your Social Security benefits abroad if you wish,” says InternationalLiving.com Mexico Editor Glynna Prentice. “Arguably the easiest way to get them abroad is by electronic transfer to your local foreign bank account in the foreign country.”

“If you have your benefits direct-deposited to your foreign account, your bank will likely convert your entire Social Security amount into the local currency. If you want to keep some of that money in dollars, have your Social Security deposited into a U.S. account, and then make ATM withdrawals abroad or wire funds to your local foreign account as needed,” Prentice reports.

“When you live overseas you need to have both a debit and credit card to get by,” says Ann Kuffner, InternationalLiving.com’s Belize correspondent. “That means you need to maintain an address in the U.S. in order to get these cards. The trick is to find cards that won’t charge you a high percentage each time you use your card. Schwab is excellent in this regard. If you open a Schwab brokerage and bank account they will reimburse you for any fees charged at an ATM, whether in the U.S. or abroad.”

InternationalLiving.com’s experts also advise keeping a U.S. credit card that doesn’t charge foreign-exchange fees and keeping an eye on exchange rates.

When transferring large amounts of money ($10,000 or more), the experts recommend using a foreign-exchange broker, or forex broker. These typically charge low rates of commission (less than $20) or none at all. Like many industries, forex benefits from economies of scale, and so brokers working for larger institutions with more money flowing through them will often be able to offer better prices and better information.

To read the full report on how expats can manage their money when they retire overseas, see here: Banking and Social Security When You Move Overseas.

Members of the media have full permission to reproduce the article linked above once credit is given to InternationalLiving.com.

Media Contact: For information about InternationalLiving.com content republishing, available source material or to book an interview for radio, TV or print with one of our experts, contact Associate Editor Carol Barron, 772-678-0287 (US), CBarron(at)InternationalLiving(dot)com or visit the Media Center. For automatic updates on the most current stories, follow International Living Media on Twitter.

For 35 years, InternationalLiving.com has been the leading authority for anyone looking for global retirement or relocation opportunities. Through its monthly magazine and related e-letters, extensive website, podcasts, online bookstore, and events held around the world, InternationalLiving.com provides information and services to help its readers live better, travel farther, have more fun, save more money, and find better business opportunities when they expand their world beyond their own shores. InternationalLiving.com has more than 200 correspondents traveling the globe, investigating the best opportunities for travel, retirement, real estate, and investment.
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