Banking in other countries
Having a bank account is something most of us don’t really think about. It’s just something we have, need to have, something that is necessary to live in the 21st century.
The more the world goes digital, the more important having a bank account is.
Cash payments will soon be a thing of the past.
However, most people only have one (or a few)bank account in their country, and that’s it.
Their entire banking system is based in one nation, and in 99% of the time, that would be the nation where they are living.
This is a very bad idea.
Why get banking in other countries?
There’s a lot that can be said about your Banking Flags.
The first point is that you should never, ever, keep any significant amount of money in a bank in the country where you are residing (legally and formally), or where you are a citizen.
And most certainly not in a Western bank.
By significant I mean a sum that would matter to you. For one person, $5,000 would be a lot, and they’d definitely feel its loss, but other people wouldn’t even notice if they’d lose $500.000.
The reason for which you should never keep a relatively large sum of money in a bank account in a country where you are residing is rather simple:
Banks aren’t loyal to their customers, they are loyal to their government, and thus they will never prioritize your financial well-being over the demands of a government, legal or otherwise.
If you run into any sort of problem or dispute, the government can seize or freeze your money, and your bank will oblige them without a second thought.
Banks will also happily inform the government about how much money you have, so you can be taxed to the fullest extent.
Your “private” bank account is extremely visible to the instances that could empty it without your permission.
Yes, (Western) governments can confiscate your money for no reason and then just keep it.
I’m not joking; this is called “civil asset forfeiture”.
And if all of that wasn’t bad enough, add the fact that Western banks are extremely fragile, debt-ridden, over-leveraged, and are operating on an outdated, failing, corrupt and illogical system, one that isn’t designed with your well-being in mind.
They can create money out of nothing, and they use your money to do so.
If banks go bankrupt (as they have done in the past, and will certainly do so again), the government will bail them out, but your funds will most likely be lost.
So ... don't have a bank account?
That’s of course not the point.
I agree that for convenience’s sake, having a bank account in the country where you are living is definitely handy to pay for daily expenses.
I just mean that you should never keep large sums of money there, and that you should have several Banking Flags spread across the world.
This goes double for your Business banking accounts.
Keep a supply of cash money in a bank account in the country where you are living, but keep the vast majority of your banking spread across the world, far removed.
This is probably the easiest Flag to plant, and I would advise you to plant quite a few of them.
Never have any single bank account with a large portion of your cash reserves, spread it around.
Or even better, only keep enough cash for your operating costs plus emergency fund, and keep the rest of your net worth in assets.
How to get banking in other countries?
Getting started with planting some Banking Flags is relatively straightforward, and just like moving abroad it starts with doing research.
Check out some of the countries I’ll mention presently, or any country that you plan to move to, and see if you can open a bank account without the need to be a resident.
This can often vary between banks in certain countries, so make sure to be thorough in your research.
Just because bank A is being a dick, does not mean bank B isn’t an option.
If you do need to get Residence in a specific country to be able to open a bank account, and that country is a viable option for Residence … I’d suggest you get it.
Get started with your Residence Flag, and then add the Banking Flag as soon as possible.
I would strongly advise you to steer clear of remote options of opening a bank account.
It might be completely fine, but in my experience this is often quite shady, and I wouldn’t trust it.
Go to the bank in person, bring the required documents, the minimum amount of cash you need to put in, and get it sorted.
When you’re at the bank, make sure you receive both your physical debit card and your online banking information.
This is very important, because you need to be able to access your money from anywhere in the world.
That’s it, you’re done with your Banking Flag in one other country. Now, rinse and repeat with as many other countries as you want.
Where can you get banking in another country?
Ideally, for your Banking Flags you’d want a country where Checking- and/or Savings Accounts are easy to open, and provide a decent return.
The latter immediately rules out any Western bank, because the returns are abysmal nowadays – not to mention the inherent risks I mentioned earlier.
Better options are:
- The Bahamas
- Switzerland (it’s in Europe, so tread with caution … but their banking system does have a good reputation, and I personally plan to open one, if I ever visit Europe again)
- Hong Kong
- The Philippines
Another benefit of having bank accounts across multiple diverse countries is that you are virtually protected against any one currency crashing.
You’re diversified across currencies, which is a very important aspect of having a secure financial life.
If you have a bank account in, say, Germany, Spain and Italy, you are not protected against a crash of the euro, as all 3 of these nations use that currency.
A much better option is, for example, to have bank accounts in Belize, Singapore and Switzerland. Your bank accounts are spread across the globe, in non-affiliated nations, with different currencies.
Whatever happens to any one of them, will most likely not affect the others, so you’re pretty safe in most scenarios.