A Digital Nomad’s Guide To International Banking

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After working hard to re-arrange your life so that you could become location-dependant, you have finally boosted your online income to the point where you can live anywhere in the world and make a living via your laptop.

While this new-found freedom has been liberating for you personally, it has also raised a new set of issues that you have never dealt with before.  One of the major obstacles that you have to tackle in the near future is the banking question.  Your current financial institution seems to be less than helpful with regards to your new living arrangements, and as a result, you are seeking a change.

This article will deal with common questions and concerns that arise when one looks for secure offshore banking institutions for the first time, of which there are many.  To start, let’s tackle the issue of…

Why should I even bother with getting an international bank account?

There are a number of excellent reasons why the serious digital nomad should consider opening a bank account with an international bank. For starters, the interest rates in international markets tend to be higher than the 0% rates common in many western nations at the moment, presenting the opportunity for wealth building with little risk involved on the part of the account holder.

Secondly, as a business owner, you are inherently exposed to liability in your business activities.  By storing a portion of your wealth in the security of an offshore account, you limit the damage that a pathetic patent troll, for example, can do to your net worth.

Finally, as an aware global citizen now, you have a full range of tax avoidance options (that are completely legal) at your disposal.  By holding your wealth in a foreign account, you can minimize the amount owed on your domestic taxes, a practice that can add untold thousands to your net worth over the ensuing years to come.

What precautions do I need to take when looking for a reputable international bank?

First and foremost, assess the civic and financial stability of the nation where you are considering investing your capital.  Sinking your greenbacks into an Argentinian bank would be a poor choice, given the nation’s history of debt defaults, while picking a country like Singapore or Britain would be a most wise decision, seeing how the former nation has never had a bank failure in their history and is enjoying rapid economic growth, and the latter is located in a stable first-world country with tonnes of wealth backing up the banking sector.

Secondly, do your research on the bank’s fundamentals and their business practices.  Some institutions have a frighteningly low capitalization vis a vis their liabilities, making them vulnerable to insolvency should a financial crisis strike. By choosing an institution that can withstand the stress of a stormy market, you can rest assured that your money is safe and secure!

OK, I’m convinced … how do I set up an international bank account?

You’re probably wondering how to get an offshore bank account by now, and we don’t blame you.  To start the process, find a bank that meets your needs and doesn’t pose unacceptable risks as per the last section.  You’ll need documentation confirming the assets that you wish to move into your prospective account and your prior credit history.

Additionally, you will be asked questions to satisfy bank officials that your intentions or the source of your funds isn’t criminal in nature, as many institutions been unfairly tarred with accusations in recent years of being a haven for laundered money and/or tax evaders.

The process of applying for an international bank account may seem complex and intimidating, but don’t let that dissuade you from taking this important step in your business life.  By placing your assets in a growth environment where your legal vulnerability and tax burden is minimized, you can focus on living the dream, instead of constantly complaining and worrying about money issues.

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