Expat income, banking, and flag theory

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Seppia
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by Seppia » Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:14 am

A very underrated asset while moving across countries is an HSBC account.
They are the only real global bank that I know of.
Example: I had an Hsbc account in Europe prior to moving to the USA, when I moved there I just went to an Hsbc branch, told them about the other account, they made a couple clicks to verify, a call the next day to the european branch, and voila I had a credit card with a $10000 (not a typo) limit.
I had some colleagues move to the USA, people way more senior and with likely way more assets than me, and they had to start with a $500 credit limit as the other USA banks would not “recognize” their credit history and assets abroad.

Keep in mind that when this happened I was 29 and very far from being an attractive customer, I maybe had 30-50k worth of assets (don’t remember exactly).

Plus if you have multiple accounts with them and hit a certain balance (which is high but not absurd at all, I think it’s around 70k), you are allowed to move money internationally across different HSBC accounts at no cost, except for the currency exchange spread obviously.

When we moved back to Europe this proved to be an essential tool, we moved much more than 5k and never had any issue. At a certain point they did ask why we were moving so much money, but it was just a matter of answering the phone and sending over the hiring proposal from my Italian company and they were fine.
I think their limit is 50k per month.

RealPerson
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by RealPerson » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:51 am

Seppia wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 1:14 am
A very underrated asset while moving across countries is an HSBC account.
They are the only real global bank that I know of.
Example: I had an Hsbc account in Europe prior to moving to the USA, when I moved there I just went to an Hsbc branch, told them about the other account, they made a couple clicks to verify, a call the next day to the european branch, and voila I had a credit card with a $10000 (not a typo) limit.
Very interesting. Thanks for the tip Seppia. Have any US citizens in the FATCA era used HSBC like that? If so, that could be a very good tool. Same thing with American Express. AMEX is truly global whereas MC and Visa are not. Very useful when non-US citizens move to the US.

jacob
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by jacob » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:15 am

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2018 ... tizenship/

Looks like there's a strong overlap between those countries and the ones where a visa for [semi-]permanent residence is also somewhat available.

jacob
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by jacob » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:18 am

@Seppia - I seem to have problems locating a physical HSBC branch in Illinois? All I find is commercial/corporate banking. Was this in NYC?

Seppia
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by Seppia » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:30 am

Reading this thread about the recent shifts in immigration policy from the current WH , I am curious to know how immigrants living in the USA such as jacob and others are reacting.

I know I would have definitely started to implement some backup plans if I still were living in the USA, I imagine many would think the same.
Even if I'm safely back in europe now, I also have been looking into this matter for a few months, with the goal of building additional safety nets.

What I have implemented:

- bought a small (500-600sqf) newly built apartment in my home town in Italy: DW and I have lived like gipsies across the world for years now, so a small apartment not far from where our families are seems to be a good insurance against things going south financially.

- placed about 2-3 years of expenses worth of assets in our bank accounts outside of italy.

- changed jobs to one that should lead us to move to asia within a 12-18 months timeframe

What I am looking into:

- Opening a bank account somewhere in Asia: my new job already brings me there often,I'd like to open in one of the safest countries, thinking about Singapore or HK.
If anybody has experience in this sense any suggestion is greatly appreciated.

jacob wrote:
Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:18 am
@Seppia - I seem to have problems locating a physical HSBC branch in Illinois? All I find is commercial/corporate banking. Was this in NYC?
ahem, sorry for the late response but yes, it was in NYC.
HSBC is originally from Hong Kong IIRC, and the physical branches are often located in the big financial hubs (NYC, Paris, HK, London, etc.)
They are very easy to work with remotely once you have an account with them.

prognastat
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by prognastat » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:47 am

I'm not as worried about my status as you and Jacob seem to be, but I am planning on keeping my head down and not applying for citizenship during this presidential term and possibly next.

As for a backup if things really were to go tits up. If I do have to go back to my country of origin I wouldn't be super happy about it, but it wouldn't be the end of the world and thankfully I would have family I could stay with temporarily while I get back on my feet.

Beyond that of course keeping on track with achieving FIRE is also something to prepare for any unfortunate eventualities. If I can achieve it I won't need the benefits which could possibly lead to my residency being taken away.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:19 am

Wouldn’t Singapore be better than Hong Kong on account of the fact that HK is being absorbed back into China and Singapore is at least a little more “independent”?

Seppia
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by Seppia » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:29 am

yes, singapore definitely has the edge all else being equal, unless opening an account is complicated.
Since I will probably move to HK it would be cool to have an account in Singapore (plus one in HK), but if Singapore is a nightmare I may just settle with an HK account

NPV
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by NPV » Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:15 pm

Seppia wrote:
Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:29 am
yes, singapore definitely has the edge all else being equal, unless opening an account is complicated.
Since I will probably move to HK it would be cool to have an account in Singapore (plus one in HK), but if Singapore is a nightmare I may just settle with an HK account
For both HK and Singapore opening a bank account, from my experience, basically comes down to:
1. Are you a resident / have work visa / some other ties? If no then:
2. How much are you looking to deposit? Generally you need to deposit (and keep on balance) >200-300k USD to get a premium account which they are happy to offer for non-residents.

That's why I did not end up opening a bank account in either :) Apparently was much easier just 2-3 years ago.

JamesR
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by JamesR » Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:14 pm

Seems like digital nomads, people that can work remotely and make pretty decent money are pretty well suited to doing some flag theory type stuff.

flag 1: be citizen of country that doesn't tax worldwide income (canada, uk, etc)
flag 2: work as contractor for clients in say the US
flag 3: have money go to bank account in singapore perhaps
flag 4: become tax resident of thailand (180 days) (and declare non-residency in home country)
flag 5: optionally travel around?

flag 4 addendum: would need to bring in a portion of income to thailand and declare that. thailand doesn't tax income earned outside thailand, just the income that's brought into thailand. need a work visa.

this version is good for folks that want to stay long term in thailand and not have to permatravel

Seppia
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by Seppia » Sun Jan 27, 2019 2:45 am

For step 4, Malaysia also has a very easy path to residency through their "my second home" program
http://www.mm2h.gov.my/index.php/en/hom ... conditions
Basically need to deposit $70000 in a bank account and show proof of $2500/mo (current) income.

Panama is also another good example, maybe easier/closer for Americans.
IIRC with the purchase of $80k worth of forest land one can get a Permanent visa, which is also a path to citizenship as it can be claimed after only five years in the country.

jacob
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by jacob » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:40 am

JamesR wrote:
Sat Jan 26, 2019 9:14 pm
thailand doesn't tax income earned outside thailand, just the income that's brought into thailand. need a work visa.
Malta is similar. No work visa but rather proof of funds.
See e.g. https://tucanoprod.com/en/malta-economi ... ient-visa/

Seppia
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by Seppia » Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:46 am

The issue with Malta is that then, you’re in Malta.
Weather is amazing but the island is becoming worse and worse as their government is slowly transforming what used to be a pretty Mediterranean island into a hub of real estate speculation, for-sale citizenship to many shady individuals, and online gambling sites.

Not liking at all the direction to be honest

chenda
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by chenda » Sun Jan 27, 2019 12:22 pm

@seppia - indeed, I've heard it's becoming like southern Italy, a corrupt criminalised state full of black money. There's even been politically linked murders.

Seppia
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by Seppia » Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:39 pm

Personally I think it's very different.
In Sicily the Mafia runs almost everything, but you go there for a week without knowing it's Sicily and you believe it's just a slow paced, beautiful Mediterranean paradise of history, art, and incredible food.

In Malta (especially St Julian's and Sliema), I could actually feel the crookedness. Plus the food is usually fairly terrible VS neighboring Sicily.

I'm far from being an Italian homer (I lived abroad more than a third of my life and the majority of my adult life) but from an ERE perspective* I would pick Sicily before Malta a million times out of one million.
The only real minus is English level is bad in Italy and fairly good in Malta.

* in Italy taxes are higher, but very progressive. The typical low consumption ERE guy/gal would see the higher taxes offset by the significantly lower spending.
Italy has a 0.2% yearly tax on financial assets, so for some fatFIRErs this is probably a big deal

chenda
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by chenda » Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:54 pm

@seppia - that's true, you can holiday in Sicily and you would never think there were any problems. Interesting to hear about your thoughts on Malta, sounds even worse than I thought.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Sun Jan 27, 2019 3:52 pm

Seppia wrote:
Sun Jan 27, 2019 1:39 pm
Seppia, sorry for the odd question, but where in the world have you found people to be the most honest?

jacob
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by jacob » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:00 pm

https://www.transparency.org/news/featu ... index_2017 ... is the perceived level of public corruption according to experts and business people. Perhaps that's a good proxy for overall honesty?

New Zealand is #1 at 89. The US is #16 at 75. Malta is #46 at 56. Italy is #54 at 50. Somalia is last at 9.

Mister Imperceptible
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by Mister Imperceptible » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:19 pm

What’s discouraging is that the top countries on that list have been declining.

Who watches the watchmen?

Seppia
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Re: Expat income, banking, and flag theory

Post by Seppia » Sun Jan 27, 2019 4:40 pm

Mmmh
I would guess my answer greatly depends on what you mean by “honest”.

If it is a proxy for “where I thought outcomes were mostly based off of facts and little else”, I will probably say the nordics in general.
There is a sense of fairness when dealing with Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Holland (not sure why, but I always lump Holland in). No matter your sex, race etc.
But in the other hand I found people to be too concerned about “being nice” and hence not very honest if meant in terms of “transparent/direct”

If it is a proxy of “where I thought people would not steal my stuff” then definitely Japan.
You can literally go to the bathroom and leave your $3000 MacBook Pro on an outdoor table at the cafe in the middle of a crowded place and it will be there when you come back (saw this happen, I was totally awe struck).
But Japan is clearly unfair towards women and foreigners for example.

So I would guess my question would be: could you define in a narrower way what you mean by honest?

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