Recommendation for brokerage or investment strategy for someone who moves countries often

Hi all, first time poster here :slight_smile:

I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for a brokerage for someone who moves countries often (every 1-2 years).

Background: I am a US citizen who has been living abroad since 2013 around Europe, Asia, and now Australia. I am mostly going in between work residencies between countries, or taking year long vacations, so my tax and residency status changes often.

I have ~80K USD in my savings account and feel like I should be putting my money to work. I spoke with someone at Interactive Brokers on the phone last week (who I heard is great for expats), but they told me that I have to close my account and open a new one every time I move countries. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is not a good strategy as investing works better over longer term?

Anyone have any suggestions? Cheers!

Well,first rule is always to withdraw with bank and address with which you deposited.
Schwabe has international accounts ,minimum deposit is 25k.I would check with them as they offer also no or very low fees for buying and selling and plenty of different instruments and handy search tools to find the right investment instrument.They might offer a way to change address and banks.
Or open an account with one broker,one bank and one address and another broker for another country.
There are many brokers available,depending the style of investment.
Videos from the Sailors Emily and Clark give some information how they invest their money with Schwabe.Long term.And Sailing around the world at the same time…

might be helpful.

It would be great to know more about offshore investing from London or US,Chase Manattan or others of the big players.
They all park their money their to avoid legaly taxes.Legal in the sense not against the law.

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I think it’s going to be painful for you no matter what you do.

You can change brokers and close/re-open, and use ACATS transfers to transfer positions from broker to broker without changing… probably; it’s hard to be clear.

You might get away with using someone like HSBC who is used to expats. But then you’ll pay dearly.

The thing is, if you change tax residency, you’re now creating various obligations to whatever other country you’re taking residency in. The broker is responsible to that country to meet its rules because you declared an address there. That kind of record is likely tied to the account, and it’s just going to screw like mad with the back-end records to change it.

I suspect that what people do is find some address to use in the US and just leave it there. Don’t bother telling the broker. It doesn’t really change anything - your tax responsibility is what it is, whatever the broker knows; it’s incumbent on YOU to do the right thing, no matter what. And since the US taxes you on all worldwide income anyway, well, ya know, it just really isn’t going to be that different.


Cheers, thanks for the helpful response. Indeed, I had Schwab on my list to look into. One thing that put me off is the minimum 25K which I have, but as someone just leaning into the investment world, it feels like a lot of money that I’d potentially mess up on as someone who isn’t confident in what they are doing the first few weeks.

Thanks for sharing the Youtube channel of the sailors you mention, I’ll definitely look into their videos this weekend!

@jb4422 Thanks for your response JB, very helpful points. I also initially thought of just opening an IB account with my mum’s US address (which is the same address I use to file US taxes with). However when trying to open a US account with IB, they warned me that I should be opening an AU account, and my account could be frozen.

So now my question is, if I never explicitly state that I am living in other countries, would the broker ever be able to know? (Just want to avoid getting my account frozen). And when I file taxes in the US, would a red flag rise if they see that I file/pay work-related taxes in Australia, and just reporting/paying taxes on the IB investments in the US?

Thanks a lot.

IB is going to know where you log in from based on IP address. If you still had a US drivers license to show for ID then you can probably work around that, but I’m guessing you gave that up. That… might be a problem.

Will a broker be able to figure it out? maybe. They can watch where you log in from. The question is whether your bona-fides are valid in the first place (passport, DL, utility bill, etc). Then you can say “I’m temporarily for work” or whatever - which is true enough.

I don’t know. I could try to comment more but I feel well out of depth now. I will say that IB has terrible customer service - it’s just their nature. Maybe you can do better with Schwab… esp if you can talk to someone face to face.

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Cheers JB, appreciate your time and insights!

Laws and regulations are set to keep the broker and the bank free from the possibility if money laundering.The broker najes sure the account you pay with is the same you withdraw.Thats all,they dont really care In India for example there are fx brokers offering accounts to Indian citizens,which by Indian law is not allowed.Indians simply cannot trade fx,to make sure no hard earned Rupees leave India as Dollars. Still there are some who offer it.
The bank instead has to make sure and check the origin of the money source.
My bank in Switzerland put out a letter that informed all customers that from 1Sept 2020 accounts used outside Switzerland can be blocked.It looked like this includes all transactions,no minimum given.When I take out money from India or another country or go to online banking from a server outside Switzerland, I become subject to this rule !
Even if I have an account with a swiss address!
I dont use myoney for any criminal activities,dont do money laundering and the amounts are small I withdraw.Still I risk to violate this new rule.If I tell the bank I am on holiday somewhere I pay 5times more monthly fees,which is 25CHF.And fees simply to take out my money to use.Every withdraw costs a 5CHF.
Its cheaper to send it to my wifes account and she takes it out in India.
These days system make normal people/married couples look like deliquents in the name of"privacy" and “security”.

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