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Banking Suggestions Needed
Old 05-21-2012, 05:05 PM   #1
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Banking Suggestions Needed

As DH's tenure in the workforce comes to an end we have a bit of housekeeping to do to reduce account holdings. Our current spread is as follows:

401k: Charles Schwab

Mutual Funds plus my Rollover IRA: Vanguard

ESPP Shares Plus Cash: E-Trade

Checking Plus Trading Account Plus SEP: Wells Fargo

As we expect to be resident outside the US I want to consolidate to one institution. I was thinking Vanguard but there would be no easy way to access funds from an ATM. Does anyone have any experience or comments to make on any of the companies listed above? I know whatever we do we need to do it before we leave the country and get all kinds of issues.

The other direction I was thinking of going was perhaps consolidate Vanguard/Schwab/E-trade to one account and get a credit union account for cash needs but not sure how they would manage international transfers.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:15 PM   #2
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I use the WellsFargo PMA package with free checking, free online bill pay, free trades at WellsTrade, free ATM (including overseas ATMs), etc. Transfers between checking and brokerage are done within a few minutes.

If I had to have only one financial institution for all my stuff it would be at WF because I get everything free. One can even buy Vanguard funds for no commission which is not something available at e-trade or schwab. And WF does better than Vanguard integrating banking, mutual funds, and brokerage services.

OTOH, folks say their customer service reps are not so knowledgeable since they bought Wachovia. I don't ever call them up, so I just don't care about that.

But at WF, make sure it is the PMA package and not the non-free other stuff.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:25 PM   #3
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Are you eligible for USAA banking? Having one account for banking and another for investments should give you better options.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:35 PM   #4
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Not eligible for USAA as that one is out.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:44 PM   #5
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I would call Vanguard to confirm how the account would be set up and managed, and if that fits your needs, go with it. Not sure a credit union will have the knowledgeable staff you need, so I think one of the large national banks with a strong retail business, such as Wells Fargo or Chase. Overseas ATM withdrawals can be costly so if you can get free with Wells and the exchange rates they use are market, they might be a good option.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:49 PM   #6
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Schwab offers free interest bearing checking that links to brokerage accounts.
ATM fees are waived - including international ones. (Up to a limit per month... 10?)

I've been really pleased with Schwab for both IRAs and banking. And we had no issues using the ATM in Europe.
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Old 05-21-2012, 05:53 PM   #7
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I have a Vanguard Advantage account and because I am a Flagship customer I get some free trades, free checking with a PNC debt card, free TurboTax, and a bunch of other freebees. I ACH all my bills through this account all my dividends are deposited into my checking account. This and a CAPONE no foreign transaction fee CC and I am good to go.

Downside costs $30? a year unless you have a million with them.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:10 PM   #8
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Consider using Capital One for your checking/savings account.
No International Exchange fees for ATM use and their interest rates are better than most (not as high as others).
You can use electronic xfer between your Brokerage Acct and savings/checking accts.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:42 PM   #9
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Vanguard won't work. Spoke with them today. We have to have the ability to do ATM withdrawals and that's something they don't offer. Not interested in the ability to purchase stock market/mutual funds because once we are no longer resident in the US they will automatically cut off our ability to buy. Will only be able to sell.

Hmm will have to look further into Schwab.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:51 PM   #10
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Not interested in the ability to purchase stock market/mutual funds because once we are no longer resident in the US they will automatically cut off our ability to buy. Will only be able to sell.
I got a different story form Vanguard. They told me I could buy and sell in my Vanguard account even if I have a foreign residence address.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:52 PM   #11
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USAA banking and financial services are available to everyone; some insurance products are limited to those that have "honorably served" (Veterans with honorable discharges) or children of Veterans.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:54 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by DangerMouse View Post
Vanguard won't work. Spoke with them today. We have to have the ability to do ATM withdrawals and that's something they don't offer. Not interested in the ability to purchase stock market/mutual funds because once we are no longer resident in the US they will automatically cut off our ability to buy. Will only be able to sell.

Hmm will have to look further into Schwab.
Funny, I was able to get colones, from an ATM in Costa Rica with my VA card.
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Old 05-21-2012, 06:57 PM   #13
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USAA banking and financial services are available to everyone
Opening a bank account at USAA Federal Savings bank is less restricted than becoming a full-fledged USAA member, but...

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Banking: To open a bank account, you must meet one of these requirements:
1. have a military affiliation
2. be a current bank customer
3. be a resident of Bexar County, Texas (San Antonio)
See correction below.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:30 PM   #14
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Does anyone have any experience or comments to make on any of the companies listed above? I know whatever we do we need to do it before we leave the country and get all kinds of issues.
DD went overseas (France) for a semester in 2010. The Schwab checking account and debit card was recommended here. No ATM fees other than a modest exchange rate surcharge, as I recall. It worked out great.
DD wants to study abroad - advice?

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I think one of the large national banks with a strong retail business, such as Wells Fargo or Chase.
LOL! speaks highly of Wells. That's one out of two on that list I personally would check into.

My recent Chase experience in converting an IRA invested in CD's to a self-traded brokerage account required multiple phone calls, three trips to an office and escalation to a second-level supervisor. YMMV, of course.
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:41 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Opening a bank account at USAA Federal Savings bank is less restricted than becoming a full-fledged USAA member, but...
As far as I can tell from the USAA web site, "other individuals" are eligible for membership: https://www.usaa.com/inet/pages/why_...lobal_usaaandu

"USAA's investment products, most checking and savings products, credit cards, life insurance, and shopping and discounts are available to other individuals.

USAA auto and property insurance is not available due to membership eligibility requirements. New Hampshire and North Carolina residents who are not eligible for membership may be able to obtain USAA auto insurance by calling 1-800-531-USAA (8722) to determine eligibility as defined by these state's mandatory coverage laws.

All other individuals not eligible for USAA auto insurance may be able to obtain an auto policy through Progressive Insurance by calling 1-888-870-8096."
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Old 05-21-2012, 07:57 PM   #16
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Rowdy, I just got off the phone with USAA. My information is dated (I opened my account with them 42 years ago) and incorrect. Anyone can open an account with USAA Federal Savings Bank by calling the 800 number you posted.

The OP might want to check into this.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:07 PM   #17
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USAA is a great bank. I thought i had a checking account with them, but they closed it and I didn't even noticed. When I asked about it, they said,

Quote:
Thank you for your e-mail regarding a checking account with USAA. We have reviewed your profile and our records do not indicate that you have had a bank account with us.
Then they said
Quote:
Our records indicate you previously had an account, #######, which is no longer open. We show the account was established September 2007.
Then they said
Quote:
An account that remains dormant for 5 years will go into the escheatment status. Your checking account was closed in September of 2008. As always, please contact us if you have any additional questions or concerns.
So apparently they closed my account after just 1 year and didn't bother to wait 5 years (which would be this coming September, wouldn't it?). Anyways, I was amused by the responses to my questions about this account because each one contradicted the previous response in some way.
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Old 05-21-2012, 08:10 PM   #18
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And Fidelity Investments is another possibility. I'm surprised someone hasn't chimed in about that. Are there not some ex-pats with Fidelity accounts who read the forum?
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:11 PM   #19
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Rowdy, I just got off the phone with USAA. My information is dated (I opened my account with them 42 years ago) and incorrect. Anyone can open an account with USAA Federal Savings Bank by calling the 800 number you posted.

The OP might want to check into this.
And this is why you're my favorite West Texas person.... you don't mind picking up the darn phone and asking a question. It wasn't that long ago the Bexar County residency was mandatory to open a bank account if you didn't have USAA membership so you're not completely losing your mind. The key word was "completely".

<sidebar> I thought of you the other day. I was in CVS when a guy came in and asked the clerk about medicine for chiggers. My voice was almost non-existent and besides it was entertaining to listen to him tell the clerk he just couldn't understand why there were so many chiggers in his back yard. Since he was wearing shorts it was pretty obvious he needed to quit worrying about chiggers and spray for fleas.
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Old 05-21-2012, 09:19 PM   #20
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It wasn't that long ago the Bexar County residency was mandatory to open a bank account if you didn't have USAA membership so you're not completely losing your mind. The key word was "completely".
One of my more endearing qualities is my consistent inability to follow through on almost everything I set out to accomplish.
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Since he was wearing shorts it was pretty obvious he needed to quit worrying about chiggers and spray for fleas.
Yep. Along the same lines of "If you don't feel better by noon, it's the flu", "If your nether regions aren't itching, it's fleas".
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