How to open an offshore bank account
The single best way to protect your money, grow your wealth and safeguard your assets.
Want to find a bank where you can hide your cash?
There won’t be any of that here. That’s because tax avoidance is illegal wherever you go in the world.
What is legal, however, is banking overseas, sans all the drama of ‘stashing’ and ‘hiding’.
What am I getting at?
The single best way to protect your money, grow your wealth and safeguard your assets against everyone who wants a piece of the pie – offshore banking.
I’m a strong advocate for offshore banking because it allows you to become a true diversified global citizen, which is even more important in today’s world when the banking world is a madhouse.
A recent study suggested that banks in the United States’ are only the 40th safest in the world…
Here’s a grim picture for a realist:
Your local bank goes under. Who protects your money or makes sure you get it all back? The government? Guess again.
Diversification of your assets is key to pulling off a global citizen strategy and keeping your assets safe.
So, let’s walk through offshore banking and why it is one of the most important pieces to a holistic offshore strategy.
REasons TO OPEN AN OFFSHORE BANK ACCOUNT
Putting money into offshore accounts in various countries is an excellent way to diversify.
Offshore bank accounts take your wealth out of the reach of broke governments, aggressive lawyers and creditors.
Why you should open an offshore bank account
Chances are, you haven’t considered banking internationally and it’s probably because offshore bank accounts have a chronic association with corruption and shady practices.
Looking at you, United States.
This is exactly why you need to strongly consider obtaining a second citizenship.
Below, I will delve into all of this and explain the benefits of obtaining multiple passports, walk you through the methods to obtaining another citizenship, and urge you to do it sooner rather than later.
It’s getting harder and harder to get that second passport, and the window of opportunity might be closing soon.
1. Offshore Banking Offers Political Risk Diversification
You’re a smart person and have diversified your assets across numerous asset classes. You own growth stocks, blue chip stocks, bonds, real estate, gold, Bitcoin…
You name it.
Most know about asset diversification but are blind to the benefits of geographic diversification.
There are so many examples of wealthy business owners going completely bankrupt when the economic meltdown of 2008 hit.
Many people who held and invested all of their money in the United States, for example, lost everything.
Even though they had diversified their assets by owning stocks, bonds, real estate and others, very few thought about geographic diversification.
And that’s why, when the crisis hit, they lost everything. Had they held some of their assets offshore, the blow would’ve been much softer.
History has a way of repeating itself. There’s always wacky stuff happening in politics, making you nervous about your assets and wealth.
Putting money into offshore accounts in various countries can be an excellent way to diversify.
2. You Won’t Lose Assets that Easily
Is your government broke?
The United States is an absolute champion of debt, having run up a tab of $127 trillion dollars in national debt and unfunded liabilities. It’s a ticking time bomb, really.
Governments have a history of needing more than their citizen’s tax money to pay their bills. And if the situation is bad enough, they don’t shy away from targeting your personal assets.
Don’t believe me? It’s happened, rather recently, in Cyprus, Ireland and Poland.
For example, in 2011, the Hungarian government forced its citizens to ditch their private pension plans and rejoin the state-run pension plans or forfeit their right to future state pension payouts (despite continued contributions).
When you bank ‘at home,’ any bureaucrat can freeze your accounts, without any proof or criminal charge at all.
Money abroad is much harder, if not impossible, for them to get to.
Plus, aggressive lawyers, creditors, angry ex-spouses and ex-business partners all might want an ‘in’ on your wealth. Offshore bank accounts take your wealth out of their reach.
3. You Can Earn Higher Interest Rates
You know the measly 1.5% interest rate you’re currently getting at your home bank?
Increase that five-fold, or even ten-fold. There are countries in the world that will pay 10% interest rates on your deposit today.
I even found a bank with an 11% APY (annual percentage yield). Their only condition was that I didn’t withdraw my money for a year.
Want to know where? Get in touch.
Diversifying your money in safe offshore bank accounts can be a great way to obtain higher interest rates on your money.
4. Diversify Through Currencies
The western world is in a ‘currency war’ that’s destroying trillions of dollars of wealth held by high-net-worth individuals like you.
Sure, holding hard assets like gold and silver is a good way to diversify. But are you up for even more risk and reward?
There are emerging market currency accounts that offer APY rates up to 18%.
Banks in financial centers like Hong Kong, Singapore and Andorra support 12 or even 15 currencies, all in one safe offshore bank account.
And if you don’t necessarily want to diversify in currencies, you can invest in US dollar accounts for a 5-6% yield and still benefit from offshore bank accounts.
5. Bank with More Confidence
The Great Recession of 2009 is still fresh in all our minds.
There were 372 bank failures in just one year. The United States, Germany, Australia, Andorra, Panama – each of them had banks that were affected.
During a recession, you’d hope that your money was well taken care of, but that simply isn’t the case.
Here’s the scary truth: the FDIC in the United States has less than one percent of deposits in its reserves. If every US bank failed at once, you would only see $1 for roughly every $300 you deposited.
Foreign banks don’t take those kinds of risks. That is why offshore banking can help you regain your confidence in banks.
Where can you find safe and stable banks, the ones that keep much more of your total deposit sum on hand were trouble to hit?
We continuously look for the next big country and the next best bank here at Nomad Capitalist and keep thorough records of every bank my team and I have dealt with through our boots-on-the-ground research approach.
I can share all of that insight with you if we work together.
6. Tax Optimization Becomes More Attainable
Lastly, an offshore bank account can enable you to enjoy the tax benefits of a holistic wealth diversification strategy.
Chances are you’ve landed on this page because you’re interested in lowering your tax burden in a completely legal way.
I talk about it in much more depth on our Offshore Company page, but in a nutshell, opening an offshore bank account might mean that any income gained (e.g., by way of accumulating interest) won’t be taxed at all or will be taxed at a low percent.
You must conduct due diligence to determine exactly which jurisdiction and which bank you’d want to work with before you start strategizing for lower taxes, however.
There are many international tax intricacies, such as reporting and annual tax filing, to keep in mind.
How to open an offshore bank account
If you’re ready to take the plunge, the next step is to open an offshore account.
And just a forewarning: you must do your due diligence or get some help when it comes to planning all of this.
Otherwise, you might be risking getting a fine that swallows up your entire offshore account, or worse – jail time is an actual punishment for tax evasion, intentional or not.
There are roughly five steps in opening an offshore bank account:
- Create an offshore banking strategy and identify your goals.
- Find a bank that will fit within your offshore strategy and hit all of your objectives.
- Open an account online or in-person (more on this below); make note of what bank fees you’ll be liable to pay.
- Deposit money into your newly created offshore account.
- Meet all reporting requirements that might be placed on you.
It doesn’t seem too complicated, but it sure isn’t as easy as it used to be.
There are a lot of countries to choose from and plenty of offshore banking laws to worry about.
Plus, things are different than in your home country banks.
Make sure you consult a qualified specialist before you move any of your considerable wealth abroad.
Opening an Account Online vs. In-Person
While opening a foreign bank account isn’t as easy as it used to be, it’s far easier than you think.
It’s just like banking at home.
Some banks will require an appointment, while others won’t and you can simply walk into a branch and speak to a manager.
Some banks will rush to get you a drink and a personal account manager, while others will keep things low-key.
But it all achieves the same thing and the details are just that – details. Don’t dwell on those.
What you’re after is a functional bank account that helps you accumulate more wealth and diversify to avoid risks.
Some banks will let you open an account online, while others require that you show up in person.
However, here at Nomad Capitalist, we believe that travelling to open your offshore bank account in person is the preferred method.
The best offshore banks want to see you in person. They will judge you based on your appearance and mannerisms, which might seem unfair, but it’s part of their evaluation process.
So don’t walk up in a t-shirt and jeans if you want to be treated the best and have a fair chance at opening up an account that’s the most beneficial to you.
Instead, get into the head of the bank manager: what are they looking for when they’re opening your account?
They want to know that you’re a reliable individual with considerable wealth who will pay their fees. Show them that.
Where to Open an Offshore Bank Account
This is a tricky question.
We advise people on where to open an offshore bank account every day and I have enough experience with it to firmly say that it totally depends on your situation.
It depends on where you hold your passport(s), the currency(ies) you use, where your tax residency is, where you hold assets and investments, what your business goals are, and many other factors.
You should consider how important the ease and function of online banking is to you, whether the bank is nomad-friendly, and how solid the bank’s reputation is.
Finally, a bank is only as good as the jurisdiction that it’s in.
You wouldn’t want to bank in Somalia even if a bank was reported as ‘the best and safest’ out there. That’s because Somalia has been in a state of civil war for decades now.
Having an offshore bank account is part of being a diversified global citizen, so choosing the best offshore bank is an extremely important step and not something to be taken lightly.
Here at Nomad Capitalist, we curate a list of 900+ international banks and update it on a weekly basis.
If you want this intel, let’s talk.
High-net-worth individuals should also consider private banks and their accounts.
These are banks with dedicated bank personnel who actively manage your wealth on your behalf.
These accounts can be opened only with a substantial deposit, anywhere from $500,000 and up. Some banks will require that your accumulated wealth be at least $5 million.
And it’s not like the banks want to see a high number of transactions for these accounts.
In other words, it’s not an account to receive your consulting salary into or an account from which you can make frequent withdrawals.
If you’re in two minds about private banking, why not open a high-street retail account at a bank you like and then make the switch to their premier account later, if all goes well?
This could be a good way to introduce yourself to the world of private banking and premium bank accounts for high-net-worth people.
It really has a number of pros, which you can read more about in this article.
Offshore Banking Myths: Debunked
I know there are a lot of misconceptions about offshore banking. I deal with it every day.
Let me dispel some of the most common myths in a quick Q&A round.
Are Offshore Banks Safe?
The goal of opening an offshore bank account is to do it at the safest possible bank.
So yes, the offshore banks that you want to go for are safe. These will be the banks that have very little risk of failing and keep comparably high levels of capital on hand.
However, just like all banks in your home country aren’t created equal, there are dubious offshore banks too.
Is It Legal to Have an Offshore Bank Account?
Offshore bank accounts are completely legal, if done in a way that complies with the laws of your home country.
And don’t forget about the annual reporting requirements after you’ve opened the account to stay in compliance too.
It is not illegal to bank offshore, but hiding your offshore accounts definitely is.
What’s the Difference Between Tax Optimization and Tax Evasion?
Tax evasion is illegal, no matter where you’re trying to do it — at home or overseas.
Meanwhile tax optimization, if done in accordance with the law of the jurisdiction where the bank is located and your home country, is 100% legal.
People use offshore bank accounts to decrease their tax burden in a country where income and/or profit isn’t taxed or is taxed at a lower percent than back at home.
Are Banks in Switzerland the Safest?
For a really long time, Swiss banks were the world standard.
The country has strong privacy laws and the banks used numbered accounts instead of names, to attribute sums of money to their clients.
People loved that. And while that’s not the case anymore (due to new transparency and reporting laws), the Swiss have retained their rock-solid banking reputation.
Plus, they have a very stable economy, virtually no inflation, and a currency that’s backed by 40% gold reserves.
The bank regulators in Switzerland require that banks hold on to high levels of capital for deposit protection, which means that in times of turmoil, your money will most likely make its way back to your pocket.
While there are many other high-quality jurisdictions, it can be said that the banks in Switzerland are some of the safest in the world.
Do Rich People Bank Offshore to Hide Money from Tax Collectors?
Because offshore banks have such a terrible reputation, it’s easy to see why this question comes up time and time again.
Historically, offshore banks could have been used to evade taxes. There were many ways to set up an account and make it invisible to tax collectors.
But nowadays, new reporting rules and heightened levels of information sharing between jurisdictions means that it’s virtually impossible to hide money from governments.
Challenges of Offshore Banking and Account Maintenance
As a high-net-worth individual, or an ultra-high-net-worth individual, you’re probably aware that nothing in life is as easy as it might seem.
So, you’ve opened an account and you’ve put money into it. What happens next?
There are a few challenges and considerations when it comes to account maintenance.
What’s FATCA Got to Do With it?
Banking offshore used to be much easier. There were no strict reporting requirements and you could coast by or even fall under the radar for having multiple accounts around the world.
That’s not the case for most nationalities anymore, and especially not for Americans.
The United States passed the FATCA – Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act – back in 2010 and offshore banking has been more restricted ever since.
It’s not hugely complicated, just time-consuming.
You will have to report each and every foreign bank account to the US government and they’ll make sure that any tax that’s due has been paid.
And you might remember that the US is pretty much the only country in the world that taxes the worldwide income of its citizens no matter where they live.
Account Freezes, Closures and Banks Going Under
It’s life and anything can happen. Offshore banking is not immune to political and social unrest.
There are stories of banks in Europe that have started limiting customers’ access to their own money.
The key here is to look at the big picture – not the individual freezes and closures — to get a better idea as to which banks’ accounts are good options and which are worth avoiding.
There are loads of curve balls that you will be served in the world of offshore banking, that much is certain.
It’s best to be prepared and diversified.
Risk Doing It Yourself?
Offshore banking for high-net-worth individuals is not DIY territory.
And I’m not saying that to secure you as a client, but because there is simply too much at stake if you mess it up.
I know from my own personal experience, and from the experience of the hundreds of clients I’ve worked with in the past, some things are too tricky to navigate without insider knowledge.
This is what my team and I do every day.
We have researched, met with, and developed relationships with more than 900 banks around the world. We’re constantly updating our master spreadsheet to have the most recent information and make the most informed decisions for each of our clients.
Which banks don’t work with forex traders? Which ones will only take on a company incorporated in a ‘top-tier’ jurisdiction?
And which ones have recently increased their minimum deposit to unattainable heights?
We have our ear to the ground on a daily basis to be the best advocates for our offshore banking clients.
They might give you an account, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best account for you.
Knowing what you’re looking for — whether that’s multiple currencies or high APY accounts — is essential, so you can advocate for yourself.
Obviously, the rules and procedures in relation to account maintenance will vary between banks and jurisdictions.
You Need to Get Offshore Banking Right
I couldn’t count how many times clients have come to me for help only after they’ve messed something up with their offshore bank accounts.
People have gotten substantial fines, lost their accounts, and even been prosecuted, in a few cases. It’s only then that they come to me and my team to clean up their messes.
But why not just get it right in the first place?
It would save you a lot of money and time, that’s for sure.
Could you open an offshore bank account by yourself?
Would you know which bank would serve you best and how to get the most out of your new account?
Probably not — no offense.
We’ve done the research for you and have executed offshore banking strategies for hundreds of clients.
Don’t miss out on one of the best wealth-building, asset-protection opportunities there is, simply because you don’t know where to start.
And never settle for an ‘OK’ bank. Life is too short to leave your assets to wither in a sub-par account.
It’s time to think long-term about safety and growth through offshore banking.
And once you realize that you can legally bank anywhere in the world and start exploring your options, you’ll see tremendous opportunity in banking where you’re treated best.
READY TO GET STARTED?
Our team constantly researches, analyzes, and networks with offshore banks around the globe. As a result, we have compiled a list of over 900 offshore banks so we can help our clients take advantage of what works in the real world, not theory. Learn how we can help you set up an offshore bank account.