A new year means fresh possibilities. Since your goal is to create greater financial security, 2022 is the ideal time to open an offshore account or two. It won't be difficult to identify which ones would allow you to generate a nest egg with several account
The key to success is to understand what you want in an offshore account and choose one accordingly. Here are eight factors to consider as you compare offshore financial institutions and locations for these new accounts.
1. Bank Requirements
As you begin to compare different offshore banks, you will find that each has requirements that new depositors must meet. Some of those requirements have to do with providing proof of your identity. This is typically not difficult since the documents you
would use to establish your identity with a domestic bank are often acceptable in an offshore setting.
Some offshore banks may require minimum deposits before you can open any checking or savings account. Others will open accounts without requiring a minimum deposit, but the balances will not accrue interest until they reach a certain level. The latter is
a good strategy for anyone who wants to open accounts with more modest balances and then add to them over time.
2. Understand Applicable Banking Laws
Don't assume the banking laws that apply in any given country are the same as the ones that apply in your country of origin. While there will likely be some similarities, there are differences. If the differences happen to be more in your favor, that's a
country worth exploring.
Keep in mind; some nations intentionally pass banking legislation designed to attract offshore depositors' attention. The only way you can decide if a country is the right location for your accounts is to know what those laws are and how they apply to you.
Fortunately, many countries are transparent when providing potential depositors with this type of information.
3. Language and Communication Barriers
Communication is essential when it comes to managing offshore bank accounts. It's a good idea to focus your attention on countries where languages you speak are in everyday use. They don't necessarily have to be the official tongues of the nation, but they
should be in use often enough that you can converse with bank personnel if the need arises.
For example, someone who is primarily an English speaker would want to consider offshore accounts based in nations where English is readily understood. If you happen to speak Spanish as well, a country where English and Spanish are commonly used is even
better. If you can communicate easily with the bank, taking care of those accounts will be more straightforward.
4. Interest Rate Assessment
One of the more attractive aspects of offshore banking is the potential to generate more significant amounts of interest than you could manage at home. Even as you look for an offshore location that offers substantial protections for depositors, pay close
attention to the interest rate and how it's applied to the account balance. That will make it easier to project how much your account will earn over each calendar year.
Keep in mind that many offshore banks offer higher interest rates when there's more money kept in those accounts. There may even be a tiered arrangement that allows you to progress from a lower interest rate to a higher one as the account balance grows.
Since your goal is to build reserves for the future, opening an account now and adding to it throughout 2022 will allow you to make progress on this front.
5. Account Fees
You're no stranger to bank fees. After all, you deal with those at home. You may not know that some offshore accounts include fewer if any, fees. That's one more reason to divert some of your wealth into offshore accounts in the coming year.
Better offshore banks provide full disclosure of all fees that may apply to the accounts they offer. This is good since you can compare the fee structure provided by one institution with what's offered by one in a different country. Using this method, it's
possible to narrow the choices and ultimately find the bank that provides the right balance of lower fees and greater rates of interest.
6. Privacy and Account Data Protection
You already learned a little about how your personal information is protected when you researched the banking laws that are in force in different countries. Now you want to take things one step further and look at what the bank under consideration does to
protect your proprietary information. That includes what is and is not shared directly with the government and other entities.
The offshore bank you want will readily supply you with any information you need for tax or other purposes. At the same time, access by any unauthorized entity will be strictly denied. You can rest assured that the only people who know about your accounts
are the ones that you choose to tell.
7. Protection from Potential Economic Shifts
There are different projections about economic trends for the coming year due to the pandemic. On the one hand, the National Institute projected in their Autumn
2021 Global Economic Outlook that the personal consumption inflation rate in the United States would increase at least during the first quarter of the new year. At the same time, others predict that the increased use of vaccinations and restoration of
supply chains will cause inflation to reduce during that first quarter.
Where does this leave you? Given that there is no unified voice about how the economy will go in the new year, it makes sense to open offshore accounts in a location that is less likely to be affected by shifts. This will minimize the impact on your financial
deposits and hopefully allow you to see consistent growth in those accounts.
8. Ability to Manage Accounts Remotely
In times past, people who opted for offshore accounts had to rely on agents to manage their accounts. That's not the case any longer. Many offshore banks now provide secure online access to those accounts. This means you can enjoy the benefits of offshore
banking without relying on an intermediary.
You can easily transfer funds from your domestic accounts to their offshore counterparts. Moving money into a time deposit or savings account from your offshore checking account requires only a few steps. You can check balances, ensure that deposits are
completed and posted, and look for any recent interest payments at any point in time. Use your offshore account to pay bills if you like. It's up to you.
Find Your Best Offshore Banking Fit
As you begin to look around, it won't take long to find that all offshore banks are not the same. Your goal is to identify the one that fits into your comfort zone, offers excellent communication and support, and inspires trust that your money is in good
Luigi Wewege is President of award-winning Belize, Central America headquartered Caye International Bank, published author of The Digital Banking Revolution - now in its third edition, and has co-authored economic research which was presented before the
United States Congress. He currently serves as an Instructor at the FinTech School in California and as an Advisory Board Member of Fort Kobbe International Vaults. He holds an Italian MBA from The MIB Trieste School of Management with a major in International
Business, as well as a BSBA with a triple major in Finance, International Business, and Management from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.