Welcome to our first official blogpost of the new passive, nomadic era! Aside from an account related speed bump life has been moving along pretty well, plenty of long distance runs, nice weather to explore in and time to catch up on earnings calls. With the brain now freed up from work constraints the entrepreneurial spirit has now started to flow too.
So getting to the speed bump..while celebrating our son’s 21st birthday in the UK we checked the email on my cell to find the dreaded “we are closing your accounts in 30 days” notice from the brokerage which to be perfectly honest is the email we had been paranoid about going into the Nomad lifestyle as it seems to be the biggest hurdle according to expat case studies. Any other time would have been fine but we were due to fly to Malaga within two days so figured we needed to move fast in case communication became an issue.
The reason for this wake up call centered around the need to keep the important financial aspects of this new chapter as compliant as humanly possible in order for us to sleep well at night. We didn’t want any nasty surprises along the way so, since we will be basing our nomadic activities out of the United Kingdom we changed the address on file to reflect this, with concurrence from Schwab International in El Paso. We had heard that it is entirely feasible that one can simply use your virtual mailbox for this purpose but it was confirmed that this is not acceptable practice for this particular institution, a physical address is required for bank compliance purposes.
While the email was quite dramatic with the underlying implication that all the accounts including brokerage, IRA’s and current account would be liquidated within 30 days this was not actually the case. Schwab have since apologized for the doomsday email theme since it needed to simply specify that the high yield current account was the issue since this is not available to non-US residents. An expat simply uses their brokerage account as the current account spending dividends and any other cash directly using the Schwab International Debit Card, this is a much cleaner approach to us anyway.
None of the above is a bad reflection on Schwab, we still believe they are the best of breed for the US Expat lifestyle providing you with a worldwide zero fee debit card when you need cash and whenever we have called the international branch in Texas all the staff have been extremely knowledgeable throughout this entire process, detailing which mutual funds we needed to sell in order to be non-US resident compliant.
Aside from this hiccup and any complacency aside life seems to be rolling along fine. Spain was definitely a good choice as the first landing spot and after a hectic life in the USA for 13 years this is a much slower pace of life which didn’t take much adjustment. It’s also a very frugal-friendly location for home meal preparation so it helps to not have the usual household spending stress that we’ve previously been accustomed to.
We look forward to posting full budget updates including income and outgoings at the end of the month.
Thanks for reading,