The What, Where, And How Of Offshore Banking

Offshore Banking For Virgins

Relocating your assets to another jurisdiction can seem a big, intimidating, even frightening idea.

But it doesn’t have to be.

First, what does it mean, exactly…to “go offshore”?

Strictly speaking, it means simply to do something in another country. For an American, going offshore means investing, banking, or doing business outside the United States. If you’re British, going offshore means operating beyond the United Kingdom. Etc.

Nothing so scary about that.

The trouble starts when you consider specific “going offshore” strategies–setting up a trust in another jurisdiction, for example, or opening a foreign corporation to hold real estate holdings, say.

Just as I recommend you start small with your retire-overseas thinking and planning, so, too, should you start small and simple when it comes to moving your assets offshore.

You don’t have to figure out an umbrella strategy of corporations and holding companies straightaway. In fact, most of the complex structures many offshore attorneys promote aren’t necessary for most people, not immediately and not long term.

In fact, maybe all your going-offshore plan will ever require is an overseas bank account. So start there.

Plant your first offshore flag by opening a bank account in a jurisdiction you’re comfortable with.

Keep in mind that the country where you choose to do your banking need not be the country where you’re living, where you’re doing business, or where you hold citizenship. These are all separate agendas.

Two top banking options right now are Panama and Belize. Both respect the tradition of bank secrecy.

To open an account in Panama, you’ll need to visit the country in person.

In Belize, on the other hand, you can open an account long distance, and, at at least one bank we prefer, you can open an account even without making an initial deposit. In other words, to make the point, this isn’t a strategy for millionaires and jet-setters only.

I also personally like Andorra as an offshore banking jurisdiction. My preferred Andorran bank has a branch in Panama City.

Kathleen Peddicord