June 2, 2016
When I returned back to the U.S. from my trip to Panama this spring, I had a check waiting for me from Australia. If you recall, I opened a bank account there when I was at Simon Black’s conference in Santiago, Chile back in 2013.
The bank account was affiliated with a brokerage account I opened at a company called BBY. That account was opened at the same time, but I never used it.
Last year, I received emails from the guy who opened these accounts for people at Simon’s conference. He said he had left the brokerage company, BBY, and was with another company.
The Demise of BBY
As it turns out, BBY went bankrupt. Hence, it’s affiliation with the bank, St. George’s Bank, was severed. The bank accounts were left in place for a while, but in March of this year (2016), all the accounts that were associated with BBY were closed.
Long story short, I didn’t know how it would work to deposit (in the U.S.) a cheque (that’s how they spell it in Australia) made out in Australian Dollars. I called my bank and found out how they would handle it.
Incidentally, I still bank in North Carolina because I haven’t found a bank I feel comfortable with (based on Weiss Ratings) in the locations where I’ve been hanging out lately.
It Never Hurts to Ask
So, I would have had to mail the cheque to North Carolina. Then, they would have to send it to Australia for “collection.” It sounded like it would take a month or so to process it.
I decided to find out if I had other options. Actually, I wanted to keep the account open. I wasn’t using it for trading so the fact that BBY was gone didn’t matter to me. I wanted the diversification. Once I get money out of the U.S., I certainly don’t want it coming back in.
I used Skype to call Australia. First, I had to get the timing right to call during banking hours. It worked out to call over there in the evening, which was morning over there. I asked if I could keep the account open. Negative.
Then I asked if it would be possible to cancel the cheque and send the funds via a wire transfer. She had to check with a manager. She came back and said that they could do that.
Some Things End up Being Easier Than you Thought They Would be
I provided her with my email address. She sent me an email with the form for me to request the wire transfer. I replied with an email that contained the cheque number so she could cancel it.
I got the wiring instructions from my bank in NC the next day and filled out the form for St. George’s Bank. The following day, I received a call from Australia confirming all the details from the form and within 24 hours, the funds were wired. I accomplished all of this in one week. Not too bad.
The down side is that now I have money in the U.S. that I wanted to have outside the U.S. Plus, over the 3 years that I had the account, the Australian dollar lost about 18% of its value relative to the US dollar. Bummer.
On the up side, it was an interesting experience to add to my repertoire.
I will probably add this to the funds for buying foreign real estate and thus, will move it out of the U.S. again. I’ll update you on my current ideas about foreign real estate soon.
Yours in prosperity,
Sophia Hilton (A Savvy Woman)