I got an e-mail today from a reader of this blog, and I could tell from his tone that he was bothered by the issue that he wrote about. He was asking about financial issues, credit reporting and other such issues and how he would handle these kinds of things if he decided to move to the Philippines. It was obvious to me that this was quite important to him.
Let’s take a look at part of the message he sent me:
What happened to your relationships with your financial institutions in the states after you made your move there? Did you notify the three credit unions (equifax, experian, etc), credit card and retirement institutions(if you have any) about your foreign address or do you still keep a US address and used that instead?
Well, this could all be handled in a number of different ways, so let’s take a look at the way I did it.
The first thing that I did before moving here was that I sold my house, and some of my major assets in the USA, so these were no longer a burden or even a concern for me. I paid off all of my debts before leaving the USA, so there was no need for changing the address or otherwise even notifying them of my move. I opened an account with a local branch of “Mail Boxes Etc.” and asked them to forward my mail received to my address in the Philippines once per month. As you can imagine, the cost of forwarding mail to the Philippines was not low! I filed a change of address with my local Post Office, and had the mail forwarded to the Mail Boxes Etc. address. I kept all of this going for about a year or so, and at that time I felt that it was no longer necessary, since I got little mail any longer.
On my bank accounts, I changed the address to that Mail Boxes Etc. address, so when I closed that, I had to make some changes in my banking. At that time, I just changed address to my Mother’s address and had the statements mailed there. I did tell my bank that I was living in the Philippines, but had a US mailing address. They were OK about that. Actually, they are still OK about that, because I am still banking with them to this day.
On credit cards, the credit card companies will not allow you to keep your card if they know you live in the Philippines. Particularly if you live here full time. You see, if you are out of the country like that, it is not easy for them to come after you if the need arises! 😉 I had been told this by a friend who moved here a few years before I did, so I just made a change of address and left it at that. After a few months, they noticed that all of my charges were being made in the Philippines! They contacted me and asked me what was going on. I told them that I was here for a work assignment (I was indeed working here, after all!), and they asked me how long I’d be here. I gave them a date, and when that passed, they chose not to renew my card. It’s OK, I had gotten where I didn’t use it much anyway.
I didn’t feel any need to notify the credit reporting agencies anything about my move. Those guys are like big brother anyway and probably already knew where I was moving before I did!
Now, let me say… what I have talked about here was the way that I did it. I have made some changes in the last 3 years, after learning the ropes a bit. The system that I have described works fine, but I am using a better way now, and I will tell you in my next post how I do it now, and how I recommend you do all of this from day 1. Stand by for that in my next post!