If you are retiring in Brazil, you will likely need access to both private retirement accounts and your social security benefits while you are living abroad. If you have no financial commitments left in the United States, you may decide to transfer your funds to a Brazilian account for easy access. However, if you have financial obligations in the U.S. or are receiving a good interest rate on various investments, you may want to keep the bulk of your money in the U.S. and transfer it to Brazil as you need it. If that is what you decide to do, here are some things that you should know.
Open a Local Bank Account
When you arrive in Brazil, you should open a local bank account. This will make it easier to receive funds and to access your money without paying international withdrawal fees on your credit or debit card. The process for opening a bank account in Brazil is different depending on which bank you choose.
Most banks require your passport, a copy of your residence card, your Brazilian tax identification number, your Brazilian foreign identification number, and proof of income. Other documentation may be necessary and the process can sometimes take several days. If you receive social security benefits, then you can use that as proof of income. Otherwise, you may be asked to make a substantial deposit into your account and maintain a minimum balance to keep it open.
Decide Whether To Have Your Social Security Payments Deposited In Your U.S. or Brazilian Account
The U.S. treasury can deposit social security benefits directly into foreign accounts in many countries. For Brazil, a direct deposit may depend on which bank you choose, so if you are interested in this you should ask about it before opening an account.
You may want to have your social security payments deposited into a U.S. account if you plan to use them to cover expenses in the U.S. or if you are unsure of whether you intend to stay in Brazil indefinitely. If you decide to do this, you will want to look into various ways to send money to Brazil.
Learn About the Different Ways to Transfer Money
You have several ways for transferring money from the U.S. to Brazil. You can create a wire transfer from your U.S. bank to your Brazilian bank. You can send money through a third party, which may have less expensive fees than those used for a wire transfer. You can also get cash from an international ATM that accepts your U.S. credit or debit card. Each of these methods has various benefits and drawbacks including cost, security, and speed.
Set Up Recurring Transactions If Necessary
Once you have established a budget for yourself in Brazil, you may want to set up a recurring payment from your U.S. account to your Brazilian account. This will help ensure that you always have funds available when you need them as opposed to waiting until you need cash and then trying to quickly transfer money to your Brazilian bank account.
Transfer Larger Amounts of Money When Possible
In most cases, it is cheaper to transfer larger sums of money than smaller amounts. This is because there is usually a flat fee associated with each transfer as well as the percentage of the total amount. To avoid paying unnecessary fees, you should transfer larger amounts a few times a year as opposed to transferring money every few weeks.
Having easy access to your U.S. funds is a critical part of retiring abroad. Before you go, make sure you know your options and set up a way for you to access your U.S. accounts.