Friday, June 30, 2023

Short Takes: Bank Accounts in the U.S., Investing in Retirement, and more

After only 10 short weeks, I’ve managed to open a checking account at a U.S. bank and move some money into it.  Some of the delay was due to misunderstandings on my part about what steps I was supposed to take next, and some of it was due to weird restrictions on the type of account in Canada that can be used to transfer money out of the country.  Mostly, though, it was the fact that there are many steps and each one seems to take a few business days.

I doubt that the specific details of my experience matter much.  The main takeaway is that if you’re considering opening a bank account in the U.S., consider starting the process long before you need the account to be in place.

Here are my posts for the past two weeks:

Bad Retirement Spending Plans

My Answer to ‘Can You Help Me With My Investments?’

Here are some short takes and some weekend reading:

Robb Engen at Boomer and Echo
describes a smart two-fund solution for investing in retirement.

Tom Bradley at Steadyhand explains the risks of owning liquid versions of illiquid investments.  This adds to what I’ve read about illiquid investments that convinces me to stay away.  Your mileage may vary.


  1. Re: US Bank Accounts
    Your experience was certainly not what I experienced. I opened a US account at TDBank online from my home in Ottawa. My account was opened in a day or two and my TDBank debit card arrived within 10 days (mailed from the US). Perhaps it helped that I already had accounts at TDCanadaTrust here in Canada.
    Further, I applied for a TDBank Visa card while I was stateside last winter and it arrived within 2 weeks at my temporary Snowbird US address.

    1. I can certainly believe that experiences differ here. I was using my relationship with BMO in Canada to get an account with BMO Harris in the U.S. Most of the delay I had was related to moving money from Canada to this new account in the U.S. Some of the delay was due to steps they had to perform to satisfy U.S. banking laws, which change regularly.

    2. We went to our local BMO Harris branch and it was easy to open a chequing account, get a Mastercard and link to our Canadian accounts. Unfortunately BMO has changed the money transfer procedures and implemented a $3k transaction limit from $10k.

    3. I did all mine remotely, which added delays. Further, the type of US dollar chequing account I had in Canada wasn't eligible for global transfers. I had to open another dummy account, and it takes two steps to get money to the US. Sorting all this out took time, and the fact that BMO's people didn't know about the various restrictions didn't help.