A Financial Affair: Getting Ready to Migrate

Before packing your bags and making a break for the border, make sure all your financial matters will be dealt with efficiently and effectively during your absence from Canada. Here are some tips:

  • Check to ensure your funds will receive the best interest rate possible, depending on your liquidity and need for safety of principal. For example, if your direct deposit goes into a low interest or chequing account, arrange to have a regular transfer of the funds (e.g. monthly) into an investment that provides you with a higher return (e.g. GIC, term deposit, Treasury bill). Always make sure your Canadian account funds are receiving interest. Ask for the best premium rate over the posted rate.

  • Your financial institution may be able to deal with other investments in your absence. For example, reinvestment of income, deposit of coupons, rollover of maturing deposits or purchase and sale of securities. Make sure your instructions are in writing and any required documentation is signed in advance. Ask for copies of all transactions dealt with on your behalf to be sent to you at your sunbelt address.

  • Arrange to have monthly bank statements forwarded to yourouthern address.

  • Pay your Canadian bills personally, on your Canadian chequing account, by having your mail forwarded to your sunbelt address. However, it can be more convenient and efficient to arrange for automatic debiting of your Canadian bank account. Alternatively, you can have the bills sent to your financial institution for payment on your behalf. In that event, put your instructions in writing. For example, utility bills, cable, house taxes, condominium maintenance fees, quarterly income tax instalments, etc.

  • Some Canadian financial institutions offer round-the-clock toll-free automatic service, in terms of accessing your account, within Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

  • If you don’t already have an existing U.S. bank account, you can facilitate “no hold” chequing privileges by planning before leaving Canada. For example, you could ask the manager of your Canadian financial institution whether they have a banking relationship with a U.S. financial institution. If they do, this will facilitate a “no-hold” policy.

  • Check to see what special Snowbird features are available from Canadian financial institutions. For example, U.S. dollar credit cards, or U.S. fund chequing account at your Canadian financial institution with cheques encoded for the U.S. clearing system, etc.

  • Review your government, employer or personal pension plans and make arrangements to have your pension (eg. OAS, CPP) and other income (eg. dividends, tax refunds) deposited directly into your Canadian bank account during your absence.