Son going to school abroad, how to handle money?

terriksMarch 27, 2006

My 26 year old son will be spending a year in school in Germany. He receives financial aid. What is the best way, with the lowest fees, for him to have the money transferred from his bank here to Germany. He checked at his current bank and since the Patriot Act there are all sorts of restrictions. He thought that it would be easier if he added me to his bank account, so that I could handle any problems that might arise. Which leads me to another question. In the past he has mismanaged his bank accounts and his credit is cr@p. I think that he hasn't had any problems in the last couple of years though. Could this in any way effect my credit rating, which is excellent?

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Well, ATMs all over the world accept US cash cards, so why do you need to move the money at all?

I travel internationally for business and never have a problem using my ATM card overseas. You could deposit the money in his account and then he can withdrawl the cash as needed.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 2:22PM
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One possibility is to see if there is an American bank that does business in Germany that will allow you two to setup an account in the U.S. that you can put money in; then have him open up another account once he's in Germany that it can be linked to. I have a daughter in Canada, and she uses a Canadian bank that has a U.S. affiliate. This works, although it's cumbersome because the U.S. affiliate isn't a local bank, and they charge for international transfers.
It would probably be easier for you to deposit money into his U.S. bank account and he can withdraw it with an ATM card. You don't have to be on the account to deposit the money, and, if he's had trouble in the past, you shouldn't open up a joint account with him, which will mess up your credit if he messes up. You could, however, tell him that you want the account setup for online access so you can logon and monitor what's happening.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 2:27PM
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We used to live in Germany but we had the luxury of using the banks on a US Army base. However, I seem to recall that using a credit card usually gave a good rate of exchange (not that there are any very good rates these days since the $ is low against the euro). So it seems to me that you could open an account at any bank stateside and he could withdraw funds with a debit card from the numerous ATMs and get a pretty good exchange rate. You could set up a way to quickly deposit funds into his account without being on his account it seems to me.

The only drawback I can see to this plan is that there are limits to how much can be withdrawn on a given day; to pay rent he might have to withdraw over the period of a couple of days. He might want to call a German bank and get some advice straight from them. Most people use their German bank account to pay all their bills. They set up automatic withdrawals for rent and utilities. If the American bank could transfer the funds monthly to a German bank that might work out even better. We kept a German bank account for our rent and utilities, but we had to make a manual deposit each month. They all speak English, or have a colleague who does.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 2:31PM
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Does the school he attends have a co-ordinator for the year-abroad program? It seems that might be the place for him to start.

Him, not you. :-)

    Bookmark   March 28, 2006 at 8:17PM
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I told him to talk to the program co-ordinator. He did and apparently Bank of America is affiliated with Deutsche Bank in Germany, and he will be able to use their ATMs with no fees. I think I'll look into getting Power of Attorney for his finances in case something needs to be done here while he is there. I don't like the idea of being on the account with him.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2006 at 5:30PM
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