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Getting Personal

Getting Personal

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Chris Farrell is the economics editor of Marketplace Money.
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Agree with the comment above. Based on my experience, there are at least two advantages to keeping a bank account and your credit cards in the U.S. when moving abroad: (1) if you pay off your credit cards and keep them, using them rarely, over time your FICO score will continue to rise - if you return, as I did, you will benefit from a pristine credit report and high FICO score, esp. when you need a car loan or a mortgage; (2) keeping some funds in U.S. dollars will allow you to exploit the exchange rate when the dollar is strong again (I liquidated an investment and transferred the funds to England where I was living when the pound was comparatively cheap ~ $1.40).

Regarding the listener who phoned in to ask whether his credit rating would follow him to Australia: Based on my own experience, I suggest that anybody planning to emigrate keep a bank account and one credit card active in the USA. If/when you return here, you will find it much easier to re-establish your life than if you let all these things lapse. I lived overseas for nearly 20 years and never expected to return, but when that did happen in 2001 I was able to open bank accounts, get a car loan and a mortgage and a credit card for my "alien" husband, all because I still had one US credit card and one bank account, both of which I'd used sporadically over those years.

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