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Moving out of Canada and the risks of investing

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asked Jul 28, 2018 02:24 PM by
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Hi, I am new to investing and there is a problem that has made me hesistant to invest (whether it's through ETFs or mutual funds). The problem is what happens if I start an investment account in Canada and then later move to another country? This isn't something set in stone or that I have a timeframe for, but I think is fairly likely to happen for me, perhaps multiple times in the future. (I'll use the US as an example, but this applies to moving to any country).

First of all, what happens to my account? I've heard conflicting things about it - I asked an advisor at my bank about this (if I were to open a mutual fund account with them) and they said that I cannot contribute more money into it when I'm out of Canada (which means I could still fly to Canada for a visit on occasion and deposit money?), but that I could still withdraw money from it. However I've also seen conflicting information on websites which seem to say the account must be frozen - which means I cannot withraw money either? That is a big problem, if I cannot take money out.

Do the same rules apply to a Questrade account with ETFs versus a mutual fund account? I read somewhere that you must close your Questrade account if you are no longer a resident of Canada - but then on Questrade's own website it says a Canadian citizen (which I am) can open an account even if they live outside of Canada, so that seems to mean I can keep it if I move out.

It may be that best thing to do is to close my account when I move out of Canada - but that is a problem, because I may be planning to invest for the long term, which means I should have a growth or aggressive portfolio. But if I move out of Canada sooner, then that means I would have to sell my assets at that time, even if at a loss - so doesn't that mean I have to invest conservatively? Yet if I do that I lose out on a lot of gains when I would have otherwise invested in a growth portfolio for the long term. I could sell my Canadian assets and then immediately buy new ETFs/mutual funds in the other country after I move - but a web search gives me the impression that it's hard to find a US brokerage or bank that would accept a non-US citizen or resident.

There is also the issue of taxes - I read somewhere that if I keep the Canadian account I have to pay additional withholding taxes.

What should my investment strategy be with my situation - should I just go ahead and create a Questrade account and buy ETFs as usual, or do I need to plan things out differently?

Thanks.

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answered Aug 23, 2018 10:00 AM by
Jin Won Choi gravatar image Administrator

Sorry about the late reply. I somehow missed this post.

Unfortunately, I'm not an expert in the legal and tax implications of moving out of the country, which is what you seem to be concerned about. Accountants are generally the experts in those subjects.

If you're free to take money out of your account without significant tax implications, I don't see why you'd want to invest any differently than you would if you planned on staying in Canada long term.

Jin

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Asked: Jul 28, 2018 02:24 PM

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Last updated: Aug 23

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