Opening a Bank Account as a High Earner in 2020

The term “high earner” can vary widely depending on where you’re from. But, when it comes to international banking, there are prerequisites you’ll need to hit to fall into this category.

Typically, “high earner” refers to individuals who earn a high enough income to save and invest the majority of their monthly earnings.

This usually includes people who are still working, either for themselves or in a high paying professional position.

In this article, we’ll discuss the topic of account opening for individuals who earn at least US $300,000 per year before taxes.

If you don’t have that level of income, no problem. You will still be able to apply many of the lessons that we’ll share and benefit from the tactics outlined below.

If, however, you do earn US $300,000+ per year, congratulations!

Keep reading to learn how you can access world-class banks that will help you achieve your banking and financial goals.

If you’d like to get a head start on account opening as a high earning non-resident then download our FREE Non-Resident Banking Starter Guide right now!

Why Should a High Earner Start Banking Internationally?

There’s increasing concern that we might be on the verge of a global financial crisis. If that’s something you’re worried about, protecting your money by internationalizing your assets, cash, and bank accounts is something to consider.

Like many people, high earners are opening bank accounts in stable jurisdictions, rebalancing investments, and moving savings into financial systems that they have more confidence in during an economic downturn.

But regardless of whether you think a financial crisis is on the horizon or not doesn’t really matter. It always makes sense to diversify your assets, upgrade your banking, and increase the benefits you receive from your banking and investment relationships.

What’s Important to a High Earner

The question we’re answering isn’t how to help you make more money– but instead, how to best protect (and benefit from) the money you already have.

What you want to achieve with your banking relationships will largely depend on your personal goals. But, like most things, there are some ground rules that will point you in the right direction when getting started.

Most high earners are looking for three things: Protection of their funds; Access to their money when they want it; and Specific services.

In the section below, we’ll discuss the specific services that you can and should expect from your banking relationships as a high earner. For now, let’s talk about safety and access.

Safety isn’t having your money sitting in a vault somewhere. It’s minimizing the level of risk that your money will be exposed to.

Everyone’s risk tolerance is different. But when it comes to banking, there are a lot of risks that can impact your accounts.

After all, banks are managed by people. And, from time to time people make errors, poor judgments, and sometimes even commit crimes. Shocking, we know.

Banking isn’t devoid of such risks. And recent cases in Europe would suggest this kind of behavior isn’t going anywhere fast.

But there are other risks that you need to consider such as, the financial risks…

Risks High Earners Need to Consider

Remember: Banks only hold a small portion of customer deposits on hand. They loan out and invest the vast majority of customer funds in order to generate revenue for their operations.

The same is true for central banks and deposit insurance schemes. Even though these entities present (or try to present) an outward image of “financial stability” they typically keep very little cash on hand–certainly not enough to provide any meaningful support in a global financial meltdown.

With this in mind, a high earner should only open accounts with banks (and in countries) that match their risk tolerance and are reasonably insulated from these risks. 

This means, look for banks that are insulated from systemic risks and won’t expose customer deposits to high-risk investing or poor lending practices.

While that might seem like a no-brainer, only a small number of banks actually operate in this way. And, chances are that your current bank (and those you’re considering) don’t operate like this either.

Then, there’s the accessibility factor. This is about accessing your account and funds whenever and from wherever you see fit. 

Accessibility can mean things like…

Being able to log into your online banking while on vacation in Thailand and making incoming and outgoing transfers.

Executing transfers online without needing to take time from your day to physically visit a branch location.

Not getting “locked out” of your account simply because you logged in and checked your balance while traveling for business.

Ability to avoid account restrictions to a certain number of incoming or outgoing transfers each month.

Not having your account “frozen” just because you made a larger than normal transfer. And much more…

Access can become an even bigger issue if you choose a bank that doesn’t comply with international KYC and AML practices.

Such banks can accidentally find themselves at the center of massive banking scandals and compliance failures, making them particularly dangerous.

Customers can not only lose access to their funds for months, but they may have to wait for years to regain access. Just look at what happened to ABLV Bank in Latvia in early 2018.

With this in mind, avoid banks with bad financials that are prone to compliance failures and regulatory scrutiny.

Fortunately, the banks that we consider suitable for a high earner won’t face most of these problems.

What High Earners Should Expect When Banking

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Most high-earners typically look to make opening deposits in the range of US $100,000 and US $500,000.

This tells us a few important things about banking options for high earners:

First, you can access higher quality banks with strong financials. These banks are managed conservatively and present a lower risk to your money. 

The reason for this is that banks that cater to high earners operate different business models than the retail banks in the US, Canada, or Europe.

Such banks focus on generating meaningful returns for their customers. Lending practices (if any) are focused on high-quality assets and lenders, not toxic derivatives. And to top it off, liquidity and reserves are usually some of the highest in the world.

Secondly, the banks catering to high earners offer better services and more profitable investment products that cannot be found elsewhere.

Banking services and products vary widely across countries, banks, and even branches. Knowing which services are most important to you will narrow down which bank is best for your needs.

For instance, whether or not you require access to specific currencies or investment products will help you exclude a handful of traditional banking jurisdictions.

And choosing whether you would like to hold precious metals via your account will significantly scale back your options.

That said, these are all personal choices and you can be as specific or as general as your needs dictate.

Banking Services for High Earners

When banking as a high earner and making an initial deposit in the $100k+ range, you can expect more. This typically means higher quality customer service and a dedicated banker or account manager. 

You can expect a private banker to be managing your accounts, introducing you to products, and trying to sell you on various services that you may or may not need.

As always, be wary, realize bankers earn a commission, and keep a close eye on the fees that you’re being charged.

Finally, and this may already be clear, you are venturing into the world of either premiere banking or private banking. 

The distinction between the two tiers of banking can sometimes be blurry. But in this case, it will likely depend on which country your bank is in.

More established banking jurisdictions, such as Switzerland, Liechtenstein, or Austria may require an initial deposit of $500,000 or more. Comparatively, you can access the same services with only $100,000 to $250,000 deposit in places like Andorra, the UK, or the US.

Where Should You as a High Earner Open Bank Accounts?

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As discussed above, when it comes to opening a bank account as a high earner, you need to make sure that the bank, the bank account, and the banker all meet your requirements.

This means vetting the bank beforehand to make sure that it has the products you’re looking for, a fee structure that won’t bleed you dry, and the level of customer service that you require.

After all, you don’t want to be dealing with an account manager from a far-flung country that can’t speak English. Not to mention only receiving email responses once every three days.

With this in mind, we typically suggest that high earners look to make a deposit in the $100k+ range. And in almost all cases, a high earner will want to target banking options in Europe, North America, or Singapore.

We reference several jurisdictions below, but this list is by no means exhaustive.

In fact, you can find banks that offer options for high earners in almost any country… except maybe North Korea.

Choosing a Banking Jurisdiction

Banks are always keen to attract high earners and those willing to make large deposits.

So the question really becomes, which country (and then which bank) is best suited to your needs, your economic outlook, and the level of safety that you desire?

If you’re interested in a traditional banking experience and you’re after well-managed banks with strong balance sheets you might want to consider banking in a place like Switzerland or Liechtenstein. Just keep a close eye on the fees.

Of course, you can access more modern private banking hubs for a lower initial deposit with similar benefits in jurisdictions like Andorra, Singapore, and even Panama.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in a lower initial deposit, premium credit cards with travel benefits, and access to US stock markets you might be interested in several premiere banking options available in the US.

How to Open Bank Accounts as a High Earner

If you’re ready to get started right now, GlobalBanks has published banking intelligence reports on Andorra, Singapore, Panama, and more to help high earners just like you access great banking options in each of these countries.

These reports give you everything you need to open accounts right now, including:

  • Direct contact information for English-speaking bankers
  • Customer reviews and real-life experiences from people just like you
  • Specific account opening hacks and strategies to access the best banks
  • Easy to digest bank profiles for pre-vetted banks
  • Little-known services and benefits that only Insiders know to ask for
  • You also get real-time analyst support to answer your questions and help you open bank accounts in your desired jurisdiction

If you’re ready to take action and start opening international accounts now, you can access GlobalBanks IQ, our dedicated international banking intelligence platform.

GlobalBanks IQ gives you everything you need to start finding and opening accounts for you or your business today.

When you join GlobalBanks IQ, you immediately unlock the GlobalBanks Database of international banks — home to 250+ banks in 50+ countries. 

And, you get access to our library of premium (members-only) reports, including proven account opening strategies, country-specific banking options, and lists of banks for specific client types.

Plus, you unlock our account opening checklists, dedicated account opening alerts, and much more. 

To get started, click here to see if GlobalBanks IQ is the right choice for you to start accessing the benefits of international banking today.

You can also view all of the account opening solutions offered by GlobalBanks on our products page.

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