About investments: several posters mention that Vanguard freezes your account if you become a non-US resident. ARS then posted it is not an issue. I am confused about what really happens. Do you just hide your residency status from Vanguard by officially having a US address, such as with a family member? Plus use VPN to hide your IP address? If they "freeze" your account, what exactly does that mean? Can you no longer add funds, can no longer trade, can not withdraw,...? Has anyone actually have that happen to them?
There's no need to hide anything. We'd explain we're traveling, if Vanguard cared.
You're talking about a special case of moving to a different country and becoming a resident there. This thread isn't about that, it's about being a permanent traveler.
Here's the weird thing: Because of the physical presence test, we're foreign residents. We're out of the US 330+ days/yr, so we can use the FEIE, and have an exclusion from the ACA. So we are foreign residents. But we are residents of Nevada.
There are two tests to see if you qualify: The Bona Fide Residence Test or Physical Presence Test. We don't pass the first one, because we haven't established residency elsewhere. We do pass the Physical Presence Test, by not being in the US > 35 days per 365 day period. So we are exempt, even though we aren't a resident of anywhere else, and still have a US residence.
Confusing, no? :)
Bottom line: Unless you take active establish residency elsewhere in a single place you're living in, you'll still be a US resident, even if you never visit.
If Vanguard asks, I can honestly tell them I'm a US resident who is traveling. If they insist otherwise, I can ask them where they think I'm a resident of, as above. The US government considers me a resident, excluded from certain things because of the Physical Presence test, so I don't know why Vanguard would fight that.
I think it's a bugaboo, personally.
(Unless, of course, you actually do become a resident of elsewhere--something some people do so they can still travel to the US > 330 days and can ignore the physical presence test, so they try to qualify on the Bona Fide Residence Test, but then obviously they ARE a resident of elsewhere--this is not the case for most perpetual travelers.)
ARS, I have read about TravelingMailbox.com. They sound very good. Can you use them as your address of residency, or are they on some sort of black list for investment firms, banks, etc.? I have read somewhere that the traditional mailbox places (UPS Store etc) are listed and you cannot use them as an official address. But I am not sure about a service like TravelingMailbox.
I have them as my address for 99% of things. There was one thing that wouldn't accept it, but I can't recall what it was. I have it as my address for all banks, investments, with the IRS, etc.