The best forex trading apps for iPhone - appPicker

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Why traditional exchanges will not convert to OMG and why it doesn't matter

Something that keeps coming up is the idea that OMG will grab a slice of forex and crypto trading. In this rather excellent post Civilian- suggests that OMG might grab a slice of the daily 3 trillion forex trade and the yearly 10 trillion Crypto Exchange Trade.
This type of speculation has been further stoked by the news that MUFG (a partner of Omise) is planning to build an exchange and maybe they will build it on OMG...
I’ve promised a few folks here on the omise_go subreddit that I would explain why that is highly unlikely to happen as expected... and also to explain why that does not matter.
As you read through this, you may get a little disheartened, but don’t, because I’ve got some great news at the end that makes up for the debbie downer stuff at the start.
HFT
The first important point to note is that most exchange liquidity is created by high frequency trading HFT.
These HFT bots are always running. They make trades every second. With each trade they try to gain just a fraction of a percentage point and as a result they usually make large trades to make money on those very small gains.
This means that just about any time a regular day trader wants to make a trade it is instantly snapped up. Which is great for day traders! There are many HFT companies that are market makers and collectively give electronic marketplaces huge amounts of liquidity.
The world of HFT is conducted in milliseconds.
Trades MUST be able to execute within the shortest time possible (sub 1 second end-to-end). It is, after all, computer against computer. This is why many HFT companies pay huge amounts of money to get the fastest possible connection to an exchange.
In many cases they even get an office right next to the exchange and wire a fiber through the wall, directly to the exchange’s network, to try to get a competitive advantage.
So, to recap, HFT traders are market makers, they create the liquidity that makes it very convenient for other traders to be on the system.
Confirmations
For a transaction to complete on a DEX like OMG, it must be confirmed by multiple nodes. Each node will be at a different location in the world. We don’t know how distributed nodes will be geographically, but, presumably there will be enough distance to help add security to the network. Perhaps different cities, different countries, or, at the very least different regions of the same city.
You can imagine how a network like that could not work very well for HFT... based on the simple constraint of the speed of light!
In the traditional model the HFT firms buy a single direct connection to a centralized exchange with a ping time of 10ms. When they place the trade no confirmations are required. So just one wire and one api endpoint and a few milliseconds.
If they try to make that same trade on a DEX the trade would require multiple nodes to be discovered and confirm the transaction with each node incurring it’s own 100ms? 200ms? network latency. It seems almost impossible to imagine a system like that enabling sub second trades end-to-end.
Reason #1
So, DEX confimrtatons and network latencey is reason #1 why it is very unlikely any traditional exchange would move to run on the OMG network.
After all, they would jeopardize their relationship with HFT traders and the fees they bring. They would also jeopardize the liquidity that their other customers rely on so much.
You may say, but wait, the OMG DEX will give them the liquidity they need, but that is a moot point because a) for them it will be unproven and b) they will not want to lose the huge amount of revenue they make from HFT to another exchange that didn’t switch.
Keep in mind the bulk of the 3 trillion daily trading is created by these types of exchanges.
Exchange Architecture
I’m not sure if this is common knowledge, but running an exchange can be disgustingly lucrative. The per trade cost is basically zero. This is due to the core architecture of an exchange.
Essentially, when fiat or crypto is deposited into an exchange, it goes into a large global wallet that the exchange owns. Then a number of that same amount is assigned to a customer record.
From that point forward all the “trading” is simply swapping numbers in a database. There is no actual money, or value, of any kind swapping hands per trade. The money remains in the large global wallet and is not touched.
For example, at its most basic, the database code it takes to make a single trade might look something like this:
UPDATE customers SET USDT = USDT - 25 WHERE customer_id = 1; UPDATE customers SET OMG = OMG + 1 WHERE customer_id = 1; 
Those two simple SQL statements tell a database to subtract 25 and add 1 to a customer record. In this case the record says USDT and OMG but don’t let that fool you, it’s not really USDT or OMG it’s just database columns, with convenient names.
Additionally, for every trade something like this happens:
UPDATE customers SET USDT = USDT - (25 * 0.0025) WHERE customer_id = 1; UPDATE exchange_profits SET USDT = USDT + (25 * 0.0025); 
THAT is the exchange taking a 0.25% fee per trade. For example, yesterday bittrex (the 7th busiest crypto exchange) did a total volume of $1,027,873,751. We can calculate how much they made by doing this:
VOLUME * 1.0025 = TOTAL VOLUME - TOTAL = PROFIT 
So, from their 0.25% Bittrex made $2,569,684 yesterday.
Ignoring the fact that a DEX is not fast enough for HFT trading, let’s imagine that bittrex did decide to run on the OMG network.
In this case Bittrex could use the OMG infrastructure and add a surcharge on top of every trade.
Let’s imagine a best case scenario that OMG trades cost 0.1% per trade and that Bittrex could then add 0.15% on top.
This means that Bittrex would be losing $1,027,8737 per day vs what they could be making by running their own infrastructure.
Reason #2
I hope you can see there is no “infrastructure savings” that OMG could bring that could offset the level of profit exchanges make. With the amount of money that exchanges make they can easily hire developers to fix any scaling issues or other technical problems that they may have.
All that is to say, loss of profits is reason #2 why it is very unlikely that any existing exchange would switch to run on the OMG network.
This is also why it is highly unlikely a traditional bank like MUFG would build a new exchange on the OMG network. Why would they? When they can literally make billions of dollars of extra profit by running it on their own infrastructure!
Disruption Patterns
So, right about now, you’re probably feeling depressed because it feels like we just lost trillions and trillions of earning potential from our beloved OMG :(
Well, let’s talk about why that doesn’t matter by looking at patterns of disruption...
Many people think Uber makes all it’s money by replacing Taxis. Wrong! They made it so easy, cheap and addictive to use on-demand transportat that customers use Uber in ways that they never used Taxis.
For example, before Uber came along I personally used Taxis about one time a year but now I use Uber about 4 times a week!
Uber created a completely new market. Very few people ever used Taxis 4 times a week but, now, lots of people use Uber 4 times a week. This equates to a staggering amount of new money that has nothing to do with “replacing” Taxis.
The same pattern can be seen with Slack.
Before Slack came along there were plenty of competitors doing what Slack did. Sure Slack took some of that business away, but the real money they made was by bringing in hundreds of thousands of new companies who had never used a product like that.
They just made Slack so easy to get started with and then so easy to continue to use. Even my mum uses slack!
The same can be said for Google. Google literally brought a whole new set of people to the internet because it made it easy to find stuff.
OMG Disruptions
It’s a little bit difficult to see where or how disruption might play out.
For example, Microsoft always had the lofty goal of everyone getting a computer. But, it was actually the iPhone that ended up being the reason (and disruption) that caused everyone to get a computer.
For this reason it’s hard to predict specifically where OMG might take us and what new markets will come to exist because of it.
That said, one thing that a lot of disruptions to have in common is that they make something easier and/or cheaper. So, perhaps if we explore what OMG makes easier and cheaper, we might get some ideas of new markets it could create.
Easier for Developers
In the same way that etherium makes it easy to create new alt-coins and as a result we have LOTS of alt-coins now. The OMG network and SDK will make it easier to build... exchanges… like Bittrex!
Now, don’t get mad at me.
I know I just convinced you that exchanges won’t be run on OMG... but I was talking about existing exchanges not new ones created by indie developers.
OMG makes it wayyy easier for a solo indie developers to build something like an exchange because all they need to do is build the front end and plug it into OMG.
It would not be useful for HFT traders. It would not rake in the kind of profits that Bittrex does. It may even only make $1.99 in the app store. But, that is still worth it to an indie developer!
In this way, hundreds, or perhaps even thousands, of new exchange style apps will be created that run on the OMG network.
There are many reasons that a consumer might use an app like this vs Bittrex. For example, if exchange fees were 0.1%. Or if the app had automation built in. Or perhaps the app had a UI that was much more pleasing to use.
In the same way that Uber created a whole new type of transportation customer, these new apps might create a new type of crypto and forex trader.
Of course, it will not just be exchange apps that OMG makes easier for developers, but since that is what we are talking about, that is why I mentioned it.
Other things that will be easier will be cross border payments, cross cilo payments (paypal -> venmo), cross currency payments, in game payments, etc.
Each new type of “easiness” that is passed on to developers will end up spawning a new set of apps and markets.
Easier for Consumers
The simple fact of being able to easily move money around will create thousands of possibilities. Far to many to mention here.
Cheaper for Consumers
Nothing is better than cheaper AND easier. With OMG we get a lot of that. Also, too many possibilities to mention here.
Perhaps that should be another post...
Conclusion
HODL
submitted by jv2222 to omise_go [link] [comments]

NEX AMA Answers!

Some of the NEX team went through the questions asked a couple of days ago, but due to the answers being posted sporadically, i thought it might be better collating answers and reposting for visibility!
I highly recommend reading through if you are interested in NEX!
    NEX team marked as
U = u/Unignorant, C = u/Canesin, L = u/Localalhost_coz  
Original post here
Q: What is the NEX marketing plan to grow in terms of a customer base ? And how far is the team away from a finished product? During most of the interviews I noticed the team reference comparison to Binance, how does the interface match binance in a decentralized environment? (u/sheldonbraganza)
(U)We will have a complete product out on TestNet in Q2, and a fully working cross-chain exchange on the NEO and Ethereum networks in Q3.
NEX is marketing to two primary groups of users: (1) Mainstream users who want an easier experience buying altcoins with cryptocurrency. Through our network of banking partners, we will make it easy for anyone in the world to buy tokens on NEO, ETH (and eventually other chains) using their national currencies. (2) Bots and traders: we aim to have best-in-class trading APIs for high performance, computational trading. We will have better and faster APIs than today's centralized exchanges, with the added benefit of these systems running on decentralized networks
The point of our off-chain matching engine tech is to enable the same (or better!) usability as an exchange like Binance, while keeping around the decentralized model. The off-chain engine makes trading just as performant as today's centralized exchanges, and makes it much easier to support the kind of cross-chain trading functionality that has long been a pipe dream for decentralized exchanges. We are very much inspired by other exchanges like Coinbase in this regard, and we will be the first DEX to achieve this.
(C) Just to remember that NEX is also going after costumers that usually are not considered by other exchanges with its features to facilitate peer to peer payments requests, invoicing and tipping/gifts.
Q:Can you elaborate on NEX staking? The whitepaper was fuzzy about it and had terms like "staking percentage". (u/r3dh4r7)
(U) The NEX staking rate will be from 25-75%. Committing to stake for one day gives a rate of 25%, which increases linearly to a rate of 75% if you are willing to stake for 2 years By staking rate, we mean the percentage of revenue you will get from NEX fee collection proportional to the tokens you hold. For example, if you hold 10% of all NEX tokens and are staking at a rate of 75%, then you will receive .10 * .75 = 7.5% of all fee revenue generated by NEX over that period.
We will confirm these details in an updated white paper release coming out today or tomorrow. ~ If you commit for two years, the first year will still be at 75%.
Q:How soon do you introduce Fiat pairs? (u/coinonymous1)
(U) Our network of banking partners will begin to go live in Q2. That means users will be able to enter the ecosystem with national currencies through the NEX extension and web-based exchange interface.
(C) To clarify, this are not direct trading pairs on the exchange itself (i.e. JPY/NEX) but a easy method to on ramp and cashout using the tools. Users will be able to acquire NEO and GAS with fiat and any other tokens traded at NEX will be using the exchange itself.
Q: The chrome extension is great but why should I still rely on desktop to access NEX interface ? When can we expect Iphone/ Android App? (u/cryptobuddy_1712)
(U) We are planning native android/iOS apps. Depending on how fast we can grow, they may be out by Q3.
(C) Mobile presence is a complex topic, depending of how much of the full experience you want to provide - that will depend on the support shown by 3rd party wallets, if they adopt NEX APIs.
Q: Will you guys be supporting Ledger integration any time soon? Nex chrome add-on, Nex exchange integration...?! Plans to list the Nex token on other exchanges before the release of your own? What are the plans to continue supporting Neon wallet now that Nex came out with their extension for chrome? Will Nex exchange introduce fiat deposits/withdrawals? (u/mihai_ss)
(U) Yes, ledger is on the roadmap. We cannot comment on other exchange listings right now. We love and will continue to support Neon wallet (you are speaking to its creator :) as a great desktop wallet and complementary partner to our extension. NEX will support national currencies in/out of the exchange through our network of banking partners.
(C) Not only ledger but hardware wallets in general. Ledger is priority currently given that it is quite popular in NEO. We have to have in mind that NEX is trying to do a lot of different things to make usage easier to new users (that probably don't have a ledger!), there is currently about 96k users of it (more than this sub) so we will focus on fixing the corner cases and issues that appears frequently with such large user base first.
Q:More and more people are using mobile apps for trading. Don't you think nex should also have its own iOS and Android app. Are the API being developed future proof to integrate with mobile apps for trading and seeing candle charts. (u/Cryptobanku)
(U) We agree with the power for mobile, and future proofing the API is 100% on our mind. Longer term, we are planning native iOS/android apps.
Q:So NEX is a security right? What does that mean exactly? The Token only will be available on the neon exchange? In order to get the exchange dividends are we gonna be forced to put our tokens on stake mode? If so, once we put our tokens on stake mode does that mean we are not gonna be able to move them or sell them for a specific period of time? (u/sersimovi)
(U) NEX is a registered European security. It will be traded on NEX exchange, but that is not the only place it will be traded (I cannot say more than that right now). Being a registered security is amazing for investors. It means that all of the sketchy things that so often happen with cryprocurrencies/tokens (things like market manipulation or insider trading) are made explicitly illegal. It also means that we, as a company, go through an extensive audit. For that, we have partnered with the top tier accounting firm Ernst and Young.
The staking model means that you commit to staking your NEX for a certain amount of time to receive a share of fee revenue. The minimum amount of time you can stake NEX is one day. The maximum time you can stake is two years. While staked, you cannot move or sell the NEX tokens.
(C) All that plus the investor don't need to fear it will crash because someone classified it as a security in the future.
Q:When will the official sale date be announced and when will the official tokens per neo be determined? (u/rborsb9)
(L) We are still working with our legal partners to determine a final sale date, but it will be sometime at the end of April. The tokens per Neo/Gas will be determined from the 10 day moving average of the price before the sale begins.
Q:What do you think sets NEX apart from the countless other DEXs that are starting up right now? Why should people invest in NEX vs Switcheo/Etherdelta/Binance(once they release)?
(U) NEX will be the first usable, performant, and cross-chain DEX. Out of all the exchanges you mentioned, none of them are using an off-chain matching engine, which quite simply means none of them can do what we are doing.
In addition to that, NEX has by far the most generous revenue share model of any exchange you have mentioned. This is because we are embracing being a security (not hiding behind some questionably legal utility token). The people who invest in us will be treated very well by this model.
As for competitors: Switcheo unfortunately doesn't work. There is no volume, and the SC is broken (or at least didn't work when I tried it; the transaction failed and it stole the small amount of GAS I tried to trade). Etherdelta has higher volume but still ridiculously low overall. And again, just try to use Etherdelta... it is a usability disaster. There is really no comparison here. Binance might do something interesting, if they decide to do anything. But we have better technical talent than Binance, so I am not too worried.
Q:What % volume neon exchange will support compared with top centralized exchanges? Thanks big neo fan! (u/myfriendbaubau)
(U) We will support just as much volume as today's centralized exchanges.
Q: Will NEX have a stable coin? (u/masi252)
(U) We have looked into various implementations and ideas surrounding stable coins and have determined that it is not something we are planning on doing in the near future.
Cont: What about when Alchemint releases? (u/Bing0to)
(C) We wanted to do a fundamental strong stable coin that was capital efficient. Unfortunately there is some pre-requisites for that to be possible that currently is lacking in crypto markets. We will continue to monitor how this space evolves and our ideas are stored waiting the future when they can be applied.
Q:Can we expect the erc20 token trading earlier than q3? (u/markerizza)
(U) Q3 is the current roadmap projection. It is possible it will happen earlier depending on our growth.
Q: Will the token sale be via smart contract, so that we recieve our tokens right away? (u/Ebrii)
(U) Yes
Q: will you guys have an official subreddit and telegram anytime soon? (u/markerizza)
(U) No, we dislike the idea of project oriented telegrams. There are too many opportunities for scammers. We may have a subreddit in the future, but not anytime soon.
Q: What is the plan to get liquidity on the platform? It seems to be the biggest problem with current DEXs. (u/Mutedtommy)
(U) We have strategic partnerships for this. We are also working with other partners to develop some nice APIs for high performance trading.
Q: On the site you say that the ORIGINAL winners can participate in the second round (9000$) options, do you mean only the first round lottery winners or the first and second round winners combined? (u/FrancoisFrancis)
(U) Any lottery winners (whether first or second draw) have the opportunity to participate in both rounds 1 and 2. Please see this medium post for clarification: https://medium.com/neon-exchange/nex-extension-and-lottery-q-a-667e56f58e4a
Q: If you chose to participate in round 2 from the KYC process, does that mean you are guaranteed a spot? The medium article seems to indicate there will be an additional lottery from those who selected that option to see who from round one is eligible for round 2. (u/DwyerMatt)
No one is guaranteed a spot in round 2. It is even possible (though extremely unlikely) that all NEX is sold out in round one. This would happen if everyone who is selected goes through KYC and participates at 100%. (U)
Q: Will NEX tokens only be tradeable on NEX or is there a chance of it being listed on other exchanges like Binance? (u/Frank_Sinatra88)
(U) See an answer above. Not just NEX, but I can't say more than that right now.
Q: How do you see NEO compare to other coins on its network ? Like another coin could be valued more than NEO itself ? And will NEX always be bound to NEO? (u/BN_Boi)
(U) It is unlikely but possible that a NEP5 token could eventually achieve a higher marketcap than NEO itself.
NEX is not bound to NEO much at all. Our token will live as a NEP5 on NEO, and that is how users will receive staking rewards, but we will support trading very early on Ethereum as well.
(C) Google runs atop of other companies infrastructure (telecom providers), but it is valued more than all of them. The same thing can (and probably will) happen in token land, it will just take a while - when infrastructure becomes less important than applications and platforms atop of it. Like with the internet.
NEX behind the scenes (as the DEX is cross-chain from start) is using NEO capabilities, but the future of both is broad and uncertain. As a long term strategy the NEX company will do what it can to improve its underling technology and remove risk from its business.
Q: Is there a vesting period for the half of available NEX tokens that will not be sold during the ICO? (u/ETHERjimbo)
(U) The founder and employee tokens (25%) will vest over two years.
Q: Whitepaper uses an example $100m in the fee distribution calculation. If NEX is truly a security token and the whitepaper is your prospectus then you must provide further data on fwd looking statements. The NEX token gives the right to fee distribution. Given this you must provide assumption based forecasts on expedited fees over the next 3 years. This will support price discovery. How can the market properly price the token when fee expectations are unknown.(u/nsheahan82)
(C) Fee structure is defined on whitepaper and version v1.1 contains a example section as stated. Version v2.0 (to be released very soon) contains the actual staking portion (25% to 75% linear over two years growth on staking).
Guess work on the volume would in reality be very indigenous, look at volume behavior market wise (https://coinmarketcap.com/currencies/bitcoin/#charts) so much variation. Following the 3 years trend we could say trading volume will be bigger than the world economy, clearly that is not happening.
Q: Would NEX Staking be a 50% or 75% as stated on the whitepaper? (u/GMDaddy)
(C)See answer above, it starts at 25% and goes up to 75%. The increase is linear and maximum period is 2 years.
Cont: By linear, you mean like as an option where the user has the choice on picking whether to stake it from 25% up into 75%?
(C)No, when you start staking it starts at 25% and by linear I mean it increases at a constant rate of about 2.08% per month for two years until it reach 75%.
(U)To clarify fabio's comment: yes, you can choose a fixed rate of 75% by committing to stake for two years.
Q: A massive attraction to NEX is the prospect of decentralised banking. What makes decentralised banking better than traditional banking? (u/kabelofthe3rd)
(C)Our goal is to facilitate crypto trading at large, this touches from usage of applications to investing passing by funds management and invoicing solutions. What this enables is a digital cashless economy, we call it the smart economy. In the smart economy users are in control of their funds using this advanced technological tools to perform the tasks above and current banking solutions are no longer needed.
Q: Once NEX is rolled out, what will be the easiest way for US residents to buy some stake? I'm aware it's going to be issued as a security so I'm thinking the NEX token will only be tradable on NEX itself because most non decentralized exchanges will not list security's or tokens that don't pass the Howet Test. Is this correct?(u/Cozmo525)
(C)You are correct, for US persons you will need to wait other licensed exchanges list NEX or we acquire the proper licenses to allow US people to trade securities. Whatever happens first =)
Q: Can I stake only NEX or also other Token f.e. NEO? (u/masi252)
(C) NEO doesn't need to be staked, you already can claim GAS on NEX extension.
Q: How do you plan to compete with Switcheo when they have first movers advantage and will be live for months before your platform will be? (u/toneeey1)
(C)We plan to compete with anyone in our market by providing better products.
Q: Will TNC be utilized? (u/molly1nora)
(C)That is not planned, NEX has it own custom scaling solutions already in development.
Q: Do you see exchanges not listing NEX, due to the fact that you guys are direct competition? (u/detnah)
(C)That is a tricky question, I believe competition will not be with every exchange - in special centralized ones, as CEX they will more focused in national markets and we are going after broad chain level trade.
Q: Is there a chance in the future you will also introduce other coins to the exchange sich as ERC-20 tokens etc? If so you'd blow all competition out the water. (u/Frank_Sinatra88)
(C)Yes, ERC-20 tokens will be supported by Q3 together with NEP-5.
Q: Will NEX APIs support mobile Dapps or Wallets? (u/johndon96)
(C)Both, APIs are in general not target to a specific application, is up to the developers to use it in their products.
Q: What are the team's plans to make NEX the best decentralized exchange and one of the best projects ever released? (u/its_me_TAG)
(C)We will be working close to our costumers, never afraid of breaking status quo and never ending improvements. NEX will never be done.
Q: Are there any plans to open up some Nex-Stores in several spots around the Globe? (u/michaeluebelhart)
(C)No, but will have a online swag store :D
Q: Is it possible that in the long future to have forex pairs listed on NEX? (u/BR8889)
(C)In a future where fiat has token representations or stable coins are indeed stable.
Q: When will we see the updated Whitepaper? (I know for example that you plan to integrate ERC20 tokens earlier than mentioned in the original Whitepaper) (u/mambor)
(C) Target is this weekend. We could delay if redacting detects things that should be changed/improved.
Q: What is your go-to-market strategy? (u/Dux_AMS)
(C) We already have >100k users. ;)
submitted by menofthenorth to NEO [link] [comments]

Introduction to investing as a U.S. citizen residing in Japan

[meta: I ask for help in making sure this information is accurate and correct. Please contribute as you see fit!]
WARNING!! I am not a lawyer, accountant, or broker, nor do I have any experience or training in any of those fields. ALWAYS confirm with a professional before taking any advice you read on the internet.
Foreward
If you're old enough to pay taxes, you should start investing. The earlier, the better.
Here’s another example to illustrate the enormous benefit of getting an early start. At age 25, Eric Early invests $4,000 per year in a Roth IRA for 10 years and stops investing. His total investment is $40,000. Larry Lately makes yearly deposits of $4,000 in his Roth IRA starting at age 35 for 30 years. His total investment is $120,000. Assuming both portfolios earn an 8 percent average annual return, at age 65, Eric’s IRA will be worth $629,741, but Larry’s IRA will be worth only $489,383. By starting 10 years earlier and making one third of the investment, Eric ends up with 29 percent more.
- quote from "The Boglehead's Guide to Investing"
Target audience
This is an introduction for U.S. citizens with residency in Japan who want to do long-term investing in U.S. equity (stocks, bonds, etc.).
Disclaimer
This advice may not be accurate for citizens of countries other than the U.S. or for those U.S. citizens living in Japan who work for the military or are only temporarily living and working in Japan as affiliated with a U.S. company. This is also not advice for ForEx or day traders looking to make money. Nor is it advice for what to invest in. This is also not advice for investing in the Japanese stock market.
This is just one way to invest in U.S. equity from Japan. There are other ways.
Assumptions
  • You're a U.S. citizen
  • Your income is in JPY
  • You want to invest in U.S. equity (stock market, bond market, etc)
  • You have basic knowledge about taxes and tax-related terms
  • You have at least $10,000 USD to invest (or $3,000 USD if age 25 or younger)
Background
I am an ordinary guy living in Japan. I have disposable income and, rather than pour all of it into my local izakaya and Philipino hookers (who hang out in front of Mister Donut at night and ask if I "want the massage?" (just kidding, really!)), I wanted to invest in my future by saving for retirement. I'm an early 30's-year-old guy and spent about a month reading up on investing and then set off trying to invest as a resident of Japan.
My Story
I moved to Japan 3 years ago after working in the U.S. I have an IRA leftover from my time in the U.S., but never contributed to it since moving to Japan (thankfully - find out why in a bit). I recently saw a post from /personalfinance (seriously, go read information in that sub if you want to have more money upon retirement or just get out of debt!) and decided to read the book "The Boglehead's Guide to Investing" based on recommendations there. After that, I started looking into my options for investing from Japan.
Before I left the U.S. for Japan, I rolled over my 401k into an IRA using Vanguard (arguably the best broker available for U.S. citizens). Since moving to Japan, I had not contributed anything to my IRA. So, the first thing I wanted to do was start contributing to my IRA again, and use any remainder to invest in U.S. equity. Turns out this is not as easy as it sounds.
I found out that in order to legally contribute to my IRA, I had to pay U.S. taxes on my income used to contribute to it. Well, if you're like me and don't make an awful lot of money, you're probably filing with Foreign Tax Credit/IRS Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. This stuff basically let's you deduct all your taxes in Japan, as it on Japanese income and you already paid glorious Nippon taxes on that income. For me, this basically meant that I owed the IRS absolutely nothing every year. Great! Right? Buuuuut since I didn't pay any U.S. tax on my income, I cannot use it to contribute to my IRA! Dammit! (But actually a blessing in disguise because if I had been contributing to my IRA, I would have been breaking U.S. tax law because I didn't pay taxes on it.)
So, I started looking into other ways to invest: the U.S. stock market, bonds, etc. After reading The Boglehead's Guide, I knew I wanted to invest in Vanguard's mutual index funds. My first instinct was to open a brokerage account (which is different from your IRA account) with Vanguard. I started filling out the online form, but ran into issues. You have to specify a U.S. address. Also, you have to specify your U.S. employer. I had neither of these, so I called Vanguard (from Japan at a ridiculous call charge) and spoke with someone about doing this. They gave me the OK but said I'd have to submit a paper form through snail mail, and sent me a PDF to fill out and mail in. I mailed it (from Japan using EMS which was like $20..), and got a call about a week later. Surprise! Because I'm not working in Japan temporarily for a U.S. company or living on a U.S. military base (considered U.S. soil, I assume?), I actually can't open a brokerage account with them. Dammit again! What a waste of money calling them and mailing the form overseas.
So, I started looking into other options. I read about a few other brokers and most people agreed that I should either use Fidelity or Interactive Brokers. I had never heard of Interactive Brokers and honestly they seemed scary at first, so I decided to go with Fidelity, who I had actually heard of and is a U.S. based firm. I created an account with Fidelity, but once again ran into roadblocks when trying to open a stock trading account. I didn't have a U.S. address or employer, and actually wasn't able to link my U.S. bank account with them either (for reasons unknown). Dammit once again!
So, I started reading more about Interactive Brokers. Okay, it's still a little scary, but there are positive reports about using them online. I signed up for an account with minimal hassle, linked up my bank account, was able to transfer money over to them, and then successfully bought U.S. shares! Sweet success! Finally!

How to Invest

Part I: Contributing to your IRA
If you do not have an IRA, you probably should, as they are your basic investment option and tax-friendly to boot. However, good luck setting one up as a resident in Japan! Vanguard will happily babysit an IRA you opened prior to leaving the U.S., but they will not let you open a new one with a foreign address. I don't know about other brokers such as Fidelity or Schwabb, but it's probably the same story there.
If you are like me and happen to have an IRA leftover in the U.S., you CAN contribute to it, but in order to do so you must not deduct your Japanese tax on your IRS 1040 or file Form 1116, "Foreign Tax Credit". In other words, you must pay U.S. taxes on any income used to contribute to the IRA.
Refer to your broker for how to actually get the money to them from Japan.
Part II: Investing in U.S. Equity from Japan
Using Interactive Brokers
First, let me tell you a little bit about Interactive Brokers (IB). They are a service mostly used by regulaprofessional traders. The fees are very low and reasonable. However, they have a service charge of $10/month if your commission is equal to or less than $10 USD in that month. This is probably not a problem for people over 25 years old investing with $10,000+ USD, but for people 25 and under with an initial investment of $3000, it's possible you might not make the minimum commission per month. Beware of this fee.
IB lets you fund the account from many different currencies, regardless of what market you are buying (this needs confirmation, but seems to be accurate). So, whether you have a U.S. bank account or a Japanese bank account, you can fund the IB account. You can even fund from both.
IB does not let you invest in U.S. mutual funds. This sounds like a deal-breaker, but it's actually not. You can still invest in U.S. ETFs. This includes Vanguard's total stock market index ETF, total bond market index ETF, etc.
IB has an iPhone app that is pretty good and probably an Android app too. Although, as someone doing long-term investing for retirement, you probably don't need this and don't want to be checking your account too much (refer to /personalfinance as to why).
IB has multiple account types. You will probably see IBLLC and IBSJ. The differences are two-fold: First: an IBSJ is only used to trade Japan domestic equity. You don't want this because you want to trade U.S. equity. Instead, IBLLC is used to trade overseas (U.S. equity). Second: as of 2016, IBJS requires your My Number information, but IBLLC does not. Again, you don't want IBJS, so don't worry about the My Number information.
Open a "Japan Resident Individual Account for IBLLC" account online. This is a lengthy process. Make sure you have the required information.
  • You will need to send info about your current address in Japan, your 在留カード (zairyuu/"gaijin" card), job information, bank account information, and so on. I got confused and sent my My Number card information as well, but this only caused a hiccup in their process and I was told to remove it. Don't submit your My Number information.
  • You need to choose your base currency. Your base currency determines what currency you trade in and receive dividends/money from selling in. I think you need to specify USD here, but not sure. I chose USD because U.S. stocks are in USD and I used my U.S. bank account to intially fund my account. It may not matter, but this needs confirmation.
  • You need to specify that you have trading experience. I forget the actual numbers you need to put into the form, but make sure you put enough experience that allows you to trade ETFs overseas. You can fiddle with the numbers right there in the form, and options open up as you change the numbers. Play with it until it's just right. This part is hazy, and just seems to be some safeguards for IB so that new investors can't sue/blame IB for their own trading stupidity when they lose all their money. If you really don't have any experience trading, IB offers virtual "fake" accounts you can use to play around with trading. I suggest you try it.
After about a week you should have your new account. The next step is funding it, or you may have selected to fund it up front when you created the account so it may already be done. Anyway, the easiest way is to have IB request the wire transfer from your bank. I did this. It was really annoying, but it took about another week or so to go through. Beware that you probably can't start buying right away and need to wait for the transfer to clear.
Congratulations! You're ready to start buying now. Refer to /personalfinance in what to invest in. Remember that you are limited to buying ETFs and a few other things, and not mutual funds (but you can get their ETF equivalents).
Using
TBD... (anyone want to fill this out?)
Part III: Taxes
You need to declare and pay taxes on your dividends and any capital gains you make. Beware.
TBD... (this is arguably the most important part, but I just don't have time to go into it now. Someone feel free to help!)
TL;DR: Open an account with Interactive Brokers online and buy ETFs.
submitted by crab_balls to japanlife [link] [comments]

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