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Moving to the U.S.? What to Do with Your Finances

In the fifth installment in our series The HorseGrooms’ Guide to Finance with Emmy Sobieski, CFA, Emmy explains some of the first steps grooms should take to manage their finances while starting out in America.

Moving to a new country can be an exciting and challenging experience. When it comes to managing your finances in the U.S., there are a few things you can do to get started.

1. Open a bank account 

Find a bank that suits your needs and open a checking and savings account. You’ll need your passport, visa, and other personal identification documents to do this.  

Watch out for hidden charges, like balance minimums, that may eat into any interest you earn. Get a checking account with a very low minimum balance (sometimes no minimum balance if you get your paychecks directly deposited from your employer).  

Learn more about checking, savings, CDs (certificate of deposits), money market funds and ETFs (exchange-traded funds) in our current and future articles on HorseGrooms.

2. Establish credit 

Building credit is essential in the U.S. if you plan to (or think you might) make large purchases like a car or a house in the future. 

Start building your credit history by applying for a credit card and making on-time payments. Capital One is a good card to start with as they accept people with zero credit history.  

Check back in with HorseGrooms for our forthcoming articles on establishing credit history.

3. Understand taxes 

The US tax system can be complicated, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basics. You may need to file taxes even if you don’t earn income in the U.S. Use google, tax advisors, along with your network, to learn more about your specific tax situation.

Check out our article on employment types: W2, 1099, and LLC for more details.

4. Budget wisely 

Create a budget that takes into account your income, expenses, and financial goals. This will help you stay on top of your finances and avoid overspending. Remember savings aren’t about how much you make but how much you take home after expenses and taxes.  

Check out our future articles on budgeting for grooms.

5. Plan for emergencies 

Make sure you have an emergency fund to cover unexpected expenses like medical bills, car repairs, or job loss. Try for at least 3 months’ worth of expenses to start, and slowly work up to a year’s worth if you can. 

Check out our articles “Ways to Let Savings and Wealth Grow” and “Retirement & Savings FAQ Alphabet Soup” in addition to future articles on savings for grooms.

Remember, it’s always a good idea to seek advice from a financial professional if you have any questions or concerns. They may not cost as much as you think. Ask around.

This is NOT a financial, legal, tax, or investment advice. 

This article is for educational purposes only. It is not advice. Why isn’t it advice? First, I don’t have the licenses necessary to advise you. Second, I don’t know your specific situation, which I would need to know in order to advise you (if I had the licenses, which I do not).  

Whenever someone gives you advice, ask yourself these two questions above: do they have the credentials, and do they know your specifics? If either answer is no, treat their advice like a starting point of learning and not as advice.

Let these blogs serve as a starting point in your education, not an end answer. Only you can find your answers to your specific situation.

October 2, 2023

Emmy Sobieski 🇺🇸

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