The Uber of FOREX: USForex Review

Probably your first stop in Germany. Good time to think about forex!

KMCC: Probably your first stop in Germany. Good time to think about forex!

Overseas money transfers can be scary and expensive, especially if you’ve never done one before. But they don’t have to be. Last month I had the opportunity for an investment in a foreign startup company and needed to move several thousand dollars to an overseas bank account in the local currency.

My first step was to see how much USAA (my military bank of choice) charges to wire money. It’s $45 for an international transfer and $20 for a domestic transfer. Not too bad, especially when moving thousands of dollars. Next, I checked with my partner overseas to see what his bank would charge to accept an international wire transfer. In this case, it was free, but they would have to convert the funds into the local currency.

The rate the foreign bank was offering for converting US dollars to local currency didn’t seem very good to me. According to Google the rate was 1.17. The bank was offering me 1.14. Three cents may not seem like a lot, but for every $10,000, 3% was $300. I decided it was worth investigating other options, especially if it meant saving over $1000.

Reasons You May Need to Send Money Overseas

Sending money internationally may seem like something only immigrants with family in the “old country” do. There are a variety of legitimate reasons you may need to send money to a foreign bank account.

  • You’re stationed in Europe, Asia, or elsewhere and want to pay bills with your host nation bank account
  • You have friends or family living in another country and want to send them money
  • You conduct international business and receive payments from overseas as well as make payments to overseas accounts

These are all great reasons to use a foreign exchange company, or “forex.” My investment opportunity in my friend’s startup caused me to go on a mission to find the best forex company for the best price.

Online International Money Transfers

It’s amazing that even in the 21st century it’s so difficult to move electronic money around. We even still call it a “wire transfer,” as if the money is being sent by telegram! To send my money overseas, I had to talk to 3 people at 2 different companies on the phone. On the phone! It’s like the Internet hasn’t even been invented. Fortunately, it seems that after my first transfer all subsequent transfers can be conducted online.

headerLogoI started my search for a better exchange rate on Google and found the site USForex.com. While the site was definitely professional built and looked legitimate with testimonials, press releases, and an in depth FAQ, I had to do my own research to determine if I was going to trust them with a $xx,xxx transaction.

The main difficulty in transferring money overseas is not getting burned on the exchange rate. Rates fluctuate constantly throughout the day. The rate your quoted to exchange cash is usually much worse than the rate you’ll get if you use a credit card or ATM card. The best rates are between the largest banks in the world, who trade at what’s known as the inter-bank rate. Buying or selling your money as close to this rate as possible saves you the most money.

USForex.com Review

The first thing I noticed about USForex was their attractive pricing. The rate I was quote for my transaction was 1.1634, only a fraction of a penny and percentage below the inter-bank rate. The maximum fee they charge is only $5 and there are no fees for transactions over $5000!  This was an amazing exchange rate and a no fee transaction for me. The savings really add up when you do larger transactions. Check out the savings between what the bank was offering me and what USForex offered me:

Amount of Foreign Currency PurchasedRegular Bank charges .8772USFOREX.com charges .8595USForex saves me…
10,000$8772$8595$177
20,000$17,544$17,190$354
50,000$43,860$42,975$885!

Huge savings by going with USForex! The more you transfer, the more it makes sense to skip the big banks and work with the industry disruptor.

The Internet is finally allowing the average consumer to access the exchange rates previously only available to the wealthy and mega-corporations.

Can I Trust USForex?

Even though I was getting a good deal, I still wasn’t sure if I could trust them, so I did my research. While researching I noticed a couple of good things right away:

  • Lots of 24/7 phone numbers and contact information
  • Free registration
  • Lots of positive testimonials and no negative reviews on Google
  • Better Business Bureau registration
  • USFOREX is registered with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) under the US Department of Treasury
  • The company is registered as a money transmitter with 46 states and has application pending with the remaining 4

USForex is a Delaware based company with an officer in San Francisco. They are owned by OzForex Group, an Australian based company founded by banker Matt Gilmour in 1998.  A couple stats I found:

  • 170 employees in 6 cities: Toronto, San Francisco, London, Sydney, Hong Kong, Auckland
  • $9.1 billion moved in 2013
  • 460,000 transactions processed in 2013
  • Over 100,000 clients
  • OzForex also owns UKForex, CanadianForex, NZForex, and Tranzfers

Based on these facts and reading some financial statements the company had registered with the Australian government, I decided that they probably weren’t going to run off with my money!

My First International Wire Transfer

I set up my account and received an email instantaneously and a phone call from a USForex dealer within 5 minutes. See the video here on how to setup your own account. He was extremely polite and helpful in getting my details confirmed and my account set up. After confirming my details both online and over the phone, I was ready to make my first transaction.

Setting up my transaction is an easy three step process:

  1. us-forex-get-quoteGet a spot quote for the transaction. This locks in your exchange rate and is the best available rate at the moment you click “Get Quote”
  2. Then you designate your beneficiaries, the bank account and person who will receive your funds
  3. Finally, confirm all the details. For your first transaction, USForex will phone you to confirm all the details of your transaction. Once you confirm the transaction, you’ll have 24 hours to wire the money to USForex’s holding account.

USForex leverages its massive transaction volume to cut its rates to a fraction of what the big banks charge. The process is pretty simple for how USForex converts your funds:

  1. After you finalize your transaction, you wire the funds to USForex’s US bank account. For me, this cost $20 with USAA. Your bank may charge more or less.
  2. Then, USForex converts the funds (settling thousands of other transactions at the same time, so your money gets as close to the inter-bank rate at possible) and wires the money to your beneficiaries.
  3. The money arrives in the foreign bank account usually in less than 2 business days, and sometimes as quick as 1 business day.

The process could not be easier or more simple. The funds I transferred to my overseas partner were receive in less than 24 hours after I wired them. I am definitely a happy customer! I highly recommend using USForex for all of your foreign exchange transactions, especially if you’re moving large amounts of money ($20,000+). The savings are just too big to ignore, the dealers are fast and professional, the transaction runs smoothly, and the 24/5 access to dealers is unmatched in the industry.

USForex is disrupting the opaque and archaic foreign exchange market for the United States. It’s good to see the Internet spurring innovation and competition to create better products for consumers and small-medium size businesses. Just like Uber is rocking the taxi and transportation world and AirBnB is shaking things up in the hotel world, USForex is changing the rules of the game in the forex industry.

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The Average Net Worth of the Above Average Enlisted Personnel

Are you a military officer? Me too! Check out the chart I made for the above average officer net worth. Thanks to Sam at Financial Samurai for the idea to put this chart together.

This guy doesn't settle for being average

This guy doesn’t settle for being average

Let me start off by saying I am not enlisted. I asked around and did the best research I could to calculate average enlisted pay, but its not easy. Every case will be different, with different deployment cycles, special pays, spouse income, and whether or not you live on base.

I’ve experienced the officer side of life for a few years now so I can write from personal experience. For the enlisted side, I can only ask questions, look at the pay charts and educate myself, but I can’t live it.

Just like on the officer side, an enlisted person is definitely worth more than their investable assets. You can be the best technician at your job or leader on and off duty and still be drowning in credit card debt.

Usually though, if you excel at your job, you will also want to excel in all aspects of your life. In this article I’ll lay out what the above average enlisted personnel should have saved throughout their career.

The above average enlisted man/woman knows:

  • That the Roth TSP is the best investment vehicle for their retirement
  • personal capital dashboard

    Tracking your net worth with Personal Capital

    Tracking your investments with Personal Capital makes it easy to see all your accounts in one place

  • That banking with a military friendly bank or credit union like USAA saves both money and time
  • Not to completely rely on a military pension, because less than 20% of active duty personnel make it the full 20 years
  • You are more financially savvy than your peers and you didn’t buy that brand new Ford F-150 with a high interest rate at the lot right off base/post.
  • You understand that power of compounding interest, simple index investing, and spending less than you earn
  • You never carry a balance on your credit card, but you do use a cashback credit card to get the most for your purchases

Assumptions:

  • This chart is for single airmen, soldiers, sailors, and marines. If your spouse works, your total net worth or your standard of living should be higher.
  • In this chart I assumed that you prioritize your tax advantaged retirement investments, like the Roth IRA and Roth TSP. Once you have enough income to start making taxable investments, you start doing that as well.
  • I assumed a 4% investment return, which is a bit low considering the stock market averages 6-7% in the long run (30+ years).
  • I also assumed that you wait until you make E-6 to buy a house and then you build $500/month of equity

The Average Net Worth for the Above Average Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, or Marine

AgeRankRoth IRARoth TSPTaxable InvestmentsHome EquityTotal NW
19E-2$0$0$0$0$0
20E-3$0$5,000$0$0$5,000
21E-4$0$10,000$0$0$10,000
22E-4$2,500$17,500$0$0$20,000
23E-5$5,100$35,700$0$0$40,800
25E-5$10,616$74,313$0$0$84,929
27E-5$22,702$116,077$0$0$138,780
29E-5$35,775$161,249$0$0$197,024
31E-6$49,914$210,107$10,200$12,000$282,221
33E-6$65,207$262,952$21,232$24,000$373,391
35E-7$81,748$320,108$43,365$36,000$481,221
37E-7$99,639$381,929$67,303$48,000$596,871
39E-7$118,989$448,795$103,395$60,000$731,179

Summary:

  • As a young enlisted member (E-2 and E-3), focus on becoming the best you can at your job, continuing your education, staying out of debt, and building an emergency fund. Start contributing between $400-500/month to your Roth TSP account. As you reach the NCO level, keep increasing your savings every year.
  • Congratulations on the promotion to E-4 (Senior Airman, Corporal, or Petty Officer Third Class)! You should start contributing more to your Roth TSP account with your increased pay. After wearing your new stripes for a few years, you should be maximizing your Roth TSP contributions and begin contributing to your Roth IRA.
  • By the time you have been an E-5 (Staff Sergeant, Sergeant, or Petty Officer Second Class) for a few years, you should be able to maximize your Roth TSP and Roth IRA investments. This is where your hard work and savings should pay off with a net worth of over $100,000.
  • By the time you make E-6 (Technical Sergeant, Staff Sergeant, or Petty Officer First Class) you should have enough income to not only maximize your tax advantaged investments (Roth IRA and Roth TSP), but also start investing in taxable investments. Towards the end of your E-6 time you will rapidly approach the half million dollar mark.
  • As you approach retirement as an E-7 (Master Sergeant, Sergeant First Class, or Chief Petty Officer), your hard work and slow but steady investing pace has built a nest egg of over $700,000. You should be able to safely withdraw $22,000-$30,000/year for the rest of your life from this fund in addition to your military pension.

I need your feedback!

  • Do you think these numbers are attainable?
  • Where do you fall in the list?
  • Do you think you could really have over $700,000+ saved at the end of your 20 year career?
  • Do you think a young NCO can save up a six figure net worth?
  • Leave a comment and share this post with your friends!
Posted in Military Life, Military Pay | 6 Comments