Aaron Katsman 58.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
With the landing of multiple Nefesh B’Nefesh flights over the summer, I would
like to continue my series of financial tips for new olim. Last week I discussed
the need for new olim to get their “financial aliya” in order. I explained how
important it is to get your hands around a budget and keep your retirement plans
from the old-country current. This week I would like to focus on employment
benefits and banking.
NEW JOB When job hunting, make sure you get a fair
Much to my chagrin, there are employers who will try
to take advantage of your “new immigrant” status and offer you less than
market wage. They feel you will be willing to “settle” and be so happy
any job, that you will forgo a competitive salary. Hang tough when
salary. As they say in the local vernacular: “Don’t be a frier
discussing compensation, it’s important to know there are many social
that salaried workers are entitled to, and you should make it clear that
want them. In fact, in most cases the law stipulates that you receive
pension plans. Savings plans, both short-term (keren hishtalmut) and
(kupat gemmel), can help you realize your goals. These expenses are
covered by the money the worker has put away over the years, which is
the employer according to the terms of the policy.
Recent reforms in
savings plans give more choice to employees than ever before. It’s
speak with a professional to understand what you are entitled to and
provider to choose. It’s also important to verify that you are receiving
full complement of sick days and vacation days.
US INVESTMENT ACCOUNT
Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, US investment firms have taken a very
approach to non-US-domiciled accounts (accounts without a US address).
enactment of the Patriot Act and other new laws, it has become much
these firms to accept accounts from US citizens living abroad. Many
decided they would rather not deal with the issue and have made clients
down accounts or have stopped servicing them. Some firms won’t accept
transactions from clients living here, while others won’t allow their
to speak with clients residing abroad.
Olim should investigate how their
investment firms are treating the issue. If there is a problem, I would
recommend going local. I would find an adviser who is licensed both in
and in the US to handle the accounts. A local professional with an
with a US firm should not have the same problem; he should have all the
compliance in place for his clients to access the wide array of
choices and advice that you’re used to.
WHERE TO BANK Twenty years ago
local banks may have been the butt of jokes, but Israel now has a very
sophisticated banking system. While only a few banks control the lion’s
the market, they are all very competitive and offer a full range of
products. Customer service has improved, but it still lacks what you
to before making aliya. As such, when investigating local banks, you
evaluate the pluses and minuses of each one and NOT compare them to your
I would take that one step further: To integrate into Israeli
society, it’s not productive to compare everything to the way it was
back in the
old country. It’s not worse – it’s just different. Some things may even
better here! Here’s to an easy integration.[email protected]
Aaron Katsman is a licensed financial adviser in Israel and the United
who helps people open investment accounts in the US.