The frustrations of trying to open a NISA account in Japan

As soon as we got back to Japan, I’ve tried to set our financial situation straight here. My most urgent task was to set up investment accounts for my wife and kids (NISA and Junior NISA respectively). and when I say “my”, I really mean my wife’s task. My Japanese is bad enough that trying to open an account on her behalf would have been a nightmare.

I actually tried to do it for her on SBI, but when it turned out the thing requires lots of personal documentation (such as the infamous “my number”, etc…), this quickly got me to yell at the computer screen.

The worst is that we thought the whole subscription process would be fully online, but we did not escape the need to actually send lots of paperwork. Getting the “My Numbers”, setting up the account, waiting for the paperwork from SBI, filling it up and sending it back… all of this took more than 2 months.

I would really love to do it for my wife, but my limitations in Japanese are a blocking factor, and more importantly I want her to own this entire process. Because one of the ultimate goals is for her to have an investment account she’s confident with, and that she takes control of 50% of our financial situation, so that we can discuss and agree on our future plans in a balanced way.

SBI rejected her NISA application by the way, because new NISA accounts for 2017 are closed after September on their end. So we’ll have to wait and open her account in 2018. We agreed she should start investing in the regular SBI account in the meantime, at which point we realized it was not fully operational yet. Before being able to use it, she now needs to send a physical copy of her “my number” card to SBI. The one she uploaded in their registration process was not enough, it appears. Paper, paper… the red ink we use in stamps is probably the life and blood of Japanese bureaucracy.

I believe the account is finally operational… As for the NISA, it will have to wait until next year.

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