Our company transfers money internationally at least twice per month. Ten minutes after I’ve initiated the transfer that money is no longer in our Australian bank account. More often than not several days will pass before our money miraculously reappears in our Hong Kong or Philippines bank account. So where does our money go during those days when it’s neither in our Australian bank account or anywhere else? Nobody at any of my banks can tell me – but I think I’ve finally figured it out.

Welcome to Fiscal Purgatory

For those familiar with Catholic theology, Purgatory is an intermediate state after physical death, in which those destined for Heaven apparently undergo purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of Heaven.

Only those who die in a state of grace but who have not yet fulfilled the temporal punishment due to their sin can be in Purgatory. Therefore, no one in Purgatory will remain forever in that state, or go to Hell.

I’ve figured that’s what happens when I internationally transfer money – it goes into a state of limbo called Fiscal Purgatory – destined for another bank account – but not yet purified enough for the joy of entering that account.

The wages of sin

All of my money obviously enters Fiscal Purgatory in a state of grace, but not yet having undergone sufficient purification to enter the joy of the destination bank account. That much is obvious because the money always arrives – eventually.

Purification (without exception) involves the removal of some of my money through hefty bank transfer fees. More purification occurs through that great mystery known as currency exchange rates. If my money has sinned very badly, more purification might be extracted in the form of local government taxes and charges.

It’s hard to know in advance what the price of sin will be – but sin must always be paid for – in cash. Our bankers assure us that redemption is worth the price.

The miracle of forgiveness

Once its sins have been purified by hacking away small pieces of our money – and forgiveness has been granted – our money is permitted to experience the joy of being deposited to the destination account. I consider it a miracle if that purification process can be completed within just two business days.

Often, absolution takes longer – and shifts in exchange rates extract yet more purification.

The joy of absolution

So there you have it, people. You now know what happens to your money when it appears to be nowhere. Just be thankful to your bankers for purifying your money before it reaches the destination account. The sins of your money are absolved.


What you have just read is a true story. Only the facts have been changed. Frankly, it makes as much sense as the complete bullshit that both ANZ (Australia) and BDO (Philippines) have tried to force-feed me today.

This article was originally published on TonyGavin.com