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On the banking screen, you can exchange bonds for gold and vice versa. You can also transfer money to other characters and to your family.
Almost everything you need to pay for is done with gold coins, but money transfers are sent as bonds. Depending upon where your character is when taxes are distributed, they may receive them in bonds, gold, or some of both—if you want to receive them in gold, it is best to be within the realm. Also, bonds can not be taken away by enemy judges if you get imprisoned. However, when you leave a realm (voluntarily or otherwise), all your bonds become worthless paper.
There is no perfect formula of how much gold to keep as gold coins and how much to change into bonds. Usually, you will want to keep a good part of gold in coins to pay for stuff, though.
You can send bonds to other nobles in your realm. You can not send gold coins, and you can send bonds only in 25, 50, 100, 150, etc. chunks. Smaller amounts of bonds can be transferred, such as 5 or 10, but the moneychangers will deduct a small fee for the trouble.
You can also send gold to your family, raising family wealth. A wealthier family will give starting characters more gold to begin with, and beyond a certain wealth, you can ask for additional gold during emergencies even with characters that are now new. There are rumours that very wealthy families also unlock other features.
Finally, if you are in the capital of a foreign realm, you can deposit gold there and transfer it to any member of that realm, minus a flat 50 gold fee. This feature can be used for inter-realm transfers, but also to fund rebels inside an enemy realm, etc. - provided you can reach their capital safely.
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