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Old 10.09.2020, 15:14
Urs Max Urs Max is offline
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Re: New to Switzerland and investing - help needed!

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Thanks for all the tips everyone.

Should I also consider robo-advisers? Please excuse my naivety, but they seem take a lot of hassle out of the entire process. Do they have any major drawbacks? Are there any that come strongly recommended?

Although I have a basic understanding of the various investment products, I'm not sure that I am in a position to objectively assess my investment risk profile and how to split up my investments accordingly.
Every advisor, even if they seem to be for free, has the bank's interest at heart, never yours. Your financial situation (not necessarily success) is the means for them to generate earnings - always keep in mind that for the service provider (bank, broker, advisor alike) you're the cow begging for financial milking. That doesn't apply always, but it does usually.

That's why you need to educate yourself (no offense), there's no way around that unless you're willing to pay, over time, with 20-30-50% of the wealth your assets would grow into with a cost-conscious approach by the time you retire. That's what as seemingly little as 1% annual cost adds up to over 30-40 years (life expetancy at age 31 is 56 years for females, 51 for males).

Only you can know what's best for you, and only you does want the best for you. There's no need to hurry but a definitive need to learn the basics. IMHO Wiley's "Investing for Dummies" and John Bogle's "Little Book of Common Sense Investing" are must-reads. The first because it takes a broad approach on how to go about managing your wealth and making good use of diversification, the second because it teaches you to use stock funds and ETFs to your advantage when investing in stocks and avoid paying more than necessary.

Not knowing you, I'd say standard allocation first. I'm assuming you're single with no financial obligations other than your own needs:
1) have 2-3 monthly salaries as liquidity, available immediately
2) have 3-6 monthy salaries as iron reserve, available at short notice
3) add big outlays you're planning for to the two above, be that taxes, that shiny car or the trip around the world
4) invest everything beyond that. Allocation decisions should be dominated by your risk tolerance

In addition, it's helpful to use the services of at least two banks or similar that are independent of each other. Because if one goes bankrupt or becomes otherwise unavailable you still have access to the rest. In these interest-less times I'd say to use two "Kontokorrent" accounts for 1) and 2), at different low-cost banks, e.g. Raiffeisen and Postfinance. Using a broker that's independent of those two is an additional plus.

If you invest (some portion) in the stock market, and you definitely should, you need to assume that at some not-too-distant point in time it will drop by 50% when determining what percentage of your assets you should invest there. The reason is that you need to stay invested and avoid selling when that happens, and happen it will (most probably). It can be a very painful experience to see all that hard-earned money go up in smoke and disappear into nothingness, and you need to keep your emotions from determining your financial decisions in those situations.

And do make sure your expectations remain realistic. 7-9-10% return in USD, or 6-8% in CHF, will grow into a very nice sum over time. Btw, these two rates of return are likely to be roughly equivalent as the CHF is likely to keep appreciating against the USD.

Last edited by Urs Max; 10.09.2020 at 15:30.
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