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Old 18.04.2013, 15:02
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Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

Hello, need a little advice.

I worked in Germany and have EUR 120k in a Commerzbank current account gathering approx 0% interest since always. My bad.

I'm from the UK with a fairly empty Halifax Current Account there. Resident in Zurich.

Would you invest /leave it in Germany, move here (I have zero ties to Germany now except this account), e.g. Post Account ? Convert to another currency ?

I find Commerzbank to be fairly useless to deal with compared to ZKB that I'm happy with here. I'd have no problem saying goodbye to them.
I also thought about throwing it all into the Swiss company pension as I'm way short on that side. But my future perhaps isn't in Switzerland so it may not be wise to load that up.

I don't need to touch the money for the foreseeable future.

I'm just starting to pay attention and learning (only theory so far) about smarter ways to invest so sorry if this is a no-brainer question for experienced hands . . .


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Old 18.04.2013, 15:16
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

I'll look after it for you, and spend... I mean invest it... in Cuba

I also have some money left in Germany. Interest rates here aren't any better than there, there's not much to be gained by transferring it over except for practicalities: the German banks seem very pissy about transferring money via internet banking when you're not living there, putting all sorts of barriers in the way (like requiring a mobile phone number so they can send you their stupid "TANs" or whatever, but not allowing you to use a phone number that doesn't start +49).

As far as the currency it's held in... it's trickier, especially when you factor in a possible third currency (since you're from the UK). Gold, maybe. You need to know the future to know what the best thing to do is. If you do, then I'll let you look after my money!
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Old 18.04.2013, 15:18
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

I don't have much advise, but when I left Germany, they closed my bank account. Not sure if this still happens, but you may have to find a new home for the money.

You can have a Euro account in Switzerland, but most banks don't pay interest on it. "The Post" do pay interest on Euro accounts.

I didn't convert my Euro to CHF as I think the rate is bad at the moment.

If you earn more than CHF 120K a year you may have to pay tax on the amount in your bank account.

What to do with the money, difficult question

I don't trust I will get a pension, so I bought a house and rented it out as part of my pension plan.
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Old 18.04.2013, 15:26
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

I left at the start of 2010 and de-registered and communicated that to the bank. The Commerzbank statements are sent to Zurich. So far, I've heard nothing about being forced to leave. Not sure what the bank would get out of that.

Yeah, the TANs !! I also dislike them and they seem primitive BUT I guess harder to "hack" than a gee-whizz token/SMS authentication.
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Old 18.04.2013, 16:02
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

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Yeah, the TANs !! I also dislike them and they seem primitive BUT I guess harder to "hack" than a gee-whizz token/SMS authentication.
Yeah, it was the mobile TANs I meant. They send you an SMS with a code and you have to enter it into the website I guess. Not sure since Post Bank refused my telehone number, since it's Swiss.
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Old 18.04.2013, 16:16
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

If you don't need to use the money, I wouldn't covert to another currency but leave in EUR. Currency fluctuations can go either way, so I awlays leave in the currency they already are, until I need to use in a particular country.

In terms of which country to have the money, a matter of preference. If it's a hassle to maintain the DE account (fees, pain to transfer), you can bring to CH on a euro account (around 0.1% in UBS - may get slightly better becasue of high balance, but not much more - , 0.125% in postfinance. But doesnt make sense to open an account with postfinance just for that, as the annaul fees will be higher than the extra 30 euro per year interest you'll get).

With that amount, swiss banks will let you keep the account as non-resident after you've left, if you plan to leave switzerland in the future but maintain an account. UK banks are practically only useful if you have GBP accounts.
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Old 18.04.2013, 20:26
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

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Hello, need a little advice.

I worked in Germany and have EUR 120k in a Commerzbank current account gathering approx 0% interest since always. My bad.

I'm from the UK with a fairly empty Halifax Current Account there. Resident in Zurich.

Would you invest /leave it in Germany, move here (I have zero ties to Germany now except this account), e.g. Post Account ? Convert to another currency ?

I find Commerzbank to be fairly useless to deal with compared to ZKB that I'm happy with here. I'd have no problem saying goodbye to them.
I also thought about throwing it all into the Swiss company pension as I'm way short on that side. But my future perhaps isn't in Switzerland so it may not be wise to load that up.

I don't need to touch the money for the foreseeable future.

I'm just starting to pay attention and learning (only theory so far) about smarter ways to invest so sorry if this is a no-brainer question for experienced hands . . .


Burrito
I think the first thing you need to do is sit down and decide what your financial objectives are. It's very hard give any advice without knowing what you want to achieve.

One of the big implications of being way under as you say in your pension is that you will be very poorly covered in the event of a disability and furthermore there is a gap of about two years before such a pension even kicks in that needs to be covered...

If your objective is to provide for your retirement, then buying into the pension fund is the way to go!
- You'll get income tax relief on the cost of buying in to the fund (tip: spread it over a few years to get best tax relief)
- The income earned on the capital is tax free until paid out as pension or lump sum
- It will go along way to ensuring that you are covered disability as well

If or when you decide to leave Switzerland you'll have the choice of a partial transfer to you new employers fund with the remainder being placed in a vested benefits account or leaving it all in a vested benefits account. Money in the vested benefits account earns a better rate of interest than standard accounts and you are also free to invest the amount in selected investment funds.
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Old 18.04.2013, 21:09
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

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...But doesnt make sense to open an account with postfinance just for that, as the annaul fees will be higher than the extra 30 euro per year interest you'll get).
PostFinance offers free banking if you have more than CHF25000 which is obviously the case here.
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Old 18.04.2013, 21:23
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

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...snip ...

If your objective is to provide for your retirement, then buying into the pension fund is the way to go!
.....
I agree up to the max buy in limit per year which is very approx 30k per year if I remember.

However ... even as a financial know-nothing, isn't it a historically bad time to buy CHFs with the Euros that would be required to make a buy in? I was going to use local salary to make the max allowed buy-in. Still leaves me with a lot of euros or all them, that needs to be invested. Do you think investments in Germany, e.g. a tracker fund would be taxed in GErmany or at Swiss rates ?

Last edited by Burrito; 18.04.2013 at 21:32. Reason: tax q
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Old 18.04.2013, 22:29
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

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PostFinance offers free banking if you have more than CHF25000 which is obviously the case here.
Actually it's total assets 7,500 for a private account
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Old 18.04.2013, 22:36
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

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Actually it's total assets 7,500 for a private account
Yes, you're right but I was talking about the more advanced "Private account plus" with free worldwide cash withdrawals.
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Old 22.04.2013, 22:43
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

Short Answer - You have enough money to see a see an independent financial advisor and pay maybe 500 francs for that meeting. Make sure they're independent otherwise its just a sales person you'll be seeing. They will recommend a few things.

The first objective being capital preservation. At the moment you're loosing money as inflation is higher than interest. One or two years might not appear to hurt too much, but if you do it for 5 or 10 will probably regret it. You'll save more than the fee in the first year.
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Old 22.04.2013, 23:22
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

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I agree up to the max buy in limit per year which is very approx 30k per year if I remember.

However ... even as a financial know-nothing, isn't it a historically bad time to buy CHFs with the Euros that would be required to make a buy in? I was going to use local salary to make the max allowed buy-in. Still leaves me with a lot of euros or all them, that needs to be invested. Do you think investments in Germany, e.g. a tracker fund would be taxed in GErmany or at Swiss rates ?
To go back to my original comments, you really need to set out what your financial objectives are, it is very hard to say what the best approach is until you know what you are trying to achieve...

For instance are you primarily interested in capital preservation, if so then putting it all into an equity tracker, would probably be more risky than necessary. On the other hand if you are trying to do something like double your money every 5 years then you'd need to get a return of around 12.5% pa and would involve considerably more risk than a DAX tracker.

When it comes to FX risk, again the question might be where do you intend to spend the money in the long term. For instance at the moment the SNB has pegged Franc to the Euro, but if they can't maintain it then, the Franc could rise.... So if you are not intending to spend in Euros, do you need the FX exposure.... again it comes down to what are your objectives.
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Old 25.04.2013, 08:01
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

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Yeah, it was the mobile TANs I meant. They send you an SMS with a code and you have to enter it into the website I guess. Not sure since Post Bank refused my telehone number, since it's Swiss.
I also have an account with Deutsche Postbank but use their "ChipTAN" system. They show a sort of moving barcode on the screen, you hold a device with your ATM card in it to the screen to "read" the barcode and you get a TAN code. No trouble at all and you should be able to use that too.
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Old 25.04.2013, 12:10
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Re: Euro account in Switzerland or Germany ?

I would hold onto the money instead of converting it to francs at this exchange rate. If you are unsure of your status in switzerland its best to keep it there lest you pay conversion fees. I would draw down the money gradually when i do shopping in germany or buy a car there since you already have the cash.
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