The Little Book of Common Sense Investing – Book Review

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Since I started to pay closer attention to my finance, I have read a few books about investing and finance. I am going to review them on this blog. I am going to explain what the book is about and also what I liked about the book. And of course, what I did not like about it.

The first book I have read is “The little book of Common Sense Investing”, by John C. Bogle. It is coming from the founder and former CEO of the Vanguard Mutual Fund Group. John Bogle is a great man and the creator of the first index fund. A lot of people in the Bogleheads community are recommending this book, so I decided to give it a try.

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December 2017 Update + 2018 perspectives

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Happy new year to you all!

Now that we started in 2018, it is time for the last monthly update of 2017. After a rather poor November 2017, December 2017 is significantly better. I have been able to keep my spendings lower than usual. It was not a very eventful month. Except of course for the usual Christmas celebrations. I always spend Christmas with my family and it was great :)

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November 2017 Update

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November 2017 is over, it is time for another monthly update. After a bad October 2017, I have seen some improvements.

November 2017 was not bad in terms of savings, but it was a bit lower than I was expecting. The savings rate for the month is 14.25%. It is not perfect, but still better than last month. My goal is to go to 25%. But I probably will need a salary raise to go there (I am still gonna try without the raise).

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How to Deposit Money on DEGIRO and Buy an ETF

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After having opened my DEGIRO account recently, it was time to use my DEGIRO account. My first deposit reached my DEGIRO broker account! Let’s start with the good, there is no fee for transfer! I have transferred 1000 CHF and exactly 1000 CHF arrived in my account. I was afraid of a hidden fee or transfer fee. But there are no fees!

With the bad news now: The transfer took 8 days. I sent the transfer Friday 17th, the bank debited it from my account Monday 20th. It only arrived today, Tuesday 28th on my broker account. I have contacted DEGIRO several times in the meantime to ask about the whereabouts of my money. They did have an issue with their bank (CIC Bank, Basel).

The bank was not transferring the money statements to them for about a week. So, normally, this should not be so slow. I am inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt for this one. I will see what happens to my second transfer. I sent it yesterday and it should arrive tomorrow on my DEGIRO account. If this issue is something that happens regularly, this is a really bad thing for DEGIRO. But we will see.

Update (6 months later): I have not had any more issue of that sort with DEGIRO!

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Save Money on Rent by Asking for a Reduction!

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Sometimes, saving some money simply means asking for a reduction! I have asked for a reduction in my rent. And with this, I am going to save more than 50 CHF every month!

I just got confirmation from my building manager that they accepted the reduction of rent that I asked for. I am quite satisfied with the answer. However, they have been incredibly slow in answering me. They answered more than two months after my request… In Switzerland, most building managers are getting worse and worse.

With this reduction, my base rent goes from 1175 CHF to 1122 CHF. This will only start at the next term of my lease, on April 1st. But this means that next year, I will save 53 CHF * 9 = 477 CHF. And I will save even more the following year since all months will be lower :)

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How to save money by changing car insurance

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Insurances are very important to optimize your budget. There can be very expensive. And there could be some large differences in prices between one provider to others. And most often than not they are providing exactly the same coverage.

It is very important to regularly check if there are better deals on your insurance. Even though it could be the cheapest at some point, it may not be the case a few years later. You just need to make sure your contract allows you to change contract from time to time.

Recently, I decided to check all my recurring expenses and see if I could save something on at least some of them. Turns out I can! I was able to change my car insurance to save over 350 CHF per year on it.

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How to Open a Broker Account on DEGIRO

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Having decided to start investing in Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs), I needed a broker account. I decided to open an account on DEGIRO. In this post, I am going to go over the reasons for this choice and over how to open a broker account on DEGIRO.

After reading a lot about funds and low-cost index funds in particular and the inefficiency of most actively managed funds, I decided I will stop giving my money to fund managers. Therefore, I decided to start investing in passive index funds and not active funds. Moreover, I also decided to only focus on no-load funds. Currently, I was investing with PostFinance funds, but the Total Expense Ratio (TER) of these funds is high and PostFinance is charging a 0.5% percent load on each buy of funds.

Since we do not have access to excellent mutual funds such as Vanguard funds here, I decided to invest in Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) versions of the funds. This means I need a broker to invest. I looked at the trading offer of PostFinance but it is insanely expensive. Therefore I decided to find a new broker with significantly lower fees.

The links to DEGIRO are affiliate links. If you use them to create an account, you will receive 20 CHF in transaction credits and I will also receive 20 CHF.

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The Poor Swiss blog

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Welcome to The Poor Swiss blog :)

If you arrived here through The Blog Archives, you have now reached the very first post from The Poor Swiss blog. On the other hand, if you are just starting reading through my posts, you can take a look at my Introduction for New Readers.

This is the first post on the blog The Poor Swiss. On this blog, I talk about many subjects:

  • Financial Independence: Learn how to become free with your money!
  • Investing: How to invest your money to get more income.
  • Budget: How to account for your expenses and earnings and track your performance.
  • Frugality: How to save money on your expenses.
  • And many more subjects!

The year I created this blog, in 2017, my savings were getting worse and worse every month. This was due to many big expenses such as plane tickets and unexpected health care. But this made me realize that I am not saving enough at all. Although I have a good salary and live quite well, I have a tendency to spend too much.

In 2016, my savings rate was around 18%. This is not really bad. But still lower than I would have liked. But in 2017, my savings rate is down to around 7%. This is way too low and made me realize that my expenses are way too high. Moreover, the last two months have been negative months although not by a long shot. This month is also likely to end up being negative. Given my salary, I should easily be able to save at least 25% of my income each month.

Since this point, I started reading many personal finance blogs and websites. I have learned a lot of things about investments and spending. In the coming months, I plan to put these lessons to work. My main change now will be to reduce my spending. I will then continue to learn about investments and I will try to put my money to work. For now, I did not start investing at all. But I plan to fix this. I believe it is important to start improving the budget first before starting to focus on investment.

For some context, I am a 31 years old software programmer. I just finished my Ph.D. in Computer Science and I am still working in my school. I live in a small village in the countryside area of the Fribourg state, in Switzerland. Currently, I plan to stay in that area for many years. But I am hoping to find a better job next year once my contract with my school is finished.

My main goal with this blog is to motivate myself to improve my finances. But I am also going to write personal finance tips and in-depth analysis of some important investing topics. I am hoping that you will learn from my mistakes and improve your finances with me :)

And do not forget that I am not very good with my money, so do not follow everything I do. But you may try to learn from my mistakes. I am not a financial advisor. You should only take financial decisions after having consulted many points of view on the subject.