The Best Credit Card Strategy: No Fees and Maximum Returns

Categories Budget, Switzerland11 Comments on The Best Credit Card Strategy: No Fees and Maximum Returns

Since I have started improving my personal finances, I have optimized a lot my usage of credit cards. I have reduced the annual fee of my credit cards to zero. As a matter of fact, I have reduced all my credit card fees to zero! That’s right, I do not pay any fee using credit cards, even for foreign currencies. This is much better than before since I did not even know I was paying too much at that time!

Moreover, I have also improved the cashback I get for each of my purchase. Now, I get up to 1% cashback on my purchases! On the other hand, to optimize my fees and cashback, I had to go from one single card to three credit cards. There is no free lunch, unfortunately.

In this post, I am going to share my entire credit card strategy. If you want to save on fees and improve your cashback, this will help you! Indeed, if you are willing to go the extra mile, you can save money and generate some small income with credit cards.

If you have an idea on how to improve my strategy, I would love to know about it!

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Switzerland is unfair to married couples

Categories Switzerland, Financial Independence, RetirementLeave a comment on Switzerland is unfair to married couples

Marriage is a great thing in which I believe. However, something that not many people know is that in Switzerland, you are better off financially if you are not married. There are several disadvantages to being married in Switzerland.

Do not take me wrong, I am not saying you should not get married! We got married last year and I do not regret it at all. Marriage is about love not about money! But I know that in the future, we would be better off financially if we did not marry. This is important to know the differences between married couples in Switzerland, especially if you plan to retire here.

So in this post, we are going to see what financial difference there are between a married couple and an unmarried couple. You will see that there are some substantial differences in taxes and retirement for married couples.

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ETF Portfolio with European ETFs

Categories Investing, Switzerland34 Comments on ETF Portfolio with European ETFs

In 2020, Swiss investors may lose access to U.S. funds. DEGIRO already cut access to these funds. And it is highly likely that Interactive Brokers does the same next year. So, we need to be prepared for that eventuality. The alternative to U.S. Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) is European ETFs.

You can also use mutual funds, it is almost the same thing. However, it is much more flexible to invest through ETFs in Europe. The main problem is that European ETFs are inferior to U.S. ETFs in many ways as we are going to see in details. Unfortunately, we may not have the choice to use them. The alternative of not investing at all would be much worse!

In this post, we are going to go through the multiple steps of designing a new portfolio. First, you need to decide the allocation of the different parts of the portfolio. Then, you need to choose between different stock market indices. Finally, you need to choose the best ETF for each index. I believe it is an excellent exercise. However, it is not trivial and should not be taken lightly.

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Swisscard Cashback Credit Card – Free and 1% Cashback

Categories Budget, Switzerland2 Comments on Swisscard Cashback Credit Card – Free and 12 Cashback

Recently Swisscard announced a new offer for credit cards: Swisscard Cashback. They offer an American Express (Amex) and either a MasterCard or a Visa. They already offered several cards in the past. But these new Cashback cards are really interesting.

First of all, all these cards are free! This is very important because unless you spend a lot of money, a little fee will render your cashback totally useless. But these are not the only free cards in Switzerland! What is very interesting is that they are offering 5% cashback in the first three months. After that, the cashback bonus becomes 1% on the American Express card and 0.2% on the MasterCard and Visa cards.

A cashback of 1% is more than other free cards in Switzerland are offering! Of course, you need to be able to use the card as much as possible in order to use that extra cashback. This may be difficult since American Express cards are not as well accepted as Visa and MasterCard, especially in Switzerland.

In this post, we are going to see if this offer is really interesting and if it is worth ordering a new Swisscard Cashback credit card.

As a bonus, I also share a promotional code at the end of the post that you can use to receive 20 CHF bonus.

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The Poor Swiss versus the Average Swiss Household

Categories Frugality, Switzerland8 Comments on The Poor Swiss versus the Average Swiss Household

Frugality and expenses are difficult to compare between two different households. This is especially true if you compare different situations like family and children. And it is almost impossible to compare yourselves to people from another country. Therefore, it is important to compare with the average household comparable to your household.

If we compare our expenses with the FIRE community, we are not really frugal. In 2018, we spent about 5330 CHF per month. This is far higher than what most people trying to reach for FI are spending. I often read personal finance blogs where people claim to be living below 2000 CHF in Europe. We are being careful about our budget. And we are optimizing it to reduce it month after month. It is already much lower than before. And in 2019, one of our goals is to spend less than 5000 CHF per month. We will see if we can do it. However, we should also compare with the average household in our country.

I do not think we are spending too much. When I compare with most people I know, we are alright. But I wanted to compare with more data with the average Swiss household.

So, in this post, I am going to compare our current level of expenses with the average Swiss household. I have been able to find official data from the Swiss bureau of statistics. And I was able to compare in details how we fare against the average Swiss household. It is really interesting to do! If you can do the same for your own level of expenses and your reference average household, I would strongly encourage you in doing so!

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Interview of Daniel Peter, CEO of VIAC

Categories Retirement, SwitzerlandLeave a comment on Interview of Daniel Peter, CEO of VIAC

I had the chance of interviewing Daniel Peter, the CEO of VIAC. If you do not yet know what VIAC is, it is a Swiss company that is providing an excellent third pillar option. If you are not familiar with the third pillar, I wrote an entire post about the third pillar. It is the Swiss equivalent of an IRA but with less choice. It is tax-advantaged and should be used by everyone serious about retirement.

I have already talked about this company on this blog. Currently, VIAC is offering the best third pillar option in Switzerland. They have very low fees compared to the other Swiss options. It is very easy to open an account at VIAC as well.

Moreover, they were also the first company to offer a third pillar account with 97% of stocks. Before that, the best option has only 75% of stocks. This is really great because the investment time of the third pillar is very long. Therefore, we want a large allocation to stocks.

But, Daniel Peter will tell you all about VIAC much better me. So, without further ado, here are Daniel’s answers to my questions!

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9 Frugal Tips to Ski For Less in Switzerland

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There is no denying that ski is a very expensive hobby. And this is especially true in Switzerland, one of the most expensive countries in the world. First of all, you will have to spend a lot in order to get your ski equipment. But then, you will have to pay at each ski stations to use their ski lifts. And this is not cheap as well.

However, there are a few things you can do to ski for less in Switzerland. The ski season is almost over. But these tips can be very useful for next year. This is especially true if you are a beginner or you are teaching to a beginner. For instance, we have been able to ski for free with Mrs. The Poor Swiss at the beginning.

In this post, we are going to see 9 techniques that will help you ski for less in Switzerland. If you know other tips, I would love to hear about them!

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Interview of Patrik Schär – CEO of Selma, Robo-Advisor

Categories Investing, Switzerland10 Comments on Interview of Patrik Schär – CEO of Selma, Robo-Advisor

I had the opportunity of interviewing Patrik Schär, the CEO of Selma Finance. For those of you that do not know, Selma Finance (Selma) is a Swiss-Finnish Robo-Advisor company. It is a young company. Patrik founded it, with three other people, in 2016.

I have not yet talked about robo-advisors on this blog. However, they are getting more and more popular. The idea is that you can get smaller fees by automating most tasks, hence the robo-name. And it is much simpler than investing by yourself. It provides a good entry point into the investment. And Selma is a great option for those that would choose that route!

First, Selma is different from a bank in that it is almost entirely automated. It has lower fees than a bank. It gives you a personal investment assistant that can assist you all the time. Another cool thing with Selma robo-advisor is that they follow passive investing philosophy, reducing the fees and following the market performance.

But enough from me, Patrik Schär, the CEO, will tell you everything there is to know about Selma!

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Interview of Marc Pittet Author of Financially Free by 40, in Switzerland

Categories Financial Independence, Switzerland6 Comments on Interview of Marc Pittet Author of Financially Free by 40, in Switzerland

Marc Pittet, or Mr. MP, is the author behind the blog MustachianPost. Last year, he started the project of writing a book about becoming Financially Free, or Financially Independent, in Switzerland, by the age of 40. Today, I am interviewing him about his new project, Financially Free by 40, in Switzerland.

Financially Free by 40, in Switzerland is a book about retiring early in Switzerland. This is something difficult because Switzerland is one of the most expensive countries in the world. Moreover, there is very little information on how to retire early in this country. This is something that Marc Pittet wants to change!

Thanks a lot to Marc for answering my questions. As you will see, he even provided us with some exclusive information about the book and about his journey to Financial Independence! In the interview below, things in italic are my comments and the rest is all answers from Marc.

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Swiss Investors Will Lose Access to US-Domiciled ETFs

Categories Investing, Switzerland39 Comments on Swiss Investors Will Lose Access to US-Domiciled ETFs

Since the beginning of the year, I cannot buy Exchanged Traded Funds (ETFs) domiciled in the United States from my broker, DEGIRO. Since my current portfolio is mostly invested in Vanguard Total World (VT), this is a big problem for me. I can now only sell these ETFs, not buy them anymore. That means that the next time I will have some money to invest, I cannot invest it anymore as I want. This is bad news for Swiss investors.

This is due to new regulations that will come into play. These regulations already affected all European investors since 2018. But Switzerland was not affected before. We are going to see what changed. This is based on several European and Swiss laws. These laws are sad news for European investors and Swiss investors. I am not a legal expert at all. So this is only my interpretation of these laws. If I am wrong or I missed something, please let me know!

In this post, we are going to see why this is happening. And we are also going to see what are the different options for us. There are several possible solutions to this issue. But none of them is perfect as we will see.

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