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.
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 don’t 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’ll receive 20 CHF in transaction credits and I’ll also receive 20 CHF.
This is the first monthly update of my budget and finances on this blog. I’ll try to do this every month and normally earlier than this (I was in vacation).
October 2017 was not really good in terms of savings, but a bit better than I was expecting. The savings rate for the month is 8.15%. It’s not really good but I was expecting a loss, so it’s not so bad.
Even though I was in vacation in China, this is not what made my budget so bad. The only really expensive stuff was the plane tickets but they were paid earlier. I had to pay almost 600 CHF for dentist and 450 CHF for Billag. On that note, I really hope the “No Billag” initiative will pass next March, that would be a very nice improvement to my budget, especially since I don’t watch TV and don’t listen to the radio.
Update: Unfortunately, Swiss people seem to like taxes and rejected the initiative
I have started to review my portfolio with better investments. I still have around 60% of my assets in cash, 11% in international stocks, 10% in domestic stocks and 17% in bonds. I plan to decrease the cash this month, especially for my retirement savings third pillar.
November should not be very good since I have to purchase new plane tickets to China, but this will hopefully be the only big expense of the month and therefore the savings rate should be better. I plan to be very frugal this month. I also plan to reduce a few of my monthly expenses (more on that later). I will check again all the expenses on my budget and try to come up with solutions to reduce the overall spend that is still too high.
What about you ? How was your October ?
Welcome to The Poor Swiss blog :)
This is the first post on the blog. I hope this will be the start of a long series of blog posts. I’m planning to talk about finances and investing.
This year, 2017, has been quite disastrous for my savings. This is due to many big expenses such as plane tickets and unexpected health care. But this made me realize that I’m not saving enough at all. Although I have a good salary and live quite well, I’ve a tendency to spend too much. Last year, my savings rate was around 18%. This is not really bad, but still lower than I would have liked. But this year, 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’ve learned a lot of things about investments and spending. In the coming months, I plan to put theses lessons to work. My main change now will be to reduce my spending. I’ll then continue to learn about investments and I’ll try to put my money to work. For now, I didn’t start investing at all. But I plan to fix this. I believe it’s important to start improving the budget first before starting to focus on investment.
For some context, I’m a 29 years old software programmer. I just finished my Ph.D in Computer Science and I’m 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’m 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’m also going to write personal finance tips and in-depth analysis of some important investing topics. I’m hoping that you will learn from my mistakes and improve your finances with me :)
And don’t forget I’m not very good with my money, so don’t follow everything I do, but you may try to learn from my mistakes. I’m not a financial advisor. You should only take financial decisions after having consulted many point of view on the subject.