Book Review: The little book of common sense investing

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The little book of common sense investing book cover

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. 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

Posted on Categories Budget, ETF, Investment, Monthly1 Comment on December 2017 Update + 2018 perspectives

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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First deposit at DEGIRO and first ETF investment

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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 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 ll see.

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

My first investment at DEGIRO

With some part of this money, I bought 13 shares of Vanguard Total World Stock ETF (VT) at 73.16 USD. This ETF is a passive fund that holds 7955 stocks in the entire world, weighted by capitalization. It contains around 50% of the stocks from the United States and the rest is from the entire world. The fund contains 2.6% of stocks from Switzerland. It has a very low Total Expense Ratio (TER) is 0.11%, which is very low and absolutely fine for me.

Since this ETF is in the list of free ETF offered by DEGIRO, I did not pay any fee to buy the shares. Nevertheless, I paid a small fee for the currency conversion. I paid 0.19CHF on an order of 936.80 CHF, which means a fee of 0.02%. This is pretty good since I was paying around 0.5% fee for funds on PostFinance :)

The buy was pretty easy to do on DEGIRO, no issues here. At first, not very clear, but it turned out quite OK. I will post more information on the future on how to use DEGIRO. I received a mail notification for both the deposit and the trading transactions. Everything seems fine.

I am not totally sure on my final portfolio, but VT will definitely be a part of it and probably a large part at that. I will keep you up to date as soon as I update my portfolio.

Save 53CHF per month by asking for a reduction of rent!

Posted on Categories Budget, Frugality, Spending, Tips3 Comments on Save 53CHF per month by asking for a reduction of rent!

I just got confirmation from my building manager that they accepted the reduction of rent that I asked for. Although I’m quite satisfied by the answer, they have been incredibly slow in answering me. They answered more than two months after my request… My base rent goes from 1175 to 1122. This will only start at the next term of my lease, on April 1st. But this means that next year, I’ll save 53 CHF * 9 = 477 CHF. And I’ll 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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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.

It is very important to regularly check if there are better deals on your insurance. Even though an insurance could be the cheapest at some point, it may not be the case a few years later.

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Opened a broker account on DEGIRO

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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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Birth of this blog

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Welcome to The Poor Swiss blog :)

This is the first post on the blog The Poor Swiss. I hope this will be the start of a long series of blog posts. I am 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 am not saving enough at all. Although I have a good salary and live quite well, I have 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 have 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 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 29 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 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 point of view on the subject.