Quickly learn Mandarin Chinese online with FluentU

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Since I have met Mrs. The Poor Swiss, I have tried to learn some Chinese. For now, it is pretty laughable. But I think I am making progress. Between Mrs. The Poor Swiss arrival in Switzerland and our wedding, I was not very astute to this. However, since September, I have decided to start again harder. I am now practicing every day for at least twenty minutes.

At first, I was thinking to enroll in a real course with a teacher. I checked the courses offered in my region. But I did not find some good options at a fair price. Most were either too expensive or too far away. I tried to enroll in a Migros course. But the course was canceled for lack of students and I did not want to wait several more months for the next course to start.

So I started looking at online solutions. Online solutions have the immense advantage that you can learn how long you want and at the time you want. There are many solutions that can be used for this. I have compared several of them and tried a few as well. In the end, I decided to go with FluentU. I am greatly satisfied with their offer. In this post, I am going to explain how I am using FluentU to learn Mandarin. Since they have several languages, you can also use it, in the same way, to learn German for instance.

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October 2018 – Quiet Month and Stock Market Correction

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October 2018 was a really nice and quiet month. It was not very eventful but we had several family events. And overall, we had a lot of fun and we did not spend a lot of money. Isn’t that the definition of a great month?

Compared to the expensive month of September 2018, we are much better off financially this month. We still had a few expenses that I would have liked to remove. But we are getting closer to a good budget month after month. In the future, there are some expenses that need to be reduced and some expenses that need to be eliminated. We managed to save more than half of our income this month!

While the month was very quiet for us, the stock market was far from being quiet. We arrived into correction territory for most of the major indexes. And our investment portfolio is down a lot this month. Since our portfolio is not yet huge, our net worth is still up since what we invested is more than what we spent. But this will not last. In the next correction, we will probably be down a lot more.

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How to open a VIAC third pillar in a few easy steps

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I recently compared the different third pillars available in Switzerland. I quickly came to the conclusion that VIAC provides the best third pillars in Switzerland. VIAC third pillars are cheap and have a very good global diversification. Moreover, you can have up to 97% of your portfolio invested in stocks. Before, my only problem with VIAC was that they are mobile-only. But I need to go over this small problem and be smarter about it! And since PostFinance increased their fees, I decided to walk away from them earlier than I planned.

Now that I have chosen my new third pillar, it is time to do the transfer. For this, I first have to open an account at VIAC. Then, I have to transfer my existing third pillar money from PostFinance to VIAC. In this post, I am going to describe the steps necessary to open a VIAC third pillar. In a second time, I am also going to describe how to transfer an existing third pillar to VIAC.

As you will see it is incredibly easy. If you think it is difficult to open a new third pillar and transfer your existing third pillar money on it, then I hope I will convince you that it is trivial! You should not delay changing a bad third pillar for a good one by the fear that it is difficult. Because it is not!

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Is DEGIRO really cheaper than Interactive Brokers?

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You may have read that I am using DEGIRO has my broker. In fact, I chose DEGIRO mainly because of its very low fees. I am very satisfied with my experience with DEGIRO. I have not had a big problem since I started using it, about a year ago.

Interactive Brokers is also a very popular broker. It has been there for much longer than DEGIRO who is a very young broker. And it also has very low fees. When I chose DEGIRO over Interactive Brokers, I did it because I thought it was cheaper.

In this post, we are going to compare once again DEGIRO and Interactive Brokers. I am going to do the comparison in details including the two different account types of DEGIRO. In the default account of DEGIRO (Basic), your shares can be lent to other investors. This is not something that is done by default with Interactive Brokers. Therefore, my previous comparison was not very fair! This time, I am going to try to make it better.

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7 simple ways to grow your career income

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I recently wrote about whether you should spend less or grow your income. The answer was that ideally, you should do both to reach Financial Independence (FI) faster. In this post, I am going to focus on growing your career income. There are other ways to grow your overall income such as side hustles or real estate investment. But I am not going to cover them in this post.  I am also not going to talk about starting your own company. I will only cover your main career income in this post.

There are several ways to grow your main income. Some of them are easier than others. And some of them are best applied to some field but may not work in some fields. There are no simple get-rich-quick ways to increase your income. It will take time and commitment. But if you are really committed to increasing your income, you will get a better salary.

In the next sections, I am going to talk about increasing your salary. However, you may also try to get new advantages. Getting Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) from your company is very good. If you can participate in an Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP), you will also get some very interesting extra income. You could get your company to participate in your fees for commuting or your health insurance fees. Or you could get a better pension plan. There are many other things that you could get. You need to look at the bigger picture!

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Money lessons from South Park #1

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Have you ever wondered if you could learn money lessons from animated sitcoms? If you have, this post is for you! Today, we are going to learn money lessons from five South Park episodes!

This post is going to be very different from my usual posts. We are going to learn money lessons from animated sitcoms. I do not know you about you. But I really like American animated sitcoms. I watched several of them in their entirety. I cannot count the times I laughed uncontrollably at some of their episodes. Yes, they are incredibly dumb. It is the point. But that is what makes them incredibly funny! I like dumb things ;) I have watched the entire collection of South Park, Family Guy, The Simpsons, American Dad, and Rick And Morty. And I have watched many episodes many times. I even know some of them almost by heart.

So let’s see if we can learn something from these dumb episodes. The lessons learned can be about investing, personal finance or anything money-related. The first post will be about South Park. For this, I chose five episodes who can teach us something about money. If this post ends up being popular, I am going to try to make several of these posts. I already have several ideas for the next episodes.

The pictures in this post are the property of Comedy Central.

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7 simple things to do to keep your food budget small

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Our food budget is something that we are managing to keep quite low. Last year, it was still too high. So I changed some of my habits and how we manage to keep our food budget around 400 CHF on average. For two people. This may seem high. But for Switzerland, I think it is quite reasonable. And several months we are quite lower than this. It is the months we are inviting many people over that are increasing the average.

To reach this low food budget, we are doing several things. And by following these simple tips, you can also keep your food budget low! Mainly, the idea is to compare several shops and only shop where you can get the best bargain. If you want to go all the way, you should compare each shop for each product. But who got the time? The idea is more to select one cheap shop as the main shop and then buy some cheaper things in other shops but less often.

So, in this post, I am going to list 7 simple things we do, and that you could do too, to keep our food budget low.

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Adopting the Minimalist Lifestyle Book Review

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I was thinking to buy a small book on minimalism recently. But actually, I bought a pack of several books about minimalism. To be honest, I was thinking I was buying a single book but ended up with a pack. Oh well. The first book  I have read is Adopting the Minimalist Lifestyle by Ariel Horowitz.

It’s a really tiny book. I was thinking the entire set of book was small already, but each book is tiny. It’s a minimalist book about minimalism ;) I have been able to find it for very cheap on Kindle once again. It is difficult to find this kind of books in my used book shop. But if you are patient, it is relatively easy to find them for cheap on Amazon.

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Is VIAC the best third pillar in town ?

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My third pillar is invested at PostFinance in the PostFinance Pension 75 fund. This is a fund that invests mostly in Switzerland, with 75% of stocks. It is not a bad fund at all. However, a few things made me want to reconsider this third pillar.

First, the TER is a bit high. You pay 0.98% for holding this fund. It is not really bad since TER for retirement funds in Switzerland is quite high. This is already one of the best funds. But it is always better to reduce that TER even further when possible.

Secondly, PostFinance recently increased its account fees. Before, I was not paying anything for all my accounts at PostFinance. However, I will now have to pay 60 CHF per year to keep my money at PostFinance. Therefore, it is time to change. I am in the process of switching to Migros bank for my bank accounts. But I need to find a new third pillar provider to replace the one from PostFinance.

And also, it has been a while I wanted to study in details VIAC. This is a new provider of third pillars. It has some very interesting advantages.

In this post, I am going to try to find a new third pillar for me in Switzerland. Let’s see what Switzerland has to offer :)

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How I blog – How I write blog posts

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It has now been over one year that I have started blogging. I have already talked about why I am blogging. Now I want to talk about how I am blogging. I am going to cover most of the things I do when I blog. I am not going to cover things I do that are not related to blog posts. But I am going to go through everything I do while writing new blog posts.

From writing new blog posts to finding images for them and share them on social networks, I am going to try to cover all the aspects of blogging. You will see that even for a small blog like mine, it is a considerate amount of work to write blog posts.

I am hoping that this will be interesting for people interested in blogging and beginner bloggers like me. Do not forget that this blog is still quite young and I should be considered a beginner ;)

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