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I have already talked about Swiss Life Select (SLS) in the past. I paid for their services. And I consider it is one of my biggest budgeting mistakes. There are many reasons for that. Not only was paying for their services a mistake but so was accepting some of the products they recommended. And I just thought a new thing that I find out about them. They actually screwed me over with bad insurance.
So I want to talk more about that. I do not want other people to do the same mistake as me. While this post is focused on SLS, it applies on most of all the financial advisors and insurance advisors you will be in contact with. They almost all have the same issues.
As a note, this only reflects my experience with Swiss Life Select. Maybe some other people had a better experience with them. And since you have a private advisor in the company, it is also possible that my bad experience is related to that.
So, let’s see what is wrong with that SLS offers you in this post! I hope that this does not come as too much of a rant. I did some bad choice by trusting these people and I want people to avoid doing the same mistake as me!
My experience with Swiss Life Select
First, it is important to get some context. Two years ago, I had a much smaller knowledge of investing. And I was much less aware of what you can do for free. This is important. Now, I would simply laugh if I heard some of the things they recommended me at that time.
In 2016, I was contacted on the phone by Swiss Life Select to have an appointment and review my insurances, investments, retirement and taxes plans. Normally, they only contact you because somebody gives them your phone number. I am pretty sure I was contacted by random phone list. But I cannot know for sure.
So, we settled on the appointment date. It lasted two or three hours and we discussed my insurances, my retirement, and my investments. It was mostly interesting discussions. But there was a lot of things I already knew. And they insisted on going slowly over everything. It was too long honestly. But for people who do not know enough about these subjects, it may have been good.
After this, we settled on another appointment to review their offer. They proposed several things:
- Change my car insurance for a cheaper one.
- Subscribe to a legal insurance.
- Stop my TCS subscription because it is a duplicate of some of my car insurance policies.
- Invest in Swiss Life partner investment funds.
- Subscribe a second third pillar life insurance.
From the top of my head that is all they proposed I do. I actually went on with the first three points. For the fourth point, they said they would contact me again later for this. And the fifth point was just dumb! Even at that time, I knew this was not a good idea. I should have realized at that time that it was not a good deal altogether.
Now, we can get over the reasons why you do not need Swiss Life Select at all. And some of the reasons why you should actually avoid it!
You can get everything for free!
There is absolutely nothing that Swiss Life Select will offer you that you cannot get for free. Of course, it may take you a little time on your own. And you may have to do some research. But, everything is out there. If you are really serious about your insurances and your finances, you should do it yourself. In the long-term, you will be much better off if you do it by yourself rather than using the offer of people like Swiss Life Select.
SLS is supposedly helping you find cheap insurance. However, all the others are out there. You can easily compare insurances and find the one that is the cheapest for the coverage you need. Currently, the best free and independent website for comparing insurances is comparis.ch. Their website is able to compare many types of insurances and have many options. It really works well. It is even faster than to ask someone to check your insurances for you. I believe it is the best option for getting the best insurance. If you want, you can of course also do it yourself by asking an offer from each insurance you are interested in. But in that case, it will likely take you a lot of time.
If you want to compare different retirement strategy and third pillar investments, you also have many resources online. For instance, on this blog, I have discussed several third pillar alternatives. But, there are also resources such as moneyland.ch that can help you find exactly what you need. All of this is for free. If you do well your research, you can find the best option for you.
SLS tries to sell you sub-par products
Not only can you find everything they do for free, but you can also actually find better options than what they offer. You should not forget that they paid by the number of insurances they sell you. I think that different insurances offer different commissions. Therefore, they may not offer products from insurance that do not offer big commissions.
In my case, they recommended me to change my car insurance for a cheaper one. I was happy with the recommendation and I went with it. However, I found out afterward that this was not the cheapest option for my car. They also recommended me to get legal insurance. I think this was a good idea. However, the insurance they recommended is significantly more expensive than other options. It took me a while to find out about that because I trusted their choice.
Another thing they recommended me is to invest in funds offered by their partner private bank, Pictet. I did not invest in them. But that is highly fortunate since they only have very expensive funds. They have mostly active funds with at least 0.7% of fees. This is by far not the best investment funds there are.
SLS offers you bad contracts
When I met with them, they convinced me to take a legal insurance cover. I was thinking it would be a good idea. Actually, I still think it is a good idea. However, I made the mistake of trusting them in their choice and I did not do my research.
It turns out that there are three issues with the legal insurance they made me take. First, it is way too much coverage for me. They made me take a one million coverage insurance. I could have taken the minimum coverage, which is 250’000 CHF and I would have been fine. Secondly, the insurance they offered me is not the cheapest there was. I found out later that they sold me medium price insurance. Finally, the contract they made me sign is really bad. I cannot get out of this contract for many years. This is insane.
One could argue that I should never have signed. And I agree with that. It is mostly my fault. But these people are simply exploiting people who trust them. They should not be trusted! You should realize that they just want to sell you insurance in order to get referral fees! They are not acting for your sake.
They do not keep their promises
Another thing that I did not like with my interactions with Swiss Life Select is that they told me they would contact me again for more things that we did not have time to cover in our meeting. And they never did.
They were supposed to offer me some investment opportunities with their partner, the private bank Pictet. They were also supposed to contact me again to do an evaluation of opportunities for my taxes. For both of these, they never contacted me back. I guessed that since they already had my money, they did not care so much anymore.
To be honest, I do not really care about that anymore. The investment funds they would have advised would have been strictly worse than passive index funds. However, I am a believer in doing the things one say. But I may be a bit old school on that.
Overall, I really think that Swiss Life Select (SLS) does not offer anything that you cannot get for free. Moreover, what they offer is not optimal. You generally can find better options by doing the research yourself.
Most of the reasons highlighted in this article are actually applicable to most financial advisors. It is very important to remember that those people work for commissions money. Even if you do not need it, they will want to sell you new insurances and new products. And these products may even be worse than alternatives you could have found yourself had you really needed them.
Now, I may be a bit biased since I have been had by these people. And this makes me angry. So I hope this post does not come as too much of a rant. But it does feel good to write this! And I really hope that other people will not do the same mistake as me!
What do you think? Do you have any experience with bad financial advisors?