Investing in the Stock Markets when you live in Europe with The Poor Swiss

In today’s episode, we will speak to my friend The Poor Swiss.

I heard him speak on the Financial Independence Europe podcast about investing in the Stock Markets and thought he would be a great fit for the show. The Poor Swiss is a Swiss (duh!) blogger writing about his pursuit of Financial Independence. One of the ways he tries to achieve this is through investing in the stock markets and on his blog you can find the result of his extensive research on the matter. (Watch out though, you will easily fall down the rabbit hole :)).

Woman jumping happy freedom

When one looks for information in English on investing in the stock markets, one often stumbles upon articles/podcasts of our US friends telling all about investing in low-cost index funds like a Vanguard S&P500 fund. We will discuss if this approach makes sense for us here in Europe, if we simply should switch the S&P500 fund with a European one, or if we should disregard this investing strategy altogether. We also discuss how and where to look for ETF’s and share reviews on European online brokers (DeGiro and Interactive brokers).

Listen here

…or listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

This episode is for you if you are living in Europe and want to know more about getting started with investing in the stock markets.

PS: I made an error I said Ticker symbol when I meant ISIN code in the episode. The Ticker symbol is an abbreviation of the name of the security, here are a few examples: TSLA for Tesla shares, AAPL for Apple shares. The ISIN code is a unique identification number of a security, here the ISIN code for a fund I am investing in IE0031442068.

Key Takeaways:

  • It makes sense for Europeans to invest an important part of your stock portfolio in the US stock markets since they account for half of the world market capitalization. A great alternative is to invest in a world ETF, the geographical diversification is then done for you.
  • Vanguard funds are only available in a limited number of countries in Europe (UK for instance), they are however accessible through online brokers.
  • What to look for in an ETF? The Total Expense Ratio (the lower, the better) and the size of the fund (the larger the better). For more info, you can visit justETF.
  • If you plan to move around in Europe, try to find a broker with whom you will be able to stay. You will then avoid the hassle (and potential costs) of transferring your stocks and ETFs and avoid the need to create many brokerage accounts.
  • Coronavirus situation, what to do with regards to investing?
    • Best option: Keep a long-term perspective and continue to invest (and do not try to time the market).
    • Next best option: Pause investing, do not look at the stock markets for 6 months, and do not sell (unless you really need the money of course).

Who is The Poor Swiss?

The Poor Swiss is a young Swiss software developer. Two years, he was saving less than 10% of his income. After discovering Financial Independence, he set to retire before the age of 50, in Switzerland. He is now saving more than 50% of his income and is sharing what he learned on The Poor Swiss blog.

The Poor Swiss


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