Hi and welcome!
“seem” is the operating word, here. Chances are some are happy and feel fulfilled, others are envious of you and of the image you project. If you come to revisit them in 10 years, some will still enjoy their lives while some will probably have messed up a few things. The bottom line is: we can only measure our own happiness/fulfillment relative to ourselves. Comparing to others is bound to have us feel inadequate as there will always be people who seem (not necessarily are) more succesful/fulfilled than we are.
I know it’s easy to say and way less to imprint on ourselves but the pressure you are putting yourself under doesn’t help. Assess your situation with a calm mind, determine where you want to go, find a way to go there and walk one step at a time.
You seem to have an income/expenses problem, investment returns won’t help one bit if you have to dip into your savings: you first have to have a positive balance on a regular basis that allows you to save consistently. The saving rate is the best indicator of investing success, money working for you while you sleep won’t carry you if you can’t get there.
2800€ isn’t a lot to live on in Switzerland, I see two paths going forward:
If there’s a reason you want to live in Switzerland specifically, find a way to increase your income. You mention a Masters, have you finished it? Are you using it in your current field of activity? Are there other companies that would pay you more for the same job?
If you are not specifically tied to Switzerland, then living in a cheaper country would affect your ability to save immediately by lowering your expenses. Living cross-border could be an option if you still want to have activities within Switzerland: both Zürich and Geneva airports should be within commuting distance of either Germany or France. It doesn’t have to be a long term accomodation but it could help getting you kickstarted and building your starting nest egg.
You’re on the way, trust yourself, don’t compare yourself to others and keep progressing toward the life you want to live.
As for investing:
The nice thing with passive investing using index funds is that it doesn’t require much time at all once you are started. Take one hour a year to rebalance and handle the tax declaration and you should be set.
An emergency fund helps giving you a sense of security. It helps building confidence in life and feeling at peace with the risk otherwise present in your portfolio. We don’t know your situation (B permit?) so it’s hard to assess the social net you have to support you and tailor the emergency fund to that. Most advice is usually 3 to 6 months of expenses. If you don’t have dependents and want to be agressive, I’d go for 3. If you have a more conservative mindset, as you seem to let perspire when stating that you do not want to take much risk, 6 months might be the better fit. It may seem like a big amount to set aside but once you manage to save regularly and start building momentum, it should build quickly enough and allow you to start investing in a matter of months/1-2 years.
Sounds like a robo-advisor might suit your needs. We like fully “do it yourself” solutions but going through a risk assessment questionnaire and having your financial provider pick an allocation and maintaining it for you might be worth the fee to you. You can search on the forum for “robo”, it should bring up threads with discussions about the various ones that make sense at this point in time in Switzerland.
It is possible you would be better served with an “ETF Sparkonto”. Some members here like the solution from DKB for that.
I don’t know what tax advantaged solutions are available to you. If/when you are domiciled in Switzerland, you should be able to contribute to a 3a solution. You may have other options available to you in Germany, depending on your actual domiciled status (and other factors, I don’t know the first thing about German retirement vehicle options). Once you have built your emergency fund, I would start by that: it’s very straightforward and you are handeld through it so it could help build your confidence and familiarize you with investing for when you have more assets to invest and tax advantaged space is no longer sufficient. The solutions usually advised around here are VIAC, Finpension and Frankly. You might want to take a look at Truewealth since it might synergize with what you are looking for in taxable investing handholding (for a fee). There again, a search through the forums should lead to interesting and helpful reads.
Unfortunately, that’s a personal assessment. Most of us truly realize it only when actually confronted to the risk. I like the “need, ability and willingness to take risk” framework. See this message for my latest iteration on it: Advice needed on Portfolio/ investment expert - #2 by Wolverine
You can find questionnaires online, for example from Vanguard. They’re very imperfect but can serve as a starting point: Investor Questionnaire | Vanguard
Another option is to play with different allocations and see the fluctuations and drawdowns you’d have gone through up to now. I like Portfolio Visualizer for that: Backtest Portfolio Asset Class Allocation
I’ve taken the liberty to start you up with a display of a 100% US stocks, a traditional 60/40 (US stocks/bonds) and a 100% US bonds portfolios. I would also try checking off and on the “logarithmic scale” box on the graph to get a better grip of the actual fluctuations that have been experienced. You can change the allocations and get a feeling for how tolerable the fluctuations feel to you. That’s the purpose of the exercise so you shouldn’t focus on the fact it’s only using US assets. They have the longest available modelled history and are mostly representative of the broader market for the scope of roughly determining risk tolerance. For the actual funds you’ll select when you’ll be set on your future allocation, I’d go global for stocks and in the currency you expect to spend for bonds.
Have fun and success on your journey!