Help, Polish mustachians!

My cousin is working in Poland and I’d like to help him get started with ETFs. Interactive Brokers is a bit too much for him, so I’d rather do a gentler introduction. Are there any good roboadvisors we should look at?

Also, what’s the cheapest way to convert złoty to euros for regular investments?


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Does it have to be robo advisors?

Since you brought up the question of converting to EUROs (of all currencies):

You can set up a regular ETF savings plan with the big German brokers that offer free account keeping. Probably less expensive and simpler than a robot advisor. And no overseas account, no hassles with taxation for U.S. ETFs.

If his bank account supports SEPA direct debits, they could even debit from his bank account in Poland (though currency conversion will probably be a slightly cheaper going through a third-party).

I find IB pretty easy especially with the UI improvements they did in the last couple of years.

Extremely cheap for currency conversion.

Tell him to reconsider.

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Doesn’t have to be, no, as long as he only has to set up a recurring transfer to a bank account and something buys ETFs and rebalances as needed. :slight_smile:

The German banks aren’t a bad idea, but it gets more complicated as neither one of us speaks German (we’re Spanish). We could do pretty much the same thing with a Spanish bank, though, but I was hoping for something in Poland to reduce currency conversion fees and tax hassles.

Sure, IB is fine for us, but it’s not for everyone. The learning curve is pretty steep and you have to be really motivated to climb it. That’s not the case here, we need something totally frictionless or the money will just sit in the bank.

What learning curve? In the time you wasted to make this post, you could sit down with your friend and show him how to exchange PLN to EUR/USD and buy VWRL in IB, which would take maybe 10 minutes. And what more is there to know?

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Even if I gave him all the steps perfectly written down, it’s still a process that takes several days (he wouldn’t be using a margin account, and please don’t start saying he should, that’s not my point) and he would have to repeat it every month. That’s way more effort than he’s willing to spend on this.

I don’t understand why this is so controversial. I use IB, I know it’s great and I know you do to. I also accept that it’s not the solution for everyone.

So, my question is, is there a next best thing in Poland?

Understood. However, you asked about the „cheapest way“ to convert currency above. The cheapest way will (most often) not be the fastest or most convenient way to do so. There‘s usually a trade-off. And somebody somewhere, in this case, will be converting PLN to another currency - or are there PLN-denominated ETFs?

Flatex is available in English as well, and would debit via SEPA direct debit (if possible - though then the Polish bank would convert currencies. But it would be a convenient one-time process). Do note though that Flatex will charge a yearly 0.1% account keeping fee from 2020. Still less than IBKR, for smaller sub-100k accounts.

For regular conversion of a thousand Euros or so, Revolut should be inexpensive - if you can top up PLN for free (via Debit card? Cause their PLN account might be in the UK as well)

I think Revolut already allows top-up through an account with a Polish IBAN for people domiciled in Poland. If not, SWIFT transfer to a GB IBAN is not that expensive. Finally, since Poland is big with mortgage loans denominated in CHF, there is a huge market of online currency exchange platforms, like (people earn in PLN, then they pay off their mortgage in CHF) Cinkciarz charges around 0.3-0.5% for the conversion, I think.

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Didn’t revolut recently laucnh some kind of commission-free stock trading thingy? That might your next best bet

Friends of mine are using BOŚ Bank. This year they will allow to buy foreign ETFs via 3rd pillar.

I’m actually planning to create a website with basic information how to invest optimally in Poland because people ask me about this all the time.

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