How to invest ~ 1M CHF for the next 5-8 years

Hi there,
in a couple of months I am liquidating a big part of shares I own in a company for about 1M CHF. This is part of a previous agreement and something I cannot delay (meaning leaving the money invested in this company). What’s the best way to invest this money?

I was thinking about a simple ETF (I know and invest in ETF like VT) or something more complex like hiring an independent advisor that could help me build a more sophisticated strategy. Given where markets are what would you do?

On my needs: I am 35 and I don’t need the money immediately, I am planning to start a business at some point in the next 6 months and I already have cash reserves, so the objective would be to leave this milion invested at least for the next 5-8 years and grow it YoY.

thank you
Tobias

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5-8 years is too short of a time horizon for stocks. 10, better 15 years are what one needs to expect in the worst case to break even/have small profits. I don’t think that this is very likely though, but if you really need money after 8 years and 1 day, Kassenobligationen might be what you are looking for. You can do it by utilizing a “Treppe” (so 150K for 1 year, 150K for 2 years, etc… and just collect the interest)

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thaks CHRad, I am not very familiar with that, where can I read more and what kind of institutions would you suggest to invest?

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This is for Swiss ones: Kassenobligationen Vergleich Schweiz - moneyland.ch
If you may have some FX positions in EUR or USD you’d need to google a bit.
100K CHF is insured per institution per customer, but let’s be honest… I don’t really think that if you invest 150K, you’ll actually lose anything lol. Banks are very regulated when it comes to stuff like this.

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Why is 5-8 years too short for stocks?

87% of 5 year periods have been positive and 94% of 10 year periods have been positive for US stock market returns. I couldn’t find data for 8 year periods but it doesn’t look too bad.

Of course it will always depend on Tobias’s personal risk tolerance.

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It is objectively too short if you need money at date X. That’s generally not a good idea for volatile investments.

But if you have a more flexible time horizon then sure go ahead.

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My additional thoughts to @ThePortugueseExpat

It depends on what you need the money for in 5-8 years

Investing 100% in VT already de-risks vs. your current holding of shares in a single company

Regards whether to take more chips off the table, if you have a specific and clearly defined need in 8 years then it might make sense

Otherwise the most common reason people have is “I might like to buy a house”. Keep in mind the most likely outcome of staying invested in equities is that you will be able to afford a more expensive house.

ps Don’t forget to count for any 2nd pillar assets that should continue to grow at low risk

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Thanks Barto and everyone else for the constructive answers. 5-8 years is not a strong deadline for me but I am sure that in the next 10 years I might need that money to 1) buy a bigger house due to family etc 2) move somewhere else (what if we relocate to the US or some other part of the world?) or 3) I could start another business or invest in my own business if needed.

That’s why I would like something that allows me to wake up in 5-10 years and give me the ability to use that money for something else, while having gained a 20-30-40% of that amount in that period of time.

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I’d probably do a balanced portfolio of stock / fixed income (or cash), potentially using a 2nd pillar as well (since you could cash it out to buy a house/going abroad/starting a company).

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It helps me conceptualise with numbers:

In 10 years it is likely (but not certain) an investment in stocks would grow 7% pa. 1M CHF becomes 2M CHF.

Or you could be unlucky and you will have less than 1M.

If you invest in bonds at 1% pa you will have 1.06 M CHF after tax on the interest.

Everyone has a different view, personally I like the odds on stocks.

I would not put everything in stocks. It sounds like you already own property and you should also consider 2 Pillar.

If you want to check the odds Porfolio Visualiser is a good tool.

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thank you - 2nd pillar, wouldn’t that be growing too slow? would that be something like 80% in VT or similar ETFs and 20% on the second pillar?

I guess you are already quite financially educated and well off. So in that case, if there are no strong deadlines, I’d keep a generous emergency fund and put the rest in stocks, behause as people said: The odds of doubling are substantially higher than the ones of the principal shrinking.

That said it just isn’t “fix”, but your risk tolerance etc. is up to you. I’d invest 1M right at 15:30 when the market opens in the US, but others wouldn’t. For some reason I was assuming you wanted a safe way to get at least something to have your cash fix in 5-8 years.

Depends, if you have your own company, can’t you use valuepension and have quite a big stock allocation?

It’s a bit more tricky. First of all, you have to use the same provider for all employees. So it’s not only your own pension, but the pension of others as well.

2nd, P2 contracts are usually binding for 3 years. The only company which doesn’t have 3y year contracts (standard is 5y btw) I know is Vermögenszentrum. So even if he wanted to use valuepension, he might not be able to switch.

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If you’re the owner, aren’t you self employed? (and do not have to use the same provider as other employee).

(I actually don’t know)

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Yes, but the odds of the principal shrinking are there. When we say that investing in stocks comports risks, it means the risks are there and can manifest. It is very important to take a very cold look at our situation and expectations and accept that, in 8 years, we could be 50% down from now (let’s say we’ve gone through the current downturn, have had another big leg up and are right back in a 2008-like crash).

For a 6-8 years time horizon, with a worldly diversified portfolio of stocks and bonds, 40/60 is the highest I would go. Lazy portfolio provides rolling returns for common portfolios, though in USD. I’d deduct 2% for US inflation for a quick and dirty evaluation of “real” returns that could (there again, in a very dirty way) potentially translate to what a swiss investor could potentially target:

I’d keep in mind that the series are “biased” by the 2000-2009 period, so returns for 8-10 years are lower than shorter term returns, which I’d really just take to mean that the risk of short term returns being lower than they’ve been historically up to now is there and should be taken into account.

Adding gold, limiting the investments to the US (I don’t recommand it but don’t have an example of a portfolio with globally diversified funds on hand) and tilting toward small caps has historically allowed for shorter timespans and better minimal returns on those time periods. An exemple with the Golden Butterfly: Golden Butterfly Portfolio: Rolling Returns

I’d diversify through stocks, bonds, gold and cash-equivalents (“high” yield savings accounts, term deposits or Kassenobligationen). The exact mix would vary based on the personal situation.

I wouldn’t hire an advisor to make things more complicated than they need to be. Sophisticated doesn’t mean better, what it means is more opaque.

Disclaimer: I don’t have 1M to invest and wouldn’t know how it feels to have 1M in the markets when things go sour.

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Yeah that’s exactly what I meant in my previous post… a fix date and stock returns don’t go well. You can’t say: I am FIRED by date X or what ever, but you can be sure that if you put in like 3K a month for 20+ years that you’ll be very well off :smiley: (the longer the horizon, the closer you get towards those magic 8% (5-6% after inflation) average returns)

Flexibility is key when having large risk exposure.

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Usually when you get a windfall is generally recommended to sit 12 months on it before making any move. This is recommended to avoid rush into investment or spending.

Having said that, if you are financially literate and feel comfortable with the risks then you can go ahead in a shorter timeframe. But pls still write down exactly what you want to do if you are using a phasing approach (so no room for error)

Coming to your question:

  • I would put 600k around summer time or right after into VT
  • DCA 15-20K each month for the next 24 months into VT
  • for any major drop in the S&P500, I would doable the monthly contribution to take advantage of lower prices

A variant if you like is to have 80:20 and only invest 80% in stocks (and 20% cash) at the split / phasing above.

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Shouldn’t that just be rebalancing your portfolio?

My thinking is:

  • if you don’t need the money, I wish to grow it as much as I can - so stocks
  • outside Switzerland, I would have a more balance portfolio with bonds. As long as bonds are giving me zero here, then I prefer to hold cash

A variant if you like is to have 80:20 and only invest 80% in stocks (and 20% cash) at the split / phasing above. I can edit previous post