Investing strategy for a foreign 31y/o

Guten Tag Mustachians!
I’ve been reading this forum for several months. I’m in my early 30s, arrived in CH 1 year ago, and not planning to FIRE soon (around 50y/o would be my goal). I would like to establish my investment long-term plan but still have the following questions:

  • My risk profile is ‘moderate’. What ETF split do you recommend? I was planning to do 60%VT, 20%QQQ and 20%VWO. At the same time I’ve checked and for the last 10 years, QQQ has done great compared to VT. Does it make sense to be ‘picky’ on the ETF side?
  • I’m not sure about making or not the 3rd Pillar. Are you all into it?
  • I’m not sure about staying in CH for a long time, which is ‘stopping’ me from making other decisions. How do you all manage this establishment ‘uncertainty’ when making investments? If I return to my home country, my savings rate will drastically change and my FIRE goal will be postponed.
  • When you invest long term, do you consider scenarios such as taking part of the money at some point? (For ex. To buy a property).
    Thanks!

The main thing you need to do is to learn a bit about Asset allocation. You said you have moderate risk tolerance and then you also have QQQ on your list. In general risk means different things for different people.

I think best would be to learn a bit about what are expected returns from various asset classes and decide how much of your net worth should be in each of these

  • Equities
  • real estate
  • bonds

Some might say -: 60% stocks is risky and some might say 80% is risky.

You can also just start with 100% stocks and slowly add other asset classes as time progresses.

Regarding ETF selection , following are some things to think about

  • are you happy with global index or you want higher exposure to USA
  • remember past returns are not same as future. Future is tough to predict and need more analysis and research.
  • if you don’t know much about expected returns of any region or industry , then maybe best would be to stick with VT.
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As a foreign you are probably still taxed at source?

Then an irish domiciled fund like VWRL or FWRA or SPYI is preferable, for withholding tax reasons.

You only have an advantage with US funds like VT, if you file your taxes and get a refund with DA-1.

Quickfire answers!

  1. In my opinion a “moderate” risk profile doesn’t include emerging markets or QQQ, even 100% equities should be reconsidered.
  2. QQQ is funky, it’s peddled as a tech fund when it is not, it’s just 100 non-financial companies on NASDAQ. It has Pepsi but not Coca Cola for inexplicable and uninteresting reasons. Having done well before is that A to Z of performance chasing an overall a bad idea.
  3. It makes perfect sense to be very picky with ETFs, to make sure you get something you’ll stand by whatever happens and resist to mess with it! Also good to think more than a few steps in the future, what makes better tax sense etc.
  4. It seems that all the evidence says that having a 3A is always a good idea, just don’t EVER make it with an insurance company.
  5. Personally as another foreigner in CH, with people (other foreigners!) getting fired left right and centre around me I don’t let what I’ll do if I have to leave stop me from investing in the great legal and regulatory environment we have here. If I have to go I’ll just take all I’ve saved, including my investments, elsewhere. If I return to my home country it’ll be because I can’t stay here, and indeed my own saving will drastically diminish - so save as much as you can!
  6. I plan to use these invested savings to fund my earlier-than-65 retirement via a mix of appreciation and switching to income. I wouldn’t drop any money on property, I stand to inherit some anyway in my home country, and dropping money on Swiss real estate…better take the money from the ATM and set fire to it as far as I’m concerned.

Edit: Abs_max and tony1337 gave better answers already :slight_smile:

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If you are taxed at source it isn’t worth it to invest into the 3rd pillar, since it doesn’t give you any tax advantage, only if you are taxed via “ordentliche Veranlagung”.

Tho it will only matter in the early stage of your FIRE journey since the threshold for mandatory reporting based on wealth is somewhat low (usually below 100k).