My story, hoping for some feedback

Hello all,

I enjoy coming here from time to time when I want to get some advice on an investment idea, so I thought I would use this section to share a bit as I have seen some great advice given to others.

I’m close to 40, English, have lived in Switzerland for 10 years. I work full time and I’m settled here with a partner and family. Not sure what will happen in future - we could stay here forever or move to where she is from in Europe or back to UK.

I’ve been investing over past few years, especially since I sold a property I had in the UK as the maintenance was becoming more hassle than it was worth, and I invested the majority of the proceeds from the sale. My current portfolio is worth between CHF 1.5 - 2M and looks something like this:

CHF Cash - 12%
GBP Cash - 7%
US Cash - 7%
Total Cash: 26%

CH funds / ETFs (mostly iShares Core SPI CH) - 10%
Global Funds/ ETFs (mostly VT) - 19%
US funds / ETFs (mostly VG S&P 500) - 5%
UK funds / ETFs (mostly iShares Core FTSE 1000 (ISF) - 5%
Total funds / ETFs 39%

Individual stocks (mostly tech) - 10%

Gold (ZKB Gold ETF) - 3%

CH Pillars:
2nd Pillar - 14%
3a Pillar - 4%

UK pension - 3%

Crypto - 1%

I am by no means an expert investor, and so have chosen investments based on research here and elsewhere. I would ideally like to simplify, but also want to keep a diversified portfolio especially as I’m actually a bit uncomfortable with the amount it’s grown to and what I could lose if the worst happens.

I did have more invested in VT / S&P 500 but I recently sold about 25% as I realized my tolerance for risk when the market falls was less than I thought. This is especially because I am interested in buying some property in next year or so, and so I am hesitant to invest more out of fear of the market dropping in the short term. At the same time I don’t like having 30% in cash just sat there doing nothing. I am considering bond ETFs as a safer short term bet but not sure that really makes sense. However I would love a safer option that I could use to grow the cash even just a little bit in the short term but so would still be accessible if I want to use it for property.

Any observations or feedback would be very welcome! Thank you for any comments in advance :slight_smile:


Hi Jam,

Welcome ! Well diversified portfolio.
What are your different brokers ?
Is the 3rd pillar a bank or an insurance ?

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You are doing well!

As cash, stock funds or what?

More positions doesn’t mean more diversification. VT only is by definition a most diversified and market-neutral investment one can have.

Currently (with 2a) you have a heavy tilt to CH market and a bit less to UK and underweight US (well, probably individual stocks are almost all US, but still). Which is understandable psychologically considering your background, but hardly a conscious choice based on an investment strategy. When it comes to investment, one should ask questions about own motivations and fight that animal brain of yours.

Why and, practically, where do you want to buy property if you don’t know where you will be next?
I can also guess that you had held to your RE in UK through most of last decade’s bull market, so you had missed all these stock market gains already. How much would be your net worth if you would sell this property as early as possible and invest in stock markets? My guess is that you wouldn’t need to work already.

My another guess (sorry) is that it is your animal brain whispering to you that all this money you have are just numbers in somebody else’s computer and you need something material to feel that it belongs to you. I can also see it in your gold position, by the way: it doesn’t look like a part of an investment strategy, but as a tribute to your fears and whispers of the animal brain.

So if you want to buy a property because you decided to live there until your last breath, you expect it to considerably appreciate in price in the future or if you ran the numbers and figured out that it is financially more advantageous to buy than to rent - go for it. But don’t buy RE because your (and your wife’s) animal brain tells you so.

Let me guess again: you did it when the market bottomed in mid March.

You have less than 50% invested in stocks and 20+ years of investment horizon! If your portfolio is not leveraged, you don’t need to care about short term value fluctuations at all! This is your animal brain talking again.

Leave some cash aside and invest what you don’t need in next 20 years. Another possibility is to define a reasonable Asset Allocation and stick with it.


My priority would be deciding what to do with the 0.4-0.5M CHF pile of cash. Rich world problem!

Over the long term the risk of investing in stocks diminishes and at historical 7% pa investments are likely to double in 10 years. Keeping cash then looks very expensive

On the other hand going all in on stocks would leave you with a big exposure to one asset class and I am not sure what I would think about that personally

One tip is that having some kind of workbook modelling future wealth by age or even PorftolioVisualizer MonteCarlo tool helped me understand the range of outcomes (risk) of different choices.

Other ideas:

  • buy 2 pillar missing years ?

  • wouldn’t you have enough assets to afford a property even if the stock market declines

  • If you are unsure about stock market levels you could invest your cash into the stock market gradually (dollar cost averaging)


At your level of net worth and with your sophistication about investing, I would recommend to seek advice from an independent professional (i.e. not a bank or any company that offers their own investment products). I would insist on a certified financial planner. Happy to give you a pointer.

It’ll cost you, likely a few thousand CHF, but you’ll get professional and holistic advice, ranging from how to best invest in your situation given your risk tolerance to how to think about potential pension fund buy-ins, resulting tax implications, all the way up until your retirement (and beyond if you want).
I spent probably about 7k CHF on this in 2019/2020 but thanks to the advice received have saved several hundred k CHF on taxes I would have otherwise paid in those years.

Don’t get me wrong: this forum is great and it provides interesting gems on a wide range of topics - I have myself picked up lots of interesting ideas and have myself implemented some of them - but I doubt you’ll get the tailored and sound advice you seem to be looking for.

Good luck!


Thank you for the response!

Brokers are Interactive Brokers (main one, I would say 80% is through there), Post Finance (don’t use regularly, but have some funds there which I’ve had for some time) and Hargreaves Lansdown (carryover from when I lived in UK, I have some UK funds there which I’ve not touched since leaving UK). I’m a bit uneasy about how much I have in IB, so probably I should look to diversify brokers further.

3rd pillar is through VIAC.


Thank you! Your interpretation of my animal brain is unerringly accurate :slight_smile:

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Thank you!

I shall check out the workbork modelling.

Thank you for the suggestions. I’ve made some additional payments into the 2nd pillar each year but I could do more there. I guess I have stayed away from doing too much because I felt like I was locking money aware with little return (the pillar 2a plan I have through my work is very conservative). The biggest benefits seemed to the be the tax I saved each year.

Thank you!

“I would insist on a certified financial planner. Happy to give you a pointer.”

That’s interesting. I have considered it in the past. I would love a pointer to take a look at!

Me too would like a pointer. PM?

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I agree, I also don’t like 2P for the same reason. (I invested more in 2P as I’m planning to stop work soon then invest the vested benefits in Finpension which allows high stocks allocation).

If I was you I would probably DCA more into stocks over the next 18 months as that provides some protection in case we are in the start of a downturn - but it depends on your priorities and risk tolerance