Pants down, 30yo financial analyst

I turned 30 years old recently. I’m working as a Senior Performance Analyst for an investment foundation. I just want to share my story with you and would be happy about any comments, feedback, bashing :smiley:

Net Worth Progression and Performance
I use the software Portfolio Performance to track my investments and returns.

2015

My “Investment” Journey started around 6 years ago.
At the beginning of 2015 (23yo) my account balance was more or less equal to 0. My 2nd and 3rd pillar were empty and I just finished my bachelor in economics. I started working for small private bank as a business analyst. I didn’t really save any money apart from the full contribution to the 3a savings acount at my cantonal bank. I was not yet obliged to pay into the 2nd pillar.

2016

My employer had a pretty decent pension plan, resulting in approx. CHF 10k total 2nd pillar contributions. I paid again the full amount to the 3a savings account and saved a little bit on a savings account.
At the end of 2016 I invested all my 3a savings (around CHF 13k) into two index funds (Index 45 and Portfolio 45) at Swisscanto.

2017

2017 was basically the same as 2016, another CHF 10k contributions in the 2nd pillar and paying the full amount into the 3a account. All the 3a savings were automatically invested in the two index funds at Swisscanto.

2018

I again paid the full amount into the 3a account and got another CHF 10k paid into my 2nd pillar. In October I had to change job, because my employer decided to close the Swiss branch. I received a severance payment of CHF 20k (after tax), opened an account at Swissquote and invested it into VWRL and UBS SMIM ETF. The markets were pretty bad in 2018 and all my gains in the 3a investments from 2017 were erased.

2019

Again full amount paid into the 3a account and CHF 12k contributions to the 2nd pillar. I bought shares of the company I’m working for at a 30% discount (can be sold earliest 2 years later). In addition I started a life insurance contract for 10 years, where I pay CHF 5k a year and my employer pays the same on top (I counted these 5’000 as performance, that’s why the return for this one is extraordinarily high). It’s fully invested in equities.

2020

Again full amount paid into the 3a account and CHF 12k contributions to the 2nd pillar. I paid CHF 5k for my life insurance contract. I got married in 2020, we moved to a new apartment, had to get new furniture and other unexpected expenses, that’s why I had to redeem CHF 8k from my investments in VWRL.

2021

2021 was good so far, I got a bonus and some money from friends and family for my 30th birthday, which I invested in the VWRL a few days ago. I also got a promotion with a slight salary increase and doubling in bonus. Regarding 3rd pillar, I opened 4 accounts at VIAC invested in the Global 100 Portfolio and I’m filling them up equally now. The 3a account at the cantonal bank will not be filled anymore and I’m probably going to use this one in the next few years for buying a house.

Since 01.01.2015

In general I’m quite happy with my progression. My returns are not that high due to a large part of my net worth being in the 2nd pillar with a return <3% and the 3rd pillar which was only invested for approx. half the period, in relatively conservative funds.

Expenses and Budget
I started tracking my expenses in 2019 with beancount and I use an Excel sheet for some “nice” graphs.

Here’s an example as of end of May this year:

As you can see, we don’t live frugal at all :sweat_smile:
We’ve been travelling a lot and plan to do again once the Covid situation has cooled down. We also spend a lot on food (household things are included in this category as well, like cleaning supplies etc.) as we eat a lot in restaurants and we invite friends over for barbecue/cooking together almost every week. In addition our monthly rent is a brutal CHF 2’400, but we hope to reduce this heavily by buying a house in the next 2-3 years. I also spend an insane amount on electronics, especially Smart Home gear (still evaluating getting self-employed in this direction) and other new gadgets.

I don’t have any plans yet for FIRE. At the moment I’m putting the focus on heavily reducing our expenses. In addition I’m starting to look for buying a house and get educated in this topic.

That’s all, thanks for taking the time and reading all this boring stuff :slight_smile:

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Good job, steady progess. The only wierd thing to read was the life insurance which was seemingly actively suggested by the previous employer? Did you get rid of that by now?

No, I still have this contract and I’ll continue using it. I still work for the same employer. It’s a pretty decent deal, at the end of the 10 years I’ll have paid CHF 50k in total and I’ll estimately receive something between CHF 80k and CHF 130k, depending on how the markets performed. I pay CHF 5k a year and my employer doubles it every year.

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Did you run the numbers on that? 5k CHF every year for 10 years compounding at 7% average stock market gains also gives you ~80k CHF. At 10k CHF the minimum should be around 157k CHF. So they’re effectively taking away their side of the contribution as premiums it seems.

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Yes, I did, but I used very conservative returns for my calculations. Also I forgot to mention that I paid a hefty premium of CHF 1’900 at the beginning of the contract.

Insurance Contract
Worst case: average -6% → around 82k
Best case: average 4% → around 131k

Invested in the market
Worst case: average -6% → around 41k
Best case: average 4% → around 67k

Maybe I should be a bit less pessimistic about the market :slight_smile:

I should also note that the parent company of my employer is an insurance company, otherwise I don’t think I’d ever get such a good deal.

Good progress. When looking at buying a property don’t fall into the trap of only looking at rent saved vs mortgage interest. Also consider the opportunity cost of what else you could have invested the deposit, purchase taxes and loan repayments into, as well as the tax on rental value, coownership fees and maintenance etc. Property prices in CH are high relative to rents which means more often than not renting can be a good deal, financially speaking (the emotional benefit of owning is different)

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Thanks for this valuable information! As I said I need to read up a lot regarding mortgages/home ownership.

You have any good resources to learn more about this topic?

Thank you for sharing your story. All the best in your investment journey !

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The classic book for entrepreneurs & FIRE movment is “Rich Dad, Poor Dad”. The author introduces the concept that owning your own house is a liability, not an asset. He discusses this a trap we all fall into as part of the rat race. He suggests to buy your house once you have enough income generating assets. It is quick and easy to read and stimulates thinking, if not slightly trashy in my opinion

( ignore the Rich Dad seminars … I want to a “free seminar” and they were selling expensive property investments service => avoid)

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Isn’t the author of that book a scam artist?

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After having wasted a few hours in one of his “free seniors”, yes I think he is on the edge of being a scammer. Still the rich dad poor data book has a few good points, like the stress on “paying yourself first”.

I think my main takeaway from Kiyosaki is the way I view taxes. I was raised looking at taxes from the typical socialist perspective i.e. that taxes are a contribution to the common good.

Understanding that the government does not need my money (it can print all it wants), and that taxes are in fact nothing other than a stimulus to encourage me to do stuff (i.e. invest in the economy, invest in charitable activities, provide for myself, provide for my own retirement, take care of my health, educate my children, etc.) changed my whole perspective. I realised that not paying taxes meant I was contributing to the common good, and not vice versa.

I know this is pretty basic finance stuff, but 15 years ago it was all new to me.

Personally, I find a lot of his other stuff kind of irrelevant.

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That’s an odd statement, do you have a link to a mainstream economic explanation? I don’t think any government can fund itself purely with debt or monetary depreciation (besides the obvious issue with runaway inflation, the cost of debt will take into account the depreciation because of interest rate parity).

(Ignoring the fact that in modern countries, central banks are separate from government/treasuries with their own goals and wouldn’t fund gov spending)

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Printing money is a way of collecting taxes

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Thanks for the tip, I read this one a long time ago, seems like I forgot everything. I’ll probably read it again.

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Those dashboards look really slick. Did you make them yourself or is there an app/website for that?

It’s from an app called Portfolio Performance, there you can configure the dashboards yourself with predefined widgets. The Excel one I made myself :slight_smile:

Thank you for that link. The software looks powerful, and it’s nice that it’s open source!

It is powerful :slight_smile: It even has an option to import VIAC statements (don’t know if it’s relevant for you) and automatically fetch the prices, but I didn’t test this yet as I only started with VIAC last month.

Definitely avoid the spin-off “free” seminars licensed in the author’s name

After reading the book some people digested only 50% of the message and aggressively bought the wrong kind of rental properties and went underwater in 2008 crash. “Scam” was shouted but the reality is the book suggests to buy properties with high rental yields and cash flow, which these people did not do

Why do I recommend it? Before FIRE became a thing it reinforced to me what I already knew intuitively about the rat race and triggered me to start taking action: we are brought up thinking success is to go to university, get a respectable job, buy a car, buy a house (because it is an investment that will go up in value), get promoted, get a fancier job title, we need a better car to match our status, buy a bigger house, etc. ; retire age 65 relying on a pension. Many colleagues my age act this way and are nowhere near FI

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