This is my first post so I’ll start by thanking the community for the great help it’s been for the last 2 months. It’s been very inspiring also to further read investing books and follow other channels and news. This has led to a big restructuring of my portfolio from sleeping cash to ETFs (CHSPI, VOO), a change of broker (I cannot believe what I was paying so far) and a monthly investment plan. All of that based on building a strategy for the next 10 years and trying to understand what I was doing, maybe for the first time in my financial life.
To make my case I’ll say that we’re a family of IT workers with 2 young children. After all that much reading I am still in deadlock mode with regards to 100k savings in euros which we brought when we landed in CH, 5 years ago. At the time, it was not clear whether we would stay or not, find a job for my wife or not, etc… so I just put the money in expensive funds with an expensive broker (PF self funds) and focused on all the struggle that comes with starting a new life in Switzerland.
Fast forward to current time, we’re now well settled, happy and sure (as much as we can) to stay in CH for a long time. In the meantime, our euros have lost around 20% of their value compared to CHF and the EUR is its lowest since a long time. My thoughts are:
There’s nothing useful I can do with these EUR given that we are staying in CH
If the downtrend of EUR continues, not changing these EUR for CHF or USD (so to invest in value) will only worsen the situation
The perspectives for the eurozone and the EUR.CHF in particular are not great
I was thinking about letting 20k-30k in a Euro Stoxx 50 ETF (just for diversification) but changing the rest for USD and CHF. I could maybe try some cost averaging over 6 to 12 months but I’m even failing to see the reason on why that would be a good idea if the trend is clear.
So, should I give up on my Euros and move on or is there any better strategy you can see? Does it make any sense to let something into Euro Stoxx 50 for diversification if I’m already diversifying with VOO or, eventually, VT?
It looks like an interest option for a savings account but I’ve the impression that a savings account might not be very Mustachian if CHF continues on uptrend compared to EUR, I’ll keep losing more and more value on my home currency. By the way, it seems IB will provide 3.477% on EUR cash above 10k which might be interesting for people like me waiting to see what happens with EUR in the next days.
The other thing I don’t like much about savings accounts is that in the long term I’m targeting capital gains instead of dividends or interest rates… that’s also why I’m thinking about just moving away from EUR definitively.
I think I do. Mostly stocks (75%): ETFs that I regularly feed like VOO and CHSPI and a one-time investment on Xtrackers Euro Stoxx 50. I eventually count on investing in individual stocks just for the fun, though that’s a modest investment (I know I won’t beat the market but, you know…). And then some cash (15-20%) that I intend to keep on IBKR as long as interest rates are high (USD) and, given that we have now the C-permit, CHF in cash so it gives us some margin for the one-time tax payment that will come (and the other urgent stuff). With bonds (~5%), I had very bad experiences in the last years (like I guess everybody) and I don’t see the need for them if I shall not need the money in the mid-term. But, I also want to keep my equity part to a maximum of 3/4 of my liquidity so that’s why I put the remaining 5% in bonds. Besides, I count most of 2nd pillar and half of our 3a as bonds though that’s my non-liquid portfolio of course.
The rational of that “liquid” portfolio is that we are renting a very cheap flat we like and we think we won’t have the need to buy in the next 5 years. So, I hope we can wait and cross fingers when we’re losing 30% next year . I’m also ready to sacrifice some years of early retirement in favour of spending some extra money and time with the children doing some travelling or the expensive nice stuff you’re supposed to do when you have kids at the cost of less savings capacity. I’m not sure if all of the above counts as a plan, feedback is more than welcome.
Right now I’m at the point of deciding the allocation for EUR and bonds. I cannot see the point of investing so many EUR if I count on living in CH for a long time (EUR keeps losing and losing with CHF) and the European market does not have the growth capacity of something as total world or S&P 500 for instance. I have the feeling that EUR is a no man’s land from a Swiss investment perspective: you don’t have the safety of CHF, you keep losing in the FOREX and you don’t have the growth power of assets in USD. I could see the point in investing a maximum of 15-20% in EUR for the sake of diversification but that’s it. Does it make sense?
No advice but similar position. Wife is burned by some bad financial advice in past with a 3a+insurance like product. From a past sale she keeps ~150k EUR which over past few years lost what, 10% value versus the franc. Finally been able to persuade her to a willBe account, but the interest will be paid with higher taxes, of course. Still she refuses to change to CHF, maybe next year I will be successful with that. My point is, if you have no direct use, why keep it around in a currency which likely will keep long term declining vs franc. And diversifying when already diversifying through 3a/2nd/world-ETFs like VT is … well, subjective opinion, useless. At some point you have to make a decision instead of slicing the portfolio pie into smaller and smaller pieces. There’s nothing wrong with a big pie piece, except the callories, no need to spread it around. And a diverse ETF is already spread out enough in my opinion, why add FX risk additionally.
This makes a lot of sense, indeed. At this point, my only reason to invest a relative small amount in the European market is more the home-bias but I cannot find any single reason to keep this massive losing position and not move on with something more “practical” for the place where I decided to live.
I have to admit that I was somehow looking down on Swiss bonds but it’s true that I might prefer a Swiss bond at 1.5% rather than an European bond at 3% but 5% yearly depreciation for EUR.CHF.
Agree. The point is: if I don’t move on with euros, I find myself with a portfolio where more than 50% of the assets are in EUR. It doesn’t seem to me like a smart Swiss portfolio after all I read in the last months but I might be wrong.
Well, I never thought it like this, I guess you nailed it. If any, I would only have a maximum of 15% in my portfolio in EUR or nothing. Moving around 3 currencies is currently a PITA, I’d rather prefer to focus on the essentials for the next years: savings plan, tax optimization and re-balancing. In the last years, when I tried to optimize FOREX to not lose with EUR I miserably failed because I was either playing with hope (maybe the EUR will go up) or with bad timing (lowest of the year).
Here is my 2 cents on that. I have a position in Euro as well and it’s invested in the Euro VWRL which pays dividends to a Euro bank account that I use when traveling. Since I (and you probably too) will have a need for Euros when traveling, that’s where the cash comes from.
As far as I know, VWRL always distributes dividends in USD (the internal fund currency), independent of the trading currency you used to buy the ETF. Your broker might automatically convert the distributed USD to EUR but I don’t see an inherent advantage of this approach, unless this automatic conversion by the broker has lower fees than if you were to spend/withdraw EUR from a CHF card/account or convert manually.
Not sure this is important given that the main point is that PF self-service funds are expensive to buy, expensive to have (custody fees) and, in my case, were not beating the market benchmark. My experience was like this, starting in Dec 2019:
A EUR bond based fund (DE0008475047) sold 18 months later at -15% (and thank you because it got down to -20%). I’m not even counting custody fees.
2 equity funds (aiming growth and ESG based) with a positive though poor return after almost 4 years (way below what growth means). Again, expensive fund, expensive custody fees, etc…
Add to the above a 6% depreciation EUR-CHF and you find a fantastic example on why I think is not a good idea to hold massive assets in EUR when you live in Switzerland. In my defence I shall say that I have (had?) no financial education and I thought this was a okish passive strategy while I tried to survive adapting to CH.
The comparison now to a setup with IBKR and ETFs (CHSPI + VT or VOO) + money market funds is embarrassing… I guess it’s never too late when it comes to discover Mustachian Post
Here you had an exposure to Eur and you were hit by EUR depreciation and rising rates!
This should have produced a market return according to what they hold. Minus fees, of course. But the CHF return of these funds should not be affected by Euro depreciation. Unless they are hedged in EUR?
Well, apologies for the title if it was not accurate but I don’t think it’s far… I was just trying to get some advice on how to not “lose” with savings in EUR. In other words, what Mustachians advise in such a case, thus my words about giving up and exchanging them for CHF.
Exactly. For the rising rates and bonds I did not ask anything. Again, the point of the post is about asking people what would they do with savings in EUR after such bad experience.
Well, yes, that’s the thing. Everything was in EUR (bonds and equity funds) because I never exchanged them, so I lost not only due to the performance of the funds (not the point here), but also, and this is the thing, because EUR-CHF keeps depreciating since years.
Apologies if it was misleading but I was just trying to look for some advice on what would people do with savings in EUR when living in CH. Given some useful answers I got on this post about exactly that, I don’t think I was very far from a proper explanation. Sorry for the confusion.