7 Swiss Finance Bloggers Share Their Best Tips To Start Investing in Switzerland
Looking to start investing in Switzerland but need a second opinion? Or just wondering where to start? Well, I asked 7 of the leading Swiss financial and investing bloggers to tell us about their experiences, and share their top strategies to get started with investing.
Lets get started.
Meet the bloggers
Mr. Poor Swiss
The Poor Swiss
Stefan & Antun
Schweizer Finanz Blog
1. What do you feel are the biggest challenges with investing in Switzerland?
|“The fees. I remember starting out with a few hundred francs with Swissquote about 9 years ago. But the brokerage fees per transaction were so high, that it took me a long while to just make back the fees. I found that extremely frustrating. Imagine wanting to invest 500 CHF to buy an index ETF and you get hit with a 25 CHF fee. That immediately puts you 5% in the hole! I don’t know about you, but I can’t stand fees!”
|“Without talking about FIRE, the biggest challenge is to find trustful and unbiased information dedicated to Swiss investors. When I started my investor journey back in 2013, nothing was existing. Hence the creation of my blog. The problem is actually the same if you follow a FIRE adventure. All advice on passive investing is targetted towards US investors. I personally had to struggle through sub-thread dedicated to Europe and Switzerland in investing forums. Thankfully, nowadays, we’re more than just one blog detailing this valuable infos that were once only available to the professional investors or wealthy people.”
|“In Switzerland it is difficult for private investors with smaller assets to find platforms with fair conditions. Unfortunately, the fees for many investment platforms are often very high, but for wealthy people they are very reasonable. But with a little research you will find a platform that meets your needs.”
|“The costs for Swiss brokers are still quite high compared to foreign providers. Especially for smaller assets this is a deterrent. And in Switzerland people still rarely talk about money. So if you don’t actively deal with the subject of investing, you hardly ever come into contact with it. It is often thought that when you invest, you are a rich capitalist or a gambler.”
|Stefan: “The majority of the Swiss people doesn’t seem very interested in financial education”
Antun: “Lack of financial education in schools and baseless fears in investing (Stocks are tools of the devil)”
|“The lack of education in the matter. Most people do not talk about money in Switzerland. And we do not learn anything useful related to money at school. So, in the end, almost nobody invests, or at least not early enough. And then, the only people talking about investments are bankers and they only propose incredibly expensive packages. We should really learn more about investing and money in general. Hopefully, our little blogs will help a little!”
📝 My notes
– Watch for the fees! Check the small print for hidden costs and consider a small test amount before you commit a large wedge of cash.
– Education. Read up on a few basics (check our bloggers links to start) before investing in Switzerland.
2. What’s been your biggest mistake in investing?
|“I started investing very early on. Today I am very happy about that, because I was able to gain experience early and use the interest effect very well for me. At that time I traded very often and underestimated the fees at first. Looking back I would recommend everyone to start early and if necessary with smaller amounts. But you should pay attention to the fees, because otherwise the return will be strongly reduced.”
|“The opinion that you have to constantly optimize everything. Is this ETF even cheaper? Which new ETFs are there? Could I not add this factor? Couldn’t this sector be in demand in the future? The time spent on this “optimisation” is definitely not worth it.”
|“I did make two. The first one was to not start earlier than in my late twenties. As the Chinese proverb says: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” The same is true with investing if you want to enjoy the magic of compound interests. The second mistake I made was to not know that you don’t have to be tied to an — expensive — Swiss broker to invest. And that you can leverage the cheapest available worldwide, it will be the same in the end, i.e. owning stocks under your name.”
|Stefan: “20 years ago I invested in an actively managed funds: high fees and poor performance”
Antun: “3 years ago I invested in cashshare with a big amount of money in various loans. Comparing to the stock market the performance was very poor with all the defaults.”
|“I started investing very early, in my early twenties. Unfortunately, I also stopped investing very early, a few months in only. Some of my funds started losing too much and I sold early. I did not lose much, but if I had kept investing, I would have been much better now! I should not have panicked out and pulled out of the stock market. I also did not do enough research before I started investing.”
|“In 2016 I invested into Deutsche Bank after the stock price plunged from 24 EUR at the beginning of the year to 12 EUR in October 2016. My naive emotional self thought: “great I’ll buy, surely an institution like DB with thousands of employees will turnaround; as soon as they go up a couple of bucks, I’ll sell and take the profit!” I watched the stock go back up to 20 EUR by the end of 2016, but rather then selling and taking a nice 80% profit, I got greedy. I didn’t sell in 2016 or 2017, when the stock was still above my entry price. But rather, I cut my losses in September 2018 at a painful -17% loss!”
📝 My notes
– Starting investing when you are younger brings opportunities to maximise wealth in the long term, but also risks as you lack experience.
– Making mistakes along the way is part of the process.
– Keep it simple in the early days. Avoid the latest fads and ‘high return’ promises.
3. What advice would you give to someone that hasn’t started investing yet?
|“Investing is not as difficult as it seems. At first, it seems intimidating. But in fact, investing can be done as simply as investing in a single global ETF. You will limit your risks, optimize your returns and reduce your expenses. Just start learning what you need and when you are ready, start investing.”
|“Start immediately. There is no such thing as the best time. Keep your portfolio as simple as possible and create rules (monthly, always the same amount at the same time…).”
|“Before you start investing: put your finances in order, make sure your income is higher than your expenses, pay-off any non-mortgage debt and then use your leftover money to save and invest. Start slow, learn from your mistakes and don’t overthink it.”
|Stefan: “I would explain him/her the power of the compound interest
Antun: “Start now, because of the compounded interest effect. Diversify bride and start with one ETF like the MSCI iShares All country World, because of the transparency and easy implementation.”
|“If you start investing today, I would advise you to read good books. Because on the Internet there are also good blogs and YouTube channels, but there are many more “get rich fast” scam artists. So educate yourself first, make your own thoughts on how you want to invest and create a clear strategy. Especially when the markets are rising or falling strongly, you tend to become irrational otherwise. If greed or fear is involved, investments quickly become a loss. Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger are perhaps the most successful investors of all time. Their strategy is quite simple, but very few have the patience and calmness to follow it. So bring patience, make up your own mind and think long-term. Then you will be successful.”
|“Start. Today. Seriously, I mean it. Go open your brokerage account today, get it activated by next week at the latest. Then transfer cash on it, and start to invest. Use the advice on my blog for newbies, and thank me in one or two decades when you’re rich.”
📝 My notes
– Clear message on this question from all the bloggers: Take action and start. Don’t wait for the perfect time or certain price.
4. What is your favourite book on personal finance and investing?
|“One of my favourite books on investment is the book “Snowball” about Warren Buffett. Very entertaining and extremely educational. “
|“I am a no-nonsense, pragmatic kind of guy, that’s why I enjoy simple and straight-forward investing advice. I like Dave Ramsey’s “The Total Money Makeover” – especially for beginners it gives some easy steps on how to navigate personal finance: from getting out of debt, to making a budget and investing. Some of his suggestions probably don’t apply to the average Swiss reader, because it is pretty US-centered, but the lessons are valuable nonetheless. Ramsey also has a podcast that’s pretty entertaining.”
|Stefan & Antun: “Souverän Investieren mit Indexfonds und ETFs from Gerd Kommer”
|“A good book to start is the Bogleheads guide to investing. It is a good book to realize the importance of investing and especially passive investing. Not everything is applicable to Switzerland, but this is the case for most books. Unfortunately, there are not a ton of great financial books.”
|“I must confess something here: I didn’t read many books in this realm except for The Intelligent Investor and some others which are too technical for someone who starts.
I’ll nevertheless recommend three readings:
1/ Mr. Money Mustache blog, from start to beginning
2/ Jesse Mecham small ebook Invest Like a Pro: A 10-Day Investing Course
3/ JL Collins’ The Simple Path to Wealth (or his free Stock Series)”
|“Souverän investieren mit Indexfonds und ETFs from Gerd Kommer. After reading this book, I dared to start investing on the stock exchange.”
📝 My notes
– Great selection here, I need to refresh my list!
5. If you could take one investing tip to a desert island, what would it be?
|“Start investing and keep it simple. People often try to do the best strategy possible and delay investing for too long. But investing done right is actually quite simple. Just start investing early, keep investing until your goal is reached and keep it simple!”
|“Start today 😀 And buy regularly, without any news’ noise — anyway I’d be stuck on an island. And hold forever.”
|“For a busy dad of four, like myself, I cannot fathom where I would take the time needed to do a proper stock picking analysis. That is why I invest mostly into index ETF’s. The diversification is instantly given and the index automatically adjust the companies represented in the “basket of stocks”. So my tip would be – invest your disposable income in boring run-of-the-mill index ETF’s. Not very exciting, I know, but it works!”
|“Stubbornly follow through with the self-created rules, regardless of whether the sun is shining or a storm is raging.”
|“On an island you have a lot of time and stress is not necessary. Hence my tip: Invest broadly diversified and long-term. Then you can relax in peace on the island and don’t have to look at the stock exchange charts.”
|Stefan: “Invest passively and globally diversified based on your
individual asset allocation”
Antun: “Invest passively and gloablly diversified in ETF’s because it is scientifically proven that this is superior strategy, easy to use and it costs you not more then 5 minutes per month to manage your portfolio. Relax and let the time do the work for you!”
📝 My notes
– Lots of future proof strategies here. Buy and hold with a long term view.
– Keep things simple
– Enjoy the sun
Closing thoughts on this blogger roundup
Phew. That’s a lot to digest!
I hope you enjoyed this slightly different style of blog post, outside of my regular reviews and investing guides.
A big thanks to all the bloggers who took part in answering my questions (and putting up with my pesky emails) as there is a tonne of useful information and takeaways here for newcomers looking to get started investing in Switzerland.
Drop your comments below, and I look forward to the next one 😉
About Investing Hero
I’m a British expat who’s been living in Switzerland for the last 10 years. I’m a digital marketing professional by day, and anonymous investing blogger by night. I cover investing basics, robo advisor reviews and epic how to guides. You can call me ‘Mr. IH’ for short, and read more about me here.