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24 yrs old and living abroad.
Old 11-29-2015, 12:52 PM   #1
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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24 yrs old and living abroad.

Hello all, I'm fairly new to anything financially related as I've came from a poor family with very little knowledge of money management. No information was passed on to me so I had to figure things out. All recommendations are welcomed.

About me and my situation; I moved to Switzerland 4 months ago to be with my wife. I am in the middle of learning German at a school and working 50% at a salary of 2,200 CHF per month. She's in the process of looking for another job as she has just finished school in child care. So her salary should be about double what I make now. That's about max for her field of work here. Mine should double early next year once I'm finished with school and my German is a little better. That's only in my current field but my possibilities in pay could be much higher within the next year dependent upon get my language skills. I had savings, but they are pretty much depleted after the move so I'm basically starting over. As I know investment options differ everywhere, where should I start to learn basics? Or what would anyone suggest? I am an American citizen out of Florida, so investing and or saving is optional in both countries. I just don't know where to begin. My goal is to retire by 40, which is very ambitious, but so was moving to another country after being poor growing up and never leaving my city. I read a number of books (example- Rich Dad Poor Dad) and more. I never like math growing up but I'm slowly becoming fond of it for my personal growth and financial literacy.

And a quick question that may seem very basic to many, sorry if it is. But what are my options for money I payed in to a 401k at the last company I worked for before leaving? Do I get it back, what happens to it? As I said, everything is so new to me with no lessons in finances. But I am eager to learn.
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Old 11-29-2015, 01:02 PM   #2
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Welcome Zeech -

Your 401k can be rolled over to an IRA - do it as a peer-to-peer transfer. You start by opening an IRA account (Vanguard, Fidelity, Schwab are all good, low cost options) - then transferring the 401k into that newly opened IRA. Vanguard can help you with this- even doing a conference call with the 401k folks to help with the rollover.

Living in Switzerland as a US citizen means you'll have to pay attention at tax time to comply with FATCA requirements. It's a bit more paperwork (understatement) but you'll want to stay compliant.

We have a swiss resident (US citizen) on these boards, Bryan Barnfellow, hopefully he'll be along to provide advise specific to the options in Switzerland for investment and the nuances of taxes.
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Old 11-29-2015, 01:26 PM   #3
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Thanks a lot. I will look into an IRA now and do some research. As far as the Tax Compliance, I've done some lengthy reading to know its a pain in the backside for sure. But I look forward to hopefully hearing from Bryan.

Again, thanks for the info!
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Old 11-29-2015, 01:34 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forum!

A couple of good books to start with are Millionaire Teacher by Andrew Hallam and How a Second Grader Beats Wall Street by Allan S. Roth.
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Old 11-30-2015, 01:58 PM   #5
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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I will check those out, thanks!
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Old 11-30-2015, 02:12 PM   #6
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Welcome and congratulations on your decision to improve your financial literacy.

I would roll your 401k into an IRA as rodi suggests. Also, when it comes time to do your taxes for 2015 if you are in a low tax bracket since you are working at 50% and she was in school, then consider converting your IRA to a Roth IRA. The amount converted will be taxable income but the tax may not be very much and will likely be lower than your tax bracket when you would have withdrawn that money.

Also, when tax time comes, look into the Savers Tax Credit and make an additional contribution to your Roth if you can to maximize that credit.

Also, while I know some may disagree, get a subscription to Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine and/or Money magazine and read them... but take some of what they say with a grain of salt. Also, at some point get Quicken and use its Lifetime Planner to do a financial road-map for yourself and then continue to use Quicken to track your progress to financial independence.

And of course, continue to read this forum.
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Old 11-30-2015, 02:18 PM   #7
Confused about dryer sheets
 
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Great advice. I was actually looking into a Roth IRA last night. I definitely appreciate the sound advice, I'm making notes of important things to look into and or do as I look over the forum and threads.
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