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Confused in Euroland
Old 09-07-2009, 02:21 PM   #1
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Confused in Euroland

Time to delurk... hi everybody!

I’m a European forty-something civil servant, planning to ER in less than three years and live off my portfolio indefinitely. Indefinitely because I'm trying not to count on getting a pension (though I'm hoping to get one when I reach the required age) and because I’m firmly opposed to dying. Hey, they say optimists live longer...

My problem is that I'm having a hard time deciding how to invest. Due to my indecision I was 100% cash during the 2008 debacle (a good thing) and I still am (maybe not such a good thing).

I’m spending my nights absorbing wisdom at However, most information there (and elsewhere) is US-centric and Vanguard Europe's funds aren't available to retail customers in my country. So it's not easy.

Information about good Eurozone index funds is gratefully accepted!

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Old 09-07-2009, 04:03 PM   #2
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That is a very good question.

I have often wondered what Europeanos have in the way of investment options. To the best of my knowledge, all of our Yurpeen expats have their investment accounts in the US. I suspect that you guys are raped on sales charges and annual fees--like Canadians--for inferior products.

As I recall, Alex Doulis writes about investment options outside of the US & Canada:
Books -

The Swiss have been said to offer annuities.

There may also be some products available in the Channel Islands.

Please let us know what you find.

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Here are a few related threads:
Old 09-07-2009, 04:19 PM   #3
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Here are a few related threads:

How do Germans save for retirement? (see post #17)

Hello from Europe
(see post #7)
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Old 09-07-2009, 04:48 PM   #4
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Hello fellow Eurolander,

I live in the US and I feel very lucky and privileged to have access to good quality mutual funds with very low fees here. Back in Europe, good investment options for do-it-yourselfer are very limited. Often times people invest via banks' mutual funds that are neither well managed nor cheap. Many members of my family who have invested in European mutual funds felt that they were misguided by their banks on the type of products they were buying and ultimately ended up disappointed, angry and frustrated with the lack of transparency and high fees/commissions. Often times and unbeknown to them, the bank had them invested in the bank's own stock, a huge conflict of interest which was never disclosed. Bank employees also often dispense investment advice when they are clearly not qualified to do so. No wonder Europeans in general stay away from the stock market.

If I were to go back to Euroland right now, I would probably look into an immediate annuity before looking into equity investments (annuities might have some tax advantages depending on your location). And then, I would probably look into individual stocks/ETFs via an online broker like Etrade before considering mutual funds. Hopefully Vanguard will broaden its lineup of mutual funds available in Europe and bring cheap and transparent index mutual funds to Europe. It's about time!
42 y/o, married, retirement portfolio = 43 x annual expenses
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Old 09-07-2009, 10:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Ed_The_Gypsy View Post
I suspect that you guys are raped on sales charges and annual fees--like Canadians--for inferior products.
Ed, we Canucks aren't raped. It's consensual!
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who can extrapolate conclusions from insufficient data and ..
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Old 09-08-2009, 10:31 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the replies!

Despite the limited possibilities, I'm determined to find some interesting and inexpensive index funds or ETF's. I hope I'll be able to share my findings later this year.

Real estate indeed used to be a relatively safe place (long term) for many Europeans to store their savings. But the market in my country started to crumble last year and, as prices have gone up spectacularly in previous years, I suspect it may go down quite a bit over the next years. (I could be wrong)
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Old 09-08-2009, 04:56 PM   #7
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I see you live in Belgium. Time for a specialty beer thread?
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Old 09-08-2009, 06:23 PM   #8
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Sorry I can't help but welcome to the forum.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
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Old 09-13-2009, 09:07 AM   #9
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I'm no help either, but it would be interesting to know what you find out along the way...please post back if you find some good options.

I too have always wondered what type of investment options are available in other countries.

And I second the motion for a thread on specialty beers!

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Old 09-14-2009, 03:39 PM   #10
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Welcome Tigger. The few things I know about Europe include that I love to visit and I use a Capital One debit card there because (last time I visited, anyway) there was no foreign exchange charge.
I never even considered that a European might not be able to use resources like Vanguard. You can tell I'm a mostly lurker, and I keep things simple, but I hope others here can help you.
Nice avatar, from one cat to another.

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