Monthly Archives: March 2013

S&P 500 At Record Height

What have I been up to these past days? Well, I worked on a lot of chores around the house, updated stuff for my side business and watched the first season of Game of Thrones. We have already seen the entire season, but we wanted to watch seasons one and two again before season three starts…which is this weekend! Yeah!

Anyways, today we’ll continue our investigation on index investing in The Netherlands. We are in no rush to make any decisions since the S&P 500 closed at record height yesterday. Congratulations to those who bought these stocks in 2008 when they were on sale! Then, we didn’t know anything about investing. Next time there is such a bear market (no doubt about it, I just don’t know when) we will know what to do: buy a shitload of stocks!

Will you do the same?

Love,

Mrs EconoWiser

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Index Investing Options In The Netherlands: The Intermediate Results

The results of my research up till now:

THE WINNERS:

Meesman 0,3%-0,6% (bonds, both global 0,6% and European 0,3%) 0,5% (stocks, both global and European) 0,65% (emerging market stocks) per year, only deals with Vanguard and follows the MSCI-index. Oh, and the membership fee is €25 a year. Super cheap and super easy, you allow them to automatically withdraw a certain amount every month. Downside is that they only offer 5 Vanguard funds (they recently added one, so there’s hope for more!). They’re trading in euros, so the whole dollar/euro-thing is off the table. They reinvest automatically for you so you only need to work on your asset allocation once a year. This is the broker I’ve been with for almost two years now and I am very satisfied with their level of service. Whenever I phone them or send them an email I feel I am taken seriously although I hardly know anything about investing. Also: Mr. Meesman himself answers the phone and the emails. Small broker, has about 40 million euros in its care and doesn’t waste any money on fancy business things like expensive buildings, advertisements (they don’t advertise, spread the word people), expensive furniture and what not. I hereby declare Meesman THE Mustachian Dutch Broker! His business partner wrote the first Dutch book about index investing. Cool guys!

AND (It’s still a maybe)

SNS Fundcoach €59 membership fee per year, 0,29% depository fees per year for Vanguard funds traded in euros, up to 0,5% depository fees per year for Vanguard funds traded in dollars, Vanguard transaction fees 0,5%, in case the funds are not sold in euros 0,15% will be added to these fees totaling 0,65%. This is the DIY version. I am going to shoot Mr. Collins an email some time next week and present the different options I have with this company and compare that with Meesman. Meesman still sounds like the better deal.

One of my favourite Dutch PF bloggers also recommends Meesman and SNS Fundcoach. The article states that Vanguard set TER for the Dutch at 0,5%. So it is up to the broker how much they charge in extra fees.

THE DARK HORSE IN THE RACE:

Rabobank…still waiting for your phone call, ’cause I can’t grasp your tariff Sudoku. Vanguard told me Rabobank is the biggest broker for their products in The Netherlands. However, your fees do not look very promising…

THE LOSERS:

Binck €6,50 + 0,1% (min. €10 max. €150) per transaction, no other fees, offers lots of Vanguard funds (ETFs). However, this is only interesting if you’re throwing in a lot of money in one go.

Index People 0,5% per year excluding tax and depository fees (0,16%), not the Vanguard funds I’m after. This is a no for me.

Ohpen 0,5% per year PLUS 0,5% transaction fees. That’s TOO expensive!

Brand New Day 0,5% per year PLUS 0,59% depository fees. Argh!

Alex €7,50 per transaction + 0,15%, more expensive than Binck, so you’re dismissed!

MoneYou only follows the AEX and uses a weird system. No thanks.

THE ABSOLUTE LOSER:

Saxobank will cost €12 +0,1% per transaction, yikes!

Love,

Mrs EconoWiser

Spending Confessions

This has been a spendy week. We had a sushi dinner date with a former colleague of mine who has become a friend, but I don’t see very often. It was a very fun evening and it cost us €40 per person (the husband very much enjoyed the evening as well).

On my day off (Monday) I went on a sauna date with a friend of mine. We do this once or twice a year. We spent the whole day in the sauna and enjoyed the good food and some drinks there as well. This time it cost me €60 in total.

I spent €100 (and the husband €40) in one week on fun stuff. This is certainly not the amount we would spend in a “normal week” on fun stuff. But hey, what’s normal?

During Easter we will go to a music festival. We already paid for these tickets (€85 each) but drinks and food won’t come cheap. We’ve already been a couple of times and it’s great fun. Friday night, all Saturday and the whole Sunday filled with music and fun. Some friends are coming as well. Yup, another “not so normal spending week” coming up.

Anyhow, this is all guilt-free spending since we enjoy it so much. I have discovered that we do like to spend our money on fun experiences instead of stuff. That’s a major change compared to the person I was five years ago. We’ll still be able to make a nice extra mortgage payment by the end of this month…so I guess we’re still in line with our goals and enjoying life while we’re at it.

Which experiences do you spend money guilt-free on?

Love,

Mrs EconoWiser

Investing: Did We Start Too Freakin’ Late??

Yesterday the husband and myself were on our way to work and I was talking about investing and how much we should be putting into our investment accounts. I was pretty bummed when I concluded that it will take us decades before reaching a “safe amount” as in the 4% rule. The husband’s reply was: “Ah, so you figured that out as well…”

Hmpf. I’m almost 32 and he’s going to turn 35 this year. I have had an investment account for almost two years now and he’s only had one for less than a year. Plus, my side business has an investment account as well but that’s less than a year old as well. In total, we’re investing €500 a month right now (on top of aggressively paying off our mortgage). If only we figured this investing thing out ten years ago.

But we didn’t, so I shouldn’t be thinking about that. The bottom line is that we’re going to have to throw much more dough into our investment accounts. I’m still figuring out which brokers offer the Vanguard funds we want to invest in.

Did you start investing “on time”?

Love,

Mrs EconoWiser

Cyprus And Their ‘Stash

Oh boy, savings in Cyprus are not safe anymore. The banks are in trouble and the government is about to rule that everybody needs to hand over 10% of their savings in order to save the banks. The whole idea is that very wealthy Russians who stashed lots of cash with these banks will be “helping” the banks out as well. But also the poor buggar who only ‘stashed away €20,000 for example.

Weird, savings up to €100,000 per person per bank are supposed to be safe here in the EU. If a bank goes bankrupt you will still get your money up to that amount back. That’s just the way it is.

I’m glad we recently decided to throw lots of our ‘stash into our mortgage. At least they can’t take that away from us anymore…

Love,

Mrs EconoWiser