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About Ben21

Profile Information

  • Location Cologne
  • Nationality USA
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth 1987
  1. Secretly reversing Kaution transfer?

      No it’s not possible to reverse an Überweisung initiated by you.
  2. German credit card recommendations

      I’ve read this as well, but I think there’s a small misunderstanding. Automatic payments work but it defaults to only 5% of the statement balance that will be automatically deducted. In order to avoid paying interest you have to make sure you manually transfer the other 95% every month.   I managed to get the card when it still allowed 100% transfers every month, but I probably would still get it today even with that no longer being the case. The card has saved me a lot of money over the years with withdrawing money from abroad for free. I still stand by it being one of the best free cards available here.
  3. Legal Help - Filing a Police Report

    You sound like you have all that's needed to go to court to get your money back, assuming you want to.  Though I would just follow El Jeffo's advice and issue him a Mahnbescheid.  They're super easy to do (follow the link he posted) and if he doesn't respond, you get your money back no questions asked.  IMO it's definitely worth it considering all that you have against him, especially the police saying they are investigating him and that you have other witnesses.   Unfortunately even if the police do arrest him and he is convicted, they won't recover your money.  You have to get the court involved in one way or another to get your money back.
  4. NRW state transportation card

    It’s not cheap, but you can buy a VRS Monthly Ticket for Zone 7. The cost is a mind-boggling 293.60€/mo. but it will allow you to go in and around Aachen + to Köln and Bonn as much as you like.   Check with your employer if they don’t offer a JobTicket to interns. That would make it vastly cheaper for you. Otherwise do the math yourself— a single ticket in zone 7 costs 17.50€ and a day ticket costs 29.40€. Usually monthly tickets are for people that commute everyday, but if you’re just going sporadically, it will probably be cheaper to just buy individual or day tickets when you want to visit either place.   Link to Info and prices:
  5. Taking travel money to Sweden

    It’s tough if you only have Deutsche Bank though... there seem to be no free options to pay in foreign currency without paying an arm & a leg. Hopefully he has a credit card that doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees.   Btw I use the Santander 1plus VISA for all my purchases in foreign currencies. No fees at all (neither purchases nor ATM withdrawals), no annual cost... Would recommend it highly to anyone in a similar boat as OP.   Link:
  6. Taking travel money to Sweden

      You will pay a 1% fee (minimum 1.50€) for each transaction when using your EC-Karte for purchases in a foreign currency.   Deutsche Bank has their fees on their website in English:
  7. Thanks for your input, Lisa. I have been doing a bit more reading, and yeah it definitely does look like it’s not so easy to get a visa to live in the US. I guess I am also rather overestimating how many times I actually would be moving back and forth. It’s not like it’s really that easy to uproot your life every couple years...   I just know that if we do leave Germany in the future and go back to the US, my doorway back to Europe is then pretty much shut for good. That is a pretty depressing thought.
  8. Thought experiment here...   My wife and I are both US citizens and are coming up on being eligible to naturalize here in Germany. There’s no chance we could retain our US passports through the income barrier, so if we wanted to naturalize, we’d have to renounce our American citizenship. This is pretty much a deal-breaker, at least for my wife, who wants to retain the ability to go back to the US at any time and stay there indefinitely should our situation bring us there.   Hypothetically, say only I renounce— would I still have the ability to live and work in the US through my wife? And would she easily be able to live and work in Europe through my future DE passport? I understand visas would still be necessary, but in my limited research, it seems quite easy for a spouse of a US citizen to get a visa and vice versa (at least here in Germany).   Our future plans are still up in the air, so l really would like to keep as many doors open as possible for us. Could this then be a solution for at least having the right to live in both places?
  9. Steuerklasse for married couple: 4/4 or 3/5?

    You can put your exact numbers into this calculator. Just realize that you will still owe the same amount of tax at the end of the year (the calculator will tell you how much that is), and you might end up underpaying if you’re 3/5 without any other serious tax deductions. I learned this the hard way. Our Nachzahlung was over 3k€ last year. Needless to say we switched to 4/4 with Faktor and now we come out roughly even. A Steuerberater will be able to advise you what would be best.
  10. Wireless HDMI setup

      You could always just download the SD version of the media you’re trying to play on the projector. Or go with an HDMI - Component Adapter instead, depending on what’s available on your projector. Like this.   HDCP is really a gigantic pain in the ass sometimes...
  11. Tax Declaration for non-active UG company

    I would get professional help to make sure you do everything correctly with your company. There are a lot of legal pitfalls that you can easily get into if you’re trying to set up a company without the advice of a lawyer and a tax professional. And I sure wouldn’t trust that any info you get on a public forum such as TT would be 100% legally sound.
  12. VoIP service questions

    Get a US Google Voice number (free) and use the Hangouts App on a smartphone or directly from gmail on a computer to make calls to the US (also free). I actually ported my US cell phone number to it before I left for Germany and with the app I can make and receive calls with that number and it’s totally free for both parties. My wife uses it to call her parents in the states all the time and they don’t have a smartphone / computer— just a landline which rings as usual when she calls. Voice quality is superb as well... just need to have internet service.   Guide can be found here.
  13. Wireless HDMI setup

      Does your projector have a DVI port or component ports (the red, yellow, white ones)? If so, get an HDMI-DVI or an HDMI-component adapter which will let you plug your Apple TV into it. You won’t get audio if you use DVI (you’ll need to plug the ATV into an external speaker of some sort with its optical audio port), but it should work with video, assuming the content is not “HDCP” (copy protected).   Something like this should work.
  14. ALG II - Will I have to pay it back?

      They will not ask you to pay it back.
  15. ALG II - Will I have to pay it back?

    From my 5 mins of Googling I doubt leaving Germany is grounds for being penalized by the JobCenter. When you finalize your plans to leave, just submit a “Verzichtserklärung” (renunciation statement) that states as of [date] you are renouncing your benefits claim. I don’t think you’d need to give a reason, but if it’s required, just say you found a job in England and are moving back. There’s no rule against that.   This might complicate getting benefits in England if you return as EU countries are supposedly linked somehow with regard to welfare but I can’t speak to that.    Edit: Here’s a guy with a similar question