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About kapokanadensis

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  • Location Stuttgart
  • Nationality Canadian
  • Hometown Peterborough
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth 1979
  • Interests Lots of stuff, nature, everything plants, woodworking, car and home repair, badminton, cycling, squash, darts, road trips, hiking, films, reading....

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  1. Debt - Ratenzahlung

    They won't go for a Ratenzahlung.  That requires flexibility, compassion and lateral thinking, not going to happen.   Call them up directly, explain that you don't have the money right now but can get it within two weeks.  Immediate payment is unreasonable.  I know, I know this is Germany, but still.  If they're sticklers, they'll have to go through the Mahnprozess anyways, which gives you a bit of time (might affect your Schufa score).  Let them do that if they insist, but get on the ball right away getting that money together.   In order of preference:   take it out of your savings account or collapse some of your accessible retirement investments   or borrow it from friends or family   or go to your bank and try to get a credit card or a line of credit or a loan.   or apply for a credit online.  I did one through creditcheck24, worked out well.   or If none of those work, take out a high-interest loan from Auxmoney, they are not at all picky about who they lend to.  Make sure you have the option for Sonderzahlungen though, and make that debt disappear as fast as possible - expect to pay at least 15% interest.   I take it you have a job?  Should be no problem getting a loan.    
  2. Robot lawnmower

    @Gambatte This thing is going to run nearly every day in all kinds of weather, and hopefully for years to come.  Buy a quality product.  I install Husqvarna for my customers and have had nothing but good experiences with them.  They last.  Gardena is owned by Husqvarna and uses the same system if you can get it cheaper.   Look at it this way - how much do you earn per hour at your job?  How many hours a year do you spend mowing your lawn - including setting up and cleaning up?  Is your free time worth more or less than your work time to you?  You'll find that even a more expensive quality device will pay for itself in a year or two, not to mention the better condition of your lawn which brings aesthetic benefits too.        
  3. Moving to Stuttgart, big mistake, boring ?

    Here's my take on Stuttgart, I've been here for 10 years now:   I still don't love it.   It still hasn't grown on me.   It is in my opinion a compromise location, not a dream destination.  You're here because it makes sense, not because you always wanted to be here.   It's fine.  It's better than Mannheim.   Not better than Heidelberg, or Tübingen, or Freiburg, or Ulm or Schwäbisch Gmünd...maybe not even better than Heilbronn - and that's just in BW.  Berlin?  no contest - stay there!         
  4. Robot lawnmower

    Professional landscaper here weighing in:   Do it.  Totally worth the money, and you can install it yourself if you're halfway handy.  You get way better lawn results because it suits the grass plant's biology better than mowing it yourself on the round tuit plan.   I recommend this to all of my customers - the results speak for themselves.  
  5. German equivalents of the 401(k) retirement plan

    Going to refresh this old, old topic because I've been doing a bit of research on this theme lately, and it's making me angry.  I so very much wish that there was an RRSP equivalent here, but there just isn't.   As a self-employed person you have a bunch of crap options.  Please correct me if I'm mistaken or have missed something.  Maybe someone out there has some different    Privatrentenversicherung - pension through a private insurer.  They offer you a minimum payout per month or lump sum, is tax deductible.  I've read the fine-print, it is difficult to transfer benefits or capital in the case of death, and guaranteed returns are very, very low, less than 1%.  You need to trust the insurance company (and - HA!) that they will honour a greater return according to the investments made.  Restrictive, fishy, lots of fine print favouring the insurance company and not you, the investor. Riesterrenten - available for self-employed, and tax deductible to a point, but not eligible for the attractive Staatzuschusse available to employees.  In my case if I were an employee, those would amount to 1650 € a year, making this a must-do.  Again, restrictive, non-transferable, capital non-inheritable. Rüruprenten - available for self-employed, also tax deductible.  Not inheritable, can never be paid out, must trust in the investments of whatever company you sign on with.  Like everything in Germany - very restrictive.   Voluntarily paying into the Staatliche RV - nobody with any sense would do this - guaranteed negative returns due to the nature of the state pension system (pension contributions are immediately paid out to recipients, not invested) and the demographic trends of Germany (old and getting older fast), and once signed in impossible to cancel again.    Investing on your own terms - buying stocks and bonds according to your capacity to save.  Comes out of after-tax income, is taxed as it grows, and when you sell it too.  But, it's yours to control and leave behind.  This is what RRSPs in Canada are, except that they're tax-deductible.  This is what I do here, because it is the only sensible option to me, despite the multiple tax drawbacks. It seriously annoys me that this should be so difficult.  I've been here for 10 years and I really should be used to the complicated nature of everything here, but it still surprises me.    
  6. Hi folks,   Just curious if anyone invests in the stock market on their own over an internet platform based here in Germany.  If so, how satisfied have you been, not necessarily with the performance of your stocks, basically a crap shoot anyways, but on the platform itself.  Things like ease of use, fees and the like.   There are so many options available when you do a Google search, it's hard to know where to begin.   Thanks!