• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

5,551 Awesome

About Starshollow

Contact Methods

  • Website

Profile Information

  • Location Starnberg
  • Nationality German
  • Hometown Munich
  • Gender Male
  • Year of birth
  • Interests finance, investment
    Tennis, Golf
    Reading (especially history, but also poems)

Recent Profile Visitors

25,436 profile views
  1. Ideally you should seek and meet a "Rentenberater". These are specially qualified advisors for public pension issues in Germany. You can find one by using the search engine of their head-organization-website here:   Cheerio  
  2. I can try to get one guy from Interactive brokers to answer that for you. Unless @PandaMunich and/or @Straightpoop
  3. How useful is a Robot vacuum cleaner?

    this was a staged video...this one here is for real...  
  4.   Perhaps you ought to try some international platform like Interactive Brokers instead?   Cheerio  
  5.   Among the anything else issues I would count two issues of more or less immideate concern come March 2019:   - insurances that you still have/use that have been set up /issued in the UK. With the Brexit -at least under current negotiations status - the passporting right from UK insurance companies for cross-border business will end. Assuming that many, if not most, will not want to establish a branch for this business in Germany (or Ireland and then passport again into Germany from there), you need to figure out how to replace those insurances with something that will continue to operate - transfer of company pension capital outside the UK (so-called QROPS-transfers). There has been done a lot of bad with these transfers in the past couple of years and many Expats outside the UK have been tricked, more or less, or were to gullible and fell for heavily overpriced (upfront-commission and ongoing commission/kickbacks amounting often to 14+ % of the transferable capital) so-called offshore pension plans where they then lost a large share of their money by investing into derivatives (autocallable notes) which often ended up with total loss of capital even.  Having said that - and I am on the board for having criticized this malpractice  for many, many years here on Toytown in the Finance Forum, there can be good reasons to transfer your British-Pound-pension capital from company pension (both defined benefit schemes and defined contributions schemes) out of the UK: - expected heavy currency volatility over many years to come in the wake of the Brexit (and for pension planning, currency volatility is simply not good) or even, as some fear, serious further devaluation of the GBP - changes of rules which may make such transfers harder or even impossible in the future after Brexit. For instance: since last year any transfer to a country outside of the EU (offshore plans) in which you are not a resident at the same time will be taxed with 25% penalty charges. Once UK is outside the EU, the same 25% will be levied on German residents who want to transfer to an offshore plan. Only- at least under current legislation, which of course can be altered again for the worse - if you as a German resident transfer your capital to a German pension plan that is listed on the QROPS list will you escape this 25% tax charges. While I much prefer the German pension plans over the vast majority of offshore pension plans, there can be good reasons to choose an offshore solution rather than a German one and amongst the many bad seeds in the offshore business there are a very few well-constructed pension plans with transparent cost structures (which do not pay commissions, btw!!!) and based on passive investment funds like ETFs, that can be a viable alternative to German long as you do not suffer the 25% tax charges.   Cheerio     PS: here is my latest contribution on QROPS transfers from the Finance Forum for everyone:     Disclosure: I am a professional advisor licensed in Germany and advertiser here on Toytown.
  6. QROPS transfers - low in costs and transparent

    HI  @swimmer sorry for the lateness of my reply.   Regarding DB-pensions: initially, the advisor should always begin with the assumption that it is probably better/more profitable for the client to keep his DB pension. Because those defined benefits are often not possible to be met in full when transfering to an Offshore pension plan or a German QROPs-compliant plan. Having said that, there are also good individual reasons which can weigh much heavier pro such a transfer in a case outside of just looking at the actual guaranteed benefits of the existing plan. Mainly the currency volatility, if you continue living in the EUR zone when retiring...because pension-planning should always be about making the pension income safe and solid rather than volatile. And secondly, of course, the uncertainty in the wake of a hard BREXIT as to how the benefits can and will be paid out to residents in Germany (including double taxation issues) if a hard BREXIT is happening. On top of that, when the UK leaves the EU by end of March next  year, the regulation that transfers within the EU can be done without negative tax effects is most like to evaporate and then you'd have to pay a 25% "penalty tax" ( Overseas transfer charge or OTC) on your invested capital for such a transfer like everyone else who is living outside the EU since last year.    The crucial thing, from what I have seen over several years back is to find a trustworthy advisor. And that, in my professional opinion and also from talking with many victims of bad QROPs-transfers, can only be one that is offering fee-based services and advice in a totally transparent and unbiased way. All those huge commission costs (both upfront and ongoing, very often not properly disclosed or hidden behind some smoke-screens) will cause way too much costs and losses to your pension plans. Hence our step forward to offer a purely fee-based advice for interested clients who want to check if it makes sense to move their UK pension capital out of the UK before March 30th next years.   Cheerio      
  7. ok, will edit this on Monday (am already off for a weekend entirely dedicated to my girls playing in a soccer/football tournament :-) Cheerio  
  8. If you purchase an existing building, the insurance situation is a wee bit different:   First you need to check if there is still an existing building insurance which goes over to you as the new owner automatically (yet you have a special cancellation right in such a case). Especially in the former GDR there can be old insurance contracts that include super-coverage in case of flooding etc that cannot always be obtained from new insurances and hence it can make a lot of sense to keep and continue the old insurances. If none is in existence anymore, you definitely need to set up a new building insurance first and foremost. It is very important nowadays to have really good coverage for flooding damages from massive rain or snowing (still a lot of normal building insurances don't have that)   from the other insurance mentioned above, you should have or set-up: 1. Liability insurance  (private Haftpflicht) so that you are protected against claims from third parties against you as owner of the property if you are negligent in your duties as owner (like snow-plowing outside the fence/on the sidewalk, cleaning the sidewalk, in case of building parts or trees etc fall down and hurt people and much more). 2. Legal insurance: for disputes with neighbors, tenants, bypassers and the authorities 3. if and when you move in, a good (new) content insurance may make sense, including, again, coverage for "Starkregen" damages. 4. depending on the rebuilding activities, the accident insurance listed above might also make sense.   Cheerio  
  9. HI there ! Lots of our clients are buying properties in Germany (apartments, houses) and we are happy to help them in finding the best mortgages on the market if they need financing. But as a holistic financial advisor, we always also talk with them about insurance needs (starting with income protection against disability or death so that the family will not suffer financial hardships on top).   For those of you who are actually building their new houses (or have them build for you by contractors etc), here is an additional inportant info: The five most important insurances. Homeowners' insurance is not enough to protect against the risks associated with building a home. Policies which can be suitable for building your own home are 1. Liability insurance: The cover must be suitable   In the case of house construction, a liability insurance should exist already. However, the agreed sum insured and the insurance cover are often insufficient. Then a building liability insurance is necessary. The coveage should amount to at least three million euros. In addition, even if the property is still undeveloped, the owner is responsible for ensuring that people are not injured. If construction is delayed, it is advisable to buy a house and property liability insurance. For example, it steps in when a tree falls on the neighboring house. 2. Builders Accident Insurance: Stumbling blocks everywhere. Every homeowner can contribute his own labor to his building project. Banks recognize self-finished activities such as laying parquet flooring or wallpapering walls as equity capital to a certain extent. This improves credit conditions. Relatives and friends can also contribute to this "muscle mortgage". But: An accident can quickly happen on a construction site. It is therefore important to register all those who are willing to help with the Berufsgenossenschaft Bau and pay insurance premiums. The owner himself and his wife each needs to have a private accident insurance cover. 3. Building owner’s legal protection insurance: disputes are almost always fought over Building a house is an important project in which several companies and individuals are involved - and large sums of money are also involved. During this time, conflicts can arise with service providers such as architects or craftsmen. In case the dispute has to be settled in court, a builder's legal protection insurance protects against additional costs to get a lawyer or possible legal costs. 4. Building Construction insurance: Protect against natural forces It often takes several months to build a house. So, building owners have to expect extreme weather: storm in autumn, frost in winter, hail in spring and heavy rain in summer. If this causes damage to the building, the building construction insurance will cover the costs. The protection is also effective in case of a natural occurrence such as earthquakes and floods. Depending on the tariff, damage caused by human misconduct, such as theft or vandalism, can also be insured. However, fire and lightning strikes are not covered by the policy as standard. 5. Fire insurance: extra protection for fire and lightning During the construction phase, the fire insurance protects the building and the building materials against lightning, fire, arson, explosion and implosion. In addition, the policy covers follow-up costs such as fire-fighting and clean-up work. If the construction work has already progressed and the client already if you need more info or want to get some quotes, check out the independent insurance brokers who advertise here on Toytown and have a proven track-record for excellent services to the Expat community...   Cheerio      
  10. as said before, I could not care less about what you think!   There is always some troll that doesn't get it.. so what.   Cheerio  
  11. Perhaps next time you do yourself (and everyone else for that matter) a favor and do a wee bit of background research before you write such accusations?  Though I give you one point: in the Finance Forum, where I have written some 4000+ contribution in the past 12 years (and somehow gained > 5.000 positive reputation-points over all those years, there is always an automatic disclosure line below each of my contributions that explain that I am a professional insurance broker and advertiser here on Toytown. Perhaps that would have been good, here, too.  But then again I don't give a shit what someone like you thinks, either :-) Good luck with your further attempts to find a good insurance...   Cheerio  
  12. That is the wonderful thing about German public health insurance...dependent family members (spouse and children, only) are fully  covered....:-)   Cheerio  
  13. around 170 EUR per month, including long-term-nursing-care insurance (Pflegepflichtversicherung).  If you travel abroad, please also make sure to set up a good world-wide travel health insurance, because public German health insurance only covers you somewhat when traveling within the EU and not at all when traveling outside the EU.    Cheerio  
  14. an insurance broker will try to get you the best insurance coverage from the market for you. While not all insurance companies work with/thru independent insurance brokers (some very few will only offer their insurances thru their own tied agents), an insurance broker will be able to check a vast variety of insurance offers for you and recommend the one best suitable for you. As ever so often, it won't be the "cheapest" that a broker offers to you. Because a broker has to look after your best interest and that means reading and understanding the terms&conditions in full. You get what you buy, and if you buy cheap, chances are very high that you'll bitterly regret that when you have to file a claim for real and just then find out about the loopholes and lack of coverage in the terms&conditions of the cheap insurances. So, in the end, a broker will make sure you get the best value for your money when you need or want insurance coverage.   Cheerio  
  15. Investing for Retirement for US/Austrian couple in their 20s

      I was referring to the first issue, that the contributions to a Roth-IRA are not tax deductible in Germany unlike German pension plans like RIESTER, RÜRUP or bAV.  The deferred taxation of the underlying assets should be the same like any other real pension plan under German laws (there is only transparent taxation for so-called "Vermögensverwaltende Rentenversicherungen" (which are just wishy-washy little life insurance umbrellas for underlying investments and thus are not accepted by tax authorities in Germany). To this regards IMO IRAs and Roth-IRAs are clearly covered by the relevant DTA.   Cheerio