• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Community Reputation

5,894 Awesome

About Starshollow

  • Rank
  • Birthday 02/02/1967

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

30,701 profile views
  1. Planning for retirement

    as always, very wise words from John Gunn! The correct process for investment advice and pension planning always has to be to check that the main risks in life a properly covered by those insurances that are truly important. Once that is verified or taken care off, the actual investment advice process (including in many cases the setting up of dedicated pension plans) can start for real. Cheerio  
  2. Planning for retirement

    saving and simply investing is always a good start. However, a pension assurance offers life-long payouts regardless of how long you'll live whereas accumulated capital will only reach as long as your pay-out plan allows.  That is why setting up some pension plan can make a lot of sense - you'll protect yourself against the "risk" of longevity,  strange as it may sound to consider this a "risk".   As a self-employed you don't have many options to invest into the German public pension system (and many would doubt the sense of doing so probably). Which leaves you with two main options: 1 ) a RÜRUP pension plan that comes with some tax benefits on one hand but also works exactly like a public pension in so far that you cannot take out the capital again and also can't cash in when you reach retirement... you'll receive a monthly pension for the rest of your life instead. 2 ) or a private pension plan with no tax benefits, but full flexibility later with regards to accessing the invested capital   It might make sense to seek professional advice for your future investment and pension planning. Several advisors specialized in catering to Expats advertise here on Toytown, many of them have a track record that you can check and then select one.   Cheerio  
  3. Bavaria and the real estate bubble

    well, in the south of Munich (like Oberhaching, for instance - which is not even among the top-locations), prices for houses have doubled on average since 2012. I do believe that this is not a healthy development and I also believe that sometime during the next 5-10 years there will be a period of time when prices for real-estate will take a serious nosedive ...for a while. However, since the demographics show that the larger Munich area is going to grow by another 10% thru migration from other areas of Bavaria/Germany/therestofthefuckingworld and since Munich does not allow high-rising buildings much and the counties around Munich do not want to free too much land for building new houses and all, the demand will continue to outpace what is offered on the market and hence prices will consequently continue to grow in a long-term trend.  IMO.   Cheerio  
  4. Moving from private to public health insurance

      as John Gunn correctly stated, around 260 EUR per month is the highest you can pay into a company pension scheme (usually it will be rather a Direktversicherung bAV than an Unterstützungskasse, though, but that is another story entirely) in order to reduce your gross salary for calculating the thresholds for public health insurance etc. Having said that: this only applies anyway if your gross salary is below 80.400 EUR per year (so-called Beitragsbemessunggrenze) to begin with.   Reduction of gross salary for some time CAN be an option, however, it has to be done well regarding the paperwork involved on the work contract side/HR. For instance should it not list a predetermined end of the reduction before 12 months are thru, otherwise it will be considered as illegal "planning" around the social welfare laws. You can then still change back to full employment after just a month, of course, and still, continue to stay in public health insurance after that as a voluntary member. But that won't work if and when the changes in the work contract make clear that the reduction was just for a short period of time from the beginning. I would recommend in such cases to get advice from a qualified expert (like a specialized Versicherungsberater) to check your situation and prepare the relevant paperwork bullet-proof. Costs a fee but is definitely worth it...    Cheerio  
  5. Public vs. private health insurance

    The mere fact that it is a topic that comes up again and again in politics in parliament and government in Germany that privately insured patients receive preferential access to specialist and in hospitals is proof enough that this kind of problem or two-tier-system actually exists in Germany. On the other hand, as many have pointed out above, being publicly insured in Germany is not exactly making you a second or third-class patient. The German health system is quite good and no-one will be left behind or not treated well because he or she is with public health insurance. 80-90 % of people in Germany are in public health insurance anyway.   There are a couple of areas of coverage where most (but not all, especially not the very cheap private plans) private health insurances offer superior coverage. Starting with coverage when travelling outside the EU, followed especially by dental coverage in the line of major dental work and dental replacements (where public coverage has deteriorated to become a sad joke at best) and also with the free choice of hospitals etc. But all of the above can be also obtained as a private add-on, i.e. supplementary coverage for those who either can't get out of public insurance (due to occupation/income or health conditions) or where it simply does not make sense at all to switch to private fully comprehensive health insurance.    In the end, private health insurance should not be selected and obtained to "save money". That is usually a plan that won't really work out well in the long run (of course, for those who definitely will only stay for a few years in Germany, these savings can make a lot of sense, too).   A really good and dedicated broker like John Gunn and us will always look at the full situation of a client, at the short and long-term perspective and fully disclose the pros and cons of both sides of the equations before offering a recommendation. Just like John, we are signing up a lot of clients to public health insurance every year because it is the best solution for them. Those we recommend to take on private health insurance are the same, it is the best solution for them based on their preferences, wishes and goals.    The way this intermediary is trying to "sell" you into private health insurance does not really sound like a truly unbiased advisor who has your best interest in mind. Therefore some caution may be recommended towards this kind of advice.   Cheerio  
  6. Moving from private to public health insurance

    I am a bit puzzled..because according to the website this particular health insurance plans is(more or less) exclusively reserved for people working at  Max-Planck-Institutes... are you employed there at the end?   Cheerio  
  7. that would depend on what health insurance in Germany you have?   Cheerio
  8. just a quick reply, since I amount of country on holidays right now: they'll need a German tax accountant to do the payroll services for them. That is fairly easy and common... try for instance martin Gundermann from Intertax who advertises here on Toytown (or Thomas Zitzelsberger from Exptattax, though I am not entirely certain if he does offer these kinds of services still for US. based employers or not anymore).   Cheerio
  9. Anlageberater forged our signatures

    that would depend on the text of the Vollmacht/authorization. Without knowing it, I can't answer it, I am afraid. Our own broker authorization document would allow exactly that (obviously based on the consent/order by the client which we would always require to be in writing - at least n email - to be absolutely clear about it and to avoid misunderstanding/misinterpretations later)    Cheerio
  10. Buying property as an investment

    Fully concur... would also assume that the property is overpriced without even looking at any comparing websites. Because that is the typical mode of operation with these scams.   Cheerio  
  11. Buying property as an investment

    sounds like an absolute scam - run from it and run fast. There are so many things in there that don't make sense. Unfortunately, I am on holidays and can't really dive deep into this, but my second best recommendation (after me checking this and answering you being THE BEST :-) ) would be to take this to your next Verbraucherzentral and have them look over it. I am sure they can find tons of loopholes and false information. Particularly the refinancing looks extremely dodgy and is the part where the Finanzberater (what is his real license, btw? Did you check if he is licensed as insurance intermediary (34D) or investment advisor (34F) or else?)  will make tons of money while the risk that this goes lopsided is all yours.    You are right, it sounds too good to be true and definitely is.  Cheerio  
  12.   Nearly there --- but not there enough to be able to report something solid. Sorry. My best guess is that in late September/early October can go public with our solution for investment portfolios <100.000 EUR for US nationals living in Germany. For those with investment capital > 100.000 we already have, as mentioned before, a perfectly working solution.   Cheerio  
  13. Pension plan suggestion for non-EU freelancer

    Hi there - if you use the search function, you'll find that this issue has been discussed numerous times already here on Toytown The answer is always the same: 1) you can't back-pay 60 months of contributions into public pension anyway. So forget about that. 2) what you can do instead is set up a subsidiary private pension plan into which start paying now (no back-payments required, either) and into which you have, as per contract, to pay in a certain amount of capital until you reach pension age of 67. What amount needs to be paid in and what kind of private insurance is applicable depends on where you life and what local authority is responsible for you. .If your location according to your ID is correct and you are in Berlin and will apply there, it is well-know what is required and straight-forward.    just contact one of the specialized and experienced financial advisors active here on this forum and he or she can work out the correct solution for you. How much you'll have to pay monthly into this pension plan is obviously a function of your age (i.e. how many years are left til age 67) and the money that needs to be guaranteed to have accrued per plan by then. A small warning: there have been cases in the past where people just set up this kind of pension plan and stopped paying into it when they had the permanent residence permit in their hands. This will get reported to the immigration offices and can lead to rather unpleasant consequences. So, in consequence, you should only commit to that if you can really sustain it.   Cheerio  
  14. Getting a mortgage in Germany

    sadly enough, neither what the mortgage broker says nor what the banks said is entirely accurate. What is correct is this: if you indeed a "Kreditanfrage" with any bank, just for getting info, this WILL be reported to SCHUFA and for some reasons (because you do not actually GET the credit/mortgage in the end), it lowers your SCHUFA score slightly. Do that several times and yes, your SCHUFA score will be hit markedly and that is not in your best interest. However, everyone doing mortgages knows that there is a very simply way around and that is a so-called "Konditionenanfrage", which is a special kind of getting quotes from banks which are NOT to be reported to the SCHUFA and thus have no influence on your SCHUFA score. Not knowing that is a serious mistake and lack of professionality IMO. It is also not true that bank do not care about your SCHUFA score. If it gets less than optimal, there will be consquences in your bargaining power when it comes to getting the best interest rate etc. Because SCHUFA scoring is what they need for feeding their computers for risk calculation (and refinancing). Hence, while you won't be just rejected a mortgage because you asked a couple of other banks for mortgage quotes without taking one from them, you would see that the next quotes you'll receive will start to become slightly less attractive or that more and more collateral/downpayment would be required from you. Get yourself a REAL mortgage broker who knows his or her business. Then you won't have those issues. Cheerio  
  15. Mutual Fund Management Expats

      while we have been advising all Expats in insurance and investment issues since 2006, we have worked out a special investment strategy for US-Expats since summer 2017 when it was clear that starting January 2018 the taxation in Germany of foreign investment funds (i.e., for instance, US-domiciled funds) became so much easier and is now the same as for investment funds from Germany, Ireland or Luxemburg.  in consequence, since then we can advise US-nationals with US-domiciled investment funds which is the only thing that makes really sense for them. And there are still a few banks/plattforms available in the US that are content to deal with people who do not have a residence in the US anymore.    If you look at our website, you'll notice that we strongly believe in passive investment funds (ETFs etc). If you like our basic investment philosophy etc, lets have a chat soon to discuss what you already have, what you want to achieve and then we can see if we'd be a good match for you...   Cheerio