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About Starshollow

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  • Birthday 02/02/1967

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

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  1.   are you eligible for receiving unemployment benefits (after your SPERRZEIT for quitting yourself) ? If that would be the case, why don't you wait with legally starting your own business until you have been at least a few weeks with unemployment benefits if your goal is to get into public health insurance? Because when you start to receive unemployment benefits, you'll be switched automatically (unless you dispute this) into public insurance. And since August 2013 and the introduction of the "Obligatorische Anschlußversicherung" you can then switch from this compulsory public insurance to the status of voluntary public insurance (which is always the case with self-employed) after just a short while (legally speaking: a day even would be enough in compulsory public insurance membership). Obviously, you must qualify for unemployment benefits both from having paid in long-enough (sounds to me that it is the case here) and to be "available" for the employment market...which means you have to abstain from starting your new business just for a short while.   Cheerio  
  2. Some questions about US taxes

    Kudos to @Straightpoop once again... great answer and information from the true US-tax expert on Toytown !   Cheerio  
  3. Freelancer with spouse who is a permanent employee

    AFAIK the exemption during the first three years is open to every new/first-time starting self-employed, regardless of whether you'll start with just one client or several clients. Of course if you start with several clients, there may not be so much need for this, but in the end it is safer to apply for the exemption in case you find yourself after a short-while with just one (main) client left anyway.   Cheerio  
  4. Tax deductions for pension and health insurance

      do you have public or private health insurance ? (and are you an employee or self-employed/contracting?) what kind of pension insurances are we talking about ? Public pension, RIESTER, RÜRUP/Basis, bAV (company pension) or just a private pension in Germany or anywhere else in the world ?    If you'd read the prior thread, as PandaMunich suggested, you'd know that this is the min. information required in order to give you any valuable reply at all.    Cheerio  
  5. ETF Sparplan vs. ETF Rentenversicherung

    I agree with your general comment - however, if you take a wee bit of time to look deeper into the scientific background of DFA (Dimensional Fund Advisors) based on findings of  Kenneth French and Eugen Fama (nobel laureate)  who is also part of the company. while it is "only" a passive investment fund, i.e. not into stock picking, they do overvalue the top quartile of value stocks, small caps and also apply parameters like momentum with a higher degree than the actual index. While their costs are marginally higher than pure ETF (and we are talking about fully replicating funds here only), they are still far away from actively managed funds and their costs. Depending on the underlying index, they have been outperforming for a long past by and large at around 1-2 % p.a. in comparison to the indexes. But they are entirely relying on a buy-and-hold strategy only, which is why they only work thru accredited advisors (which we are).   Here are just some key-points:   and here some videos:   It is no mumbo-jumbo, no witch-craft. A basically very simple strategy at the end...   Cheerio  
  6. ETF Sparplan vs. ETF Rentenversicherung

    if you want to build up capital per se, staying with a simple ETF savings plan is your best option when comparing costs and all (you might want to check out Dimensional Fund Advisors as an interesting alternative to pure ETFs, because they offer also only passive investment funds but with a (scientific) twist).   A pension plan makes sense if you want to lock in a certain guarantee for pension in retirement, i.e. take care of the "risk of longevity". While it sounds absurd to consider the chance to live long as a risk, it is one from a financial point of view. Because if you start using up your savings in retirement based on average life expectancy and end up living longer, you could find yourself in a situation where the money has run out when you have still a lot of life left. This is exactly what a pension plan is made - and taking care of that risk comes with a price (i.e. costs) on the insurance side. Hence in direct comparison, a pension insurance is inherently more expensive than a simple ETF savings plan.   There are some pension plans in Germany (you can find details about them here on our website: Company Pension - bAV , RIESTER pension  and RÜRUP pension ) that offer some tax incentives for setting up such pension plans. However, tax benefits always come with some rules and regulations that reduce the flexibilty of use of the invested capital. Therefore these plans only make sense if you are willing and prepared to put money away long-term for the sole purpose of having a pension in retirement paid out to you.    In order to figure out, how much in savings and pension plans you need, you could play around with our Pension Calculator a bit if you like: Pension Calculator LIGHT by CR&Cie   Cheerio    
  7.   ASEIG is foremost an association of self-employed in Germany. It has developed a special health insurance group plan for self-employed who, when coming from abroad to Germany, often face challenges in obtaining legally compliant health insurance in Germany due to their status as self-employed (which is considered to be a credit-risk by German private health insurance companies). ASEIG also has a standing cooperation with some specialized lawyer, tax-advisors and -accountants and insurance advisors. the latter can help you with finding the right legal liability insurance or other necessary business insurances.   Cheerio  
  8. Could I stay on "travel" health insurance for 5 years?

    I am glad that you are with my esteemed colleague Keith Tanner, who is a real professional with tons of experience. As an independent insurance broker he/we are beholden to offer you the best possible advice, i.e. to care for your best interest in the role of a fiduciary in contrast to insurance agents. If you do not know the difference in the German system, check the video on our website that explains this here:   Now, let's break down the meandering discussion here (where I am lucky enough to come in late when much more accurate information is available than was initially) :   1. it is important to check initially if you belong to KSK, i.e. if your occupation is considered to be more art than business. because if you do, going with KSK is a "Pflichtversicherung", i.e. it is not your's to choose if you go with public health insurance and with KSK or not, you simply have to.   2. German private health insurances are rather hesitant to accept a newby  self-employed/freelancer because of the credit risk. You do not have a credit history in Germany yet nor a secure source of income (from the point of view of the German insurance companies). Since they are not allowed to terminate a contract with you even if you fail to pay your dues, they will often enough not consider an application from you.    3. Solid alternatives with private health insurance in Germany are the following    i ) The group health insurance plan thru  the Association of Self-Employed Expats in Germany (ASEIG - with the HALLESCHE, a leading German private health insurance company. You can be insured with this group plan for up to 5 years. During that time (after min 2 years membership) you can also switch without further medical check-ups or tests into any normal health insurance plan from Hallesche. And because this plan qualifies/complies in full under both § 193 Abs 3 VVG (which stipulates what kind of private health insurances are compliant in Germany) and § 257 Abs 4 SGB V (which stipulates what kind of health insurance qualifies for full taxfree employer co-contribution and thus sets an even higher legal standard), you can also without risk of back-charges switch to any other German fully comprehensive health insurance later. ii) The Expat-insurance plan from OTTONOVA apparently also complies under Sec. 193 VVG and Sec 257 SGB V according to my latest info. iii) GLOBALITY (formerly from DKV Germany) is, last time I checked, the only international health insurance which has it in writing from the German regulatory body BaFin that they comply with Section 193 VVG.  Therefore you can also use this without having to fear back-charges later from other German private health insurance companies.They also offer a - so not fully guaranteed - option to change later into a normal health insurance plan with DKV (which is not a health insurance provider I would put on top of any recommendation list in Germany right now, though) .   All these three options are limited to max 5 years duration, but also offer the obligatory long-term nursing care insurance (German: Pflegepflichtversicherung).   Any other international health insurance would have to give it to you in writing (!) that they comply with § 193 Abs 3 VVG before you can consider them as really compliant choice under German laws. If an international insurance cannot offer such a guarantee in writing, it is not fully compliant. Period. You can still use it at your own risk as long as your local Ausländeramt plays along. But you could well face back-charges and other problems later. You would not believe how often we as professional advisors to Expats see that a few years down the road the need comes up to obtain now "real" health insurance but by then it is impossible due to negative development of one's health. Not a nice situation to find yourself and one that only offers really expansive solutions by then. And regarding your question why CIGNA is cheaper than German insurances: because it is calculated like a riks-insurance and not like a life-insurance is one of the main reasons. The latter is required under German law, though. What does that mean: CIGNA will get more expensive every year in an ever steeper curve upwards the older you get. because the older you get, the higher your health-cost-risk grows. German insurances are obligated to calculate your health-cost-risk for your entire (statistical) life-span at the beginning and divide these costs over time evenly (more or less) to calculate your contributions. Hence they have to be more expensive for younger people..but are significantly lower in premium costs when getting older. Plus there are some serious differences in coverage, too.    Special Expat health insurances like MAWISTA, CARE CONCEPT, BDAE, are legally speaking only travel-health insurance. They can only be used by someone here on a Visa (i.e. temporary stay) or otherwise clearly limited temporary stay, for instance like a study-program or research-project in academia. If they intended stay does not come with a fixed deadline, i.e. if it is not open-ended, one should not use this kind of insurance. It is sncll being sold otherwise, I know that. But the devil takes the hindmost and that is usually the client who later finds out he faces back-charges due to the use of a not strictly compliant health insurance.   Yes, health insurance does not come cheap in Germany. And it is required legally, too. The rules and regulae s are somewhat opaque, to say the least. but I outlined your options as best as possible above.   In the end the basic calculation for the insurance companies on the costs to cover someone's health are all based on the same statistics worked out by actuaries. Some changes in pricing can come from differences in administrative costs or negative trends of client-selection in an insurance plan over time. But if a health insurance is much, much cheaper than another, it HAS TO COME from much lower coverage or different obligation to actually pay for your health risks in the future. If you buy cheap, you'll get cheap...and not inexpensive.   Cheerio  
  9. help with PKV painfull saga

      Regarding the bold-marked text above: no, you are not required to hand over proof to a German private health insurance when signing up about your membership in public health insurance. They can rely on your info given in the application. If it states here that you have been with public health insurance before, that is all info they have.  On the contrary, you'll need to normally to show proof of your new private health insurance coverage to your old public health insurance in order to make the switch legal. But that, again, is nothing the private health insurance needs to care about...that is up to you with a confirmation provided in writing by the new private health insurance.   Cheerio  
  10. help with PKV painfull saga

    The main question will be, if you have any way of proof that you disclosed your prior insurance with MAWISTA to the agent (emails, notes, ideally your wife being present or someone else) ?  If that were the case, the health insurance company has no legal leg to stand on, because an insurance agent is considered to be "eye and ear" of the insurance company under German law..what you told the insurance agent is knowledge the insurance company had (no matter if the agent forwarded this info correctly or withheld it or even changed it). Without proof you yourself have no legal leg to stand on, I am afraid. if the agent says that you never gave him this info, it is a he-says-she-says-situation and the need to prove your side is right falls entirely upon you (there is no "Beweisumkehr" here, AFAIK). Be that as it may: you definitely need professional assistance and should not communicate with the insurance company or the agent yourself anymore as you are more likely to hurt your own legal position by doing that. Whether the insurance company is in its right to terminate the contract because of fraud/failure to disclose important info is questionable per se and needs an expert to look over it. Plus, if you can show proof as described above, you have a better position. I can list to you at least two very good insurance consultants that you can hire. if it turns out the insurance agent was changing/forging the application document in order to make a sale in the knowledge that his insurance company would otherwise reject the application or if there are other good reasons why the insurance company would not have rejected your application even if they had the knowledge and correct date, they will have to pay for your legal costs in the end, too. Of course, if they can legally sustain their cancellation, you'll not get your legal rep. paid for, too.   Cheerio  
  11. It always depends very much on where you apply for a permanent residence permit or citizenship. The different Ausländeramts have very different approaches and rules about this. When in doubt whether your UK pension is accepted to be counted in (which, legally, it should) and in order to avoid any delays etc., you can ALWAYs substitute the public pension with a private pension. It then just depends on what kind of private pension you can use as a substitute...that is, where the local regulations do differ a lot. Some will accept any form of pension schemes (like Munich KVR, for instance), others have very specific rules about the total amount the policy shows it would accrue guaranteed by the time you'll be turning 67 and will allow, for instance, only a RÜRUP pension plan for it, because a RÜRUP pension is technically mirroring the German public pension in so far as you can't cash in on the invested capital anymore (and thus squander it instead of receiving a pension ). So, check with your local Ausländeramt and get this information. Then have a qualified/specialized advisor work out a fitting quote for such a pension plan for you so that you'll know about your costs for better planning.   Cheerio  
  12. Health insurance for unemployed/returnees

      don't even think about private health insurance...   First of all: private health insurances in Germany are not interested in someone with an uncertain income situation. Hence they will not accept an application if they are "real" private health insurances under German laws.  All else is not a real health insurance and will lead to all kind of troubles (including back-charges later if you need to switch back to German public or private health insurances). Not recommendable! Secondly: public health insurance will about double - but that's about it. So something around 170-180 EUR tops per month is all that you need to pay. It may look steep when coming from just 90 EUR p.m. but it is still an excellent bargain under all other considerations.  Even with just a side-job with minimum wage you'll just need to work like 7-8 hours per month for the time being to finance the increase in health insurance costs..and once you'll find a real employment, it will be calculated differently anyway.  Little tip: if your VISA allows, look for a >451 EUR on the side right away, because then your health insurance costs are even lower because the employer pitches in, too.   Cheerio  
  13. Steuerbescheinigung für die Krankenversicherung

    indeed, the tax info is sent out directly to the Finanzamt. And if you would hand in something by yourself, it would not count because the Finanzamt will only take into consideration what they'll receive directly from the health insurance company anyway.    Cheerio  
  14. German retirement and pensions

    well, if  set this up, the value of the property is (on the outside) greatly reduced because nobody would buy it at market prices if the tennants cannot be evicted until they die. That is one way to "poison the well" , financially speaking.  But you'll need a good lawyer AND a good tax advisor for this in order to make it audit-proof for the Finanzamt and, in case something happens to them in the first 10 years after selling the property to their children - Sozialkassen/ämter.  But it could be a way to do this.   Cheerio  
  15. Finally, their website also does not claim anymore to be licensed to offer advice in Germany... now let's see how our complaints against other companies with similar activities and behavior in Germany are going forward with the regulatory authorities in order to protect consumers in Germany.