Savings Report #28 – Brick Walls to Climb


This is a Saving Ninja savings report. Go to How To Track Your Savings to check out the Saving Ninja Super Spreadsheet. Please note that I split my expenses equally with my partner and the savings rate, house equity and house value represent my share only. The spreadsheet calculates my savings rate based off £12,000 worth of expenses per year, even though my expenses are actually Less Than 10k Per Year. This is to create a buffer; I’m aiming for at least 12k to reach financial independence.

Click here to see all of my past Savings Reports and view my interactive net worth chart


The markets are tanking again!

And this time I don’t have my own contributions propping my numbers up, so I’m feeling the full wrath of seeing my net worth drop month after month.

There is so much uncertainty right now with Brexit and the presidential election that I feel this turbulence will only get worse.

I did actually try to open my first investment account in Sweden this week to try and invest a bit whilst the market had dropped, but, as with everything in Sweden, there is no accessibility for English-only speakers, all we have are badly translated Swedish websites (I don’t understand why as more than half the people in Stockholm don’t speak Swedish, but almost everyone speaks English.)

This resulted in my opening a Nordnet account and only realising afterwards that they seem to want an 0.8% fee to buy into a Vanguard ETF domiciled in Ireland; by the way, Sweden have a stupid rule which bans Swedes from investing in US funds… WTF? You have to buy Swedish-only funds, or ones domiciled in the EU…

So, the only way to buy into Vanguard is via an ETF which tracks a Vanguard index that is listed in Germany or Ireland. BUT these have higher brokerage fees. Is taking 60% of my income and charging 25% VAT, not enough for you Sweden, you have to ban Vanguard too?

Anyway, watch this space, I should hopefully begin investing again by the next savings report, even if I have to pay extortionate fees.

The Swedish Pension is Rubbish

I found out that my employer pays roughly £1,100 per month into my Swedish private pension. This is cool, I thought. I even went as far as to include it in this savings report, but then I removed it when I found out that you can’t access your Swedish private pension until the age of around 68 (and it’s being extended.)

This makes it worse than the UK State pension, so I’ll not be considering it in my savings just like I exclude the UK state pension, as it’s simply too far away. From what I’ve experienced with the Swedish tax agency so far, I’d have less faith in this being around than the UK state pension when I reach that age.

New York

In other news, I’m working closely with my New York counterparts at work and it seems that if I wanted to, there is a high possibility of relocating to New York in a year or so. I don’t want to throw Sweden out of the window just yet, but as the US was always my initial goal; and I am kind of money-focused; this is something that we’ll seriously have to consider if the opportunity came about.

Premium Bonds Locked Away

I tried to withdraw my premium bonds this week as this will be a house deposit for Sweden and I wanted to change the currency into Swedish Krona before Brexit. They needed my phone number to confirm the withdrawal which I no longer have access to, this required them to send a temporary password, to my old address.

Now I have to go through the effort of requesting a withdrawal via post. Such a pain! I just hope that I don’t get blocked when trying to move this money out of my UK bank account and into a Swedish one, as I won’t be able to ‘pop into a branch’ like they normally require you to do.

Other News

Stockholm has increased some COVID rules, although nothing like the UK. The Swedish authorities tend to ‘lightly suggest’ rather than enforce rules. I just hope our Swedish snowboarding holiday over Christmas won’t be effected as we already had our Swiss snowboarding holiday taken away from us last March.

Work is going well. 3 months left until my probationary period ends, I’ve had good feedback so far. I’m working with some extremely talented people from Google and all over the world, I’ve not actually met any other British people yet!

Making friends with people from Uruguay, Brazil, Iran, Armenia, to name a few, is very eye-opening; we’ve already gone to 2 house warming parties and tasted cuisine from countries we had never even heard of before. Stockholm, and specifically my company, is the most internationally mixed I’ve ever been, and it’s great! Also, more than half of my colleagues are women, and the amount of female programmers I’ve worked with in the past can be counted on one of my hands; my company really has their pick of the bunch!

OddsMonkey

10 thoughts on “Savings Report #28 – Brick Walls to Climb

  1. Neeeew yoooork, neeeew yoooooork (da-da-daaaa-da-da). Ok, you get it..

    I don’t understand why you’d still be considering buying a house in Sweden if your END goal is in sight within 1-2 years?

    Anyway, quit your whining! The capital gains tax is only 30% in Sweden (42% in DK) 😉
    Now you know how it feels to be Scandinavian! HAHA 😛

    Vanguard is basically a no-go here too. But I’ve heard that Sweden has some good index trackers of their own? Haven’t checked them out though.

    1. I know, I know, I’m just whining! I think I’ve settled on Avanza Global.

      Ah yeah, the house, so it seems like it still makes financial sense as there is no stamp duty and the cost savings compared to renting is astronomical in Stockholm; we’d go down from spending £1,500 per month to roughly £300 per month on interest. We also wanted to find a place that we’d be able to rent out (needs the bars permission or something,) so it could be another rental property – the personal allowance for rental income in Sweden is not that bad as they’re per property not per person (40,000 SEK or so tax free)

      We also have the money going stale, we could invest this of course.

      It will change our views of spending a lot more though, we may look for a more dingy apartment in the region of £200-250k instead of looking above 300, then the sales costs should be even lower.

      It also will mitigate the risk of if we can’t move to the US, or if it doesn’t happen for a number of years, or even if we end up wanting to stay; then at least we wouldn’t have been throwing away £1,500 each month.

      There would be the added hassle of owning a property in 2 different countries when reporting to the IRS… But I still think if we sold it, it would be worth the gambit if we stayed in Sweden for another 12 months (after we bought it,) I think. And I think the property market crashing would be a lower risk than losing money to rent, especially with the option of keeping it as an investment property.

  2. Glad to hear your settling in well, SN! Despite your grumbles, haha.

    I agree with Nick, seems odd to still be considering a house purchase in Sweden when you may very well be moving to the US in 1-2 years!

    I’m confused about your pension. Why are you comparing a Swedish private pension to the UK state pension? Shouldn’t you be comparing it to a UK SIPP? Or have I misunderstood something?

    1. Thank you Dr!

      I left a response to Nick below about the house.

      The only comparison was the age it’s accessed; and I’ve disregarded the UK State pension purely because of the late access age, so I’m doing the same for the Swedish private pension. I include the UK SIPP because it’s got a lot earlier access age!

      1. Ah, ok, fair enough. For what it’s worth, I agree with ignoring the UK state pension; there’s no guarantee that it will exist in its current form in 35+ years.

        UK SIPPs are only 10 years earlier than Sweden, which isn’t that bad! Plus, who knows, there may be some way to transfer your Swedish pensions back to the UK, and then be able to access them earlier?

        If buying a house is so much cheaper than renting, then your decision makes much more sense!

  3. Ahh Socialism!

    Still, I think I’d still rather be in Sweden at the minute with the rest of Europe locking down again!
    Keep up the good work!

  4. Hey SN glad to read you seem to be adapting well.

    You brought me some good memories from when I first came to England. Socialising and meeting people from around the world has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. Enjoy it as much as you can because you may miss it and even find boring to socialise with “rudimentary” people in the future (at least that’s my experience).

    I don’t think I would personally bother about buying anything if your end goal is USA. Moving there must be complicated enough to even have worry about selling or renting your properties? Definitely not worth the hassle for saving a few bucks for me. I got properties in Spain, and I may be forced to move back to get stuff sorted… a real pain in the ass if you ask…

    I like Collins Simple Path To Weath approach. Put yourself in a fuck you position. Now I get what that means!

  5. Sounds like the new job is working out really well.
    Like others, I wouldn’t bother buying in Sweden if you are looking at moving to NY. Save the expense of buying/selling.

    As a female ex-programmer, I was quite often the only female in the team. ( I haven’t coded for years but may need to refresh my skills to find new work). I enjoyed working in all the dev teams I was part of. In fact I found the most female programmers when working for a telecom company. Great fun with a work hard, play hard attitude. Reading your post about the new job makes me realise how much I miss that environment, such good memories!
    ( Why did I stop? – I was promoted into management and stopped coding – DOH! )

    I used to work somewhere that gave you free lunch and a credit card (mainly as a fuel card as I was driving around the country for work) which could be used for all my work expenses. I had the freedom to work wherever as long as you got the work done with a great team of people – I so miss that !

    Enjoy every minute, take every opportunity – a chance to learn as much as you can, and don’t forget to have fun while doing so.

  6. Hey SN

    It’s good to read about your grumbles – makes your updates all the more realistic and honest. I mean who lives the perfectly happy life!? 😉

    Freetrade are looking to open an office in Stockholm but it will be a while before their app will be rolled out in Sweden, so I hope you’re able to get back into investing soon to get your money working for you.

    Anyway, good to hear you’ve settled well into your job and that the end goal of moving to the US seems more than just a remote possibility.

    As regards to buying property – I see where you are coming from with regards to not just throwing money away on rent – perhaps worth just researching on how easy it is to buy and sell in Sweden (and the tax implications) and/or renting out the property vs what happens if you continue to rent.

    Fingers crossed for you that the snowboarding holiday goes ahead!

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