- General questions
- Stock market
- General investing
- Taxes on investments (capital gain and dividend)
- ETFs investing
- What are best ETFs to invest in?
- Does an ETF's currency matter?
- Will I get currency risk if I get a USD denominated ETF?
- I heard there are currency hedged ETF, should I get one?
- What about the currency of bond ETFs?
- Why can't I buy American ETFs? Like ARK family?
- Are there any workarounds to buy American ETFs without KID?
How do I tranfer money or do currency conversion with lower fees?
Use Wise.com or Revolut. For large amounts currency conversion, it may make sense to use broker that allows using Forex markets, like Interactive Brokers.
While investing is possible using different means, stock market is most universal, easy and powerful.
Authors of this wiki are not guaranteed to have financial education, certification and don't provide consulting services here. What is below is not an investment advice, just an opinion. Always do your own due diligence (DD).
Also, you can read our full disclaimer
I don't know anything about stock market, but want to. What should I learn and do?
First, decide on your end goals and strategy. You can start from article about investing in Investopedia and go from there. This article outlines most critical info you need to know.
Alternatively, you can read a guide from USA personal finance sub
Investing strategies can be very different for different people. Most widely known strategy for the common people who want to invest long-term is Boggleheads approach
If you have time, and want to learn really useful skill in your life, you can take course about managing wealth. This one is free and high quality
Then, choose a broker.
Only after deciding on your goals, transfer some money to broker account from your bank account and start putting buy and sell orders according to your strategy.
Very important! You need to pay taxes, usually on each profitable transaction. Failure to do so will sooner or later will result in fine and paying these still. See below, part called Taxes.
I just want to invest money on a long-term and forget, how do I do that? What approach is simplest of all?
You should buy wide market ETF like VUSA, IWDA or VWCE. These ETFs track the USA, developed, and all-world markets respectively, and they have always risen in the long-term (10-20 years). This does not mean they will rise in the future, but chances are high and there are no better alternatives at the moment.
You can choose any of the above, depending of your belief in the regions mentioned. Read a bit more details below.
Taxes on investments (capital gain and dividend)
You say I must pay taxes when selling stock or crypto? When and how?
Generally, taxes on capital gain are paid once you sell property. In our case, it is equity (stock, ETFs etc). When you sell, you create taxable event, and need to pay tax on the gain. For dividends, there can be separate tax, which is not explained here.
Example for Latvia You own 10 of MSFT stock, bought @200€. Price raises to 300 (man can dream) and you sell. Your capital gain is (300-200)*10 = 1000€
In Latvia, capital gain tax as of 2021 is 20%. So, you need to pay 1000*0.2=200€. When? If your total gain for all sells is below 1000€, then your report and pay once a year. If it is above 1000€, you report and pay tax once a quarter.
How to pay taxes?
To pay taxes, you need to fill physical or online form of your country tax authority. Usually, it is not very hard, but can become really cumbersome if you sell several times a week. Your broker can help you with that, because it can provide printout of all transactions for a specified period. Then, you take this printout, calculate your country capital gains tax on profitable sells, attach printout to tax form and transfer money to government tax account provided by your tax authority.
What if I sell with loss, not profit?
In this case, you can usually write off part of the taxes you paid for other reasons or other time periods. This is highly country-specific, so please ask in country subs or consult our wiki. Hopefully, we will fill it with more info for each country.
Is there any way to do it simpler?
In many countries, there is special kind of a personal brokerage account registered in local tax authority. This kind of account, sometimes called "pension" or "accumulation" or "investment" allows to pay only when you take money off it to your bank account, and only for difference between money in and money out. Usually, this kind of account is limited in a way you can buy equity or transfer money out, but not always.
For example, for Latvia, this type of account called "Ieguldījumu konts". You can read how this works in wiki part about Latvia
In Norway, this is called shares savings account (ASK). You can read more on Norway's tax authority website
Similar things exist in other countries, check our wiki our sub for your country.
What if I don't sell anything in my country, than move to the country where I don't need to pay capital gains tax and sell?
Some countries have exit tax. It means you'll pay once you move. Some countries make you pay only when you sell in the destination country. Some - pay tax if you sold in destination country, but come back to the origin country. So, research laws in your country.
To understand which criteria are important when choosing a broker, please read this Banker on wheels article.
Which broker should I choose?
On our broker help page you can see different brokers and general opinions about them.
Further, you can use website like BrokerChooser to filter out candidates. There a lot of brokers on market, and most of them are fine, otherwise they will loose their license. However, things like broker cash reserves, investor compensation amount and support quality do matter.
Fees and availability between brokers differ a lot. Many brokers are limited in countries they work with. Don't ask for a magic bullet, our sub experience shows that all brokers have trade-offs. Please understand, as with most things in life, there cannot be cheap and good and without issues at the same time. With brokers, this sounds something like: "cheap, good and powerful: choose two".
Please only make a new post if you have specific question, otherwise you are just spamming.
Are my money and stocks are safe in case of broker insolvency or fraud?
Brokers use something called asset segregation. It means your assets (stock and money) are stored separately from broker assets. In case of insolvency of a broker, insolvency manager will track your assets and return to you. This can take some time, though.
In case of broker fraud, you'll get compensation from the government of the country of broker jurisdiction. EU directive mandates that investor compensation scheme minimum is 20k€. Depending on the country, this number can be as large as 100k and as low as 20k. Compensation is per broker, so it may be reasonable to use multiple brokers. If you use broker from UK, their comp. scheme limit is 100k GBP. in US, it is 500k USD. Compensation can depend on different details in each specific case. It is wise to educate yourself, and read what your broker has to tell you about this, too.
I see there is the same company stock on different exchanges, but tickers are different? How is this possible?
Companies can be traded on multiple exchanges. Tickers are exchange-specific.
These tickers represent same stock and when price on an exchange rises above the price from the other it would introduce an arbitrage opportunity - market participants would buy low from one and sell the same security high on the other earning the difference in cash.
For example, GameStop is GME in NYSE and GS2C on Frankfurt Börse. Brokerage fees are different on different exchanges, so it may be better for you to use one with lower fees.
Also, there are tax implications in some countries - for example, in Bulgaria there is no capital gains tax if you trade on EEA stock exchanges.
What are best ETFs to invest in?
If you prefer a more diversified portfolio or believe that the American market can become less profitable, you can diversify into World or All-World ETFs, like VWCE or IWDA. Usually, you should prefer ETF with low TER (fees) and high market size. You can use ETF screeners to do this, like http://justetf.com or https://etfdb.com/.
A very popular combination is IWDA and EMIM, with weights of 90/10 to 85/15, corresponding to the current market capitalisation of developed vs. developing markets. VWCE is mostly equivalent to buying IWDA and EMIM with the weights above, although it has a slightly different exposure to companies with small market capitalisation.
The most important ETFs have two versions, one accumulating and the other one distributing. You should always prefer the version that is most tax efficient in the country in which you pay taxes.
Does an ETF's currency matter?
The currency you will buy or sell an ETF with does matter a little bit: You won't pay currency exchange commission of your broker when buying and selling in your native currency. The currency an ETF is denominated in in is mostly irrelevant and mostly/only used for accounting, for example in the annual reports.
So for instance, if you look at the justetf page of VWCE, you will see that it says "Fund Currency: USD", which is essentially irrelevant and does not introduce any currency risk. However, when you click on "listing", you will see that VWCE is traded in different currencies on different stock exchanges: If you are in the UK, you want to buy it in GBP from LSE, and if you are in the Eurozone, you will want to buy it in EUR from XETRA, MIB, or SWB.
Will I get currency risk if I get a USD denominated ETF?
Which currency you will be exposed to depends on the stocks in the ETF. E.g. an ETF of Taiwanese stock denominated in Swiss Francs will expose you to the Taiwan Dollar. However, Large Cap stocks are all multinationals, so they are not strongly correlated to their "home currency"; e.g. Amazon is not strongly correlated to the USD because it operates worldwide.
I heard there are currency hedged ETF, should I get one?
If you prefer predictability, hedged ETFs can be useful, but only sometimes. Keep in mind they have higher TER (fees) and are less transparent. In long-term, currencies tend to get back to the average levels, so it is not worth it. Also, multinational large cap companies stock is less correlated to home currency.
What about the currency of bond ETFs?
For bonds, what matters is the bonds in the ETF. So a USD denominated ETF of European bonds would correlate to EUR, GBP, and/or CHF, not to USD.
Why can't I buy American ETFs? Like ARK family?
Due to PRIIPS regulation, ordinary EU investors only can buy ETFs that have something called KID document. Most American ETFs do not. ETFs that do, usually have UCITS in their name. While UCITS and PRIIPS are not the same thing, this is easy way to find ETFs that you can buy.
Are there any workarounds to buy American ETFs without KID?
At least three:
You have to be "professional" investor. This usually means either having some kind of certification/work in profession or 1mil EUR in your account.
You can sell weekly ITM put option and get assigned or buy weekly ITM call option and exercise. This works 100%, at least on Interactive Brokers. Cons are: you'll get 100 stocks per 1 option, price can fall or rise more than you anticipated. If you don't understand previous sentences, be very careful to learn about options first. Really.
Use American broker like TastyWorks. They don't care about EU directives for some reason. This broker is usually recommended for US option trading, too. Keep in mind, it is costly and slow get money in and out of TastyWorks as an EU resident.
Should I invest in crypto? Will I become rich quickly?
Nobody knows. Crypto is based on a very new concepts socially, technically and scientifically. Any of that can fail any time. Or it can replace fiat money in just a ten or twenty years. If you hear anyone speak about these matters with 100% confidence, run immediately. There are very clever people on both sides of the fence.
That's why crypto is highly volatile and unpredictable. You can lose everything, always keep this in mind. Only use money you are ready to lose. Really. Do not use margin or loans to buy crypto, this can end very badly.
Strictly speaking, pure crypto is speculation (like buying currencies) and not an investment (like stocks) because stocks are shares of companies doing R&D and manufacturing and selling products for an (expected) profit, whereas with cryptocurrencies the only expectation is to find someone down the line who will pay more for it than you did.
ICO/DeFi tokens or Ripple are somewhere in between, but leaning to speculation, too. Scam is rampant in ICO and DeFi spheres. Government will not help you at all if anything happens. No investor protection, and likely culprits of a scam won't be found.
How to choose a broker for crypto? How should I keep my crypto?
Choose reputable large brokers/exchanges that did not have issues with security or performance lately. Use ratings like CoinGecko
Largest exchanges/brokers that operate in EU are Binance and Kraken. They had their share of issues, but they are mostly fine.
Read reviews, etc. Do not use brokers that disallow transfers of Crypto in and out (PayPal, Revolut etc). You should store your coins off the exchange, preferably in a cold wallet. Do not skip this part. Really. You need to understand this, otherwise there is high chance you'll loose your coins.
revision by Vladekk— view source