Author Topic: Greek resident with income coming from Canada - how to invest?  (Read 2615 times)

orestis

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Hello,

I am in a slightly unique situation. I am a Greek living in Athens, Greece. However as a software freelancer I have a large Canadian client that provides most (if not all) my income. They wire a monthly sum in my Greece bank account. I do have a UK bank account as well, from the day I was working and living in London, but it sees little usage these days.

Now I'd like to get on board with investing my little savings. Unfortunately the popular MMM choices of Vanguard index funds is not available. I searched online and most firms require you to be a resident in order to let you deal with shares, including my UK bank.

So it seems I'm stuck with my Greek bank. It's actually a "global" bank, the one that advertises on airports around the world, so their portfolio isn't that bad:

HSBC World Selection mutual fund
HSBC Global Investment Funds
BlackRock
Franklin Templeton
Pimco
Legg Mason
JP Morgan
Schroders

Each of those has a selection of various funds you can pick. If I understand correctly, it's "best" to find a fund that follows an "index", instead of focusing on some "market" (e.g. energy, construction, technology) - by best, I mean a reasonable compromise between risk and yield. And of course be very clear on the related costs of a) actually buying/selling and b) just holding an account.

Would it be worth my while to eventually open a bank account in Canada? Dealing with the CADEUR exchange would be a bit of a headache, and eventually I'm pretty sure I'd spend my savings in EUR so I'm not sure if it's worthwhile. I'm not sure it's even possible.

And some possibly unrelated question: Given my freelance status, I pay taxes in an lump sum every year. This means I need to save away around 1500 EUR/month from October-August, and then give it all to the taxman on September. Does it make sense to invest that as well, and cash out when needed? Additionally, given that my salary looks stable but actually isn't, I like to keep a "rainy day" fund of around 5-7k EUR. Could that live also in shares, or should I keep it in a more easily accessible/stable account?

Anything else I haven't thought?

Many thanks.


forummm

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Re: Greek resident with income coming from Canada - how to invest?
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2015, 06:16:23 AM »
Wow, this is a question. Given all the uncertainty, I don't know what to tell you. Personally, I would keep my money away from Greece. If they leave the Euro, you don't want to end up with Drachmas. I don't know enough about the situation and rules to give you an optimal direction to go. But keeping your money out of a Greek bank seems like a wise move as far as I can tell.

orestis

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Re: Greek resident with income coming from Canada - how to invest?
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 07:39:25 AM »
Capital controls aside (you can not move money out of a Greek bank right now, and it's going to be that way for some time): When you're a "small fish", i.e. have less than say 100k ready to move around, it's not easy to use foreign banks. An HSBC Premier account shows some promise, but I don't qualify yet, it'd take a couple of years of saving.

forummm

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Re: Greek resident with income coming from Canada - how to invest?
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2015, 08:31:26 AM »
Can you keep the money in Canada somehow, so it doesn't get sent to Greece?

orestis

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Re: Greek resident with income coming from Canada - how to invest?
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2015, 02:20:13 PM »
Only if I open a Canadian bank account, which I think means I have to make an appointment and fly over there. I will plan to look into it the next time someone else pays for the trip, but I'm not spending 1k just to do this.

I'm not terribly worried about going to Drachma, but I'm planning to paying the mortgage off early, though the interest rate is so low (1.5%) that it makes little sense, as long as I can invest that money into some better performing asset... however given the situation best to not have much money around these days.

Eventually I'd have to move the money to where I spend it, and I'd still need to move at least half my paycheck here anyway so I could live! It's what I'm doing with the UK bank at the moment - but I'm not allowed to invest in shares since I'm not a UK resident. I've found though that there are online brokers that I could use such as Interactive Brokers and perhaps others. I'll have a closer look there.

forummm

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Re: Greek resident with income coming from Canada - how to invest?
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2015, 02:29:55 PM »
Only if I open a Canadian bank account, which I think means I have to make an appointment and fly over there. I will plan to look into it the next time someone else pays for the trip, but I'm not spending 1k just to do this.

I'm not terribly worried about going to Drachma, but I'm planning to paying the mortgage off early, though the interest rate is so low (1.5%) that it makes little sense, as long as I can invest that money into some better performing asset... however given the situation best to not have much money around these days.

Eventually I'd have to move the money to where I spend it, and I'd still need to move at least half my paycheck here anyway so I could live! It's what I'm doing with the UK bank at the moment - but I'm not allowed to invest in shares since I'm not a UK resident. I've found though that there are online brokers that I could use such as Interactive Brokers and perhaps others. I'll have a closer look there.

The mortgage is in Greece but denominated in Euros? Wow, that could be tough. If they convert your money to Drachmas, which rapidly get deflated, and you have to turn them into Euros each month, that will cost you.

orestis

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Re: Greek resident with income coming from Canada - how to invest?
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2015, 02:54:46 PM »
Thank you for your concerns - hopefully it won't come to that. Still, I'm not in that bad a position, since my salary is coming from Canada in CAD and gets converted into EUR, so even if Greece uses Drachma, I will still be paid in EUR.


beltim

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Re: Greek resident with income coming from Canada - how to invest?
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2015, 03:26:04 PM »
This is a fun one!  If a bank converted assets (i.e. deposit accounts) to drachmas, wouldn't they have to do the same to debts - i.e. mortgages?

And some possibly unrelated question: Given my freelance status, I pay taxes in an lump sum every year. This means I need to save away around 1500 EUR/month from October-August, and then give it all to the taxman on September. Does it make sense to invest that as well, and cash out when needed? Additionally, given that my salary looks stable but actually isn't, I like to keep a "rainy day" fund of around 5-7k EUR. Could that live also in shares, or should I keep it in a more easily accessible/stable account?

No, you shouldn't invest these amounts in shares.  Especially the money for taxes, since you know you'll need that every year.  Even though on average shares go up a fair bit in value, there are still a significant number of years that they decline.

forummm

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Re: Greek resident with income coming from Canada - how to invest?
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2015, 04:40:06 PM »
Thank you for your concerns - hopefully it won't come to that. Still, I'm not in that bad a position, since my salary is coming from Canada in CAD and gets converted into EUR, so even if Greece uses Drachma, I will still be paid in EUR.

OK, that's good! You might even benefit because the cost of living around you could drop fast.

K-ice

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Re: Greek resident with income coming from Canada - how to invest?
« Reply #9 on: July 31, 2015, 01:54:39 AM »
"Would it be worth my while to eventually open a bank account in Canada? "

I'm not sure. I am not sure non residents can open accounts so check before you fly over. Also, shop around if you do. It might be good to open one at a Canadian bank in CAD (obviously) but you can also have euro accounts here too.

TD bank offers euro accounts as well as Scotia. TD did some odd double convert with the Euro account so I think Scotia is better. The TD thing was so unbelievable I might of misunderstood.

me "So let's say I want to deposit into my account."
TD Bank "ok but first we will convert to CAD then back to ."
Me "but I have right here in my hand, what's the point of a account then?"
TD bank "that's just the way we do it."

Shop around lots. I don't know what bank is best for accessing your from your CAD bank but while in Greece.

The double account may give you more flexibility as to when and how much CAD you convert to .
But then you are really timing the market vs monthly dollar cost averaging.