I often write on Quora.com, where I am the most viewed writer on financial matters, with over 292.9 million views in recent years.
In the answers below I focused on the following topics and issues:
- What is the most expat friendly bank in Germany in an ever-changing digital world? I give my take about who I would pick if I ever moved to Germany.
- What advice would I have given myself twenty years ago.
- The Chinese Government is now cracking down on some private educational institutes, after going after “big tech” and Jack Ma recently. What is going on, and does this mean that you should stay away from Chinese stocks?
- What are some of the best online platforms for jobs?
- Will more companies see Africa as a growth area?
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What is the most expat friendly bank in Germany?
I have never lived in Germany, but I can speak about something which is true almost globally.
I would strongly recommend that any expat has a globally-relevant and portable bank account.
I am speaking about using firms like:
- Wise/Transferwise and the borderless account
- Any other digital bank which operates under a similar principle.
The reasons are simple
- They are faster and more convenient to use than the traditional players. If you already have a Wise account, you can just open up a Euro account in Germany in seconds online
- Faster to use
- If you travel, the exchange rates are close to zero.
- You don’t have to close it down if you leave the country.
- There is more transparency compared to traditional banks
I wouldn’t care about irrelevant things like banking licenses and other things people mention to feel some kind of fake security.
Even if you use a traditional bank, it is best to use a firm which is used to dealing with expats, like Standard Bank International, rather than one of the very localised options.
The same is true when it comes to investments. Best to always have a portable, global investment which isn’t too localised.
That means you can just take it with you if you move from country to country.
What advice would you give yourself 20 years ago?
Some of the main ones would be
- There is a big world out there. Don’t just take whatever your teachers, or people close to you, say as gospel.
- Likewise, when you get into the workforce, be respectful of people who have much more experience than you at 21–22, but don’t take what they say as gospel. Many people get into bad habits over time and even if they don’t, they are in their comfort zone. Try to do things different and break some of those industry norms. It is more profitable and enjoyable than being like everybody else and getting normal results
- Take care of your health even when you don’t need to in your 20s. This doesn’t mean being ultra healthy. A balance is required, but basic things like god posture and exercise can be good habits to get into.
- Read as much as possible in your free time and consider university to be the start of the learning process, not the end.
- Take as many calculated risks as possible, as young as possible, when you can afford to take them. However, be very careful about “black swan risks” – those unlikely events which could ruin you.
- Invest from a young age. Even tiny amounts from a part time job add up.
- Spend time with older family members because they won’t be there one day.
- Spend as much time traveling, living overseas and learning as possible, and as little time as possible in the comfort zone. Few good things happen there.
- Production comes before perfection. If you wait for the perfect moment to get the perfect strategy, then you will never get started.
- Actions and execution is what counts, not ideas.
- Most people have big dreams when they are young. These dreams are encouraged by adults. Then people are told to be realistic in their teens and early twenties and encouraged to play it safe. The best way to regain some of the vigour of youth is to scale your ambitions if you start to achieve some success. Don’t rest once some success has been achieved.
- Be yourself. Don’t try to make others like you. If you do that, you will naturally attract people who you can be friends with.
- Focus on managing time are two of the keys to success in any part of life.
- Following on from the last point, whilst it is a mistake to overspend, spending more money on time can often pay off.
- Get good at something first before starting your own business. Ideally get a job before you start a new business unless you truly have a unique idea which you can execute properly.
- School and university isn’t real life. Don’t worry so much if you do well or badly.
- Trust your basic instincts. They are usually right.
- Work hard, but focus even more on smart work.
Why do China stocks tumble in ‘panic selling’ amid broad crackdown?
Well it is an unusual situation. You have a one party state which has incredible power, which also appears to be going down the wrong path in terms of investors rights.
As I have said many times before, Chinese stocks look cheap and “a good deal” compared to many markets, but markets aren’t stupid even if they aren’t always efficient.
The risk is priced in. The Shanghai Composite did well in the 1990s and until 2006, when a different administration was ruling the country.
They have struggled even since. In recent days, we have discovered one reason why they are struggling.
After a good 2020 and a solid start to 2021 (the market was up for the year in early June) the government announced a crackdown on many private education companies.
First they cracked down on this man and his IPO:
Now they are cracking down on firms like this:
And for that matter, any firms that do an IPO on the US and other international stock markets.
Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t overplay this at this point because:
- The Shanghai Composite is up on a year again (July 2020).
- It is up about 30% on December 2018 lows.
- It is down less than 10% in the last few days. That isn’t even a correction, never mind a crash. A correction is usually 10% or more
- These huge upward and downward swings are normal in this market. It is a very different market to say the S&P500 or Dow Jones, even though volatility is a part of all markets.
- There will be some bargain hunters in the market. So, the market might recover the losses soon, who knows.
However, what has happened in the last week and for that matter few months, does illustrate the risks of buying Chinese stocks – even those who do an IPO internationally.
For that matter, it shows the dangers of doing business in China for firms in general.
I was speaking to a friend today, who like me, used to live in China.
He told me how one of his friends, who owns a private education company which has been caught up in this crackdown, has been given a few months to pivot or face closure.
Ironically, apparently he runs a YouTube channel where he claims he is just as free in China as a business owner as he would be in most other places.
That might have been the case (in some industries at least) in the 1990s and 2000s, but seems it isn’t like that anymore.
An increasing number of people will be concerned about investing in Chinese stocks, and especially starting a business locally, otherwise there could be a new crackdown!
I still wouldn’t worry about Chinese stocks being on MSCI World though.
They are such a relatively small percentage of the index that investors need not worry.
A bigger allocation is more of a worry though, as one day there could be a crackdown that is much larger in scale.
Unlike other markets, we can’t be confident Chinese stocks will “always recover” due to the unique dynamic.
The following answers appeared on the adamfayed.com Quora space.
I think things are slowly changing. More and more businesses are seeing at least some of the countries in the continent as opportunities.
I explained this here:
Since the video was made, I have done more and more remote business in Africa.
Whilst this is anecdotal, I don’t think that the media has helped with the narrative around Africa.
In the 1990s and even as recently as 2007–2008, most of the world’s poor lived in China and India.
Yet I can’t remember seeing charities during this time urging people to give ‘just two pounds a month to help India and China’.
To the contrary, the narrative was about opportunities in manufacturing from trading with a place like China.
In comparison, these adverts asking for help were very common for Africa. Most of these charities meant well, but aid doesn’t matter as well as trade.
Trade is good for both sides in most cases and makes the pie bigger for rich, middle and poor countries alike, and results in training and learning in some cases.
Therefore, there needs to be more focus on the opportunities and not just ‘help’ from the media.
I wouldn’t think in these terms because:
- Nobody can predict when stocks will crash
- Long-term stock markets go up
- Markets come back from crashes
- Those who worry about crashes, usually lose the most long-term as the quote below says:
Look at last year. Almost 100% of people I know fell into three categories:
- They predicted the crash. They didn’t invest for this reason and stayed in cash.
- They weren’t thinking about investing, and so it was irrelevant what they thought.
- They didn’t predict the crash and kept investing.
Guess which group won out? Just like 2008, group number three. Group two stayed in cash like always.
Group one waited for markets to go even lower, and they didn’t, and they missed out on the big increase.
So, don’t worry about crashes or rises. Just be long-term and you will be fine.
I am not an expert on this but I would give one piece of advice – I would stick to what you are good at.
Start with Upwork, Fiverr and Freelancer as they have the most jobs available, in many industries.
Most people won’t play the long game. If you are willing to do this, then you have an advantage.
Bid low, do a good job, get a good review and then bid higher for future jobs.
However, it can be good to use profession-specific platforms. For example, if you are a teacher, you will make more using a teaching online platform.
Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?
Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 292.9 million answers views on Quora.com and a widely sold book on Amazon
In the article below, taken directly from my online Quora answers, I spoke about the following issues and subjects:
- How does citizenship by economic investment profit you financially? Is it only about tax or something bigger?
- Is gold a good investment these days?
- How can a teacher living overseas build up a six figure income?
- How does a person achieve “total” financial independence, and is it even possible?
- Do I personally own Chinese stocks, directly or indirectly?
To read more click on the link below.