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I've read in several sources that once you have a certain amount of money it makes sense to invest it, rather than putting it in a savings account. Which makes sense since taxation on investments can be a little more lenient, and the possible returns can be a little higher (at the cost of some risk).

I've been thinking of investing around 10.000e in short term bonds (netherlands, norway, around 2Y). The interest is a little higher than my savings account (which only carries a 1.75% interest), and the risk of lending to these countries is not that high. Is there a commonly accepted strategy for doing such a thing?

I have a pretty decent understanding of the stock market (worked as a trader for 2 years), but would still like some further information on how people usually approach something like this. Any sources or recommended information?

An important detail: I am a citizen of the european union (netherlands), so please tailor your answer to european citizens as much as possible (I don't have access to things like a 401k etc.).

  • I'm not sure what bonds you're looking at with a return of better than 1.75%. 1-year and 5-year Netherlands government bonds currently have yields that are essentially zero, paying no interest at all. And Norwegian bonds have yields under 1%. – Mike Scott Mar 17 '15 at 7:24
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One strategy that is frequently recommended as you make the transition from 'emergency savings' to "i have enough, now i'd like to start investing for some growth" is the concept of staggering investment maturities.

The idea is to put your money into securities that will mature at different times. This will impact the yield you obtain, and allow you to have access to some of the money at a set time period as the different investments mature.

It can be done with any type of investment with a fixed maturity. Commonly, it is done with 'certificates of deposit', or 'savings certificates'. (I checked... banks like ABN AMRO, and ING offer these in the Netherlands). The same principles apply for something like bonds.

In a basic set up, you would take your 10K Euro, split it into five 2K Euro blocks, and invest one 2K chunk into a 2 year security, and one into a 5 year security with higher yield.

Then, wait 3 months and invest the next (3rd) 2K Euro amount into the 2 year security. Wait 3 more months and invest the next (4th) 2K Euro into the 2 year security. Wait 3 more months and invest the final (5th) 2K Euro into the 2 year security.

There are other ways to build this out... google something like 'staggering certificates of deposit' for lots more explanations of it. The key is to develop a cycle of securities that are maturing in the amount you might need.

A quick warning... with a bond instead of a savings certificate the interest rate will be much higher for the same time period. But, you won't have the same ability for immediate withdrawal from a government bond, if you need the money. You may be able to sell the security to someone, but if interest rates go up you would end up taking a serious hit to your investment to recover the balance.

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  • Thanks for the detailed answer. The reason I was asking about bonds specifically is because certificates of deposit offer a lower interest (for up to 5Y at least) than a common savings account. So it is not really a smart investment in the Netherlands. That is why I was looking at bonds. It's just that I've forgotten a lot of what I have learned about them.. – user6973 Nov 22 '13 at 12:22

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