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I just started earning a comfortable surplus for the cost of living of Poland.

I have around 700 Euros every month of this surplus and I read that investing in index tracking funds has the higher and somewhat safer return of investment.

What I want to know is if there is a way for me to keep investing this surplus every month in an index tracking fund, and if so, are these vehicles generally available to an European Union citizen?

The starting amount available would be around 2000 Euros.

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    Not too sure why people advise you to invest in ETFs as they are considered to be much more expensive than Index funds, until you have around $100k in investments, you are better off with index funds. Check if Vanguard operates in Poland. They are the cheapest on the planet at the moment and the yearly fee is 0.2% + index fund fees. Find the cheapest index fund you can. I invest in 2 index funds with the cost of 0.06% ongoing fee. All investing books will tell you to buy the cheapest and the broadest index funds possible. – matewilk Dec 4 '18 at 12:29
  • @matewilk Vanguard, in particular, seems to operate in 17 of 27 EU countries atm and in a for-institutional investors capacity in many of them. – Leon Dec 4 '18 at 13:22
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European here.

First you have to decide if you want to invest at a bank or a broker. In most cases (at least for me), a broker will have lower fees than a bank but this is something you need to look at yourself as it depends on what country you're in.

But any bank, or broker, will most likely have access to index funds or ETFs. You can automatically deposit money in your brokerage (or bank account) and buy from there. Any automated investion options might be available depending on broker/bank (for example, automatically investing a monthly value in a certain fund / stock).

You will have to read up on the taxes in your specific country though, as this will impact the choice of funds or index ETFs. For example, I live in Belgium, and there is a 30% withholding tax on dividends, not taking into account the taxes from stocks from other countries. For example, if I hold a U.S. stock that pays a dividend, I first have to pay (e.g.) 15% taxes on that dividend to the U.S. (they are just deducted at the source), and then another 30% in Belgium. There's not much of that dividend left for me!

So, in this specific scenario, instead of buying ETFs or funds that distribute a dividend (called "distributing" shares or funds), it is much more interesting to buy those that reinvest the dividends at the source (called "accumulating") because I would lose about 40% when I would get that dividend and reinvest it myself.

Again, this is heavily dependent on the country you live in.

On top of that, not every fund or ETF will be available to you. When I started investing, I was very interested in some specific Vangaurd ETFs but they are no longer available in Europe to buy due to EU regulations. So, to conclude, I would say the following:

  1. Compare brokers and banks in your country (or even international). I went for a broker that only has fixed transaction fees when buying shares, whereas my bank would take a small % every year. The broker ended up being much cheaper (and there were a couple of 100 other reasons).
  2. Figure out your tax situation. For me, Belgium specifically, I figured I shouldn't invest in ETFs that were 'distributing' (gives me dividends), but focus on ETFs that don't distribute dividends and reinvest it themselves ('accumulating').
  3. After figuring out which types of Funds or ETFs (or shares?) you'd want to buy, go to your chosen bank or broker's platform and see if you actually have access to some of these products or not. There's no need to think about investing in a particular thing if it isn't available in your country or Europe to begin with. Perhaps some ETFs or Funds are available only at specific brokers or banks, and you might need to go back to #1.

That's about all the tips I can give you. You just have to figure out what kind of investor you are. I personally prefer lower management fees and I won't touch my investments for 40 years (i'm still young). This naturally led me to buying the same ETF monthly that tracks an index. In the future I will only buy every couple of months to even reduce the (very low) broker fees of buying ETFs, but that's pretty much it for me. I figured out this is the path I wanted to take before I invested in anything. Of course, this might all change in the future, as we all keep growing and changing as human beings.

Hope this helps you find your way.

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Yes, you can. I am in the US so it's only slightly different, but Vanguard provides the ability for European investors to buy into index funds. Were I you, I would grab a Total Market Index Fund. I don't know much about taxes in Europe, but the lack of fees in Total Market Index Funds make it consistently one of the best options, and considering Vanguard invented the public index fund, you can't go wrong. Hopefully this helps!

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There are mutual fund with low entry requirements, that allow buying shares in very small increments, like 1 Euro. You should ask the banks in your area to find out if they have something like that. It is likely that you can find a fund that has similar performance to the index.

Also, many ETFs cost $150 or less for a share, so you could also buy those.

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I may sound like a broken record at this point but there's nothing that beats the efficiency (fee wise) and flexibility given to you by robo-advisors when it comes to investing in financial products. They offer ETFs, bonds that you can mix and match to your particular risk profile and you gain access to products spread in all continents. In regards to the fees, they are especially low even with a low starting monthly capital like in your case with an average T.E.R of 0.12% and a 0.48% fee on AUM under £25,000, or 0.29% over £25,000 for the below.

The one I personally use and would recommend as its one of the only being available in most EU countries instead of country specific would be ETFMatic.

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    Robo-advisors is a reap off! 0.48% + ETF fees is a super high cost. I am with Fidelity and I pay 0.25% + 0.06% for index funds and I consider 0.25% to be expensive as Vanguard is offering 0.2% fee. Multiply it by number of years and invested amount and it costs you thousands. The lower the cost the better, fees are one of the factors that eat your gains. – matewilk Dec 4 '18 at 12:24
  • @matewilk I think to compare your USA based experience for USA based funds a bit unfair. To my knowledge, there is no alternative offering accessible to EU retail with a better fee and also such a wide coverage (anything from SE Asia bonds to mainstream S&P 500 ETFs) that also accept starting capitals of as low as a couple hundred euros. Obviously, if there's such a thing I would be very happy to learn about it! – Leon Dec 4 '18 at 13:09
  • Another thing to note on the above is that for that difference in fee you re also buying access into their algorithms creating a suitable portfolio to your risk profile, capital, and goals which is also very important and which importance cannot be discounted for most users. – Leon Dec 4 '18 at 13:14

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