Returning to our original purpose for this blog – giving info and advice on investing as a single person who wants to do it herself.
But first some background:
On Saturday, I spent the entire day inside the apartment. My social life consisted of waving to a couple of friendly neighbors from my kitchen window. This apartment has many large windows – all double-paned with heavy roll-down shades on the outside which can be raised or lowered using a clever mechanism inside.
The rain has started and it’s around 45-50 degrees during the day, but that’s not why I stayed in.
You see, on Friday I spent the better part of the day trying to open a bank account – first in Zofingen, then in Zurich. A very discouraging, and eventually, fruitless effort.
The word I had from one of the opera tour participants in Italy, a German banker who looked like upper-middle management, if not higher, that Swiss banks were refusing to take American clients, has turned out to be true. Period. No exceptions.
Close to tears (can you believe it?), I rushed out of the last bank I’d tried at the end of the famous Bahnhofstrasse, and headed back to the train station. I decided to fill up on my drug of choice – books.
On my way down the street, I had noticed a store named “English books.” I got only two, feeling proud of my self-control, but ignoring the fact that I had gotten two more in Zofingen a couple of days earlier.
As I continued on toward the station, I looked at the many non-Swiss people, dressed in gorgeous clothing and fabulous shoes, appropriate to the street we were on, and thought bitterly and morosely, “They can all open bank accounts here. Not me.”
“And who does it hurt? This fixation/desire to ‘punish’ Swiss banks by extracting huge fines and imposing onerous regulations by the impoverished, but not admitting it, U.S. government? Not the non-Swiss. Not the Swiss. They are all doing fine. Just Americans. Just me. Poor me.”
You can read all about the good and sufficient reason the US govt thinks it has to do this, but I’m done – too frustrated to proceed. If you want to know all about it, Google it. There’s tons there.
Investment lesson 1. Act quickly. Once you have actionable information, do it and do it now. I knew more than a year ago that this circus was going on, but foolishly thought I could wait until my planned trip. The trip should have come sooner.
Investment lesson 2. There are ways to deal with the problem, even if not your first choice. I am currently reviewing my options.