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OPINION! Financial expert Stefanie Kühn: "If you want to be independent, you have to understand your investments"

“If you don't want to be dependent on bank advisors, you have to learn to understand your financial investments yourself”: In an interview, financial expert and author Stefanie Kühn talks about the logic of the financial crisis, the individuality of financial investments and the desire to own your own assets.

Stefanie Kühn is a Certified Financial Planner and has been advising clients independently on a fee basis with her companyPrivate Finanzplanung Kühn eK. Stefanie Kühn is one of the “Financial Advisers of the Year” for the magazine “Euro Finances”, including one of the “Top 1999 Financial Advisors” in Germany. Stefanie Kühn has written several guides, including Serene in the future or A man is not a fortune.

Frau Kühn, all seem to be surprised by the financial crisis. Was not that really clear?

The crisis itself does not surprise me, but the extent of the crisis does. I see the beginning of the global crisis in the summer of 2007 when the US real estate market completely collapsed.

When IKB Deutsche Industriebank almost went bankrupt as a result, it became clear that this was about more than a US-specific problem. And since the beginning of 2008 at the latest, extreme caution had to be exercised: This was when the long-term upward trends broke and put an end to the years of steadily rising share prices.

These were in fact clear signs. Why was there little of caution?

Anyone who was still optimistic about their purpose at the end of 2007 should no longer call themselves a “stock market guru”. And the “experts”, who saw the time to enter the stock market in the DAX between 2008 and 6.500 points in the spring of 7.000, were more likely to have an eye on their sales.

The withholding tax was approaching and before that, real sales should be made with the sale of funds of funds and Co. However, there was no positive news for a real turnaround.

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There will always be the ups and downs on the stock markets. What is the best way to behave?

I advise every investor to acquire enough knowledge for himself to be able to decide for himself which equity quota will let him sleep peacefully. Only those who understand their investments can keep control of their money. And some people would then perhaps rather part with a product than a bank advisor thinks.

It is not called “personal” willingness to take risks for nothing. There is no magic formula that just comes from a few crosses on a form. Rather, it is important to find out about your own attitudes towards risk and money clear to become. This also includes clear rules for an exit: If you lose x%, it's over. And these rules just have to suit you.

So far, so clear. But the stock market is probably synonymous in less turbulent times not really what faint nerves, right?

Anyone who cannot deal with the usual fluctuations on the stock market is simply better off with a fixed-term deposit. If that's more in line with his personality, that's not boring, it's perfectly fine.

Meine Mandanten sind oft richtig befreit, wenn sie erkennen, dass sie keine Aktien kaufen müssen, um ihre finanziellen objectives zu erreichen. Und das Schönste für mich dabei ist: Sie kommen ganz von allein drauf!

Times of hand on the heart: when it comes to money, we all want our best ... What makes your advice different from that of a bank?

Banks and most independent financial service providers live from the commissions they receive once when they sell their financial products and then as so-called portfolio commissions. I do not broker any financial products, but advise independently. Similar to lawyers or management consultants, clients pay a fixed hourly rate.

In return, they have the certainty that I am really optimizing their finances, not my commission. I also advise clients against systems that do not suit them. And of course from those who do not understand. After all, “bold” investors take their finances into their own hands. This usually saves you a lot of money, despite the fee.

What is the core of the “Kühn strategy for financial independence” that you describe in your current book?

It's neither about getting as rich as possible, nor using more or less secret tricks to amass the first million euros as quickly as possible. Rather, I have repeatedly seen that almost every client has their own ideas about financial independence.

From this experience I have developed a scenario technique and show the reader which individual investment strategies fit their ideas. However, everyone is responsible for the success of the strategy - “taking care of yourself makes you rich” is my motto here.

Many people are currently very concerned about retirement provisions under the heading “Do you want to cry now or later?” to treat. Most don't want either ...

Of course not. That is why I urgently advise you to start thinking about tomorrow today. Of course, it sounds great to only want to take care of your hobbies at the age of 55. Very few, however, make it clear what financial reserves are necessary for this. Anyone who wants to maintain their current standard of living in 20 years' time will need almost double that due to inflation alone.

However, his income increases only moderately or not at all. So if you want to stop working earlier, you now have to worry all the more intensely about your financial cushion. This is the only way that everyone can see what is feasible and what is not. If you are disappointed by the result, you can now take countermeasures and set the financial course - or set yourself more realistic goals.

Pretty sobering. Does money not only affect the friendship, but also the fun?

On the contrary! Everyone is happy when they have achieved something. Why shouldn't that be the case with money? You just have to deal with it. Anyone who earns the first increases in value or interest with “their” investment usually wants “more of it” on their own.

I have clients who really tasted blood. And of course I am also happy to see that more and more people prefer to take their financial fate into their own hands: In the summer of 2007, around six new clients came to me every month. Today there are more than twice as many.

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4 responses to “OPINION! Financial expert Stefanie Kühn: “If you want to be independent, you have to understand your investments” ”

  1. Emerson Muenchov says:

    I studied one or two training courses as a mechanic, industrial master and then engineering science in automation engineering. Previously, as a mechanic, I was constantly passed around by time companies, among others in companies in Airbus or Phillipps. And 2 years after graduation I worked as an engineer in development and did an extra qualification in SP programming. Which approach would you recommend to me now?

  2. Simone Janson says:

    Thank you, I am pleased with the praise!

  3. Christiane says:

    The contribution I find great! When it comes to finance, it is really essential to think ahead and to check how and where you want to invest your money! Unfortunately, you often do not have enough time for a consultation and is not fully informed about your investment. As Ms Kühn already says, it is very important that you understand your investment!

  4. Association of German Banks takes an important step to improve investor protection »Article» Investments and financial investments - Blog says:

    […] In March of this year the Ministry of Consumers reacted and published a checklist for a consultation on investment issues - and thus put the banking association under indirect pressure. That it now [...]

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