Would like some advice in savings management while working abroad (EU-Hungary-Norway) : eupersonalfinance

Hi guys,

So my situation is as follows:

I am a Hungarian citizen working in Norway. I made the move for career and income reasons, I do not intend to stay for longer than 3 years, as I am mainly using this opportunity to boost my CV and increase my future earning potential. While I do have more disposable income than I had in Hungary, due to the extreme cost of living in Oslo, it is only about an 50% increase – considering that I made 3 times less in Hungary, while not insignificant, it is not all that much more either.

I do not intend on moving back to Hungary for work in the near future, but once I have gathered experience here I intend on moving somewhere with a better income/cost-of-living ratio in order to maximise savings and investments.

My assets are:

EUR ETFs at a Hungarian broker:

These are on a special account where capital gains have 0% tax as long as I hold for 5 years, the catch is that I need to have lost Norwegian tax residency status by the time I sell, due to the tax agreement between the two countries means that I would have to pay capital gains tax in Norway regardless despite having that type of Hungarian account.

My options here are:

  • Sell while I still have Hungarian tax residence, but then I have to pay 15% capital gains as the 5 years are not up yet
  • Keep holding for as long as possible – broker has no monthly fees and I can renew the 5 year period forever basically. But as far as I understand Norway does have taxes on unrealised gains for some insane reason, so this might not be ideal. Though the amount I might not be high enough that I can just get away with not reporting it.

HUF at a Hungarian bank:

I want to terminate this account ASAP, as it has relatively high fees for just storing cash on, not to mention that HUF is not a very safe currency to keep my money in.

My options here are:

  • Convert to EUR and find a place where I can park it for cheap
  • Buy Hungarian bonds – avoids the currently horrible EURHUF rate, but also might be taxable in Norway for just having them appreciate. Low interest, but it is very easy to get cash back out anytime.

EUR on Transferwise:

I’m not yet eligible for a Norwegian bank account so temporarily receiving my salary in EUR until I am done with EEA registration paperwork – takes months to get an appointment due to covid at the moment. This is my day-to-day spending account now.

All of the above total up to less than 20k EUR, so we’re not talking about an insane amount of money here.

I will be opening up a Norwegian bank account as soon as I can since the main portion of my current spending is NOK, so I don’t want to lose out on conversion fees. As I do not intend to stay in Norway for a very significant amount of time I do not wish to convert everything I have to NOK and store it there.

Financial goals:

  • Minimise fees and taxes and currency depreciation on what I own
  • Keep an emergency fund and some easily accessible cash that I will use on a long vacation once we can all travel safely again.
  • Once the above is satisfied, I want to put the rest in low-risk investment instruments since I can’t rely on getting proper state pensions with a life like this
  • I have no idea which country I will decide to settle down in the end – might even end up outside of the EU. I need to find some options to do this in a way to minimise moving and converting money around. I don’t suppose there’s some magic online bank operating in all of EEA where I can just park money?

I know these are mostly minor issues and not very significant amounts, but if you guys have the time and the knowledge, I’d appreciate some advice. Also please correct me if I’m being very dumb about some stuff above.

Thank you for reading.

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