Practical Road Map Through Financial Jungle: A Guide for Trainees, Students, and Young Professionals

Original title: Dein Wegweiser Durch Den Finanzdschungel: Ein Ratgeber für Auszubildende, Studierende und Berufseinsteigende

Category: Finance & Accounting

(101 von 100)

Why: Finance is complicated; I need a road map to achieve my financial goals.
Goal: Learn different options to finance my study in Germany.

Action: Get to know your options and compare.

Key Contents

  1. Grasp overview of your finance
  2. Make money during study is possible
  3. Get protected with essential insurances
  4. Understand your actual earning
  5. Tax reduction made easy
  6. Credits and when to use them
  7. Calculate your retirement plans


Pre-read material: Overview of what is available for international students, read “Financing Your Studies in Germany” by here.

This book will teach you how to realize your dream with a solid financial grip. So today, I explore this jungle to finance my life in Germany.

1. Manage in and out

To manage something, we need to measure them. Start bookkeeping! One money management method I find really cool is the “Envelope Deposit” Method.

So instead of separating all your income sources into 5 different accounts, put your cash into 5 extra envelopes with the title on them like Food, Clothing, Study, Travel, Party, etc.

As international students cannot open accounts in Germany easily, this can be a great option.

2. Get a student loan

Loan and scholarship are tricky, especially for foreigners, more so if you are non-EU like me. Below are something you can inform yourself about them now because it takes even for German 6 weeks to 6 months for the whole process.

Bafög for non-German: Recipients typically must have been resident in Germany for 5 years. But exceptions can be made for those with a strong prospect of remaining in Germany, such as those married to German spouses.

I collected some links to learn more in addition to information from the book below.

Bildungskredit: here
Aufstiegs-Bafög: here
Rollendes-Stipendium: here
More on student loans here.

3. Choose the right insurances

Instead of risking your life saving, you can pay a premium and get protected. The question is always which protection makes sense at its cost.

Anni & Vero have summarized so nicely that I could understand the German insurances in one reading session. IMPRESSIVE!

They suggested that we start with the 3 most essential insurances: Health insurance (Krankenversicherung), Liability insurance (Haftpflichtversicherung), and Disability insurance (Berufsunfähigkeitsversicherung).

As a foreigner, I finally understood the stake for choosing private health insurance over public ones and other valuable protection like liability insurance that costs ca. 5 euros per month!

It is advised that we use Verivox and Check24 to cross-check available service providers. The idea of checking deals is also something that has not been my habit before. Interesting!

4. Understand your actual salary

Same in others I lived in, what is said on the job opening is rather the salary before taxation (Brutto). What is left is called net salary (Netto). In this book, you will be introduced to standard taxes and social insurance contributions.

The key message is that we should keep in mind that our actual earning is less than it appears to be.

Tired of getting lost in a financial jungle? Get this book here!

5. Tax return is huge

It is known to be the case that tax filing takes German only ca. 45 minutes, once per year. And they save on average 1.000 euros in doing so. Good hourly pay indeed!

Anni & Vero went into great detail on what is classified as refundable and for how much. Without this basic information, I realize that I would have no motivation to consider the tax filing. Now, there are many reasons to do so.

There is also a special section explaining for professional trainees and students how to declare expenses during the study as a loss carryover (Verlustvortrag). With this, you can reduce a substantial tax of your first year working!

A key takeaway is to be conscious of basic tax laws and invest in a tax management program to help with documents.

More on the German Tax System is explained here.

6. Credit as a last resource

It is already hard to keep track when the money is not from your pocket and more challenging as it is not charged in real-time. Moreover, with various interest rates on the borrowed money, you should think hard before opting for this alternative payment.

Anni & Vero also went into the topics of short and long borrow periods in relationship with your earning potential and inflation. To point out also that your earning power in the future is mere speculation.

Moreover, I learned to check my own credit rating with a leading institute like SCHUFA here.

7. Prevention is better than aftercare

How do you plan your retirement? When and which how much in the account? These are not trivial questions.

The book, it focuses on the gap between total pension and pension needs. To accommodate this gap to your retirement wish and earning situation, we need to manage 3 sources of pension.

  • Legal pension
  • Company pension
  • Private pension

I must admit I need to re-read this more times, and even then, I just might get the hang of calculations.

HaHa, let’s all do our own work and read this book! Anni & Vero went in also in various options of investments that could help you achieve your dream retirement!

To sum up

  • Finance is rather complicated.
  • Finance in Germany is complicated.
  • Finance in Germany as a student is super complicated.
  • Finance in Germany as a foreign student is @#$% complicated.

The book’s title, “Finance Jungle,” speaks to me as I was lost in this same jungle. I hope you will also find the way through it with a road map given in this book by Ann-Kathrin and Veronica.

In my opinion, as a two-time master student and ex-Bosch employee in Germany, this book is a comprehensive financial guide for international people living here.

Plan it, so you can live it.

Goal check: I learned various options to finance my study and also German personal finance in general.

Wasu’s Review
( 5.0 / 5.0 )

Tired of getting lost in a financial jungle? Get this book here!