5 things that frustrate people with investing


If you think that investing is tedious, exhausting and frustrating, you are not alone. Financial jargon, small-print and complicated products make life particularly difficult – for both, those who are just starting to invest and those who are doing it themselves.

We've shared similar thoughs with LKZ and Sonntagsblick (in German).  

We asked 300 young adults, aged 26–35:

"What frustrates you the most when it comes to investing money?"

Top 5
  1. Banker lingo
  2. Hidden costs
  3. No time
  4. Standardized and boring products
  5. Bad online experience
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1. Banker lingo


Selma survey: 4 out of 10 said that financial jargon intimidates them and is the main reason why they are not investing.


What is an ETF? Why should I worry about Liquidity, TER, Commodities, Alpha, SmartBeta, Replicating or Hedge? 🙄

Terms like these, far from everyday life, provide plenty of headaches.

40% of people who replied to our frustration survey said that banker jargon is the main frustration factor It can be intimidated to a point where it holds people back from even thinking of starting with investing. Complicated language makes investing seem as an experts-only field with a very high entry barrier. However, behind those complicated terms are logical concepts which are useful and mostly easy to explain.

Banker-Jargon and other difficult terms make investing already difficult before I even start.
— a quote from Selma frustration survey

2. Hidden fees


Every month we receive specific invoices with clear breakdowns: electricity bill, internet, telephone... But have you ever received a simple and clear invoice from your bank?


Clarity with fees is a very important point. There are many more or less hidden fees with investing that will directly affect your returns. Such fees are for example:

  • Subscription fee
  • Transaction costs
  • Product return fees
  • Management fee
  • Custodian costs
  • Exit-fee, kickbacks, taxes, service fees and so on...

In the end, nobody really knows how much the investment will cost. Not even the bankers themself.

Fees disappear mysteriously and automatically from the account – or even directly from the fund. Here is an overview of how costs affect your investment.

While in every restaurant, kiosk and an online shop a detailed breakdown for your bill is a standard and mandatory thing to provide, the banks are usually unclear about their costs. Especially those who are used to do things online are frustrated by this practice and call for 100% transparency.

The fees are very difficult to understand and in the end nobody really can tell me how much I have to pay.
— a quote from Selma frustration survey

3. No time


Time is money! But how much time do you take to do something smart with it? If you are a DIY investor, usually too much.

Investing takes time

We spend more than 40+ hours a week to earn our money, but do not take the time to make smart things with it. On the other hand, if you skip the regular bank offers, do-it-yourself investing can take a big chunk of your free time. 

There are definitely more fun things to do, then sitting in front of the computer screen and following markets.
— a quote from Selma frustration survey

Most of the DIY investors know how much effort investing can demand.

Once the investment jargon jungle has been cleared, investment opportunities have been put together and the suitable strategy has been found – the biggest job is just about to begin.

Managing investments means things like:

  • investing
  • selling
  • monitoring risks
  • saving monthly
  • keeping costs under control
  • rebalancing...

And the greater the fortune, the greater the complexity. For many, investing becomes an involuntary second job.


4. Nothing from the shelf, thanks!


"XY"'s Balanced Fonds? Hmm, I'll pass...


Impersonal investment products (to blindly achieve the allegedly highest return) are no longer a top reason to invest. Rather, with their investments, most people want to express their ideas, values and beliefs.

How do I invest into Startups, Bitcoin and VR?!
— a quote from Selma frustration survey

Each of us is in a different spot

Perhaps you're looking to put money aside for a house or maybe just for a rainy day.

Maybe you're single, a parent, a cat owner, divorced... Maybe you are a tenant or a real estate owner. An employee, expat, entrepreneur, or freelancer...

With all these variables, should everyone invest alike?

Particularly with small assets, there is no easy possibility to express your wishes with investing. An exception is doing everything yourself, since the tailored investments are only available for those who invest from 500'000 CHF up.


5. Bad online experience


Movies… Netflix, Books… Kindle, Investing… ???


Have you ever opened an account with an investment broker?

Common online investment platforms tend to target the pro-level users. Never has there been more possibilities to invest your money online.

But for "first-tier" investors getting started is difficult, 95% of the features remain unused and usually you need more than one operating manual – everything just looks and feels very complicated; it's hard to know where to start. Especially for the Netflix-generation, services like Uber, Tinder, Google & co have set new standards how we do things online. And also how we want to invest our money.

Currently investing is not really inviting and exciting.
— a quote from Selma frustration survey

Our top learnings


Investing should be an easy and accessible thing to do – for everyone 👋


Making money causes a lot of frustration. 

It is complicated and mysterious. Investing should an easy, common thing that anyone, regardless their level of knowledge, should do without spending much time. This requires: 

  1. Honesty and clear language instead of financial jargon
    Financial jargon and complex products create artificial hurdles. Everyone should understand what's happening.

  2. 100% Transparent fees

  3. Individually tailored investments that fit person's financial life

  4. Do-it-together, rather than do-it-yourself

  5. Empathy and caring ❤️


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