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Guest Blogs

Knowitall.ch often invites local experts in their field to contribute to their own blogs on our site. This means not only you will benefit from the useful recommendations that we make on our News pages, but you can also profit from some of the great advice and tips that these experts have to make on their favorite subjects. Whilst each of these bloggers has been recommended to us at some point during the evolution of Know-it-all passport and  knowitall.ch, obviously we are not able to test out all the suggestions they make on their blogs, nor do we necessarily agree with all their opinions.  So if you do find one of their tips useful (or not!), do let us know!

To make these blogs more accessible to you, we have now decided to group them altogether in one section, entitled Guest Blogs, accessible from our main menu bar.  We will also post the most recent blogs on the home page of our site in the right hand column.

We are still building up this area of the site, and are looking for bloggers in a number of sections, including Your Home, Travel, and Leisure, so if you feel you have a useful contribution to make in either of these areas, and have the time to submit blog entries approximately every month, then please get in touch!

10. New years resolutions

Picture: By Glen Carrie on Unsplash

By Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

Twenty twenty. Time for your New year’s resolutions. Want to lose 5kgs or quit smoking? More exercise, more reading, less stress? The lists are long, and…they are the same every year, aren’t they? How many times have you firmly decided it was time to stop procrastinating or get in shape, sleep better or reduce your screen time? Usually we manage to keep it up for about two or three weeks. And then the good intentions vanish, we magically seem to forget about them. Or let’s say they settle on the back seat of our brain and pop up only on rare occasions. We see them, get a little upset…and continue driving.

Why is that? Well, because most of the times we write a wish list without thinking it through. Our desires are vague, sometimes unrealistic. We forget to create a plan and have no system to actually integrate them in our lives. Most of the times, a New Year’s resolution comes with a change of mindset or habit which is not as easy to implement and maintain as we think. And unless you are a superhero, a goal or task that is not planned for has little chance to be executed. When we sit in a car without a map or someone else telling us when to turn left or right, we will not reach our destination either. Here are my tips to make it happen:

Why why why?

Take some quality time and reflect upon your 2020 objectives. Write them down and ask yourself: Why? Why do I want to lose weight? To avoid health problems? To be more appreciated by my husband? To make a better impression at work? The more you understand about your real motivations, the bigger the chance you will actually get there.

liz soldhouse

By Liz Forest, www.emf-management.com

It has been ages since I put pen to paper and for good reason; in short, we have spent half the year in the throes of selling our home.

Well actually—the house was signed away in an instant but the months leading up to actual signature were chock-a-bloc full of list-writing and countless trips to the déchetterie, box packing and multiple celebrations in the name of the 13 glorious years we spent as owners of a truly lovely home.

Anyway, in the aftermath of the pack out and settling in, I thought useful to share three of the lessons we learned in the process.

What You Will Owe to the Tax People
As the saying goes, the only certainties in life are death and taxes. In Switzerland, you have 30 short days from the moment you sign away your home to report your sale and capital gain, if any, to the tax authorities. Capital gain is calculated as the difference between your sales price and your original purchase price, adjusted for certain expenses and any value-added transformations you made to the property while you owned it.

There is good reason to take this 30-day deadline seriously. The notary, during the final sales signature meeting, will hold back 5% of the sale price as a guarantee to the tax office of your eventual tax obligation. For the average seller, this amount can greatly exceed any capital gain liability. By making the deadline, you get your place in the queue for processing, which in Nyon District currently amounts to about 4-5 months, and you thus have the opportunity to claim back any/all of the hold back.

In the Canton of Vaud for example, the capital gain tax rate varies between 7% and 30% depending upon the length of time you have owned and lived in the property. Years in which you are resident count as double, meaning that 12 years of owner-occupied housing allow you to reach the lowest marginal tax rate of 7%. On the other hand, if you were to buy and sell in the first year of ownership, you could owe a whopping 30% on any capital gain realised. The Swiss authorities use this sharply digressive scale to discourage anyone from considering short-term house flipping (or more complex real estate speculation).

However, one very important caveat. You are allowed to “adjust” the net gain by certain eligible expenses (e.g., realtor and notary fees) including if you have made and can prove value-added investments over the course of ownership. Think adding on a garage or a winter garden. Generally these qualified expenses are not related to maintenance or renovation (like retiling your master bath), which you would have already deducted on your annual income tax return. In fact, no previously-reported deductions are allowed to be reported to offset the capital gain.

1.businesswoman

By Melitta Campbell, www.melittacampbell.com

It’s no surprise that at this time of year we hear a lot about business planning, and setting goals and intentions for the year ahead.
But what does it really mean, to set goals?
How do you go about turning your vague ideas into crystal-clear intentions?
And where do you even start with your business planning?

When it comes to planning what you want to achieve in your business in 2020 – and life in general for that matter – wishes are not enough; you need to take action. No matter where you are in your business, you need a clear plan for taking action to turn your dreams into reality.

Fail to plan, and you plan to fail
Have you heard that phrase before? I love its simplicity and its truth.

You see, I’ve learned that the formula for success is actually quite simple:

  • have a clearly defined and inspiring goal
  • create a plan for how you will achieve that goal
  • detail and schedule the activities you need to carry out
  • take consistent action to complete those activities.

But so often I see people start with a rough idea of what they want to do but not move any further ahead. They never fully flesh out their goal or take the time to plan and schedule what needs to be done.

diversity and even a man

By Claire Doole, Claire Doole Communications

November 2019 blog

Guests in the peace lounge

In presentation training we refer to STAR moments - something that the audience will always remember. Normally, this is something that is unusual or surprising such as Bill Gates making jokes and opening a jar of mosquitos to infect the audience at his TED talk on the need for more investment in combating malaria.

procrastinationphoto

Photo by Pedro da Silva on Unsplash 

By Anna Lascols, Organizing Geneva

Margaret Thatcher said: « Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan ». Sounds easy. But what if we plan the hell out of our work…and then get stuck?

All of a sudden, there is a white wall in front of us with no door. The project seems too complex anyways. And we will probably fail. It can probably wait a bit. And then something else comes up that looks much more urgent, and interesting, and fun. Like a Facebook ad leading us to an event invite and a blog article like this one… as soon as we look up, three hours are gone and our plan did not work out. Excuses and distractions are ubiquitous and very easy to find. Procrastination is the name of the game.

Yes, your project can wait. And there is enough interesting information out there to keep you busy and excited for the next couple of years. And you will master the situation last minute if needed. Yet, how do you feel after procrastinating? Probably frustrated and exhausted to find excuses and justify your delay. Tired from rescheduling, starting again, never having a free mind.

So what are the actual causes of procrastination? Why does our brain stop us from working our plan? There are technical reasons like the project is actually too complex or we over-estimate the time the task takes. But most of the time, the causes are psychological. Often, we are afraid of failing or succeeding and prefer to stop before heading off into the unknown. Or we are the perfectionist kind and cannot move on unless the tasks are completed to our full satisfaction. Sometimes the underlying reason behind that is actually a lack of self-confidence and a need to prove that we are perfect.

Now, think about the benefits of not procrastinating. If you get your unpleasant tasks out of the way and work your plan, you will be able to reduce your stress and frustrations and enjoy much more free or me-time. Imagine the difference between the kid whose mother has been yelling after for three hours because he kept procrastinating on his homework and the kid who had three hours of free time to play with his mates…