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Old 17.11.2015, 21:21
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Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

I have been here for 6 months and am finding the whole place a bit quiet. I had moved from Amsterdam, previously Dublin, so not exactly massive cities like London, etc.,. But even so, it is quite quiet around, the bars, restaurants, etc., are just lacking a bit of spark and energy. Is this normal or am I just depressed at all the fog!

And the cost of everything, even on a fairly decent salary, between 150-200k, the cost of longer-term living is considerable. I have read enough to know to not do a "can I survive above 120k" thread. BUT, primarily I am concerned about two things that put me off at the moment. This is not about rent or day to day costs.

1. The pension system: unless I buy back the missing years for when I was not living here, and invest long term into pillar three, I will end up with what is for Switzerland a pretty bad pension. Certainly not something that could afford an okay (I mean, CHF1500 a month) apartment some place and a normal life, near people and not in completely middle of nowhere.
- so it means the potential savings from low tax salary is either in a bank to replace this missing pension, or else it is in a pension itself, which simply does not add up when I look at the cost
- you need say 70k a year pension for two people. That is around e.g., 4.5k a month. Between rent and health insurance and groceries in the year 2040 in Switzerland, I can see CHF4.5k not lasting long.
- Alternatively, you could save a lot. E.g., 3k a month. Over e.g., 30 years it is CHF1.1 million. So, you could use that cash to be a pension of e.g., CHF4.5k/month for 20 years. At the same time as having the regular Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 it would work. You would die with nothing, but probably live okay.

2. Property: the alternative when a pension is not adequate, is to buy property. But, even on a decent salary on the surface, the cost of property that is okay to live long term, is simply not an option. Right now under CHF800k are exactly 8 properties on Comparis, with 3.5 rooms.

So my comment is, I find the city a bit quiet compared to Amsterdam and Dublin, but that said, it is a different place and a different culture which I can accept it with time. The second and more significant and longer term problem for me, is how do people plan for living here long term, as most property in the job region around Zürich is very expensive, and the alternative is putting the "spare" money into pure cash savings or as much into a Pillar 3 as possible. At 65, you must retire, and being non-Swiss, probably would have no ability financially to stay here after retirement and have to leave the country having lived for several decades here.

Any comments on this I would greatly appreciate. Maybe everyone here is on combined incomes of 400k and can afford a 4.5 room property investment as a pension, or have super duper pension schemes. Or, they move out of Zürich after retirement and go home, with a CHF pension that pays a good standard of living in your home country.

Add in kids, and the cost spirals, and the 3k a month savings would be much more difficult to sustain. So, I am wondering, what on earth are people doing, or am I simply too poor to stay, and are all of you the people driving the Lambos around Talackerstrasse on Saturday afternoons and not worried about all of this.
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Old 17.11.2015, 21:28
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

Well I can't answer about the city being quiet, not when I am revving up my 16 cylinder Veyron.
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Old 17.11.2015, 21:37
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

I knew it!!
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Old 17.11.2015, 22:08
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

People doesn't bother because they have first, second and third pillar and that's enough usually.
Now you have some missing years etc. etc. so you probably need to think about this unless you can cope with 5k a month which will definitely affect your lifestyle.

Start with this tool to calculate first pillar:
http://acor-avs.ch/Calc.php?lg=en#0
See how much you will have in your 2nd pillar and 3rd pillar and calculate how much you will get, for 2nd pillar conversion rate is now 6.8% but it may go down, 3rd pillar depends what you have.
Consider that in the future pension age may go up (maybe as a fixed percentage of life expectancy).

People often go to their bank and set up some kind of saving scheme to plan ahead, for the pension but also in general, you don't have to spend everything. There's not just property but investments in general. For example some people puts a few hundreds chf on a low risk postfinance fund just for the sake of it.
Btw with 15k a month i think u can manage to save 3k even with kids and still lead a luxurious lifestyle, are you seriously spending everything now?
If you are really worried go to a pension consultant of some kind, that's what rich people do
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Old 17.11.2015, 22:13
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

Welcome Peter. What you can "save" here for your pension is a LOT more than in any country I have worked in. Do you intend to retire here?

And there is quite a dutch community here (if you are dutch)
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Old 17.11.2015, 23:02
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

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the city
... is your problem.

Comparis may be finding only so much within Zürich at 800k for 3.5 rooms. Now lets extend this to 20 km around post code 8000: Whoops - 489 entries.

Your needs at old age will change (wide doors, ground floor/elevator/no stairs, seating shower, less space, more green than party), and possibly your desire to live "within" the city. Perhaps enjoy something around Engelberg (14), or Davos (16), or Lugano (93) or Basel (23) or Schaffhausen (48). Or across the border(s)? Or something smaller (kids out, little space = little maintenance?)

Generally speaking, the later in your working life you move to Switzerland, the more difficult, at _current exchange rates_ will it be to stay in Switzerland when not drawing sustainable income from employment or self-employment. There are ways ("Einkauf in Pensionskasse" - second pillar, paying into the third pillar), but, yes, it's save-save-save.

Keep in mind, though, that exchange rates are flexible. I talked to someone recently who had experienced CHF/EUR at 1.65 rather than 1.05 or so (as recently as end of 2007!). Once / if FX rates are back to 2007 levels, you will be so glad to have stashed away your EUR savings (or are drawing pension from an EUR country).

Or if (when?) the EUR dies (or GBP, or USD, or YourCurrency), that you have at least some CHF (in case the Swiss economy survived such an event).

I'd consider all of this at the very least as some kind of socio-physical hedge against FX, economical, and political risk. And, yes, having to move at old age into an area with low cost of living is, unfortunately, part of the game capitalist economies (no value judgement implied or expressed by using the term "capitalist")
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:09
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

Well I suspect like most foreigners I have absolutely no intention of staying once I become pensionable / unemployable. There's far nicer places in the world to spend your money than this dreary place.

Tired of getting ripped off from just about everything here except the salary. Accept it for what it is - smile take the money and run.
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:23
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

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There's far nicer places in the world to spend your money than this dreary place.
None that I can think of.

Tom
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:26
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

you need to get out more
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:28
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

If I were leading the sort of miserable life that you are having - I'd go now. There's obviously nothing for you here and we don't want you, just using us you are.
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:33
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

Dramatic conclusion just because I called the place dreary. I'm not leading a miserable life and find it very presumptious for you to say so. I can only assume that you yourself are leading a very miserable life and find comfort in the possibility that someone else maybe leading a more miserable life
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:42
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

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Well I suspect like most foreigners I have absolutely no intention of staying once I become pensionable / unemployable. There's far nicer places in the world to spend your money than this dreary place.

Tired of getting ripped off from just about everything here except the salary. Accept it for what it is - smile take the money and run.
I quite like it here and have no plans to leave, but you're right, at first googling I seem to be in the minority. According to a 2011 comparis survey (PDF) of foreigners who had lived here less than 5 years,

19% of respondents wanted to stay permanently
51% planned to leave (and a majority of these even said they planned to leave in the next five years)
29% said they had no set plans either way.

The survey found (rather unsurprisingly) that the longer respondents had already been in Switzerland, the more likely they were to want to stay permanently.

Note that respondents were a self-selected group and were pretty massively skewed toward a particular profile: EU native (and particularly German), adult, full-time employed. So it's hard to extrapolate from this survey to the general foreign population.


Some more reliable data can be obtained from the federal statistics office:
http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/d...nk/key/08.html
The ratio of foreigners immigrating to Switzerland and emigrating from Switzerland is consistently around 2:1 - conclusion: roughly half of foreigners who immigrate will emigrate again. Your "take the money and run" is a mainstream viewpoint but pretty neck-and-neck with my "stay and enjoy the mountains" one.
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:48
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

19% surprised its so high.


Hmm enjoying the mountains - each to his/her own
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:50
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

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19% surprised its so high.
Did you keep reading? The number who actually do stay permanently will blow your mind!
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:51
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

hah
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:57
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

st2lemans - 15000+ posts

So this is where all the action is ? englishforum is a real sin city isnt it?
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Old 23.11.2015, 18:58
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

the simple answer is don't retire in zurich. retire in a rural area. property is much cheaper there.

the even more simple answer is: don't retire in switzerland.

if you do want to retire in switzerland, then best start investing now because as you noted, it is very expensive to live here.
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Old 23.11.2015, 19:19
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

Forgive me if this sounds stupid, but can't a retiree get some sort of side-job?
Some small job, keep-an-eye-on-something job or some sort of helper.

Something just to add to his pension?
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Old 23.11.2015, 19:22
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

Use your imagine and I can think of something where you can do all 3 at the same time.
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Old 23.11.2015, 19:22
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Re: Finding things in Zurich a bit quiet, concerned about pension

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... is your problem.

Comparis may be finding only so much within Zürich at 800k for 3.5 rooms. Now lets extend this to 20 km around post code 8000: Whoops - 489 entries.

Your needs at old age will change (wide doors, ground floor/elevator/no stairs, seating shower, less space, more green than party), and possibly your desire to live "within" the city. Perhaps enjoy something around Engelberg (14), or Davos (16), or Lugano (93) or Basel (23) or Schaffhausen (48). Or across the border(s)? Or something smaller (kids out, little space = little maintenance?)

Generally speaking, the later in your working life you move to Switzerland, the more difficult, at _current exchange rates_ will it be to stay in Switzerland when not drawing sustainable income from employment or self-employment. There are ways ("Einkauf in Pensionskasse" - second pillar, paying into the third pillar), but, yes, it's save-save-save.

Keep in mind, though, that exchange rates are flexible. I talked to someone recently who had experienced CHF/EUR at 1.65 rather than 1.05 or so (as recently as end of 2007!). Once / if FX rates are back to 2007 levels, you will be so glad to have stashed away your EUR savings (or are drawing pension from an EUR country).

Or if (when?) the EUR dies (or GBP, or USD, or YourCurrency), that you have at least some CHF (in case the Swiss economy survived such an event).

I'd consider all of this at the very least as some kind of socio-physical hedge against FX, economical, and political risk. And, yes, having to move at old age into an area with low cost of living is, unfortunately, part of the game capitalist economies (no value judgement implied or expressed by using the term "capitalist")
I know it's trendy to think the the USD & GBP are trash v CHF & the CHF is always strong. If you look back 5 years you will see the CHF has almost exactly the same value against the USD / GBP as it did 5 years ago.
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