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  #81  
Old 26.01.2011, 22:21
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

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It really bugs me when people ask, "is such and such a salary enough to live off"
So I started putting together an idiots guide to working out your cost of living.


This is where I am up to, give me suggestions and I will update this original post and then hopefully we can stop having to answer questions from people who only want to eat cavier and drive around in Aston Martins.



August 2010

How to calculate if your salary will be enough for you to live comfortably in Switzerland


1. Tax
Put your salary into a tax calculator, Comparis have a good one.
http://en.comparis.ch/steuern/steuer...vergleich.aspx (NOTE: This is best used to compare taxation between cantons, not as a definitive tax calculator)

If you live in Zurich you can use their official calculator
http://www.estv2.admin.ch/e/dienstleistungen/steuerrechner/2010/zh.htm
For other Kantons look here
http://www.estv2.admin.ch/e/dienstle...uerrechner.htm

Alternatively this calculator is pretty accurate.
http://www.accurity.ch/revenueestimate/

Also for Zurich (I live here) are the tax rates of the different Gemeindes
http://www.steueramt.zh.ch/html/steu...euerfuesse.htm

As an ex-pat you will pay Quellensteuer, which means tax at source. Your tax will come straight out of your monthly salary and is made up of Kantonal tax (e.g. Zurich) and Gemeinde tax (e.g. Thalwil)
Roughly speaking the amount of tax you will pay will be between 10-15% of your earnings.

(Note: If you earn over 120,000 chf you will pay Quellensteuer and will also have to fill out a tax form, go here for help filling out the tax form,
How to do your tax return Kt ZH)


As an example lets take a salary of 100,000 and I am living in Zurich.
I am married, no religious denomination, have 2 kids and I am the sole earner.

As you can see the amount of tax you pay varies massively even across the Kanton of Zurich, but if I lived in Thalwil I would pay 11,451 chf per year.
Leaving me a total of 88,549 chf.



Tariff tables for Quellensteuer in Zurich
Single (Tariff A): http://www.steueramt.zh.ch/html/steu...if_a_QSt08.pdf

married one earner(Tariff B): http://www.steueramt.zh.ch/html/steu...if_b_QSt08.pdf

married two earners(Tariff C): http://www.steueramt.zh.ch/html/steu...if_c_QSt08.pdf


NOTE:
It has been pointed out that the different tax calculators give different results. calculating tax in Switzerland is tricky because every village can set it's own tax levels.
Go here for a "clearer" explanation
Cost of living - help needed to get it right

****************


2. Other taxes

AHV - Alters- und Hinterlassenenversicherung - pension 1st pillar. 5.15%.
ALV - Arbeitslosenversicherung - unemployment insurance, 1% up to 10500/month.
BFG - Berufliche Vorsorge(Gesetz), pension 2nd pillar. 2% – 11%.Swiss pensions consolidated summary
UVG - Unfallversicherung, accident insurance. 1.533%. (If not paid by your company)
KTG - Krankentaggeldversicherung, icome insurance in case of sickness. 1.07%. (If not covered by your company)

3rd Pillar - This isn't compulsory but you will probably want to invest money here
See this thread for a full discussion.
3rd Pillar Pension Fund


****************


3. Insurances
Health Insurance is the real biggy here and largely depends on what you want.
Again use comparis
http://en.comparis.ch/Krankenkassen/...ieeingabeseite

Accident cover is usually provided by your company. That means if you are out skiing and you break your leg your company insurance will pay. Read your contract to find out if you are covered.

The other thing to know is deductable rates
If costs for medical treatment, hospital treatment or medication occur, then the policyholder must first cover some of these costs. This first contribution is known as the deductible rate. Only if the costs exceed the agreed deductible rate, will the health insurance company contribute to further costs.

If you pick a rate of 1500 chf, you pay up until the medical cost goes above 1500 chf. (That is the basic explanation) The lower your deductible rate the more you pay per month for insurance.

As an example I pay 202chf a month for my insurance. Which from my remaining 88,549chf salary leaves me with.
202*12 = 2424
88549 – 2424 = 86125

If you are married your other half will also have to pay health insurance (and women pay slightly more than men)
So 86125 - 2424 = 83701

Children typically are insured for around 70-90Chf a month and they don't pay deductables, you just pay 80% (IIRC) of every general medical bill.


Next go here
http://www.comparis.ch/hausrat-versi...ngsnehmer.aspx
And work out the house insurance and your 3rd party liability insurance. These are not compulsory ( I don’t think) but you should probably have them.

All in all expect to lose about 27-35% of your salary to tax and Insurance.
So from our 100,000 chf salary expect to actually take home about 75,000 - 70,000 chf



****************


4. Rent
http://www.homegate.ch/homegate/rent...ault&a=default
Goto homegate and put in the house details and the area you would like to live in.

For Zurich as a guide:
1 room– 500chf + per month
2 room– around 1500chf per month
3.5 room – 2000 – 2500chf per month
4.5+ - 3000chf+ per month
A house – 4000chf+


See this thread for a discussion on number of rooms in comparison to number of bedrooms
How are rooms/pieces counted in home adverts?
These are rough figures for Zurich and vary on how close you want to be to public transport or if you want to live on the Gold Coast.

****************


5. Food and living costs
http://www.coopathome.ch
Go to the online coop shop and work out your weekly shop.
As a rough guide.

Milk – 1.40
Halbweiss /500g – 1.15chf
Chicken Breast /340g – 11.75chf
Shower Gel – 3.90
Pasta /500g – 2.80
Bananas /4-6 – 3.00
Carrots /500g – 3.00
Cornflakes /375g – 2.95
Beef Steak /150g – 12.40

As a general rule meat is expensive.


Easting out
Drinks
English Pub - 1/2 litre draft beer= 9chf
Terrasse - beer (bottle) = 8chf
Bauschatzli - beer (bottle) = 5-6chf

Average/cheap restaurant
Tiffins - beer = 6chf, main = 20-25chf
Pizza Places - beer = 6chf, main = 15-20chf, salad = 8chf

100chf for a dinner for 2 including drinks is not unusual.

****************


6. Public Transport
Swiss public transport is excellent, however you need to be aware it is expensive unless you buy the correct tickets.

For Zurich go here
http://www.zvv.ch/en/tickets/tickets...ces/index.html

2 Zones in Zurich for 1 adult costs for 1 year = 693chf

Halbtax – At the minimum travel card I would recommend is a halbtax
There is a discussion about it here.
http://www.englishforum.ch/daily-life/683-swiss-mystery-2-half-tax-card.html
Basically all your tickets are half price.

http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/reisemarkt/...te/halbtax.htm
It costs 150chf for a year.

General Abonement (GA)
This allows you to use any public transport anywhere in Switzerland. It’s a bargain if you travel a lot.
http://mct.sbb.ch/mct/en/reisemarkt/...abo-preise.htm



****************


7. Additional Costs
Go here for mobile phone charges
Cost of living - help needed to get it right


Internet/Television/telephone
Your 2 main choices are
http://www.cablecom.ch/en/ (currently 75chf for all 3) this is a cable connection
or
http://en.swisscom.ch/ this is a ADSL connection.


Television/Radio Licence.
http://www.billag.ch/web.html
You need to pay Billag, see below thread for more information.
Do I have to get a TV licence from Billag?
You pay per household and it is roughly 120CHf.


Thank you so much for gathering this information and posting it. It will help immensely. My husband is traveling their this weekend to discuss salary and find an area to live. This information will help give us some idea of what is needed and what questions to ask. We have two small children as well, and I hope to place them in a school where they will be happy. Change is always a little hard on the kids. Thanks again, Shannon
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  #82  
Old 29.01.2011, 18:04
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

The original post is a pretty good guess - if you live in Zurich. Other areas are less expensive, in particular when it comes to rent. In Glarus you might pay ~CHF1000 for a 3.5 BR apt. But then your salary might also be less.
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  #83  
Old 29.04.2011, 11:26
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

This Thread on ' How to survive in Basel on the cheap ' has some excellent tips and links in it.
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  #84  
Old 01.05.2011, 14:46
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

I have found this website which compares prices around the world. It looks to be very comprehensive.

What surprised me was the differences between cities in Switzerland! I never realised that H&M, Macdonalds
and others have different prices!

There is a +70.83 % difference in a summer dress between Bern and Lausanne !

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living...y2=Switzerland

.

Last edited by Ittigen; 01.05.2011 at 15:30.
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  #85  
Old 01.05.2011, 15:01
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

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I have found this website which compares prices around the world. It looks to be very comprehensive.

What surprised me was the differences between cities in Switzerland! I never realised that H&M, Macdonalds and others have different prices!
Thanks, that's interesting.
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  #86  
Old 01.05.2011, 15:25
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

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I have found this website which compares prices around the world. It looks to be very comprehensive.

What surprised me was the differences between cities in Switzerland! I never realised that H&M, Macdonalds and others have different prices!

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living...y2=Switzerland
Yeah, that's fairly common. Starbucks at the Geneva airport, for example, costs more than Starbucks at Central in Zürich. In the US, you'll find 3 or 4 different prices for the same cup of coffee over a distance of 30 miles, as you move further out from a given city center.

Rents are cheaper further out for businesses too.
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  #87  
Old 26.11.2011, 09:19
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Cost of Living comparison sites

I've found the following one:
http://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living

Been searching the forum and I recall there being a lot more but can't seem to find them. Would appreciate if people could post their links in this thread (perhaps make it a sticky?).

Looking for sites which give a clear quantified indication of COLA different between cities in europe vs. switzerland and within switzerland. E.g. Zurich is 50% more expensive in terms of COLA than Munich.
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Old 26.11.2011, 09:23
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Re: Cost of Living comparison sites

I saw somebody else indicating:
non-CH salary x 135% x FX rate = logical CH salary

That seems like a reasonable rule of thumb but obviously it'll be very different depending on city you are coming from / going to. Having a good list of source sites may then help narrow it down in individual cases (and help with negotiations...)

thx
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Old 26.11.2011, 09:30
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Re: Cost of Living comparison sites

Found this useful UBS doc here on EF, forgot where though

Page 8 contains high level comp between cities

More sources = better armed vs. HR!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf P+L_0601_e[1].pdf (1.44 MB, 448 views)
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Old 26.11.2011, 09:37
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Re: Cost of Living comparison sites

Purchasing Power Parity data from OECD
http://www.oecd.org/document/47/0,33..._1_1_1,00.html

Probably a basket of sources should give a good direction.

According to the first source i posted, COLA adjustment would have to be 80% from where I live now!!! That seems very high to me. Few friends of mine moved Munich-Geneva and got a 40% increase before applying FX rate. That sounds more directionally right.
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  #91  
Old 26.11.2011, 11:27
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Re: Cost of Living comparison sites

It really surprises me that folk have learned to get to a destination by typing a place name in a GPS device and cannot type 'cost of living' in the simple search on EF and come up with all the threads already on here on this subject, including the Sticky Thread!

Edit: This thread, with several other helpful ones, is within a Multi-Sticky called, oddly enough

Sticky: General Info / Cost of living / Consequences of Unpaid Bills / EF Library
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Old 26.11.2011, 11:55
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Re: Cost of Living comparison sites

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It really surprises me that folk have learned to get to a destination by typing a place name in a GPS device and cannot type 'cost of living' in the simple search on EF and come up with all the threads already on here on this subject, including the Sticky Thread!

Edit: This thread, with several other helpful ones, is within a Multi-Sticky called, oddly enough

Sticky: General Info / Cost of living / Consequences of Unpaid Bills / EF Library

Even more suprising is that a lot of this folk praises itself about being a high qualified academic and about getting wages over CHF 120'000.
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  #93  
Old 24.12.2012, 21:58
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

ASA Consultants target mostly an Australian audience, but offers a very simplified calculator that compares any two popular cities:

URL
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cost-living-help-needed-get-right-asacolcalc.jpg  
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  #94  
Old 02.01.2013, 18:58
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

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ASA Consultants target mostly an Australian audience, but offers a very simplified calculator that compares any two popular cities:

URL
I wouldnt rely on it as its conversion rate on Switzerland to Australia is pretty flawed to think you could drop by 30% to move to a place with costs mostly in line with switzerland is wrong. More likely you will need a pay rise to move to Australia in order to maintain lifestyle
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  #95  
Old 01.05.2013, 12:51
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

Another Thread (May 2013) with more information on the subject.
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  #96  
Old 01.10.2013, 11:14
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

Amazing Compilation!!!Great Job!
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  #97  
Old 19.05.2016, 09:10
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Re: Cost of living - help needed to get it right

This website has up to date figures and more importantly you can compare prices between cities, between London and Basel, or New York and Zurich,

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living...atchComparison
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