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  #101  
Old 29.04.2015, 22:57
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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You obviously have no idea how to live outside your little comfort zone nor any conception of monetary value as you Devore it all
Honestly, that just made my night. Well done mate.
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  #102  
Old 29.04.2015, 23:10
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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... I am trying to give the OP an honest answer to her question about what life may be like on her 150k budget by providing real breakdown of our actual living expenses
I think a breakdown of a real-life budget is the best way to help someone get a better idea of the costs related to living in CH. But in all fairness, a really big portion of your monthly budget (almost half after tax) goes towards expenses that aren't particular relevant to most people, and therefore gives a somewhat distorted picture of the actual cost of living here.

With the extraordinary expenses you have (travel, support of mother in law, education) - you'd honestly have to work for it (financially) to make the budget stretch, in any part of the world.
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  #103  
Old 29.04.2015, 23:10
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

Well, I think even whose who disagree must concede a little bit of jealousy for being able to save or at least spend wisely so much of a 200k salary.
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  #104  
Old 29.04.2015, 23:29
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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I think a breakdown of a real-life budget is the best way to help someone get a better idea of the costs related to living in CH. But in all fairness, a really big portion of your monthly budget (almost half after tax) goes towards expenses that aren't particular relevant to most people, and therefore gives a somewhat distorted picture of the actual cost of living here.

With the extraordinary expenses you have (travel, support of mother in law, education) - you'd honestly have to work for it (financially) to make the budget stretch, in any part of the world.
Honest question here, is it really so strange to be spending on education, saving for children's uni costs, or to support elderly relatives? Seems to me, that these would not be unusual circumstances for most people, am I that far off the mark? At least most other Americans I know are scared shitless that their children's college expenses will be a very hard hit to take in a decade or so. And everyone's got a poor mother-in-law somewhere, right?
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  #105  
Old 29.04.2015, 23:47
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Honest question here, is it really so strange to be spending on education, saving for children's uni costs, or to support elderly relatives? Seems to me, that these would not be unusual circumstances for most people, am I that far off the mark? At least most other Americans I know are scared shitless that their children's college expenses will be a very hard hit to take in a decade or so. And everyone's got a poor mother-in-law somewhere, right?
saving for your kids school is not strange at all :-) but spending CHF 2K per month on MBA's (or similar) is definately not for all. Supporting your mother-in-law is very nice of you - but hardly something "everone" does.
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  #106  
Old 29.04.2015, 23:52
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Honest question here, is it really so strange to be spending on education, saving for children's uni costs, or to support elderly relatives? Seems to me, that these would not be unusual circumstances for most people, am I that far off the mark? At least most other Americans I know are scared shitless that their children's college expenses will be a very hard hit to take in a decade or so. And everyone's got a poor mother-in-law somewhere, right?
IMO, it's not strange at all (as an American. I'd imagine for the Swiss it'd be a bit more strange - as Uni isn't as expensive and the inlaws have been hiding away stacks of francs in the sock drawer for their whole lives)

It's just that many people have these same expenses on a fraction of your income, but would never insinuate that they are just scraping by.

I'm not saying you're being self-pitiful about your own situation, but that it's far from the average for comparison purposes.
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  #107  
Old 29.04.2015, 23:55
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Honest question here, is it really so strange to be spending on education, saving for children's uni costs, or to support elderly relatives? Seems to me, that these would not be unusual circumstances for most people, am I that far off the mark? At least most other Americans I know are scared shitless that their children's college expenses will be a very hard hit to take in a decade or so. And everyone's got a poor mother-in-law somewhere, right?
The social net here takes care of a lot of these things...

If you stay here and your kids grow up here, you can send them to ETH or to some German university.
Much cheaper. A bit less prestigious, I admit. But a diploma from ETH or TU München is still worth something (I assume).

Usually, there are partner-universities around the world:

https://www.ethz.ch/en/the-eth-zuric...alliances.html

So they can still spend a semester or two abroad (if the grades allow it), without exorbitant fees.

Nothing wrong with saving up for them, though.
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  #108  
Old 29.04.2015, 23:56
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Well, I think even whose who disagree must concede a little bit of jealousy for being able to save or at least spend wisely so much of a 200k salary.
nope - it's exponentially harder to save an equal percentage of a much smaller salary.
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  #109  
Old 30.04.2015, 00:14
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Honest question here, is it really so strange to be spending on education, saving for children's uni costs, or to support elderly relatives? Seems to me, that these would not be unusual circumstances for most people, am I that far off the mark? At least most other Americans I know are scared shitless that their children's college expenses will be a very hard hit to take in a decade or so. And everyone's got a poor mother-in-law somewhere, right?


For me, at least, I think all those particular expenses are fine things to be doing with your money. Yes, wise and careful and even generous.


I'm sorry you have taken such a beating, in this thread, since I do believe that you genuinely set out trying to HELP Pinkpanter by sharing about your budget.


I think some people reacted sharply to you in particular because of your phrase "we usually are scraping the bottom of the coin basket by the end of every month", and you have now written again that "money is indeed tight at the end of every single month".


Such wording seems to indicate that you are somehow feeling desperate, that you're suffering, and that you think that you are really struggling, financially. And when those words of yours are set against the expenditures you list, of which many real-life others could only dream and may never be able to attain.... well, it's kinda hard to swallow.


Perhaps another way of looking at the same income and budget would have been something along these lines:
"We are fortunate enough to have a great income.
We choose not to spend it all on our living costs, and have decided instead, to live in a modest place and, whenever possible to eat at home and buy mostly second-hand clothing. Although we could easily afford to run two cars, we prefer to have only one small second-hand car. In fact, for years we used only public transport. We're sending our children to local schools, so we don't pay any private schoolfees. We don't starve and even have a part of our budget for eating out occasionally.


Because of our choice to keep our general monthly costs fairly low, we're able to pump a generous chunk of savings into an education fund for our children, both of us have sufficient funds for our own further education, and we are in the very happy position of being able to fly the whole family to visit our relations abroad, once and sometimes even twice a year. This is a great life, and I feel blessed!"


I think that it is not so much rank jealousy that has come crashing down on you, but for a large part a sadness (or anger) that your posts imply that you don't seem to realise how immensely fortunate you are, especially compared to the regular family Müller-Meier next door, and to many on this forum whose incomes are probably so much lower than yours.


For people whose income is a quarter of yours, "money tight at the end of each month" has a completely different meaning, like not knowing how to buy shoes for those growing feet, like not being able to the doctor in time because the "Selbstbehalt" is too much, like serving spaghetti and ketchup yet again, knowing that the children (and the adults) should be getting vegetables and protein.


Perhaps we're reading you wrongly.
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  #110  
Old 30.04.2015, 00:19
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Honest question here, is it really so strange to be spending on education, saving for children's uni costs, or to support elderly relatives? Seems to me, that these would not be unusual circumstances for most people, am I that far off the mark? At least most other Americans I know are scared shitless that their children's college expenses will be a very hard hit to take in a decade or so. And everyone's got a poor mother-in-law somewhere, right?
Nope.

I got by with student loans and scholarships, as did my sisters.

Paid off my loans before I was 30.

You could easily live the same life on half of what you earn.

Tom
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  #111  
Old 30.04.2015, 00:25
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

Yes, Tom, working during term-time and every vacation while studying, plus scholarships plus student loans, the latter all paid back asap by living frugally after graduating, did it for us, too. And yes, like you, I take a certain pride in having made it.

But to be fair, had I (like Imdevore's children) had rich parents who saved up thousands every year for my education, I'd probably have preferred that easier ride, at the time, and would not have ended up exhausted by the time I graduated.

And were I (like Imdevore) to have small children and a big income, I'd most likely stash away a chunk each month, too, wisely, to provide for my children's education.
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  #112  
Old 30.04.2015, 00:30
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Yes, Tom, working during term-time and every vacation while studying, plus scholarships plus student loans, the latter all paid back asap by living frugally after graduating, did it for us, too. And yes, like you, I take a certain pride in having made it.
And, it builds character.

Also, I never would have become such a great mechanic if I had been able to pay someone else to do the work.

Lastly, being a mechanic paid 5x what I previously made at McD's, and thus reduced my work load.

Tom
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  #113  
Old 30.04.2015, 00:55
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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nope - it's exponentially harder to save an equal percentage of a much smaller salary.
I don't deny that.
If you have the right mindset, it's probably just a matter of transferring most money to a savings-account (or to multiple accounts) at the beginning of each month.
But I know a few people who'd have a real problem looking at that kind of money on their accounts each month and not doing anything with it (that is: spending it on some luxury).

That salary is of course, also out of my league - but I talk to our cleaners at work sometimes (a couple from Serbia). They are scraping the bottom of the coin basket. They certainly don't book a 5500 CHF family holiday in Dubai, like my co-worker just did.
But they still try to support relatives back home in Serbia.

Rich people and poor people share the same fear: getting poorer.
As such, from a psychological point of view, I can understand her.
Of course, objectively, those 200k catapult them into the top 5%, if not top 2% of the working population and so there isn't really anything to complain about:

http://www.bfs.admin.ch/bfs/portal/d...erteilung.html

(data is from 2010, assuming a 5% increase every year would rank those 200k today at 156-ish in 2010, if I calculated correctly)

So, both of you, while you can't retire at 40 with either salary, it's enough to pack a bottle of nice wine to the picnic and enjoy a nice day at the lake (when it's sunny again), relaxing for a moment and knowing that you achieved what thousands and thousands of people in Europe can only dream of achieving.
;-)
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  #114  
Old 30.04.2015, 01:24
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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nope - it's exponentially harder to save an equal percentage of a much smaller salary.
Indeed, I am on under 100k, and would not say I am scrapping by, I am quite comfortable. Of course I don't have any savings because I live to my means. And, lets be honest, I think most people do live to their means.

My breakdown is
1500 rent
600 health insurance
100 excess on insurence
800 childcare
200 communication and tv
100 transport
1000 food and household (including my bought lunch but not my child's)
200 german lessons
100 child activities
100 transport for child to see father
500 repayment of loans in UK
200 for trips/holidays


Anyway, comfortable life there on less that 5k, I often don't have much at the end of the month (so no savings) but I would say that at least 10% of the above is not essential.
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  #115  
Old 30.04.2015, 01:37
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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I am trying to give the OP an honest answer to her question about what life may be like on her 150k budget by providing real breakdown of our actual living expenses on a salary of 200k, and explaining that for our family (with our, in my opinion, fairly reasonable and sound expenses) money is indeed tight at the end of every single month.
That's because you invest in your education and save for your children's future education, consistently help m-i-l (btw, do I sense some bitterness here?), but these expenses are not relevant to other people (specifically the MBA and m-i-l's allowance). If they choose to stay here or go back home their kids edu will be incomparably cheaper.
I tend to agree with J.Marple, it should be "livin' la vida loca" under common circumstances/budgeting...your case it's not really relevant for the purpose of comparison.
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  #116  
Old 30.04.2015, 01:44
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

Here's another (admittedly extreme) perspective:

Lets say your family of 4 earns 200k/year, or 50k a year for each person.

50,000/365 = 137 CHF/per person/day

Half of the global population lives on less than 2$ a day

137/2 = 68.5. So you each have 68.5 times more money to live on, or more, than half of the global population. With only one person working.

In other words, a family of four could each work their whole lives and earn less than your husband earns in one year alone.

I'm friends with a family in Nicaragua that built their own house, after digging their own clay and pressing and firing their own bricks. They saved money to send one of the daughters to learn how to be a seamstress, so they don't have to buy clothes any more. They grow all of their own food, but can't afford to eat it all - it's the only income source, so all of the avocados go to market and they eat plantains 3 times a day. They collect all the firewood they need for cooking, sleep in the same room, and have no electricity. Candles are a luxury.

They're the nicest, happiest, most generous people i'll probably ever meet - but they are representative of the general population.

And you say money's tight?

Our society sickens me sometimes
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  #117  
Old 30.04.2015, 02:05
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Please don't drop me into this little category of wealthy people who have no concept of reality. Since when is trying to provide a college education for yourself and your children, or working to support elderly relatives considered frivolous? (the travel, I won't fight you on that one, only to say it is very important to me to connect the children with their grandmother and cousins at least once a year, and worth extra scrimping) The reason we are able to do these things and save this money is because we lead a far from extravagant lifestyle and do watch the bottom line very closely. We have a small 3.5 room apt in a modest apartment in a rather low-rent neighborhood (as far as Zurich is concerned). We buy cheap or second-hand clothing, and only when needed. We rarely eat out of the house. The children go to local school. We own a used Nissan that we bought last year (after 12 years of using only public transport) so that we could see a bit more of Europe on our budget. Now, I am certainly not crying 'woe is me, we're so poor', but I am trying to give the OP an honest answer to her question about what life may be like on her 150k budget by providing real breakdown of our actual living expenses on a salary of 200k, and explaining that for our family (with our, in my opinion, fairly reasonable and sound expenses) money is indeed tight at the end of every single month.
Good for you lmdevore! Balanced post and elegant reply. Yes, you may have some personal circumstances (like the MBA and in-laws support) that may not apply to the OP, but I don't think it's unusual to budget for trips abroad to see family and/or educational savings. After all, the OP is asking about lifestyle before moving to CH - for me, part of a decent lifestyle, is the ability to travel and see my family on a regular basis. If I am not going to be able to do that with my future income in the place I am considering moving to, I'm not even going to bother with a move across the world.

Also, the OP is not coming from a desperate situation in a war-ridden country that she's trying to escape from - he/she has choices, let's put that in perspective when thinking of whether the move will have a tangible positive impact on the OP's lifestyle.

Going back to lmdevore's post, another thing to consider, if he/she is American, is the nice chunk of money to be paid to Uncle Sam on top of whatever he/she pays to CH. Some/many of you don't have to deal with that, but for us lucky ones, no nice effective tax rate in the low teens, I am afraid.

Now, that made/makes me feel like I am barely scraping the bottom sometimes

EDIT: whatever half the global population is earning, while interesting to know, has absolutely 0 relevance or influence in my decision to potentially, completely change my lifestyle and move my family across the world.
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  #118  
Old 30.04.2015, 02:33
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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EDIT: whatever half the global population is earning, while interesting to know, has absolutely 0 relevance or influence in my decision to potentially, completely change my lifestyle and move my family across the world.
I repeat: our society sickens me sometimes
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Old 30.04.2015, 02:50
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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I repeat: our society sickens me sometimes
Suppose I am the OP and I am in Ireland, living a comfortable life, but I am considering the opportunity to move to Switzerland.

Honest question: please explain to me how the decision to pick up and uproot my whole family, changing my job, potentially losing an income (in case of an accompanying spouse), having no/little family support and dealing with a foreign language, yet exploring a new array of opportunities in a new country and desiring to live comfortably economically VS. staying where I am is in any way dependent on the income of half the global population.
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  #120  
Old 30.04.2015, 03:19
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Suppose I am the OP and I am in Ireland, living a comfortable life, but I am considering the opportunity to move to Switzerland.

Honest question: please explain to me how the decision to pick up and uproot my whole family, changing my job, potentially losing an income (in case of an accompanying spouse), having no/little family support and dealing with a foreign language, yet exploring a new array of opportunities in a new country and desiring to live comfortably economically VS. staying where I am is in any way dependent on the income of half the global population.
BokerTov, I like your honest question.
Of course, we don't know all of Pinkpanter's and Imdevore's (or anyone else's) motivations. Some folk, however, may base their choice (if they have one, as Pinkpanter does) on, for example, how much comfort they want to maintain for themselves and what else they can do, besides that, with their money.


Honest answer: some people specifically want to use some of their disposable income precisely to ameliorate something of the life's circumstances of at least some of the other half of the global population. And some want to teach their children that particular kind of social responsibility.


That's not meant tritely, nor moralistically, when I write that. See, for example, the many appeals for donations to help the earthquake victims. Or the hard work done within - and money spent on - all sorts of world-improving, well-digging, clinic-building, schoool-funding projects.
Some folk give out of their surplus-after-luxuries (and that is great that they bother), others seriously choose to give out of their surplus-before-luxuries. Those latter truly do want to know something about how the rest of the world population (or even just the rest of the people around them) are getting by.


I know an IT specialist working in Switzerland, for example, (admittedly he is single, no kids) who, like Imdevore, prefers to keep his basic monthly costs well below what his salary could allow. When really pushed to explain why on his income he chooses to live in a mere studio flat, he will finally reply very quietly, after he has said that he is happy that way, that it suffices for his needs, that he feels content there: "Oh, this way I have more to give away."
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