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  #121  
Old 30.04.2015, 03:29
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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...
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.
Actually, I think that the figures Imdavore has supplied are very relevant, and useful.

Anyone who does not intend to plough as much into education and travel, or who does not have relatives to support, can just subtract those budget items from Imdavore's list, and then see, based on her figures, what kind of budget they would need for monthly living costs similar to hers.

Had someone, for example, given figures for her rent, medical, broadband, etc. and also written that she goes parachute jumping every weekend, for which she budgets Fr. 4000 per month, then all the other figures would still be useful. Similarly for anyone who supplied figures for the basics, but wrote that he also needs to budget Fr. 3000 a month for costs arising from complications through his disability. Anyone without a similarly expensive sport, or with no disability, could just subtract those items to get something closer to their own intended budget.
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  #122  
Old 30.04.2015, 04:56
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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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.
I agree 100% with the sentiment, but... this consideration still does not affect my decision to move or stay and what it's worth to me - which is what this thread is about.

Maybe it's just a poor/unclear choice of word on my part, but what I mean (and I meant) by that is: I don't have to move across the world to improve the world. I can live in my home country and donate part of my income for better purposes, or I can move to Switzerland and do the same. Now, if the person is someone who does not do that in his/her home country, I doubt they'd consider doing that in Switzerland. Vice versa, someone who is willing/able/happy to donate, would do so regardless of the place where they are at and their income. If you think about it, it's a similar concept to spending/savings: someone who is a saver will save whether they earn $1 or $1 million, just proportionally. The people I know who say they are unable to save because cost of living is too high/they earn too little are usually the ones who are still unable to save when their income is double and their expenses cut in half. It's a question of mentality, really.

Still, no sight of the correlation between choosing a particular place to move to, and caring about "your neighbor".
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  #123  
Old 30.04.2015, 05:15
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

Actually, BokerTov, there is a correlation.
Take other people I know, a married couple with three children, who live in Switzerland although they would prefer to live in Canada or Australia (they know both and had concrete job offers and permits for both).
For them, the amount of disposible income they would have, after covering the basics without luxuries, was a central factor in comparing the countries and in choosing to live in Switzerland, precisely so they could support developmental aid projects. That is what they do, that's what's important to them (like the hypothetical parachuter in my previous post) and it is what they can afford to do (like Imdavore who is able to cover education, travel and to support of a relative).


Besides them, I hazard a guess that many foreigners living in Switzerland, like the Serbian cleaners rainer_d mentioned above, and a Turkish family I know, continue to work and earn in Switzerland (though they might prefer to go home) precisely because their few disposible Francs are (or at least were) worth more when they send them to the relatives "back home" than the few Euro would be, were they to scrape out their existence somewhere else in Euroland.
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  #124  
Old 30.04.2015, 07:34
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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If you think about it, it's a similar concept to spending/savings: someone who is a saver will save whether they earn $1 or $1 million, just proportionally. The people I know who say they are unable to save because cost of living is too high/they earn too little are usually the ones who are still unable to save when their income is double and their expenses cut in half. It's a question of mentality, really.
People earning $1 will not be able to save proportionally the same as those earning $1M. Same as lower earners pay proportionally more in taxes and bills (everyone pays the same rate of vAT and billag).

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  #125  
Old 30.04.2015, 08:19
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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If you think about it, it's a similar concept to spending/savings: someone who is a saver will save whether they earn $1 or $1 million, just proportionally. The people I know who say they are unable to save because cost of living is too high/they earn too little are usually the ones who are still unable to save when their income is double and their expenses cut in half. It's a question of mentality, really.
.
Not really, I have never been a saver before living in Switzerland and have lived in different countries. I've always been OK financially in the sense that I don't feel like I didn't have or couldn't afford what I needed or wanted, but saving wasn't one of my top priorities.
I think my mentality or saving&spending behaviour has changed a lot, not least due to the fact that there's more available income and hence it's easier to save up. (of course age, family plans etc are other determining factors)
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  #126  
Old 30.04.2015, 08:42
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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I repeat: our society sickens me sometimes
Yes. Everything we earn should be distributed equally.
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  #127  
Old 30.04.2015, 09:11
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Yes. Everything we earn should be distributed equally.


If you want to look at things in such a black and white fashion, let's turn your rationale around...

Cancel all social services - Schooling only for those who can afford it. No more social welfare/ RAV/unemployment benefits. No more subsidized public transportation. Private bodyguards instead of a police department. Justice system? Bah... Fire departments will extinguish your house only if you can pay up front., etc. etc.

We could get rid of gov't altogether! No more taxes, because jungle law will suffice.

What a wonderful world it will be


Sorry to derail your thread, OP - but like others have said you'll do just fine on 150k a year.
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  #128  
Old 30.04.2015, 12:31
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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?
lmdevore, I thank you for sharing your particular situation and salute you for your conscious income management. There is nothing wrong in saving for whatever goal it is and investing in education is the most intelligent spending someone can have. Never mind the critiques here, people who haven't been educated on the importance of savings will never understand it and will still laugh on those who do it.
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  #129  
Old 30.04.2015, 15:07
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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If you want to look at things in such a black and white fashion, let's turn your rationale around...

Cancel all social services - Schooling only for those who can afford it. No more social welfare/ RAV/unemployment benefits. No more subsidized public transportation. Private bodyguards instead of a police department. Justice system? Bah... Fire departments will extinguish your house only if you can pay up front., etc. etc.

We could get rid of gov't altogether! No more taxes, because jungle law will suffice.

What a wonderful world it will be

.
Maybe not, but electric fence suppliers and brick layers will prosper...

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lmdevore, I thank you for sharing your particular situation and salute you for your conscious income management. There is nothing wrong in saving for whatever goal it is and investing in education is the most intelligent spending someone can have. Never mind the critiques here, people who haven't been educated on the importance of savings will never understand it and will still laugh on those who do it.
I agree she was very brave to share her situation but I believe that it wasn't the fact that they're saving for own goals (education, travelling back home, supporting relative) what triggered some reactions, only that controversial statement according to which they aren't comfortable enough on a 200K salary. And let's admit it: it is very imprudent indeed to say such a thing.

Last edited by greenmount; 30.04.2015 at 15:23.
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  #130  
Old 30.04.2015, 15:25
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

It's fascinating to see how these kinds of threads develop/derail. I watched a documentary several years ago about how our expenses and expectations adjust as we get wealthier or earn more money. For most folks earning less than $1 million, the perspective changes gradually regarding so-called basic expenses. People who earn in the top percentages of incomes can feel like their budget is stretched. This thread is almost a perfect illustration of the concept.

Yes, the vast majority of the planet lives on less than $2/day. It's important to acknowledge and try to improve that, but it's human nature to focus on your own daily life and how well you can live. It's only normal to compare your current lifestyle to what you could have if you moved, and see what you'd need to change or give up. The question of "is it worth it" isn't exclusively financial either - the changes to social structure are equally important.

The problem with the question "What lifestyle will we have?" is that every person/couple/family is unique. What one family considers essential is a luxury to another. Even if every EF member were to post his/her family budget it wouldn't be overly helpful because we all prioritize different things. Our incomes and spending habits help drive our ideas of what is important.

I can't begrudge OP's income or lmdevore's expenditures. I can't match them either. To each his/her own. I find I am much happier if I don't compare myself to other people. I'm not better or worse off, I'm just living life on my terms.
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  #131  
Old 30.04.2015, 16:30
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

Whilst there are no legal definitions, consider minimum wage as being around 3500 to 3800 per month (say 45000 / year), average around 5500 (66000 / year) and anything above around 100000 / year being upper middle class.
You will be able to live comfortably but won't have a lakeside villa, penthouse flat, a line-up of oversized SUVs or things like that.
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  #132  
Old 30.04.2015, 19:50
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Actually, BokerTov, there is a correlation.
Take other people I know, a married couple with three children, who live in Switzerland although they would prefer to live in Canada or Australia (they know both and had concrete job offers and permits for both).
For them, the amount of disposible income they would have, after covering the basics without luxuries, was a central factor in comparing the countries and in choosing to live in Switzerland, precisely so they could support developmental aid projects. That is what they do, that's what's important to them (like the hypothetical parachuter in my previous post) and it is what they can afford to do (like Imdavore who is able to cover education, travel and to support of a relative).
Always learning something new! I never met anyone who decided to move to Switzerland to have more disposable income to do good. Usually it's the old "I moved for money or for love" motivation. The people I know who moved with the purpose of doing good are in Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ghana...Thanks for sharing your story!

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Besides them, I hazard a guess that many foreigners living in Switzerland, like the Serbian cleaners rainer_d mentioned above, and a Turkish family I know, continue to work and earn in Switzerland (though they might prefer to go home) precisely because their few disposible Francs are (or at least were) worth more when they send them to the relatives "back home" than the few Euro would be, were they to scrape out their existence somewhere else in Euroland.
I can't be 100% sure, but if I had to take a guess, I'm fairly confident that the OP falls in neither of those cases.

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People earning $1 will not be able to save proportionally the same as those earning $1M. Same as lower earners pay proportionally more in taxes and bills (everyone pays the same rate of vAT and billag).
Proportionally, yes. Exactly in the same proportion - no. I meant in the sense that everyone can be a saver - no matter how much or how little one earns. You are correct on the regressive nature of indirect taxation, although, if we take that into account, to have the full picture we should also take into account special tax credits, tax breaks, etc. available to only some segments of the population.

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Not really, I have never been a saver before living in Switzerland and have lived in different countries. I've always been OK financially in the sense that I don't feel like I didn't have or couldn't afford what I needed or wanted, but saving wasn't one of my top priorities.
I think my mentality or saving&spending behaviour has changed a lot, not least due to the fact that there's more available income and hence it's easier to save up. (of course age, family plans etc are other determining factors)
That's interesting too, and I agree with you, it might be a combination of different factors. We do mature after all To me, when I started out it was all about income. Then, it became all about career progression opportunities. Now, once I have my bills paid and my fridge full, it's more about having a good work-life balance and ensuring that my family (including my parents and my future in-laws), my friends and my loved ones around the world are comfortable.
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  #133  
Old 30.04.2015, 21:23
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Always learning something new! I never met anyone who decided to move to Switzerland to have more disposable income to do good. Usually it's the old "I moved for money or for love" motivation. The people I know who moved with the purpose of doing good are in Afghanistan, Nepal, Pakistan, Tanzania, Ghana...Thanks for sharing your story!

I can't be 100% sure, but if I had to take a guess, I'm fairly confident that the OP falls in neither of those cases.
That's an interesting thought, too. The people who've gone to those developing countries (or whatever the current politically correct term is) are DOING the good, right there. The people I know, who are working here in Switzerland in order to do good, are PAYING for the good done "over there", by someone else. They prefer to earn here because they feel they can achieve a higher disposible income than they could if they were in another country, and also because, with the exchange rates, the money they send home is worth even more.

Imdevore, do you feel the same way? Do you think that, if you and family were living off one US salary, you would have a similar level of disposible income as you do now?

If your husband had the same level of work as his current job in Switzerland, but you were living in the States, (or in any other country), would you be able to dedicate the same actual amounts of money as you do now, to paying for your masters programmes, to supporting your mother-in-law as generously as you do, and to setting aside the same sum for your children's education fund, and for travel?

It would really interest me to know how people have experienced the amount of disposable income, over the basics, in different countries. Thanks.
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  #134  
Old 01.05.2015, 01:06
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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That's an interesting thought, too. The people who've gone to those developing countries (or whatever the current politically correct term is) are DOING the good, right there. The people I know, who are working here in Switzerland in order to do good, are PAYING for the good done "over there", by someone else. They prefer to earn here because they feel they can achieve a higher disposible income than they could if they were in another country, and also because, with the exchange rates, the money they send home is worth even more.

Imdevore, do you feel the same way? Do you think that, if you and family were living off one US salary, you would have a similar level of disposible income as you do now?

If your husband had the same level of work as his current job in Switzerland, but you were living in the States, (or in any other country), would you be able to dedicate the same actual amounts of money as you do now, to paying for your masters programmes, to supporting your mother-in-law as generously as you do, and to setting aside the same sum for your children's education fund, and for travel?

It would really interest me to know how people have experienced the amount of disposable income, over the basics, in different countries. Thanks.
Unequivocally, no, he would not earn a comparable level for the same job in the US, nor would he have the selection of employers. In our former lives (in the US) we maintained about the same level of family income and many expenditures, but I worked as well. I am not working now, while the kids are young, but hope to be able to in a few years (hence the master's programs). I think it gets a bit into apples and oranges territory to try to compare too deeply because so many other factors of our life have changed - in America, the burden of childcare would not be so much and I would likely have continued in my previous job, negating the need/desire for an advanced degree (which I will need here)...

And, as long as I've been sucked back in (damn you, internet), I will take a moment to address some of the more negative comments and vitriol that my first posts generate (from several commenters) that I can't seem to shake off...

First, the original poster was inquiring about life here on a salary of 150k. Our budget for our income of 200k contains about 50k a year in discretionary spending for education and family support. If you wipe that 50k out of the picture, then we are essentially comparing 150k to 150k. The OP has similar background and family situation to us, and can likely expect similar expenditures here. It is indeed enough money to spend carefully and wisely, and maintain a very nice life here. However, it is not enough money to be much of a shopper, spender, dine out regularly, or to expect much in the way of childcare or household help, which many expats expect.

And on a more personal note, to those of you who assume I'm talking around the silver spoon in my mouth... I also payed my own way through undergraduate school, as many of you have so gleefully mentioned, I never worked less than 2 jobs at a time, and was much less of a student for it, as did my husband. My hope is that my children can be more dedicated to their studies than I was able be.

I did not come from a rich family, my father left his job as an engineer and enrolled in medical school when I was entering high school. He was a resident when I was an undergrad, my mom went back to teaching elementary school to support our large family. Upon earning his MD, my father devoted the rest of his life to running an African medical aid organization. Most of my immediate family has been entrenched in supporting this organization for the last 20 year, ourselves included. We have had our own boots on the ground in some of the most disadvantaged countries in the world many times.

My husband is not American, as I am, he is from a Latin American country, put himself through medical school, and has seen his own share of loss and failure and also prioritizes education and supporting family over a lake view apartment or Hugo Boss suits.

To the commenters who have suggested I think I'm poor because I have to put 89 petro in my Ferrari, please piss off...
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  #135  
Old 01.05.2015, 09:58
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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Unequivocally, no, he would not earn a comparable level for the same job in the US, nor would he have the selection of employers. In our former lives (in the US) we maintained about the same level of family income and many expenditures, but I worked as well. ...
Thanks for having the courage to confirm what I already knew very well, and which is usually denied by the regulars here (but then again, isn't EF the quintessence of vanity) who like to pretend they've come here only for something different..
As for the rest of your post, it's actually a pity you felt obliged to justify yourself like this in front of complete strangers. Vitriol? Nah, business as usual, nothing personal.
Hope you'll be able to enjoy yourselves a little bit more after you finish with your MBAs.
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  #136  
Old 01.05.2015, 10:20
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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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
Not sure how old Tom you are, but there is not as much financial aid as there once was. Many US students are burdened with huge debts now, especially those who are middle class. Great that you were able to pay off your debts so quickly, but I don't see that is as easy as you claim. Of course, if the kids don't stay here, they could do state schools back in the home state as an option, but there is a lot of snobbery with University "brands" and the doors they open. Luckily, my son is EU and his education was "prepaid" by the taxes I happily paid into. He will never have to be burdened by onerous loans that American kids do.
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Old 01.05.2015, 13:54
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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To the commenters who have suggested I think I'm poor because I have to put 89 petro in my Ferrari, please piss off...
Your family's background is irrelevant.

It's a bit over the top to claim that you're scraping the coin basket while sitting in the highest 2-5% CH income bracket. That's it...nothing personal. But if you can't accept that, add another layer to your little bubble while you tell me to piss off.

I wish you the best...
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  #138  
Old 01.05.2015, 14:38
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Re: What lifestyle will we have

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First, the original poster was inquiring about life here on a salary of 150k. Our budget for our income of 200k contains about 50k a year in discretionary spending for education and family support. If you wipe that 50k out of the picture, then we are essentially comparing 150k to 150k.
Actually, you are taking 60k off the netto, and due the marginal rate being much higher, that's taking 90k off the gross, which means that you are living on an equivalent of a 110k salary, NOT 150k.

Tom
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