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Old 14.09.2011, 12:12
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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In general I would say that chf 110,000 per annum in Zug (assuming you could find a place to live that's comfortable for CHF 2500 per month) would be OK but not very comfortable.
Neither is £45k in regions or or £65k in London though. And I argue that "OK but not very comfortable in Switzerland" is a lot more comfy than in the UK!

Oh, and we have about another 2 months of summer here (not that today is any indication of that... but I was having drinks with friends outside wearing a sundress yesterday.. and almost every other day for weeks! It has been glorious weather)
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Old 14.09.2011, 12:16
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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Neither is £45k in regions or or £65k in London though. And I argue that "OK but not very comfortable in Switzerland" is a lot more comfy than in the UK!

Oh, and we have about another 2 months of summer here (not that today is any indication of that... but I was having drinks with friends outside wearing a sundress yesterday.. and almost every other day for weeks! It has been glorious weather)
In my view Switzerland is way more expensive as there is limited choice. You simply cannot shop around for most goods and services.

Two more months of Summer? Where are you, in Dubai?
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  #23  
Old 14.09.2011, 12:44
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Seriously? I leave Zug on a regular basis to go back to London and there is easily a 10 degree difference, with warm sunshine here and already typical autumn weather in London. I imagine the summer starts earlier too... 1+1 = 2 extra months of summer
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  #24  
Old 14.09.2011, 13:09
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

I agree with advice from whitecat74. Without wishing to pour cold water, you should treat those "you'll be fine" comments with caution. Yes, it's a lovely place, lakes, mountains, fresh air etc. However, your question is essentially financial - i.e. can you support a family on CHF 110k in Zug? The answer is yes and no:

- Yes: if you are willing to live in a flat outside of Zug, learn German and commit your children to the Swiss school system. This is essentially the "go local" option.

- No: if you wish to replicate what you may have in the UK, i.e. live in a modest house and have your children educated in English. Broadly, the "expat" option.

Going local may sound more internationally-minded / authentic etc, but it is not without its pitfalls. Even if you make the effort to fit in, the Swiss are not particularly welcoming and there is a strong strain of xenophobia here, particularly in more rural areas. Children start school at a later age, meaning they would be stuck at home with your wife longer than you might consider ideal (and don't forget you will not have family members nearby to support etc). When they do start, lessons will be in Swiss German, not high German - and unless you're staying long term this isn't a language that is useful elsewhere.

Considerations such as the above lead a lot of people to international schools, which start earlier, educate in English (but they teach the more useful high German also), and also offer a readymade (and international) community which is especially helpful to young mothers. But this is not going to be affordable on CHF 110k, unless your employer pays.

In short, yes the high cost of housing is a major factor, but the same is true in London unless you bought a house 20 years ago. General cost of living is also extremely high. But the number one issue is going to be how you address the related issues of schooling and level of integration into Swiss society.
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  #25  
Old 14.09.2011, 13:18
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Forgot to add a specific financial point: cost of relocation. Will the employer help with this? Not just the actual move, but for renting you typically need to pay 2 months' deposit plus 1 month up front rent - not easy to find in CHF if you don't have savings.
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Old 14.09.2011, 13:42
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Xenophobia? Yeah, sure some Swiss "stick to their own kind" but where is that not the case.
Zug and Zurich have a large international population where you can and will meet people - if you want to.
Kindergarten is Swiss German, after that, it's German. But yes, you do need to figure out Swiss German if you do the "go local" option. Generally speaking, a 5 year old will have that worked out in no time, and as mentioned, there is a sufficiently large international population for you to be able to expect that other children will not be fluent in German or Swiss German (unless you're set on moving to the tiniest of villages).

At the end of the day, it's all about mindset. If you'd like to do it, you will.
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Old 14.09.2011, 13:48
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

@MidfieldGeneral

Why the groan? I don't think anything I said was groan worthy. Please explain.
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Old 14.09.2011, 14:00
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

A further thought: when you come to Zug, don't waste time going to supermarkets etc - take it as a given that at the current exchange rate things are generally twice as expensive in Switzerland. Instead, see if you can arrange a visit to a Swiss school, and ask yourself: can I see my children (eventually) flourishing here? Do I, effectively, want my children to grow up more Swiss than British?

It's a difficult conundrum. You'll need to feel able to commit to a system that is not familiar and has very real differences to the UK, particularly the older your children get. In addition to the points I made earlier, I would say that Swiss schools are well appointed, but can be pretty strict places where conformity is prized over creativity. Children take something akin to the 11 plus, which effectively closes down the option of university for all but the brightest. And the school day is not oriented around working mothers, if your wife has any ambition to start work again (e.g. coming home for lunch time).

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress won't you?
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Old 14.09.2011, 14:11
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

swissmamma, please! The notion that the Swiss are no more xenophobic than anyone else is risible - from the everyday casual racism that we all witness to the appalling anti-foreigner stance of its leading political party:

www.thelocal.ch/976/20110829/
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  #30  
Old 14.09.2011, 14:11
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

swissmamma, please! The notion that the Swiss are no more xenophobic than anyone else is risible - from the everyday casual racism that we all witness to the appalling anti-foreigner stance of its leading political party:

www.thelocal.ch/976/20110829/
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  #31  
Old 14.09.2011, 14:13
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Ooh sorry weird double post there - well I am a newbie
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  #32  
Old 14.09.2011, 14:14
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

There is a lot of good, sane advice here. To sum up, as Swissmama has said, its all about mindset. I don't know what you mean by being "comfy" here. If you expect to live like a king here on CHF110K, obviously that would not be possible. However, you need to keep in mind that by Swiss standards it is still considered a good salary and there are many, many on salaries much lower than that, living reasonably well. The key is to be smart about things and avoid wasteful expenditure.

Accommodation in Zug will be expensive but then you could always stay else where, in neighbouring Zurich for example and commute.

Where Switzerland scores is on the intangibles - the quality of life, the peace of mind, the possibility of having free time to spend with the family etc. If you mind your business there is no better place than Switzerland.

I came here 10 years ago on a salary of CHF104K. Lived in a small 2 bedroom place in one of the towns in Zurich. Two teen age, children, wife not working. Had to send the elder one to the International school because the child was already in grade 11. Sent the other one to a local school. We lived within our means, ate out once in way, bought wines on specials and enjoyed them regularly, invited people home for dinners, had guests staying with us quite often,drove to various places around in Germany, France, Luxembourg, Italy and generally had a ball. Albeit we are vegetarians but we never had the feeling that we had to scrape and scrounge. Of course, we couldn't afford the ski holidays etc. but that wasn't our priority. We could have easily had them by cutting corners elsewhere.

This is a great place. Eventually, life is what you make of it. Cheers.

Last edited by Nyonais; 14.09.2011 at 16:20.
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Old 14.09.2011, 14:38
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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@MidfieldGeneral

Why the groan? I don't think anything I said was groan worthy. Please explain.

Hi, I removed it, I don't recall groaned at you. Apologies
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Old 14.09.2011, 14:57
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Dear All,

What a fantastic response (and forum)! The website goes at the top of my favourites list!
Thank you very much for the time to you spent to post your opinions. It is invaluable to me.
This makes it much clearer what to expect from life in Switzerland.


Just one more thing (tried searching already but to no avail): how much should I expect to pay for a car lease? I’m thinking about a MPV type of a car (Ford, VW or similar)?


Again: many thanks to all of you for your input.

I will keep you posted on how we did.

Regards.

Michael.
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Old 14.09.2011, 15:03
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

We're also in Central Switzerland (not Zug though) and we do fine on less than your promised salary. We have 2 kids in local schools, if you're planning on being here long-term I recommend it. Like the others said, they will be fluent in a year, no worries, and it's free.
I know in Zug housing is more expensive than where we are, but in our second year here we flew to New Zealand and didn't feel short of cash at all, despite never shopping over the border (and rarely at Aldi) - what is expensive depends on what you eat/drink. Get used to the idea of only buying meat when it's on special (and there's always something on special) and not eating it every day/at every meal and you'll be ok. We've also been able to pay off our student loans and start saving.

Car lease: we've got a Citroen grand picasso and that's something like 6000 a year over 4 years. (Used cars aren't particularly cheap here or we'd have bought second-hand). Make sure you've got aircon in the car - it may seem obvious but we didn't with our first and really regretted it.

Best of luck with your decision.

Last edited by Swissoconnors; 14.09.2011 at 15:05. Reason: to add car lease
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Old 14.09.2011, 15:11
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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Where Switzerland scores is on the intangibles - the quality of life, the peace of mind, the possibility of having free time to spend with the family etc. If you mind your business there is no better place than Switzerland.
Ah, but for some where Switzerland scores poorly is on the intangibles as well. The 'quality of life' available is entirely dependent on what is, or is not, personally important. If you value the same things as your Swiss neighbors, life can be very good indeed. If you march to a different drummer, life can be hell.

Switzerland offers many good things, as outlined in other posts; I lived here quite happily for many years. The move here set us on an interesting road, some unusual opportunities have come our way because we made this move.

However in the last few years things have changed; no matter how glorious the mountains are, no matter how timely the trains, life can become intolerable when mobbing is a day to day reality. Hopefully the OP won't experience this kind of thing. Most people don't - but one should be aware that it exists, and there is not much one can do to protect against it.

My2P/5Rps:

You should make the move - what the heck, why not? Even if it turns out that Switzerland is ultimately not your cup of tea you and your family will have had an interesting and educational adventure. But it might be wise to keep an escape plan in the background, should you find that you are among the 'different drummers' in this parade.

Wishing you and your family all the best, Michael.
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  #37  
Old 14.09.2011, 15:22
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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- Yes: if you are willing to live in a flat outside of Zug, learn German and commit your children to the Swiss school system. This is essentially the "go local" option.

- No: if you wish to replicate what you may have in the UK, i.e. live in a modest house and have your children educated in English. Broadly, the "expat" option.
The "going local" option isn't quite as way out as Kennyqtip is making it out. The international school option only really makes sense where you are thinking short/medium term with a high possiblity of moving again. Amongst my ex pat acquaintance, most have done the "go local" move because it is fairly easy to do with young children - infact much the best option with young children when it comes to settling down - and you have a few years to see how it is working out before it becomes crucial to committ to a school system, be it the UK/International or Swiss system.

But anyway, unless your new firm is paying the school fees, an international school would almost certainly not be on the cards at your (and our) level of salary .. that's if you want to eat as well ...

Another point .. our son joined kindergarten here at exactly the same time he became obliged to go into compulsory schooling in the UK, so not sure why Kennyqtip says the children go to school later. It may be that he considers kindergarten not to be "proper" school but it is compulsory and they do learn a lot, just not formal learning in the sense of a reception class in the UK, for example. This makes many people very suspicious of the system (and I was one) but we have lived through it now for 5 years and have generally been delighted.

Anyone else with children in Zug schools? .. is it true they do only Swiss German for the first 2 years of kindergarten? Baselland seems quite behind on this, but even here they are doing more and more German in kindergarten with the option now for the "German as a second language" special classes being offered just in German (in our Gemeinde at any rate). And anyway, living in CH, I would argue that the local language is rather important ...
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Old 14.09.2011, 15:33
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

I've just move out of Zug. When we were looking for a place we wanted a house but as it turned out there weren't any when we were looking in 2008.
We did however end up with a fantastic apartment in Baar which is next to Zug. Look at the area's immediately next to Zug for more value for your money housing. Excellent biking routes if that's your thing.

Good luck with the move
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Old 14.09.2011, 15:43
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

In response to question by ecb:

www.thelocal.ch/202/20110517/
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Old 14.09.2011, 15:49
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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In response to question by ecb:

www.thelocal.ch/202/20110517/
Thank you - interesting.

I wonder how it is in Zug anyone?

Certainly here we are moving lightly in the other direction (and this is just our Gemeinde, things are different even just down the road). But if you are living in CH even in the medium term, my feeling is it is certainly important to at least understand the local language, even if, like me, you only make vague half/half attempts to speak it ... and for children, well, if you have taken the "local" option, it's all about integration, and speaking dialekt is pretty high on my list for assisting integration ..
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