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Old 13.09.2011, 17:03
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Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Dear All,


I apologise if a similar question has been asked hundreds of times. Iíve searched the forum already, but I really need your opinion.
I was offered a position in Zug which pays 110K CHF gross per year (not sure if 12 or 13 monts). Iím considering moving over to Zug from London with my wife and two kids (5 and 7 months). Can you please let me know if I will be able to support my family at a reasonable level? Iím not talking any luxury here, just normal life (probably will need a car as well). My wife will not work initially.


Currently Iím on £45K plus car and petrol . I may also have another offer (having an interview soon) for a job in London for £65K.


At the moment we are managing just fine (no savings though).
I would like to move to Switzerland, however, I need to make sure our quality of life (in financial terms) will be at least on the same level.


Any help much appreciated.
Regards.
Michael.
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Old 13.09.2011, 17:06
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Re: Cost of living? Please help!

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Dear All,


I apologise if a similar question has been asked hundreds of times. I’ve searched the forum already, but I really need your opinion.
I was offered a position in Zug which pays 110K CHF gross per year (not sure if 12 or 13 monts). I’m considering moving over to Zug from London with my wife and two kids (5 and 7 months). Can you please let me know if I will be able to support my family at a reasonable level? I’m not talking any luxury here, just normal life (probably will need a car as well). My wife will not work initially.


Currently I’m on £45K plus car and petrol . I may also have another offer (having an interview soon) for a job in London for £65K.


At the moment we are managing just fine (no savings though).
I would like to move to Switzerland, however, I need to make sure our quality of life (in financial terms) will be at least on the same level.


Any help much appreciated.
Regards.
Michael.
yes you will be fine. also check out homegate.ch for availability and cost of housing. don't forget high cost of childcare if your wife wants to work
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Old 13.09.2011, 17:06
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Re: Cost of living? Please help!

Have a look at this thread: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

Also, have a look here: FAQ: A brief guide to salaries in Switzerland
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Old 13.09.2011, 17:19
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Re: Cost of living? Please help!

Many thanks to all for a very prompt reply.

I appreciate your help.

Regards.
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Old 13.09.2011, 17:29
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Re: Cost of living? Please help!

I moved to Zurich from London back in May this year. When assessing how much money we would (or would not!) have we did the following:

1. Work out your tax liability by using one of the online tax calculators (we used the credit suisse tax calculator at https://calculators.credit-suisse.co...tax.do?lang=en)

2. Search homegate.ch for the cost of accomondation. This can be high!

3. Assume all other costs are broadly CHF2 = GBP1. If something costs GBP 1 in the UK then assume it is broadly CHF 2 in Switzerland. This is extremely approximate and there will be vast differences depending on the item in question. However it has worked quite well for us and sure gives a better idea of costs than using the current exchange rate!

This should give you an idea of what your own cost of living will be.

My feeling is that you should be on CHF 110k.
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Old 14.09.2011, 00:14
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Re: Cost of living? Please help!

Early days, but will you eventually want your children to be educated in the Swiss system or in English? If the latter, the international schools here are eye-wateringly expensive, and I would say pretty difficult to afford for two children on the kind of salary you mention. More generally, Zurich is the third most expensive city in the world to live in (and I dont think Zug is much cheaper) so be prepared for extremely high expenses in most areas of life (except petrol, oddly). Shopping over the border in Germany to take advantage of the over-valued CHF (+ better price competitiveness to begin with) is not only a good idea, for many it's a necessity. And don't forget those funny extras such as obligatory life insurance, winter tyres, help with your tax return if you don't speak German etc.

Basically it is Not cheap here to put it mildly, and the advice earlier about 2:1 is correct. At the current distorted exchange rate you might feel earning approx GBP100k equivalent is a lot, but here it will feel at best like half that (which it was pre-financial crisis).

Hope this helps.
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Old 14.09.2011, 00:25
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Take into consideration that in order to live peacefully in Zug you have to own at least a Porsche Cayenne (Audi Q8, BMW X6 or any Land Rover will do, too). Otherwise you will be bullied.
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Old 14.09.2011, 00:37
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Married with wife not working and 2 dustbin lids should give you some huge tax benefits.

Education might be a prob though...
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Old 14.09.2011, 00:46
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

My experience from living in London and now here is that you will find it more comfortable in Zug (or a little bit outside to benefit from cheaper housing) on your CH salary than you would in Greater London on your other job offer salary .. assuming no childcare costs or schooling costs that is ...

Housing rental is the really big cost, so do as others have already suggested and check out what you would want/what is available. Buying makes it a lot cheaper (especially with current interest rates) but you need to be (1) quite committed to your move and (2) have the 20% deposit.
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Old 14.09.2011, 10:48
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Again: thanks a lot for all suggestions.

Unfortunately, Iím still not sure what to think of it. I know exactly what life style I will have earning £65K in London. There is always a chance for a pay rise, bonus and stuff. Not so sure for Switzerland. There are so many scary posts about how extremely expensive life is over there that makes me shiver. When I got the offer initially, I thought it was a decent salary, even for a single income, to support 2 adults and 2 kids. Iím starting to think this may not be as good as it seemed at first.

Iím still going for a formal meeting in Zug next week, but my enthusiasm has deteriorated slightly. I was really keen on moving over to Switzerland, but I need to make absolutely sure my family will have better life that in the UK.

One scary thing is that there arenít many posts stating that 100 Ė 120K is good enough to live comfy life. Most of them are about how expensive life in Zug is.

Regards.
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Old 14.09.2011, 10:58
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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. I was really keen on moving over to Switzerland, but I need to make absolutely sure my family will have better life that in the UK.



Regards.
Do you mean with "better life" , more cash to spend or better quality of life?

Yes things are more expensive over here but I find the closeness of family, exploring a new country, experiencing a new culture, being central located so able to explore Europe more, clean swiss air and more a big improvement of our life
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Old 14.09.2011, 11:18
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Schooling is a huge question. otherwise hands down I think you would have a better lifestyle here than in London suburbs (I came from London).

You will probably have to try to:
- live outside of Zug
- own or lease just one car
- try to negotiate healthcare as part of your package
- discuss bonus options (yes they exist in some sectors)
- be very clear on schooling options
- get creative with Germany and France around the corner for fun weekly shops

But in return you will get
- clean air, clean water, amazing outdoor activities around lake and mountain
- far better quality housing than in the UK for the same price
- international experience for your family
- unique chance to live in one of the coolest little Kantons in Switzerland (I'm a big big fan of Zug)

Good luck with the decisions.. I moved here and may have to resign but I am trying to find a way to stay and would be very sad to have to go.
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Old 14.09.2011, 11:20
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

P.S. I think after-tax you will have similar purchasing power to what you suggested in the UK, assuming £4000 versus 8500CHF, maybe a bit better off in Switzerland depending on your housing costs in the UK.

Oh and one more thing - since you are coming here, walk around town, go into a Migros, and jot down the prices so you have a fair idea of what the reality is. Then do the math
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Old 14.09.2011, 11:25
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

I am single so my answer might not be of much use to you, but i will give it a go.
Personally, having lived in UK all my life, I feel strongly on the fact that when i have kids and settle down as in your case, I will definitely prefer to be in Switzerland. Outdoors, will say safer and a whole host of other advantages as opposed to raising a family in London.

The cost of living here can be defeated with wise spending. Obviously at first you might not know the good spots, but that is why EF is here to guide you. As time goes by maybe 3 months, you will pick up quickly on the tricks involved in shopping to avoid over spending on - Swiss Made.

The most important thing I will look at as well is that mandatory Health Insurance issue and other family related insurance, car insurance, etc.

Lastly, I hear stories about how Zug is the cheapest canton tax wise but housing is very expensive. So you might want to look into that with homegate. Maybe it will be cheaper for you to live elsewhere and commute to Zug - Direct train there form Zurich HB.

Goodluck with your move and decisions.

Last edited by mrstarks; 14.09.2011 at 11:47.
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Old 14.09.2011, 11:33
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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Lastly, I hear stories about how Zug is the cheapest canton but housing is very expensive.
Zug has lower tax, but not much about it is cheap.
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Old 14.09.2011, 11:36
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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P.S. I think after-tax you will have similar purchasing power to what you suggested in the UK, assuming £4000 versus 8500CHF, maybe a bit better off in Switzerland depending on your housing costs in the UK.

Oh and one more thing - since you are coming here, walk around town, go into a Migros, and jot down the prices so you have a fair idea of what the reality is. Then do the math
You can also take a look at the online-shops:
http://www.leshop.ch
http://www.coopathome.ch/

They have the same prices, except that some of the low-price stuff isn't offered online and you get a 18-ish CHF delivery charge on top.

But you can do your weekly shopping there and see how much it costs.
There's a good chance you can cut 10-15% from that final price due to special offers that are not available online.

ALDI and LIDL do have branches (and web-presences) here, too, but they don't have online-shops and are only cheaper for some stuff.

With kids, it probably makes sense to go shopping in Germany, especially for meat, detergents, body-care, alcohol etc.
So, if you look for a flat, make sure it has big freezer or you can put one somewhere. I have neither and regret it every day.
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Old 14.09.2011, 11:48
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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Zug has lower tax, but not much about it is cheap.
Quite right, missed that out in the statement. Thanks
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Old 14.09.2011, 11:50
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

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One scary thing is that there arenít many posts stating that 100 Ė 120K is good enough to live comfy life. Most of them are about how expensive life in Zug is.
We are 2 adults and 2 kids too. Without stating our actual salaries, we spend much less than that live a very comfortable life. I don't value eating out all the time (i'm not a junk food fan and I don't want our kids eating that stuff so I pack lunches when I can) but having space for entertaining and those lovely Zug views are important to us.

We have one car and walk to work, so our car has done only 45k miles in the last 8 years. It is a nice life here - a dream really.

We lived in London (Wimbledon) for just under 5 years before Zug and this place is so much better for raising kids. I think that our smaller salary goes so much further here. There's no council tax, just CHF 100 a year for the fire brigade and you pay per rubbish bag (about 3 sfr a week for us).

I can't say i've ever been to Germany specifically for food I just make things from scratch. We spend around 100 sfr a week on food and I have never budgeted in my life, I just stick with a list and try not to buy things I don't need.
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Old 14.09.2011, 11:58
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Your kids will be bilingual within a year.....priceless.
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Old 14.09.2011, 12:03
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Re: Cost of living? Please help! [110K, Zug, 2 adults+2 kids]

Hi, TheExile

An important point is will your company help you with health insurance, which is mandatory btw, so is effectively a tax. For people on lower salaries with families this can be quite a burden so you need to check this out.

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. It depends on your career prospects etc etc. Switzerland is very expensive, some of the advice upthread about checking out supermarket prices is worthwhile.


Good luck!
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