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Old 09.10.2011, 18:43
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Amazingly, you can live comfortably in Zurich on a 6-figure income

So you're planning to move to Zurich/Switzerland? Great! First, read this excellent information:

Still worried about how much things cost? All that guidance not enough? Here's a handy guide, with real-life* examples to guide you.

The key concept to bear in mind is equivalence. Broadly speaking, the lifestyle you can lead in Switzerland with a given job should be roughly similar to the lifestyle you lead wherever you are now. Think of the UK/US/Australia/other western society. Some things will be more expensive, some less, but overall you should end up in roughly the same place.

Want to trade up? Great! The usual rules apply - work hard, improve your skills at work, get promoted, change companies, etc etc. That process is no different here to anywhere else. Unfortunately the global economy is suffering at the moment (as of October 2011), so it may be prudent to have a job lined up prior to moving countries. If not, make sure you have plenty of savings on hand to tide you over any longer-than-expected unemployed periods. Haven't you heard, Switzerland is expensive?


Q: I'm in a fairly low-paid job in my home country. I've got a similar job lined up in Zurich, and have heard about great apartments with views of the lake. Can I afford one?
A: Probably not. However, the good news is that minimum salaries tend to be slightly higher here than in some other countries (eg. the UK), to cover the additional cost of living. You may be able to make some other tradeoffs in your life to get that view.

Q: I've been offered a high 5/low 6 figure salary in Zurich. While this sounds like a lot, I've heard horror stories about the cost of living. Will my family need to eat baked beans 3 times a day?
A: Unlikely. Think for a second - this amount of money should enable a very comfortable existence in most major cities around the world. It might not allow for a penthouse apartment overlooking the lake, where you can sip champagne while the nanny takes the kids to pony-riding lessons, but do you have that where you are now?

Q: I'm a C-level executive at a multinational corporation, relocating to Zurich. My PA has found a great penthouse apartment overlooking the lake, where my wife & I plan to sip champagne in the evenings. It will be hard for Clarence & Petunia to leave their amazing schools in the UK, but I've heard great things about private schools here. Their nanny will of course accompany us. The only problem is, the Pony Relocation Service recommended by my PA is rather expensive, and will take up most of my generous relocation allowance. Can anyone suggest a cheaper option?
A: No. Also, you'll likely have to pay your nanny more because of the higher minimum wage.

Q: I have no money, no car, and no woman - there I am. How should I go about getting these things?
A: You're probably in the wrong forum. However, this informative video may provide some insight:

Now get out there and enjoy this lovely city. You're guaranteed to pick up lots of great experiences, so when, or even if, you do move somewhere else, you'll have some great memories to take with you.

* NB: not real-life
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