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Old 21.03.2015, 03:55
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To move or not to move........Switzerland

Can anyone please give me some advice.

We are a family of four and my husband has been offered a role in Zurich and I'm hoping someone here lives there or has lived there.

I don't know whether to go or not and I'm worn out from overthinking it and doing calculations on spreadsheets etc

The motivation for the move originally was to try and increase our standard of living and to have a new experience/lifestyle.

Our motivation for going is
- to try and increase our standard of living and have new experiences. Switzerland is one of the top rated places to live in the world - our young children could grow up there very happily.
- The standard of education is high in the non international non fee paying schools.
- I could be with the children more
- we have both lived in different countries and enjoyed it. Might be different (for the better or the worse with small children).
- the summers

My concerns are
- giving up my job. I earn what I earn due to the length of time I've been in my current job, I wouldn't get the same pay if we returned to Ireland if it didn't work out. While we would manage, we would be in a far worse off position than we are currently in.
- I have my first child enrolled in a school in Ireland that is very hard to get into. If we don't accept the place, it is highly unlikely we would get into the school if we returned. The other schools in our area are so awful that we would have to move in order for them to get into a decent school elsewhere, something that would cost an awful lot to do.
- I hate even the idea of being financially dependent on my spouse
- the cold!

From doing a lot of research I'm also concerned that my spouse won't be earning enough to support us all fully. The salary is good on paper (approx 120K - way beyond our dreams) but when the high cost of living is taken into account, it seems like there are an awful lot of outgoings. In Ireland we both work (I work part-time) he works full-time and we earn that but that is for both of us working and we pay approx €1800 monthly in childcare.

Has anyone any advice please?
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Old 21.03.2015, 08:23
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

Well as most on the board will tell you 120K will deliver a good life style even allowing for the high cost of living. But given that most of your reasons for moving are economic I doubt you'll be happy for long here because the cultural differences alone are enough to ware you down.

Now I have a lot of friends and relatives in Ireland and I very rearly hear complaints about the schools, so I doubt that all the schools in your area are awful as you put it. That being the case I doubt you'll find the Swiss public school system to your liking either. For instance only a small percentage of Swiss kids get to go on to college, how would you feel if the school proposes exclude your child from that group?

Excuse me for being so blunt, but from your post I would not be optimistic about your chances of being happy here in the long term.
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Old 21.03.2015, 09:06
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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My concerns are
- giving up my job. I earn what I earn due to the length of time I've been in my current job,
Use the time to gain additional skills. E.g. the money you're currently spending on nursery, you could use to get an OU degree or masters. Or, once you've enough local language skills, get a Swiss qualification. Or start up a business of your own. Or even get as job. It's not impossible.
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- I have my first child enrolled in a school in Ireland that is very hard to get into. If we don't accept the place, it is highly unlikely we would get into the school if we returned. The other schools in our area are so awful that we would have to move in order for them to get into a decent school elsewhere, something that would cost an awful lot to do.
If you come here you're moving anyway. If it all goes horribly wrong, you don't have to move back to where you came from.
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- I hate even the idea of being financially dependent on my spouse
Many trailing spouses (male and female) are in this position. I don't really understand why it should be considered a bad thing. My wife and I have always pooled our income. There is no my income. There is only our income - where "our" includes the three kids. See this post: Financial dependancy taken from this thread Financial dependancy.
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- the cold!
I don't usually feel cold in Switzerland (when appropriately dressed), unlike when we visit the UK.

Quote:
From doing a lot of research I'm also concerned that my spouse won't be earning enough to support us all fully. The salary is good on paper (approx 120K - way beyond our dreams) but when the high cost of living is taken into account, it seems like there are an awful lot of outgoings
It's certainly enough to have a decent lifestyle. What's important to realise though is that the lifestyle will be different. What you currently do may be not feasible. But there are other things you can do - e.g. skiing - that you couldn't do in Ireland.

You'll be working figures out and comparing them with Euro. The problem with that is that in January, the exchange rate dropped 20%. This gives an unrealistic comparison for income and expense. I.e. a 120K CHF salary is not going to give you the lifestyle you'd have in Ireland on €120K.
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Old 21.03.2015, 09:24
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

I personally disagree that 120k is enough for a family of four expats. Yes, it is a good salary and one that many people would love to have, however my view is that you are correct in thinking it may not be enough.

Why? I am assuming you will want to do things, travel home, offer your children opportunities to take part in clubs and activities and with this the extra income will go quickly. Also, coming from Ireland I will assume you live in a decent sized home with good space. Rent around Zurich in an expat friendly neighbourhood which will be of a size you are used to will be expensive.

All this said you can live here on 120k but if your idea is long term financial security and building a solid nest egg while giving yourself and your kids all the great opportunities of being here, it will be tight.

So in summary, for life experience yes 120k is enough, for financial security etc it is not and you will either need to work or your husband will need to hope he gets raises or bonuses which will allow for saving.
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Old 21.03.2015, 10:43
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

Unless you are on the top of a mountain in winter… It's way warmer in Switzerland than in Ireland.

You know Switzerland is further south than Ireland don't you?

Zürich average temps….. http://www.worldweatheronline.com/Zu...erages/CH.aspx


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Old 21.03.2015, 11:35
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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So in summary, for life experience yes 120k is enough, for financial security etc it is not and you will either need to work or your husband will need to hope he gets raises or bonuses which will allow for saving.
Well the pension savings alone on that salary would be at least 20K per annum, unless you are working for a poor employer. And at my age (50+) the figure is closer to 30K because it raises as you get older. If you do that 20+ years like most Swiss do it amounts to a tidy sum I can tell you.
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Old 21.03.2015, 11:52
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

Welcome.

A tough decision and one which needs a lot of thought process.
As an option have you considered your husband coming out here alone to start off with just on a trial basis and to find his feet and the rest of you follow as and when/or not as the case maybe? Not everyone's cup of tea I know, but just thought I would put it into the mix.

Good luck!!
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Old 21.03.2015, 11:54
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

One of the main issues will be housing and what you are used to. If you are used to space and a garden you will pay a huge premium for that in and around Zurich. When we lived in Geneva we left a country cottage with land and lived in an apartment which was really difficult - I missed a garden so much.

If you are not working that can be hard also if you are a stay at home mum when you are used to your own independence.
But to be positive - there are lots of people in your position and lots of groups in Zurich so you should make friends easily - you will lead an enjoyable life with sports and skiing and the state education is first class.
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Old 21.03.2015, 12:40
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

You forget the most important point here, dear OP: Coming to Switzerland after Ireland, you'll get dry skin.
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Old 21.03.2015, 12:44
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

My take on living in Switzerland vs the UK (so similar to IRE)

Generally the weather is better in Switzerland. More chances to get outside, play in the mountains and the lakes.

Despite the difference in cost of living, we are better off in Switzerland. We save money here, we struggled in the UK. But here we don't have a car, that saves us a fair bit of money. The Swiss franc also goes far when you travel, so we get to go away much more than when we were earning the pound.

The down side, is the Swiss bureaucracy… this drives me insane and makes me want to leave at least once every few months…. but then I remember the point above. Also I don't enjoy fighting with language problems all the time. Being not so good at the language makes me feel very bad about myself… but I'm trying to make it a positive and really work on my languages which I wouldn't do in the UK.
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Old 21.03.2015, 12:46
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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Well the pension savings alone on that salary would be at least 20K per annum, unless you are working for a poor employer. And at my age (50+) the figure is closer to 30K because it raises as you get older. If you do that 20+ years like most Swiss do it amounts to a tidy sum I can tell you.
If your employer is adding 25% in salary that is most unusual, the highest they ever have to pay is 9% for old codgers, 6% is paid for most employees. Normally pension costs are split between the employee & the employer, the employer has to pay at least 50% by law.

It's also likely that pension is NOT paid on the full salary, so the OP should not assume it is, cut off is about 87k IIRC for second pillar as far as the law is concerned. By the time insurance costs are deducted the savings element is substantially reduced.
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Old 21.03.2015, 12:54
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

I'm always baffled by people saying that a top 10% salary isn't enough for financial security and long term goals.
Of course if you want a house with a garden for under 3000 chf/month your spouse will have to commute maybe half an hour, by train or car, but a good apartment in a neighborhood with green is good too.
Btw how do you spend 1800 euros on childcare?
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Old 21.03.2015, 12:57
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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I'm always baffled by people saying that a top 10% salary isn't enough for financial security and long term goals.
Of course if you want a house with a garden for under 3000 chf/month your spouse will have to commute maybe half an hour, by train or car, but a good apartment in a neighborhood with green is good too.
Btw how do you spend 1800 euros on childcare?
It greatly depends what your goals are, a detached house with a garden does not take much imagination, then add an indoor swimming pool & retirement at 50. 120k with a family won't cut the mustard, as a single person it's just possible.

Financial security means not having to work, or did I misunderstand?
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Old 21.03.2015, 13:05
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

Dear OP,
120k perfore taxation is not much at all for a family of 4. You need to keep in mind rent, insurance and the overall cost of living. Also, you would have to renounce a job and most likely won't be able to join the work force that easily here in Switzerland. Furthermore, you need to keep mind, if your husband would get sacked, he would be able to claim roughly 80% of his previous salary from unemplyment, whilst the expenses stay the same. Now, it is definitely doable and certainly a good experience to live in another country but you need to face the reality, that life in Switzerland isn't cheap and you probaly won't have the same quality of life that you're currently enjoying in Ireland.
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Old 21.03.2015, 13:09
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

All the practicalities aside, I cannot say that we have once regretted our move here. It is the most challenging and difficult thing we've ever done and there are some days I long for what I imagine (probably incorrectly!) must be a much easier life back in Australia (or the UK, where we were before we moved here), but most days I can't believe we have actually managed to live in a foreign country, bring up our daughter so she is completely bilingual and so independent, live near a lake and forest and mountains, make some great friends, do things we never thought we'd have the opportunity to do etc.

As for the practicalities, well sometimes it can really get you down trying to work it all out in a foreign language and so much still remains a mystery (both the how to and the why).

As for not working, that's tough, no matter how you look at it, especially depending on your speciality, crazy school hours, language hurdles etc. My way round it is to do more study and also become self-employed (at the same time, which is crazy).

Most importantly, while it can feel like you're the first person to ever do this when you get here you realise there are actually lots of us doing it, which means there is a lot of wisdom already available to you and plenty of people to commiserate with you.

It's all a risk, of course, especially if you're really concerned about the financial aspect and the schooling and it might not work out anyway, so if the idea of jumping into the unknown really freaks you out you probably shouldn't do it.
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Old 21.03.2015, 13:16
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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Can anyone please give me some advice.

We are a family of four and my husband has been offered a role in Zurich and I'm hoping someone here lives there or has lived there.

I don't know whether to go or not and I'm worn out from overthinking it and doing calculations on spreadsheets etc

The motivation for the move originally was to try and increase our standard of living and to have a new experience/lifestyle.

Our motivation for going is
- to try and increase our standard of living and have new experiences. Switzerland is one of the top rated places to live in the world - our young children could grow up there very happily.
- The standard of education is high in the non international non fee paying schools.
- I could be with the children more
- we have both lived in different countries and enjoyed it. Might be different (for the better or the worse with small children).
- the summers

My concerns are
- giving up my job. I earn what I earn due to the length of time I've been in my current job, I wouldn't get the same pay if we returned to Ireland if it didn't work out. While we would manage, we would be in a far worse off position than we are currently in.
- I have my first child enrolled in a school in Ireland that is very hard to get into. If we don't accept the place, it is highly unlikely we would get into the school if we returned. The other schools in our area are so awful that we would have to move in order for them to get into a decent school elsewhere, something that would cost an awful lot to do.
- I hate even the idea of being financially dependent on my spouse
- the cold!

From doing a lot of research I'm also concerned that my spouse won't be earning enough to support us all fully. The salary is good on paper (approx 120K - way beyond our dreams) but when the high cost of living is taken into account, it seems like there are an awful lot of outgoings. In Ireland we both work (I work part-time) he works full-time and we earn that but that is for both of us working and we pay approx €1800 monthly in childcare.

Has anyone any advice please?
So many things that you already achieved in Ireland and you want to risk everything for a "new" life in Ch that might or might not fit you. It isn't just a question of (not so much) money, it's the thing that all your life will be changed and you'll literally have to start from 0 with building your relations, learn the language, get to know your environment etc etc. If you were in a not so good situation back home maybe it was worth giving a try, but otherwise it's kind of risky...IMHO
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Old 21.03.2015, 13:36
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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So many things that you already achieved in Ireland and you want to risk everything for a "new" life in Ch that might or might not fit you. It isn't just a question of (not so much) money, it's the thing that all your life will be changed and you'll literally have to start from 0 with building your relations, learn the language, get to know your environment etc etc. If you were in a not so good situation back home maybe it was worth giving a try, but otherwise it's kind of risky...IMHO
So we should just all be boring and never do anything new because it's a bit of a risk?
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Old 21.03.2015, 14:12
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

Thank you all for your replies. All of you were up and online so early!

I'll try to address some of your questions. Firstly the issue of our 'lifestyle' in Ireland. We do not lead an extravagant lifestyle by any means. Ireland and particularly Dublin where we live is expensive. From my calculations it would appear that €120K equates to approx €70/80K in Ireland. While it could be done and many do it, this is approx €20K per person per annum and while it is doable, it does not lend itself to a high quality of life here. Childcare in Ireland is excessive.We pay the average for two children.

Schooling - in Ireland we live in an area where the schools are hugely oversubscribed. In our catchment area, the schools are poor. We know that they will get into another non denominational school due to being on the waiting list from two weeks old so giving up on that is a major concern.

We want to go, we desperately want to experience something different rather than accept our current lifestyle as being our present and our future. If it was just my spouse and myself we'd already have left. I wouldn't have felt the need to post, to overthink. I'd have grabbed the opportunity and ran. The salary is more than enough for us. I have lived in hostels (while travelling) for €10 a night, we are not used to five star living!

I have to think of my young children and do the best for them. They will get more expensive as they get older.

Are we simply swapping like for like?

I suppose I'm really asking as a mum asking for her children's future rather than my own.........something I have only just realised.
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Old 21.03.2015, 14:17
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

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I have to think of my young children and do the best for them. They will get more expensive as they get older.

Are we simply swapping like for like?

I suppose I'm really asking as a mum asking for her children's future rather than my own.........something I have only just realised.
Your children will grow up bi-lingual, German & English (trilingual if they speak Irish).

There is nothing worse about Swiss schools and growing up here… it my even be better with the outdoor lifestyle.

Later on, University is cheaper than the UK (not sure of Irish costs) and if they choose to go to uni in the UK it costs no more…… also if they go to uni in Scotland it would be free.

I don't see how it could negatively affect your children, as long as long as they are still young so that language doesn't pose an issue.

Edit: If you don't need the biggest best house, are happy to use public transport etc, you won't have an issue on 120k.
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Old 21.03.2015, 14:41
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Re: To move or not to move........Switzerland

You say nothing about your spouse. What if he went ahead to "scout"? He should be able to assess if you may like things. That would also simplify looking for a house/apartment.
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