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Old 20.02.2011, 13:09
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Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

Hi guys,
I am a computer programmer with ca. 4 years of professional experience (.NET, C#, WPF, WCF, Silverlight, ASP.NET, a little bit of J2EE) and know only basic German (I've learned it for 5 years in school but I am not able to communicate freely).

Right now living in the UK with my current job (37 GBP pa plus nice benefits, 800 CHF for a room in a relatively nice 2 bedroom apartment) I am able to save around 2-2,5 CHF monthly. I am a single with no girlfriend living with me and using Lidl/Asda as my main grocery source ... so I'd say the costs of living are quite low.

I've been offered a position in lucerne with salary of 70k CHF. The agent told me that I'd pay around 6000 CHF tax thus making around 64k CHF takaway money. Firstly I was quite enthusiastic, but after I made a research on actual taxes and costs of living in CH it became obvious that net sum is too optimistic.

Could you advice me on whether the money they offered are reasonable or suitable for a junior developer just after graduating, even for lucerne (this is what I think after seeing Salarium and other sources)?
What is actually the total gross tax burden (including para-taxes like health insurance) is it something like ~12% income tax + 5% for pension + ~3000k for health insurance + X00 CHF for some other payments?

What salary would allow me to save around 3k CHF monthly, given my rather humble living style?
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Old 20.02.2011, 13:27
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

Welcome to the Forum.
So that we don't have to go through it all again, how about reading the answers to another guy's questions. The links there might help.
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Old 20.02.2011, 14:01
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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Hi guys,
I am a computer programmer with ca. 4 years of professional experience (.NET, C#, WPF, WCF, Silverlight, ASP.NET, a little bit of J2EE) and know only basic German (I've learned it for 5 years in school but I am not able to communicate freely).

Right now living in the UK with my current job (37 GBP pa plus nice benefits, 800 CHF for a room in a relatively nice 2 bedroom apartment) I am able to save around 2-2,5 CHF monthly. I am a single with no girlfriend living with me and using Lidl/Asda as my main grocery source ... so I'd say the costs of living are quite low.

I've been offered a position in lucerne with salary of 70k CHF. The agent told me that I'd pay around 6000 CHF tax thus making around 64k CHF takaway money. Firstly I was quite enthusiastic, but after I made a research on actual taxes and costs of living in CH it became obvious that net sum is too optimistic.

Could you advice me on whether the money they offered are reasonable or suitable for a junior developer just after graduating, even for lucerne (this is what I think after seeing Salarium and other sources)?
What is actually the total gross tax burden (including para-taxes like health insurance) is it something like ~12% income tax + 5% for pension + ~3000k for health insurance + X00 CHF for some other payments?

What salary would allow me to save around 3k CHF monthly, given my rather humble living style?
You wanna save 3k per month? then look for 100K CHF at least.
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Old 20.02.2011, 14:03
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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Welcome to the Forum.
So that we don't have to go through it all again, how about reading the answers to another guy's questions. The links there might help.
I really wonder why people like you use his/her time to post these sort of messages; wouldn't it better to avoid it? could never answer myself.
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Old 20.02.2011, 14:08
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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I really wonder why people like you use his/her time to post these sort of messages; wouldn't it better to avoid it? could never answer myself.
People like Mods spend a lot of time tidying up after lazy posters. Gratitude isn't expected. You don't see the irony of not offering at least a link to help the OP out yourself, though, I see.
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Old 20.02.2011, 14:37
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

Ok guys thank you for your responses. I've read that many discussions on this forum and as mentioned read salarium to get a general idea about salaries in CH.
I've also read thread suggested by Longbyt and found some interesting information there but no answers to my questions. It is about a *senior* manager in a different industry. I am asking about something else.

Of course if you think that my questions are irrelevant and annoy you just delete the topic. Otherwise please try to stay ontopic.

@NikItaly - thanks for that estimate... but is it that bad ? I mean if you earn around 90k CHF then you will pay ca 10k income tax in Luzern (http://en.comparis.ch/steuern/quelle...lensteuer.aspx cause I am a permit B (EU)) around 4500 CHF for pension fund, 3200 CHF for health insurance that makes 90000 - 10000 - 4500 - 3200 ~= 72000 CHF so lets say 71000 CHF / 12 ~= 5900 CHF net per month,

A cheap apartment (including internet,electricty,garbage) should cost around 1000CHF per month, another costs I'd estimate as 1000 CHF(groceries and a beer from time to time) that makes 3900 CHF left
so 90k seems to be ok if you want to save 3k, but of course my reasoning may be flawed (please correct me if im wrong cause I dont know swiss tax system too well).
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Old 20.02.2011, 14:46
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

Of course I understand that you are probably fed up with questions concerning salary issues, cause it is hard to give a definite answer. I am more interested in tax and cost of living calculation algorithm and whether salaries in Luzern are substantially lower than in big Swiss cities like Zurich (thats what I was told by an agent)
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Old 20.02.2011, 14:53
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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Of course I understand that you are probably fed up with questions concerning salary issues, cause it is hard to give a definite answer. I am more interested in tax and cost of living calculation algorithm and whether salaries in Luzern are substantially lower than in big Swiss cities like Zurich (thats what I was told by an agent)
Curiously, those interested in paying the least amount of tax are usually the ones who contribute little to communities, but are happy to utilise the community to their own advantage. Expect little favour from regular members if as a Newbie the first posts are regarding wanting something with no prior form in offering. Just explaining any antipathy you may be feeling. Nobody has a definitive answer. The majority of Swiss people your age earn less than you're about to earn, FTW.
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Old 20.02.2011, 15:17
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

Hi Adrin,

Upon a job offer from Migros they offered me this following breakdown...

AHV 5.05%
ALV 1.00%
Nichberufsunfall 1.15%
Krankentaggeld 2.15%
MPK Vollversicherung 8.50%
Tax at source approx 12%

Add that lot up and it's roughly 70% take home, not sure if your company has their own version of the MPK pensionkasse at 8.5%?

Hope that helps

Also I'd suggest that 1000chf is a bit oprimistic for a flat, realistically it's gonna be around 1500 although could be cheaper in the area you're referring to.

Stewart
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Old 20.02.2011, 15:42
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

Adrin - to make it short - you'll be coming home with ~75% of your salary. This is ~4300CHF.

On top of that you'll need to pay a minium of 200chf/month for health insurance and a bunch of other regular expenses you're not considering (but forum is full of information so spend some time reading).

1000 CHF for even a small apartment in Lucerne area is optimistic.
You'll need to spend at least 1 or 2 salaries for most basic furniture as the apartments here come empty, keep this in mind.

Anyhow you should be looking at about 1500-2000 CHF in regular expenses + 600 CHF/month for groceries.

4300 - 2000 - 600 = 1700 CHF of realistic disposable income/savings. If you want to go out once in a while, travel home or need to visit a doctor, you wont have that much left.

Last edited by glinaa; 20.02.2011 at 16:01.
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Old 20.02.2011, 15:45
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

At this stage in your career/life you could/should be looking more at enjoying life and the job that you are in, building on your CV, finding a girlfriend to spend your hard-earned cash on (see social events on this website), as well as how much you're earning.

On 70k, (6250 a month) think 35% for tax, health, AHV and all that, leaves you about 4k a month.
Some families live on less than that here.
Obviously, depending on how you live, you could save quite a bit.


EDIT: i think glinaa types faster than me
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Old 20.02.2011, 15:52
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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Curiously, those interested in paying the least amount of tax are usually the ones who contribute little to communities, but are happy to utilise the community to their own advantage.
I dont want to get into disputes here cause as a newbie I am doomed to fail, but please forgive.. I will to some extent
How do you define 'contribution to the community'? Watering your neighbours plants when he is away? And how do you utilise community? Go on foot to your office and 'utilise' the pavement?
The less tax you pay the more money you spend at restaurants and buisnesses in your community. That is what makes community thrive not administration. And thats what normal people do, try to pay less taxes.

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Expect little favour from regular members if as a Newbie the first posts are regarding wanting something with no prior form in offering. Just explaining any antipathy you may be feeling.
Correct me if I am wrong but first you are talking how important is your philanthropy with respect to community, but now trying to tell me that 'nothing is for free'. Well to be honest I contributed to the forum disclosing some details about IT market in Luzern. Dont you think?
And some 'regular members' already helped me asking nothing in return. Thats terrible isnt it?

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The majority of Swiss people your age earn less than you're about to earn, FTW.
Hold on a second.. how do you know what is my age? What is your point here?
Are you Swiss?
http://bit.ly/ZWHLq
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Old 20.02.2011, 15:58
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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The less tax you pay the more money you spend at restaurants and buisnesses in your community. That is what makes community thrive not administration. And thats what normal people do, try to pay less taxes.
THe less tax you pay, the less police will arrive to assist you if you are in an accident or are mugged for example. Taxes pay for the environment around you, when you drive on the roads, take the train.

Everyone should pay their fair share of tax.
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Old 20.02.2011, 16:00
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

@Golfprostew, @glinaa and @Rangatiranui - thanks for replies and for giving those estimates - much appreciated as this clarifies a lot about the actual coss. It certainly seems that the quality of life wont improve too much for me with such a salary.
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Old 20.02.2011, 16:07
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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THe less tax you pay, the less police will arrive to assist you if you are in an accident or are mugged for example. Taxes pay for the environment around you, when you drive on the roads, take the train.

Everyone should pay their fair share of tax.
Yes I agree, I am not saying that illegal tax evasion is good, I am just saying that it is good to understand the tax system you are a part of. That was intention of my post and I dont understand the accusation that people that want to know how to pay their taxes properly are exploiting 'community'.
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Old 20.02.2011, 16:30
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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THe less tax you pay, the less police will arrive to assist you if you are in an accident or are mugged for example.
It's no problem here in Switzerland. If you have an accident and the police get involved, they'll helpfully send you a bill to cover their expenses.
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Old 21.02.2011, 11:22
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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Hold on a second.. how do you know what is my age? What is your point here?
Are you Swiss?
http://bit.ly/ZWHLq
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I am a computer programmer with ca. 4 years of professional experience ... suitable for a junior developer just after graduating...
What is my point? You're looking for answers, no?

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Of course I understand that you are probably fed up with questions concerning salary issues, cause it is hard to give a definite answer.
Yeah, it's still hard to come up with a definitive answer.

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How do you define 'contribution to the community'? Watering your neighbours plants when he is away? And how do you utilise community? Go on foot to your office and 'utilise' the pavement?
The less tax you pay the more money you spend at restaurants and buisnesses in your community. That is what makes community thrive not administration. And thats what normal people do, try to pay less taxes.
Ha! Wait until you get here. There's a reason why the places with the lowest tax rates are the dullest corners in the country. MegaCorpHQ is not interested in thriving communities. Curiously again, those utilising low tax rates in Zzzsville do like to come to the higher tax rate areas for their social life. Congestion charging comes to mind...

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Correct me if I am wrong but first you are talking how important is your philanthropy with respect to community...
Er, you're wrong. But welcome to the Forum anyway and good luck in the move.
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Old 21.02.2011, 11:44
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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And thats what normal people do, try to pay less taxes.
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I dont understand the accusation that people that want to know how to pay their taxes properly are exploiting 'community'.
You changed your position, from paying less tax to paying the correct amount of tax according to the tax system.

I hope that clears up the misunderstanding.
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Old 21.02.2011, 20:53
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

Ok guys, thanks for all the help and an interesting debate on taxes.

To sum up:
A sticky has been created with some very helpful resources:
http://www.englishforum.ch/employmen...e-you-ask.html

This FAQ made by VI is fantastic:
FAQ: A brief guide to salaries in Switzerland
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Old 21.02.2011, 22:34
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Re: Reasonable salary for Software Engineer in Luzern

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@Golfprostew, @glinaa and @Rangatiranui - thanks for replies and for giving those estimates - much appreciated as this clarifies a lot about the actual coss. It certainly seems that the quality of life wont improve too much for me with such a salary.
Hi Adrin,

I sympathise with your attempts to get useful information. It seems you're being accused of some nasty leeching, an accusation which you have defended well. Just to put it in perspective, some of the old timers here are fed up with people coming to ask the same old questions that everyone has, and there's been quite some talk about these newbies. So you've kind of stepped in at a bad time.

As for your cost of living query, I'd suggest having a good look at some property websites for the apartment, so you know what your budget is. Also, if you can, it's always a good idea to come and visit the place to see for yourself. I did this and got a much better idea of the cost of living.
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