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Old 24.02.2011, 14:59
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FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

Can I live on CHF100’000 a year? And can I support a family?

This is probably one of the most frequently-asked questions on English Forum, and it gets a wide range of responses. People often scoff at a question like this and say “of course you can survive on a salary like that! Plenty of people survive on far less!” They do, of course, but not as many as you might think. CHF100’000 isn’t quite as much money as it sounds on the face of it. So let's look at a few facts to put it into context.

According to Wikipedia, the median household income in Switzerland in 2009 was CHF109,236. In Switzerland in particular, it’s important to look at the median income rather than the average income so that you don’t get a view that’s skewed by a small pocket of people with very large incomes.

You can’t directly compare a Swiss income to your income in another country, because both wages and expenditure here are higher. In terms of purchasing power parity, a salary of CHF100’000 will buy you the same sort of lifestyle that a salary of US$64,877 would buy you in the US.


A six-figure lifestyle, Swiss-style

It’s important to note that it won’t buy you the same lifestyle as the US, but a comparable one. You’re unlikely to have a big car, cheap gas, and a large, inexpensive house in the suburbs. You will benefit from reasonably low taxes, subsidized public transportation, and high-quality housing infrastructure. And that’s part of the deal – when judging whether you can live on a certain salary, you need to decide if you can live with the ‘Swiss lifestyle’ that the salary can buy. It’s no good doing one-to-one comparisons with your lifestyle in the US, UK, Australia, or wherever, as there are too many things that can’t be compared.

So what is a Swiss lifestyle? Let’s understand how Swiss people spend their money:

On average, Swiss people spent about 27% of their paycheque on social security, tax, and mandatory healthcare. Housing takes up another 16% of the budget, transportation takes 8% and basic food takes up another 7% of the budget. And the Swiss are savers, putting 11% of their income in the bank at the end of each month.


Working out your budget

Using these figures as guidelines, you can begin to work out a rough budget based on a CHF100’000 salary. You can then visit websites to do some comparison shopping, finding out (for example) what kind of accomodation you could afford for CHF16’000 per year. Or what kind of food a CHF7’000 per year budget would buy.

If you’re single, CHF583 per month will obviously buy a different standard of groceries than if you’re supporting a family of 4 on the same budget. Do your calculations, do your research, then make up your mind about whether it’s enough.

Here's a thread that was started earlier with loads of good information to serve as the basis of creating a budget: Cost of living - help needed to get it right


Being poor in Switzerland

At the other end of the spectrum, it’s important to look at what it means to be poor in Switzerland, too. Put another way, “Can I support my family on CHF55’200 a year?

Quote:
“In Switzerland, poverty means not having what others take for granted. The official poverty line in 2005 was 2,200 francs per month for a single person household, or 4,600 for a family with two children.”

This is pretty shocking, as what constitutes “living below the poverty line” in Switzerland is $6000 more than the median household income in the US ($49,777)

Last edited by Village Idiot; 24.02.2011 at 15:30.
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Old 24.02.2011, 15:02
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

So, here's the follow-up to my first post about salaries in Switzerland:

FAQ: A brief guide to salaries in Switzerland

It was prompted by the excellent post by Paulus Camillus and should make for an interesting debate.

As always, happy for feedback on the post. And, I suspect, this post will also generate some interesting follow-up conversations and differing viewpoints. Enjoy!
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Old 24.02.2011, 15:07
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

Excellent post, just some housekeeping to sort out, you've repeated this sentence:
Quote:
You can’t directly compare a Swiss income to your income in another country, because both wages and expenditure here are higher. In terms of purchasing power parity, a salary of CHF100’000 will buy you the same sort of lifestyle that a salary of US$64,877 would buy you in the US.
Otherwise, continue the good work.
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Old 24.02.2011, 15:09
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

I noticed that at the same time you were posting. Got a little over-zealous with my copy-pasting.
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Old 24.02.2011, 15:18
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

Cost of living - help needed to get it right
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Old 24.02.2011, 15:39
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

Quote:
“In Switzerland, poverty means not having what others take for granted. The official poverty line in 2005 was 2,200 francs per month for a single person household, or 4,600 for a family with two children.”
That puts me well below the poverty line yet I have a roof over my head, plenty to eat, tv, internet and even go out for meals from time to time.

How do they define the poverty line? Unable to buy a new flat screen tv? New car? Only H&M clothes rather than Espirit?

Now granted I'm a student but that doesn't change hugely how I live (though I do get discounts for some things ).

I have to be careful with my money but i'm not homeless or hungry.
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Old 24.02.2011, 15:52
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

I don't see anything new here except for old good topic being resurrected and milled over and over again. These info can already be found if carefully searched on the EF. Anyway good thing about it is just being ocasionally reminded how it is and putting the things into prospective. Well done VI.
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Old 24.02.2011, 15:56
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

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That puts me well below the poverty line yet I have a roof over my head, plenty to eat, tv, internet and even go out for meals from time to time.

How do they define the poverty line? Unable to buy a new flat screen tv? New car? Only H&M clothes rather than Espirit?

Now granted I'm a student but that doesn't change hugely how I live (though I do get discounts for some things ).

I have to be careful with my money but i'm not homeless or hungry.
I agree, living below the poverty line is quite possible. I too am a student and have to keep a tight eye on my money. I live nice and comfortably.

However, if there was to be a disaster, I'm not sure I would have the funds to deal with it. That's how I personally would define poverty.
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Old 24.02.2011, 15:59
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

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I don't see anything new here except for old good topic being resurrected and milled over and over again.
That's the point of a FAQ: to stop people asking the same question again and again by putting all the relevant information in one place.

It also cuts down on the number of "This has already been answered a hundred times, do a search!" posts.

Last edited by Village Idiot; 24.02.2011 at 16:18.
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Old 24.02.2011, 16:03
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

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However, if there was to be a disaster, I'm not sure I would have the funds to deal with it. That's how I personally would define poverty.
Ok that's true. If some sort of disaster happens i'd probably need to seek help from family. I also wouldn't want to live like this for the rest of my life but that's why I'm studying I guess
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Old 24.02.2011, 16:10
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

And I also think it is relevant for to people to understand that they cannot make an apple to apple comparison of a Swiss Salary to their home country.

Not everyone comes to CH on a Salary with the single minded intention of burning through it month after month, travelling through Europe, looking at the mountains and to use the bicycle. Some actually come here with the notion that they can save more to create a better life here or else where for themselves or other people in their lives. So any information is good information. Good work VI.

Sometimes I miss the point of this being called a discussion forum because rather than to get the help you need - It's like freakin Night Court where you're judged too quickly. I'll admit I've made that mistake too but have slowly corrected that and tried to be more helpful.

May be rather than ads on Driving Schools and Casino's what the EF managment needs to thing about is an automated solution to newbies who are posting on the forum where a pop up box comes up and asks if they've used the search function first? Or as they are typing in the subject line it throws up threads with the relevant TAGs.

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That's the point of a FAQ: to stop people asking the same question again and again by putting all the relevant information in one place.

It also cuts down on the number of "This has already been answered a hundred times, do a search!" questions.
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Old 24.02.2011, 16:16
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Re: FAQ: Is CHF100'000 a good salary?

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That's the point of a FAQ: to stop people asking the same question again and again by putting all the relevant information in one place.

It also cuts down on the number of "This has already been answered a hundred times, do a search!" questions.
You have already become swiss , I appreciate your patience
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