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Old 03.08.2011, 21:24
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Family of five need help, please!

Hello all, we are a family of five (hubby, wife and three kids (7, 6 and 4) looking for some help, advice and support through what is becoming an increasingly complex move to Switzerland. We hope you will be kind enough to help, if not at least point us in the right direction...(I've spent ages looking at this forum and not found an answer yet.)

My husband is in final negotiations with company about taking a job based in Zurich, as a Swiss local, not expat deal. We thought the move would be exciting and interesting, and have already decided with our children so young, to put them into Swiss school - not a problem.

His salary and package has come back at first offer as CHF 167,000 plus car but nothing else (no medical) and limited pension. We are so prepared to take it because we want to experience mountains, lakes and children to speak different languages. However serious pension and any other benefits do not seem forthcoming at this rate, and we are now worried we may be ripped off, and find ourselves unable to live.

We are also prepared to place ourselves in Zug, let my husband do the commute and pay lower taxes and rent - would that work out?

So in basic terms:

Can a family for five used to normal middle class in UK life live OK on this salary?

What is the deal with pension - do we need to pay out a lot more?

What is general medical insurance for a family of five (per annum and per month)?

Can we survive without a car?

Can I as an EC member still work in Swizterland even if my husband has a permit and I don't?

Listen I would appreciate getting to know ANYONE (esp families) who have a similar experience and - if we get over there and make it work, there is a meal out in the bag!!!!

Much appreciated,

Judy
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Old 03.08.2011, 21:30
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

Ok since i dont have much time i can only give you a link that will answer your questions.

Here it is. Enjoy
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Old 03.08.2011, 21:41
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

Well, since you come from Winchester (I come from near there too) felt I had to reply, although I'm not sure of the answers....

I think you can live on this salary, but for a family of 5 I'd say it won't be an extravagant lifestyle - but very far from poverty!! You'll have enough to live on comfortably but perhaps luxury will be a bit beyond.

You can get by in Switzerland without a car for sure. Many many people do. Although to be honest with a family I find it much easier to cram everyone in the car if you want to go somewhere - and to do things like food shopping and inevitable trips to Ikea.

Medical insurance - I don't know of any companies here who contribute to that, but it's quite affordable - I can't remember exactly but I pay around 150CHF a month for me, our kids pay less (depends on their ages), husband pays more (because he has a chronic health issue) - and that's basic insurance - so no private perks, but the basic level of healthcare here is absolutely amazing - unless you have some special requirements then it's completely sufficient.

Pension I have no clue about (mine is with the company I work for). We both have a "third pillar" which is a kind of topup private pension that you pay into once a year - you get tax back if you do it.

I also don't know about you working - usually the permit comes with the job if you need one - so you apply for a job and they sort it all out. I guess it's different if you're looking for something less formal, like a bar job or a fill in for some pocket money kind of thing.

Personally I'd say just go for it, I think it'll all work itself out.
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Old 03.08.2011, 21:43
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

Simple answer, we live on a lot less than you with three children and substantial tuition/childcare expenses.

I'm not sure if the commuting from Zug - Zurich is worth it for the sake of family life - personally I've had my husband commute over an hour, or live right close to work, and I'd go with the second option over the money...but that's a personal thing.

We live with three kids in an apartment, an old apartment at that - but our friend recently visited from Australia and was amazed at the quality of our lifestyle...

We also live without a car, but again, that's a personal choice - you can certainly afford one.

Pension is compulsory - it will be a percentage of your husband's salary, along with other deductions for insurance and taxes of course.

Health insurance we have more than basic cover - although the basic cover is excellent - and our health insurance costs 750chf a month - you can expect to pay between 50-80 chf per month per child (it gets higher as they get older), and about 250-300chf for adults - depending on what options you choose. Whether that's shocking or not to you really depends on your perspective - for US expats it seems awesome and the availability of doctors/hospitals/specialists is impressive. For Aussies it seems 'exorbitant' until you discover that there is virtually no waiting list and if they say '8:15 appointment' they mean '8:15 appointment' and will apologise if they are running more than a few minutes late...

If you are an EU member then you won't have any dramas getting a work permit. Finding work to fit around your school timetable is a challenge, but not completely impossible.

We live without a car. We love the fact that our kids are confident on public transport, can handle long distance train trips (as well as having plenty of stamps in their passports) and can walk a long way carrying luggage - even if they do like to complain, they know they can do it!

I am waaay fitter than I was back home, not necessarily too much thinner, but definitely fitter! - and healthier...and less aches and pains...

I applaud your decision to choose local schooling - I think your kids will learn fast and adapt fast, and although the initial transition year is very stressful, just keep those conversations going, and work hard to build your support networks...

And back to that commuting thing - it depends of course on your background, but my husband works longer hours than he did in Australia, and being far away from family and friends, I really rely on his support a lot more than before, and for that reason, the closer to work the better...

Oh, and the cost of eating out and tourist stuff is exorbitant. I have become much more of a 'cook' and 'housewife' than I ever was before - but I also pay a cleaner an exorbitant amount of money to clean our apartment every second week and every time I think 'is this worth it' and afterwards 'absolutely worth the money'.

Of course, your financial situation depends also on your financial obligations back home, but the way the CHF is against any other currency at the world at the moment, even those of us on tight and limited budgets are feeling 'ahead' and there are plenty of beautiful, wonderful, free and almost free options, and i challenge you to beat the cleanliness, order and general efficiency of life in Switzerland.

Oh, our kids are 11, 9 and 3...we arrived just over 3 years ago and for now have no plans to go 'home'...
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Old 03.08.2011, 21:43
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

well, according to lohncomputer.ch, 167000 per year with 3 kids gives you 11.448,53 net per month which is a pretty high wage. If you want to rent a 5 bed house with a garden in Zug, that will probably take quite a large chunk of that though.
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Old 03.08.2011, 22:07
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

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Hello all, we are a family of five (hubby, wife and three kids (7, 6 and 4) looking for some help, advice and support through what is becoming an increasingly complex move to Switzerland. We hope you will be kind enough to help, if not at least point us in the right direction...(I've spent ages looking at this forum and not found an answer yet.)

My husband is in final negotiations with company about taking a job based in Zurich, as a Swiss local, not expat deal. We thought the move would be exciting and interesting, and have already decided with our children so young, to put them into Swiss school - not a problem.

His salary and package has come back at first offer as CHF 167,000 plus car but nothing else (no medical) and limited pension. We are so prepared to take it because we want to experience mountains, lakes and children to speak different languages. However serious pension and any other benefits do not seem forthcoming at this rate, and we are now worried we may be ripped off, and find ourselves unable to live.

We are also prepared to place ourselves in Zug, let my husband do the commute and pay lower taxes and rent - would that work out?

So in basic terms:

Can a family for five used to normal middle class in UK life live OK on this salary?

What is the deal with pension - do we need to pay out a lot more?

What is general medical insurance for a family of five (per annum and per month)?

Can we survive without a car?

Can I as an EC member still work in Swizterland even if my husband has a permit and I don't?

Listen I would appreciate getting to know ANYONE (esp families) who have a similar experience and - if we get over there and make it work, there is a meal out in the bag!!!!

Much appreciated,

Judy
I have a fam of 4. When we live in Switzerland we dont spend more than 10k per month and thats having a 5 bedroom apartment, very large office, and 2 cars, school for the kids yada yada yada.....

Pensions? Thats a mandatory obligation. Its a law that he HAS to get it. Sorry, but you need to talk to a professional. I set up a small company and paid myself a salary. That company had to pay me a pension by law. No questions asked.

5 bedroom in Zug costs anywhere from 9,000 to 30,000 per month. Even after tax savings thats not really good. Zug is only good if you buy there (for tax reasons). But for renters its tough. We own a 5 bedroom 2 bath near Lenzburg we might be renting out in the next couple months? Its 220 square meters. LOTS of closet space (which is impossible to find in CH) and close to the park and sport center. That would cost 2,800 to 3,000 depending on utility bills.

You can survive in most of Switzerland without a car. The best train system in the world.
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Old 03.08.2011, 22:12
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

Lots of good advice here so I won't repeat. This is a high salary and way above average. Be careful re renting in low tax areas - not much point in having a long commute for your OH, and a much higher rent - for the sake of less tax. I'd rather pay more tax but lower rent and shorter commute.
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Old 03.08.2011, 22:18
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

I'd also recommend being in a big centre rather than further out of town - if you don't have more than one public transport option, then you're 'out of town' - it might not seem significant now, but my nearly 12 year old takes public transport solo or with her brother, and it sure beats having to run around to pick her up or drop her off - and it's the 'done' thing here...

Oh, and I grew up in a massive house, and am very adapted now to 'small' living...although it makes for very 'high traffic' it does challenge you to spend much more time outdoors...
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Old 03.08.2011, 22:29
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

You will have no problem at all living on that salary!
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Old 03.08.2011, 22:35
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

No you can` t make it at this salary,If you would come from somewhere ells then UK the whole EFwelcome would jump on your casseWelcom to the forum
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Old 03.08.2011, 22:35
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

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We are also prepared to place ourselves in Zug, let my husband do the commute and pay lower taxes and rent - would that work out?
No it wouldn't - because taxes in Zug are low, rent is expensive, and then there's the commute to Zurich. I'd rather look just west of Uetliberg, places like Bonstetten or Hedingen. If you're close enough to the station, you get less dense housing and still have decent public transport options.
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Old 03.08.2011, 22:37
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

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His salary and package has come back at first offer as CHF 167,000 plus car
Can a family for five used to normal middle class in UK life live OK on this salary? Definitely. The average salary here is about CHF 6'800 per month!

What is the deal with pension - do we need to pay out a lot more? The state pension is not too expensive. When you settle in you can start saving.

What is general medical insurance for a family of five (per annum and per month)? Depends on your age and cover, I would think less than CHF 500 per month

Can we survive without a car? You are getting a company car, that should be enough. You can join www.mobility.ch for about CHF 200 per year.

Can I as an EC member still work in Swizterland even if my husband has a permit and I don't? You will get the same permit and can work if you feel able to, 3 children are demanding.

Listen I would appreciate getting to know ANYONE (esp families) who have a similar experience and - if we get over there and make it work, there is a meal out in the bag!!!!

Much appreciated,

Judy
Not sure if it is a good idea to live in Zug and drive to Zurich each day, maybe someone else can help. Using the train is OK, but with a company car you have to assume it will be used for company business.

Remember most people live in apartments here as houses are expensive. Also, when the Gemeinde has low taxes, the rental prices are higher! http://www.estv.admin.ch/dienstleist...x.html?lang=en

With your details the tax difference between Zurich and Zug is about CHF 10'000 per year, cheaper in Zug:
http://www.homegate.ch/finanzieren/r.../steuerrechner

http://www.homegate.ch/rent/apartmen...=1&fromItem=ch

I used to live at 2 King Alfred Place, Winchester. Useful links here: http://www.ch.ch/private/01563/index.html?lang=en

Last edited by Ittigen; 03.08.2011 at 22:54.
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Old 04.08.2011, 16:15
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

Thank you everyone so much for this great feedback - it has been very helpful. It's great to know that there are people from Winchester too, who will know what sort of city we are used to. All good stuff. Many thanks, and if anyone can let me know how I can thank individual posts too, that would be great!!

Judy
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Old 04.08.2011, 16:19
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

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Thank you everyone so much for this great feedback - it has been very helpful. It's great to know that there are people from Winchester too, who will know what sort of city we are used to. All good stuff. Many thanks, and if anyone can let me know how I can thank individual posts too, that would be great!!

Judy
Good luck with everything!

Once your post count hits the magic number 10, you will then be able to thank or groan posts accordingly.
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Old 04.08.2011, 16:31
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

Girl, it's a great deal. I don't know what your lifestyle in the UK is, but I'm in the same place as swisspea (a lot lower income, 3 kids, but since we live in a rural area my lower rent allows me to own 2 cars), and you can lead a great lifestyle at 10K/month.
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Old 04.08.2011, 16:36
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

One important question to ask yourselves. What are your debts going to be back in the UK?

I am not making quite that much, but as a single person I am finding it hard to make ends meet, just because of debts back home and duplicating those debts here (i.e. mortgage, care, insurance, etc etc etc), plus the speeding tickets, insurance, taxes, insurance, taxes, speeding tickets, new furniture, taxes, speeding tickets, insurance... etc.

If you're coming debt free, though, then grab it!
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Old 04.08.2011, 16:42
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

For us to give a more informed opinion on where you should live - where is your husband's job going to be based?

You can also use the tax calculator to work out different tax rates for various towns at:

http://en.comparis.ch/steuern/steuer...h/default.aspx
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Old 07.08.2011, 13:03
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

His job would definitely be based in Zurich, so I think we have given the idea of living in Zug a body swerve and decided to base ourselves in Zurich. We are getting lots of positive feedback about making the move, so i think we'll be fine. Also as Switzerland seems to be the only country in Europe that does not appear to be collapsing, I think we'll take what we can get and get over there!! Again many thanks for all the info. Now onto looking for schools, flats, getting a dog over there...
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Old 07.08.2011, 14:07
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

I think you are wise...for the lifestyle, less commuting is better - it only takes 10-15 minutes and you are completely out of the city and into the 'rural' areas...nothing like the large centres that perhaps you are used to...

Sydney you can drive for 2 hours and barely leave the urban areas...3 with friday afternoon peak hour traffic...
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Old 07.08.2011, 14:13
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Re: Family of five need help, please!

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first offer as CHF 167,000 plus car but nothing else
Is that per week or per month? If it's per week you should be ok, but you will find it's nowhere near enough to live on if it's only monthly.
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