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Old 07.12.2007, 18:41
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Expat Packages

I thought there was a thread on this, but I searched for hours and couldn't find it, so at the very least someone can point me in the right direction...

Thought it might be nice to compare packages since they're never boilerplate, either between or even within companies.

I've been offered a relocation from Washington DC to Zurich, where the company I work for (large multinational @ $3.5bn in annual turnover) has its European headquarters. Since this is my first international assignment, I wanted to gauge how my expat package stacks up against those who have a few more miles under their belts.

My story:
I've been working for this company doing corporate finance (among other things) for a little over a year, straight out of college (I'm in my mid 20s). I've also spent 2+ years in Switzerland, so I speak Hochdeutsch and Swiss German, as well as a bit of French.

The company offered to relocate me to their Zurich office, no change in role or responsibilities -- just a straight geographical relocation.


My package:
Originally offered @ local contract, was switched over to expat for reasons unbeknownst to me (likely for visa purposes).
  • Initial 2-year assignment, can be extended to total of 5 years
  • US$80,000 base salary + 10-20% bonus
  • FX protection + COLA adjustment on portion of salary converted to CHF (based on est. living expenses). Remaining USD salary stays unprotected
  • Rent paid by company, deducted from base salary
  • Tax equalization + advice provided by company
  • Private int'l health & dental insurance (difference between my current US package and the Int'l package paid by company)
  • 2 months temporary housing
  • $7,000 relocation bonus (one-time, cash)
  • 25 days vacation (plus however many bank holidays there are)
So, is this any good? Can I live comfortably in 800X areas (no Oerlikon for me)?

Any comments or comparisons would be extremely helpful before I sign and ship off.


PKV

Last edited by PKV; 08.12.2007 at 04:11.
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  #2  
Old 07.12.2007, 18:43
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Re: Expat Packages

No...and no.

dave

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So, is this any good? Can I live comfortably in 800X areas (no Oerlikon for me)?
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  #3  
Old 07.12.2007, 18:47
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Re: Expat Packages

I'd say yes and yes - but you might not want to leave any money in the US. You're in your 20s, live life, spend it
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Old 07.12.2007, 18:53
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Re: Expat Packages

wow dave, i think you just barely passed the minimum character limit on that response while on the other hand providing me an endless wealth of information. a veritable cornicopia.

will take your suggestions on to my negotiations.


PKV
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Old 07.12.2007, 18:56
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Re: Expat Packages

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wow dave, i think you just barely passed the minimum character limit on that response while on the other hand providing me an endless wealth of information. a veritable cornicopia.

will take your suggestions on to my negotiations.


PKV
That's...how they say in the commercials...PRICELESS!
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  #6  
Old 07.12.2007, 18:58
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Re: Expat Packages

Oddly enough we don't exist just in order for you to maximise leverage on your deal. Setting out the complete package you are either getting or expecting and how wonderfully experienced you are appears simply as bragging in my eyes.

Good luck with it, I am sure you will get the deal you deserve.

dave


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wow dave, i think you just barely passed the minimum character limit on that response while on the other hand providing me an endless wealth of information. a veritable cornicopia.

will take your suggestions on to my negotiations.


PKV
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  #7  
Old 07.12.2007, 19:01
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Re: Expat Packages

I am not sure I get how much money you will actually make...

If it is 80000 $ and you have to pay your own rent it will be a little tough...
If the COLA comes on top, (how much?) then it should be fine.

What about pension social security etc etc etc? (which is probably the reason why they chose expat vs local)
If you are an expat you will be taxed based on your home country tax scheme and not Swiss taxes. So this has also to be taken int account.

Cheers,
Cristina
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Old 07.12.2007, 19:15
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Re: Expat Packages

[post deleted by author]

Last edited by PKV; 08.12.2007 at 02:11. Reason: i was in a bitchy mood
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  #9  
Old 07.12.2007, 19:17
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Re: Expat Packages

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No...and no.

dave
I'm sorry Dave, but are you saying that approx. 90k CHF for 1 yr experience, a 10-20% bonus (unheard of in the US outside Investment Banking) and relo plus another 8k CHF relo bonus is not a good deal? While I have yet to move to CH, from everything I've read, this sounds like a pretty good deal, no?

Plus I would think a single person could live well on what I would estimate post tax/pre rent of about 6k CHF per month. Am I off on this?

Thanks
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Old 07.12.2007, 19:18
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Re: Expat Packages

Cristina,

my COLA comes on top of that, but it's likely not enough to fully neutralize my rent expense.

I'm exempt from the Swiss pension system, but still enrolled in the US one (social security + company sponsored pension scheme).

Will be taxed in the US, but it's my impression that I will be taxed no more than if i were based there as well (part of the tax equalization).


PKV
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  #11  
Old 07.12.2007, 19:21
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Re: Expat Packages

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I'm sorry Dave, but are you saying that approx. 90k CHF for 1 yr experience, a 10-20% bonus (unheard of in the US outside Investment Banking) and relo plus another 8k CHF relo bonus is not a good deal? While I have yet to move to CH, from everything I've read, this sounds like a pretty good deal, no?

Plus I would think a single person could live well on what I would estimate post tax/pre rent of about 6k CHF per month. Am I off on this?

Thanks
It is a very sweet deal nobody in their right mind should turn down.
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  #12  
Old 07.12.2007, 19:22
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Re: Expat Packages

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It is a very sweet deal nobody in their right mind should turn down.
aka "there are families who survive on less than this"
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Old 07.12.2007, 19:25
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Re: Expat Packages

Ok.
If the COLA covers part of the rent, then I would say you have a nice deal

Knowing the COLA would help or also the Gross to Net figure which your company may have provided would help give a better point of view.

But overall Iwould say you will be fine and you will live nicely in a nice location :-)

One thing: the stuff like COLA etc will be tax equlized right? So that you do not pay tax on it?

Cheers,
Cristina
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Old 07.12.2007, 19:27
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Re: Expat Packages

Thanks for the bluntness -- I guess that's the answer to my main question.

Are there any particular weaknesses of the deal I should be aware of? I was up until 3am the other night analyzing the fx protection part, as that seemed to be a key issue, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around the tax implications.

As far as rent, do companies tend to provide an allowance for housing (either mortgage or rent) this in "typical" packages, from what people have experienced?


PKV

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aka "there are families who survive on less than this"
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Old 07.12.2007, 19:33
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Re: Expat Packages

If you're protected against fx risks then you should be ok. I know someone two years into an IA in London from NY who is not.

Is fx fixed in both directions?
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Old 07.12.2007, 19:33
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Re: Expat Packages

Listen before pontificating, you may glean some useful information.

Many posts on this forum contain many gems (some even from me) that you ain't gunna find elsewhere. If you have been around forums a lot as you say, you will know not to cut off your nose to spite your face this early in proceedings.

Ask some specific questions. The forum is littered with "Is this a good salary ", and your comments like "No Oerlikon for me " are hardly endearing to those who live in Oerlikon and earn several times more than you do. Don't take my word for it mind, search the archives.

dave




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dave,

... but it is here to serve as a resource to connect those less knowledgable in a field with those who *know* things.

...


XOXO,
PKV
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  #17  
Old 07.12.2007, 19:36
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Re: Expat Packages

actually I was going to ask "what's wrong with Oerlikon?".....but Dave beat me to it in a very different way
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Old 07.12.2007, 20:04
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Re: Expat Packages

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Listen before pontificating, you may glean some useful information.

Many posts on this forum contain many gems (some even from me) that you ain't gunna find elsewhere. If you have been around forums a lot as you say, you will know not to cut off your nose to spite your face this early in proceedings.

Ask some specific questions. The forum is littered with "Is this a good salary ", and your comments like "No Oerlikon for me " are hardly endearing to those who live in Oerlikon and earn several times more than you do. Don't take my word for it mind, search the archives.

dave
Dave to be fair, IMHO, your response was perceived by the OP to serve no purpose other than to possibly irritate and/or put him/her off. It's kind of how the term "duress" works in law, it's not what you meant, it's what the other perceives.

IMHO, the OP did in fact post almost all the details pertaining to his/her deal/question and did not just throw the usual .."I'm being offered $XXX...is this good?" That said, I can attest to the fact that more often than not, (90%+), you provide a helpful response or funny retort, so let's all just put this one behind us ;-)
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Old 07.12.2007, 20:11
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Re: Expat Packages

Actually, since you will be taxed in US, your monthly take-home will likely be slightly less than 6kCHF assuming 7.65%for FICA, 15% Fed tax, not sure what DC's "state" tax rate is.
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Old 07.12.2007, 20:57
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Re: Expat Packages

This whole "I'm exempt of taxation, social security and pension plan contributions" sounds very fishy to me.

FX fixing has the potential to make you or kill you.
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