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  #21  
Old 28.08.2008, 16:25
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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Thanks for all the feedback! I am in a position where I have to make the decision whether or not to "proceed" by next week. I can get a trip out to Basel, but will not do this unless there is a good chance of eventually taking the job.

I must be too American, it seems, as I am heading towards a decision not to proceed. Anyone want to try to convince me otherwise? I have a very decent salary as mentioned (plus a 20% contribution to retirement!), I get 5 weeks of vacation a year (much of which is spent in Europe), and the joys of being able to watch the American political process.

Seriously, what are the "intangibles" that might make moving preferable?
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  #22  
Old 28.08.2008, 16:31
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

I would definitely negotiate for more money. Why on earth would they offer you technically less pay than you are on already? Money may not be the most important thing in life but as you are bringing a wife and child I don't think it will stretch very far. Basic stuff like food is quite expensive...

On the other hand if you're prepared to make some cutbacks then you could enjoy life here - simply.



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Hello, I have just completed a phone interview for a relatively senior technical position in Basel. I am relatively well-paid here in Salt Lake City Utah, making about $140K/yr. However, I do have roots and relatives in Europe, and love the culture, so there are other considerations.

It looks like I will be offered about 135K Swiss Francs a year. From poking around this forum, I believe this would be a fairly decent salary to live on. I have a wife and a 7-year-old daughter who would come with me. It seems, though, that health insurance, dental work [wish my parents had made me brush my teeth...], US tax requirements, and so on will "eat" a large portion of the salary.

I fully realize I have to discuss these issues with others and ponder them, yet I would very much appreciate any thoughts you can give me. I am not looking for a lavish lifestyle, just want to keep the family happy, travel a bit, save a few bucks....thanks for any input!
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  #23  
Old 28.08.2008, 16:37
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

One thing that has not been mentioned is your wife.
You will be busy working, meeting people etc. In my opinion your wife is the one who will pay the price (at least for the first few months). mark my words..SHE WILL HATE IT....
You have a lot of good replies. Put pro's and con's on a list and decide.
remember, if you are on a descent working permit, you will be eligable for collecting unemployment in case you loose your job. The unemployment benefits in the US do not come close to CH.
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Old 28.08.2008, 16:38
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

I too have lived in both Switzerland and the USA and there is no doubt that you will be taking a big pay cut to come here at CHF 135K vs. $140K. You will have approximately 32% of your salary for compulsory deductions (tax, social security, unemployment insurance). The exact amount depends where you live and certain personal deductions but the personnel department should be able to give you an accurate range. If there is a company pension, that will be another 5-6% and the employer will match with 10-12%. You need to check portability rules, minimum contribution levels etc. to know what a Swiss company pension might be worth to you eventually. My guess is unless you stay here over 10 years, it will not be worth a lot and unlike a US 401(K), once you leave the country it will be frozen here and you might, many years from now collect a tiny pension.

I would urge you to consider the future career prospects. One problem some people face (not fair but it is real) is that US employers do not value overseas work experience. There are exceptions (e.g. some multinationals and in some technical professions).

As others have said, the lifestyle questions are quite apart from the salary and should be evaluated separately. This can be a wonderful, life-enriching experience for you and your family. A chance to learn another language and culture; an opportunity to value some things other than those we are used to in the USA. And, if you drink a chance to buy a bottle of wine in a restaurant without the outrageous mark-up that appears to be the norm in SLC!!

Good luck whichever way you and your family choose to jump.
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Old 28.08.2008, 16:44
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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I too have lived in both Switzerland and the USA and there is no doubt that you will be taking a big pay cut to come here at CHF 135K vs. $140K. You will have approximately 32% of your salary for compulsory deductions (tax, social security, unemployment insurance). The exact amount depends where you live and certain personal deductions but the personnel department should be able to give you an accurate range. If there is a company pension, that will be another 5-6% and the employer will match with 10-12%. You need to check portability rules, minimum contribution levels etc. to know what a Swiss company pension might be worth to you eventually. My guess is unless you stay here over 10 years, it will not be worth a lot and unlike a US 401(K), once you leave the country it will be frozen here and you might, many years from now collect a tiny pension.

I would urge you to consider the future career prospects. One problem some people face (not fair but it is real) is that US employers do not value overseas work experience. There are exceptions (e.g. some multinationals and in some technical professions).

As others have said, the lifestyle questions are quite apart from the salary and should be evaluated separately. This can be a wonderful, life-enriching experience for you and your family. A chance to learn another language and culture; an opportunity to value some things other than those we are used to in the USA. And, if you drink a chance to buy a bottle of wine in a restaurant without the outrageous mark-up that appears to be the norm in SLC!!

Good luck whichever way you and your family choose to jump.
My total deductions included pensions, health insurance etc comes to a little under 25%...all the rest is play money. It depends on where you live and how much insurance you want.
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  #26  
Old 02.09.2008, 19:17
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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135k swissy's is a very good salary here. You won't be struggling to live happily..however as stated it won't buy you as many things as in the States.

If money is the important factor you are probably better off staying put, however it seems to me that the opportunity to move to a different country, let alone a different continent don't come along everyday.
There are other advantages to living in Switzerland that may or may not compensate for the loss of purchasing power.
Better schools, less crime, different culture, central position in Europe, Mountains, lakes, alpine meadows, public transport etc...I don't know what the list would be for you but mine would look something like the above...to me those things would be worth a certain pay cut.

Don't get confused either by the above posts, 135k is a good salary, you will live comfortably. Just don't expect it to all be like home, things are different, that's the point of changing country and culture, if you aren't prepared for that you will be better off staying put.

Edit: too add longer holidays I get 6 weeks, and I can take more than 2 weeks in 1 go.
This seems a reasonable reply. I would like to add that CF the CHF have been a stable economy and currency. It is a reasonable economy to invest in and store wealth. The US may decide to drive down its currency to preserve the nominal value of financial assets.

The US is not expensive, but inflating. It is a familiar place for us with a reasonable quality of life. I enjoy Switzerland and will continue to travel there. Living in Switzerland is under careful consideration, but I don't harbor illusions about the change. Good luck.
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  #27  
Old 02.09.2008, 19:24
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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If there is a company pension, that will be another 5-6% and the employer will match with 10-12%.
5-6% only if you're real young. It's an age related sliding scale and it increases sharply as you grow older.

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You need to check portability rules, minimum contribution levels etc. to know what a Swiss company pension might be worth to you eventually. My guess is unless you stay here over 10 years, it will not be worth a lot and unlike a US 401(K), once you leave the country it will be frozen here and you might, many years from now collect a tiny pension.
Company sponsored pension is fully portable unless you're moving to the EU. State pension is also fully portable unless you move to a state having social security agreements with Switzerland (and there are not that many).

Consider that when your company sponsored pension is cashed out it is not taxed at the normal income rate, so even you're here four five years you can end up saving each year at least 20%-plus of your yearly gross salary.
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  #28  
Old 07.10.2008, 23:27
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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This seems a reasonable reply. I would like to add that CF the CHF have been a stable economy and currency. It is a reasonable economy to invest in and store wealth. The US may decide to drive down its currency to preserve the nominal value of financial assets.

The US is not expensive, but inflating. It is a familiar place for us with a reasonable quality of life. I enjoy Switzerland and will continue to travel there. Living in Switzerland is under careful consideration, but I don't harbor illusions about the change. Good luck.
I wish I had known about this forum prior to my accepting a senior clinical position in the health care (manufacturing) industry last year. There are lots of excellent responses and honest advice here. However, from personal experience, if I had to do it all over again, I would probably not have accepted the job here. I say this having acknowledged everything that was said about how beautiful Switzerland is - it is unmatched in many ways! You may also be lucky to be considering working for a large firm. The bottom line is - the bigger the company, the more familiar they are with trans-continental relocations and contract negotiations. The cultural changes in so far as my new employer was concerned was not as enjoyable. I originally transferred offices from Toronto, Canada to Basel. There is a lot of room to negotiate terms of any "contract", which is basically a compilation of everything that was communicated and agreed to by email or by phone into a letter presented by the company. I am told this is the legal format, so don't be too surprised. There were a few other things I wished I had known beforehand - my list follows:
1. Re: the salary of 135CHF, this is without a doubt a great salary for CH, but given your current US paycheck, I would definitely re-negotiate. I wasn't sure how flexible my new employer was going to be and I took a pay cut only to discover that there were others around my level of my experience who were being paid more, simply because that is what they asked for at the start of their contract. I started off around the level that was quoted in this e-trail and went higher. My situation may be unique since my position didn't actually exist - it was created, therefore hard to match up to existing salaries.
2. No information or support on taxation laws or treaties to avoid double taxation was provided. I had to do all the research on my own - so to this, I would advise: get them to pay for the services of a knowledgeable tax attorney BEFORE you accept. Ask about everything (especially if you own a house in the US and decide to rent it out).
3. Play it safe. Negotiate a "repatriation" clause into your contract. If things don't go the way you expect them to go (employers can absolve any position without any legal obligation to discuss with the employee beforehand and are required to give you just 3 months notice).
4. Heed the advice on this forum about the additional expenses: health insurance, costs not included in rental agreements (Nebenkosten), education costs. I end up paying quite a bit more each month for these expenses.
Best of luck.
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  #29  
Old 24.10.2008, 07:28
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

Wonder what you ended up doing! I've not been online as much as I'd have liked so a lot of posts are old.....

You're still on a good salary, would be a great lifestyle change and you can always go back home later!

Cheers,
Pam
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  #30  
Old 24.10.2008, 09:10
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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The OP is from SLC, so the cost of living is pretty low there. His cost of living will be nearly double here in Switzerland. To offer him less in CHF than USD is highly insulting.
Why would that be insulting? Salaries in Switzerland in most high-tech sectors are far lower than in the US. 135K is a pretty darn good income in CH - that's about how much doctors and lawyers (that aren't self-employed) make.
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  #31  
Old 24.10.2008, 09:12
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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I hope I was not the one, who forced you to reject the proposition?

In CH you have 3 weeks of vacation per year (usually).
You have a 4 week minimum (that you actually can and have to take) guaranteed by law. Average is 5 weeks.
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Old 06.12.2017, 11:11
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

You resurrected a post from 2008?

Gee, what will you be selling?
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Old 06.12.2017, 11:21
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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You resurrected a post from 2008?

Gee, what will you be selling?
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  #34  
Old 06.12.2017, 11:49
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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One thing that has not been mentioned is your wife.
You will be busy working, meeting people etc. In my opinion your wife is the one who will pay the price (at least for the first few months). mark my words..SHE WILL HATE IT....

Why do you say that? I am "the trailing spouse" and I absolutely love it here! In fact, I think I like it better than my husband does

But yes, it is very important to discuss this with your wife. And if you do decide to make the move, then I would consider enrolling your child in the local schools. It will be difficult at first (language, customs, etc), but much more rewarding for them in the end.



Oh, and the one reason alone to leave SLC: the tap water there is disgusting The water here, on the other hand, is divine

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Old 06.12.2017, 12:46
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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Thanks for all the feedback! I am in a position where I have to make the decision whether or not to "proceed" by next week. I can get a trip out to Basel, but will not do this unless there is a good chance of eventually taking the job.

I must be too American, it seems, as I am heading towards a decision not to proceed. Anyone want to try to convince me otherwise? I have a very decent salary as mentioned (plus a 20% contribution to retirement!), I get 5 weeks of vacation a year (much of which is spent in Europe), and the joys of being able to watch the American political process.

Seriously, what are the "intangibles" that might make moving preferable?
I'll try to convince you otherwise! We moved here from SLC nearly nine years ago. Best decision ever. Our kids then ranged from 3 to 10, the youngest is now 11 and the oldest 19 and at university. The kids have had an amazing childhood here.

Sure, the pay is essentially less, and even though public school is 'free' one still has to pay for school trips, fees, and so on. Not a big deal because the public education my kids have received is beyond compare. And the fees for university are next to nothing compared to the US.

Dental work seems to be about the same price as it was for us in SLC, healthcare too. However, we've seen our premiums going up in the last few years.

But it's the experience of living here that makes it worthwhile. As an American one hears ad nauseam how 'free' you are and how much 'freedom' Americans have. However, we never really knew what personal freedom was until we lived here.

Our streets are safe, the neighbors (mostly) friendly, education is good. Life in general is pretty good for most here. And if you have roots and family here, I have no idea why you wouldn't be on the next plane out of the US.
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  #36  
Old 06.12.2017, 13:00
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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I have no idea why you wouldn't be on the next plane out of the US.
Simple: this thread is almost ten years old!

Tom
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Old 06.12.2017, 13:09
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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Simple: this thread is almost ten years old!

Tom
Oh for Peteís sake!
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Old 06.12.2017, 13:37
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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Oh for Peteís sake!
lol
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Old 06.12.2017, 13:54
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

Is it Friday yet?
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Old 06.12.2017, 13:58
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Re: A generic "will my salary be good enough" post

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You resurrected a post from 2008?

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