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Old 08.01.2018, 05:03
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Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

Hi all,

just to clarify: I am not pregnant, but planning

Right now I am having a hard time visualising how this works for other families that don't have the benefit of an expat package or more financial leeway.

I make a bit less money than my husband, nett salaries are not so great as we're double income, no kids living in a highly taxed commune (13% quellensteuer )... But we have more than enough for our lifestyle.

So my salary is not impressive, but I know many people who make less and have a family, yet I can't get the math to work: the childcare center around the corner charges almost 3000 CHF a month. My city has subsidised childcare, but if "Massgebendes Einkommen" means current gross income for the couple, then we probably qualify for a 5-10% subsidy.

We're not rich, but we could manage a family on 1 salary if we made significant cutbacks. Ideally, I would love to be employed and have children, but it doesn't seem much of a stretch to imagine that it would be more profitable to NOT work, move closer to my husband's job, save on transport and childcare and have the tax benefits of reducing combined income but I really enjoy my job and would love to continue to be able to be professionally active...

So how do the rest of you do it?
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Old 08.01.2018, 07:42
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

Good morning,

13% tax is not high! 35% is high. And your tax rate will go down with 1 income and a few kids.

If you plan to work which the kid is pre kindergarten age, the daycare is cripplingly expensive.

Some Swiss manage to raise a family on less than 5000 a month, though probably dont do their grocery shopping at Globus, and you can always check out the poverty thresholds in Switzerland.
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Old 08.01.2018, 09:26
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

In the first few years your salary (the lowest) will be almost entirely swallowed by kinderkrippe (nursery) but you can deduct the costs from taxes (up to 10k CHF but I could be wrong) and still enjoy your job.
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Old 08.01.2018, 11:04
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

Basic mathematics. If you sit down and calculate whether you can afford to have children, then you can't.

Advanced mathematics. Somehow it usually works out.
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Old 08.01.2018, 11:17
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

Where in God's name do you live that you pay a lousy 13% in taxes and even think that is high? This isn't high, it's next to nothing.

Early childcare is the only cost that tends to be significantly higher in Switzerland than elsewhere. Then again, schools cost nothing and are excellent, and university costs extremely little - so overall and long-term, while the initial cost for very young children is higher, you'll probably pay less compared to many other Western countries. Aside from childcare, everything else is - as NotAllThere says - basic maths. Kids come at a cost, everywhere in the world, you want to make that sacrifice or you don't. There are other options for childcare outside the usual Krippe, but none will be cheap, and it is partly the reason many women stay home for very long or indefinitely - if work is simply a source of money and nothing else, it often doesn't make financial sense to go back to work. So the main thing you need to do is think about what work and a certain independence, financial and otherwise, mean to you. Better not be too naive about this one, though, this isn't the friendliest country for working mothers and if you plan to stay here for several years to come, think about the long-term impacts of any decision you may make.

Plenty of people that manage to raise more than one kid on only one salary and a salary that isn't even high. I have several friends with kids whose household income is maybe 5500-6000/month (gross that is) and they manage perfectly well. See above, you can't have it all, which sacrifices you are willing to make or not is a personal decision.
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Old 08.01.2018, 11:22
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

If the subvention you would get is 5-10% then that is how much you need to top up your salaries to pay for childcare.
I get 43% subvention because that is how much I need to top up my salary for childcare.
Basically, the higher your income, the lower the subvention, because... basically YOU HAVE ENOUGH MONEY!
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Old 08.01.2018, 11:49
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

Also worth point out that if you drop out of the job market for several years while your children are young, it can be very difficult to get back into the job market later.
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Old 08.01.2018, 12:04
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

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Also worth point out that if you drop out of the job market for several years while your children are young, it can be very difficult to get back into the job market later.
Some employers have reasonbly generous packages. It may be worth asking your HR department. They don't always trumpet everything up front, but there are companies that subsidize childcare for example.

Also, the mere fact that you have children changes your lifestyle. I used to go out a lot, go clubbing, travel the world, have expensive hobbies. All that changed over night when children arrived. You will find you have neither the desire nor the time nor the energy to do those expensive things, and that means you also stop spending that money.
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Old 08.01.2018, 12:23
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

The fact that it doesn't add up very attractively is the reason why the number of full-time working mothers in Switzerland is still relatively low. 60% of mothers in Switzerland work part time - not full time. A large reason for this is because its so expensive to pay for childcare 5 days a week. when you add the increased tax % (which is usually somewhat offset by tax breaks for married people), it can sometimes pay to not work at home.
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Old 08.01.2018, 12:30
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

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Some employers have reasonbly generous packages. It may be worth asking your HR department. They don't always trumpet everything up front, but there are companies that subsidize childcare for example.
She opened another thread under Employment - she's an outsourced/external and temporary employee, so even if the company she works for had that, it's unlikely she'd be able to make use of it. Her situation in my view definitely needs some significant contemplation.

Of course for future reference and in other cases, this is still good information to have.
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Old 08.01.2018, 12:56
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

Another thing to consider is your age. If you want to definitely have a child at some point in your life and are under 30, you can afford to wait a couple more years and enjoy double income and save up for the future. If you are nearing 35, you may need to start sooner rather than later to avoid the probability of infertility. I also think that, if you are in a happy and stable relationship and have been for a number of years and definitely want a child and can afford one, I wouldn't overthink it.

I might have put it a bit bluntly, but biology does come into it.
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Old 08.01.2018, 12:58
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

Have a look at your current lifestyle, perhaps you can move and cut hundreds a month on rent. And you have the advantage above single earners that you can save your income during the first months of the pregnancy to pay for the child room, buggy and all of such. (Tho all of that only costs thousands if you choose to make it that expensive.)

And if you want a kid, than have a kid. It will work out as it does for all of us. If you want to keep your freedom and luxury lifestyle with money to throw away you have to make a choice but take along regret in future.
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Old 08.01.2018, 13:17
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

I wouldn't just look at the money. Look at the advantages of being able to raise your kids properly by not handing them over to strangers every weekday morning.
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Old 08.01.2018, 15:15
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

After pre-k, primary school may be free but please also budget for afterschool care, which is hefty, and it is called "Hort",

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/ssd/de/...anmeldung.html
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Old 08.01.2018, 15:22
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

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After pre-k, primary school may be free but please also budget for afterschool care, which is hefty, and it is called "Hort",

https://www.stadt-zuerich.ch/ssd/de/...anmeldung.html
By then either she works and can easily pay for it, or she is at home and those costs are non-existing.
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Old 08.01.2018, 15:33
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

This is an easy one: if you want kids just make a budget & stick to it.

You could be surprised by the net financial cost being less than you think - eg child allowance, lower tax, other savings (less drinking/eating out etc) could add up to not far off the new expenses.

Throw in changing jobs or altering your work hours so you don't need to pay for 100% childcare if you & hubby can share this between you and it's a no-brainer.

Can't speak for you but I for one can't imagine getting to my deathbed and thanking myself for choosing a job over having kids.
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Old 08.01.2018, 15:35
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

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After pre-k, primary school may be free but please also budget for afterschool care, which is hefty, and it is called "Hort"
Or, you give them a key and let them fend for themselves, as we did as children.

Tom
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Old 08.01.2018, 15:52
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

if i understand, the problem is in switzerland that even at school, the kids come home for lunch and also typically finish quite early (i.e. before you finish work) so you still have to pay for some kind of childcare and lunch stuff.

but what about before school? i think kindergarten is only from around age 2-3 (with the same problem of hours as above).

and then you're anyway stuck for the ages 0-2. unfortunately, there's no paid 2 year maternity leave, so perhaps only 4 months of that is covered.

so you have to deal with a lost wage for 1.5 years (or pay for childcare) plus find a way to cover the lunches and after school. and that just covers the opportunity costs of not working. you've got clothes, food, bigger house etc. on top of all that. it's amazing anyone can afford kids!
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Old 08.01.2018, 15:56
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

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the kids come home for lunch
So do a lot of parents.

Tom
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Old 08.01.2018, 16:24
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Re: Have a baby; 100% employment; Disposable Income: Dream on?

I went through the same math.

You know what? Stop. Really, stop. Having kids is freaking expensive, but you have to go above the basic math. Expenses will change - you will pay for day care, but you won't have time or will to go out partying. Things will balance out, even if living bellow your current status is in order.

Child care is very expensive in the first years, but you have to ask yourself - do you see yourself happy staying home/working? It's not just about basic math, it's about the wellbeing of the parents, and consequently, the children.

There are advantages and disadvantages to a working and a stay-at-home parent. It's important to be aware of those, and that the other partner is on board with the concept (seen way too many marriages crumble because the roles turned out not to match expectations).

Is it hard? Hell yes. But if you want children, it will work out. Perhaps sausage instead of fillet mignon once and a while...

A budget is great, but sometimes what we think we "need" is nothing more than "want".
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