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Old 03.08.2021, 14:18
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Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

Hi everyone!

My partner and I wish to try and start a family! We are both exited about it, but also very nervous on whether we will be able to support our future family financialy.

We live with my partner in Zurich canton and I've already read the below thread which was very insightful:

https://www.englishforum.ch/family-matters-health/258132-i-am-pregnant-what-expect-when-expecting-switzerland.html

..but going through the threads all around, I haven't found yet anything talking about the monthly basic expenses of a child (nappies, food, chreches, etc) in detail. I found this here on Swiss info, but it's kind of generic.

So I am trying to find out of the following:

1) Chreches (if this is the right term for day care from 0 to 2 years old) monthly cost for 5 days per week (7am to 18.00)
2) The 3 months of maternity leave are covered by my employer, but what happens if I want to stay at home for a year in total? Or 2 years? Is there any goverment support? Do I get in AHV? What happens?
3) How much food and nappies cost per month for a baby?
4) Any other expenses that I haven't considered?

Thank you for all your input!
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Old 03.08.2021, 14:42
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

There are various blogs which details information on this topic.
https://mamabearfinance.com/first-ye...aising-a-baby/
https://www.schwiizerfranke.com/en/w...ostet-ein-kind
https://www.moneyland.ch/en/saving-t...es-switzerland
etc...
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Old 03.08.2021, 19:06
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

Crèche / KITA without getting any subventions will set you back at least CHF 2500. Book early to get a spot and really make sure your spot is for certain - a friend was told a very short time before her child started crèche that their spot was no longer available. No, they did not find an alternative for her.

You can take unpaid vacation if you want to stay home longer, subject to your employer's agreement. That's it to my knowledge. Protections and provisions for new mothers are fairly limited compared to other countries. Mind you, paid maternity leave only became mandatory in 2005, and Swiss fathers only got the right to 2 weeks of paid paternity leave at the start of this year (it was 1 to 2 days before that), so who knows what the future will bring.

The parents on the forum will be able to answer questions 3 and 4.
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Old 03.08.2021, 19:59
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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Crèche / KITA without getting any subventions will set you back at least CHF 2500. Book early to get a spot and really make sure your spot is for certain - a friend was told a very short time before her child started crèche that their spot was no longer available. No, they did not find an alternative for her.

You can take unpaid vacation if you want to stay home longer, subject to your employer's agreement. That's it to my knowledge. Protections and provisions for new mothers are fairly limited compared to other countries. Mind you, paid maternity leave only became mandatory in 2005, and Swiss fathers only got the right to 2 weeks of paid paternity leave at the start of this year (it was 1 to 2 days before that), so who knows what the future will bring.

The parents on the forum will be able to answer questions 3 and 4.
I did hear that it is better to get the KITA place secure, then go for a kid and hope the timing is right.
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Old 03.08.2021, 20:34
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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Hi everyone!

My partner and I wish to try and start a family! We are both exited about it, but also very nervous on whether we will be able to support our future family financialy.

We live with my partner in Zurich canton and I've already read the below thread which was very insightful:

https://www.englishforum.ch/family-matters-health/258132-i-am-pregnant-what-expect-when-expecting-switzerland.html

..but going through the threads all around, I haven't found yet anything talking about the monthly basic expenses of a child (nappies, food, chreches, etc) in detail. I found this here on Swiss info, but it's kind of generic.

So I am trying to find out of the following:

1) Chreches (if this is the right term for day care from 0 to 2 years old) monthly cost for 5 days per week (7am to 18.00)
2) The 3 months of maternity leave are covered by my employer, but what happens if I want to stay at home for a year in total? Or 2 years? Is there any goverment support? Do I get in AHV? What happens?
3) How much food and nappies cost per month for a baby?
4) Any other expenses that I haven't considered?

Thank you for all your input!
Cost (approx from highest to lowest will be as follows):

- Opportunity cost from lost job if one parent becomes full time parent
- Full time Kita will be approx 2.5k per month (if you don't qualify for subsidy)
- Cost of housing if need to get a bigger apartment
- Cost of car if need to upgrade
- Child healthcare (needs to be arranged before birth)
- Food and nappies is laughably trivial compared to the above

offsetting the above will be lower tax rate / child tax credits.
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Old 04.08.2021, 09:39
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

While it's a good idea to count the cost, if you sit down and figure out whether you can afford to have children, the answer is "no".

You can't afford it. No one can. Yet here we all are. My wife and I married young and had our first child after one year. And then another two over the next 6 years. We struggled financially, but it was worth it. In my experience, unless you're completely hopeless with money, you adapt.

You get a few hundred francs a month per child AHV deduction. You also get a lower overall tax rate.
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Old 04.08.2021, 09:43
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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Cost (approx from highest to lowest will be as follows):

- Opportunity cost from lost job if one parent becomes full time parent
- Full time Kita will be approx 2.5k per month (if you don't qualify for subsidy)
- Cost of housing if need to get a bigger apartment
- Cost of car if need to upgrade
- Child healthcare (needs to be arranged before birth)
- Food and nappies is laughably trivial compared to the above
- supporting them when they're in their early to mid 20s and still studying, giving them money for deposit on their first apartment, then buying. And then grandchildren come, and you want to spend money on them...
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Old 04.08.2021, 12:09
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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While it's a good idea to count the cost, if you sit down and figure out whether you can afford to have children, the answer is "no".

You can't afford it. No one can. Yet here we all are. My wife and I married young and had our first child after one year. And then another two over the next 6 years. We struggled financially, but it was worth it. In my experience, unless you're completely hopeless with money, you adapt.

You get a few hundred francs a month per child AHV deduction. You also get a lower overall tax rate.
I still think it's a good idea to do a bit of budget checking before embarking on journey that you can't simply cut short when it gets too hard. Much better than some people I know who approached it from the "aren't kids adorable, let's have one!" perspective and then spent the first five years repeatedly raging at the unfairness of it all costing so much... After that, it gets (slightly) better, at least in terms of childcare costs. So planning how you are going to get through those first five years is probably a key step to take.
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Old 04.08.2021, 12:10
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

I agree. That's why I started my post with "While it's a good idea to count the cost..."
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Old 04.08.2021, 14:22
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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While it's a good idea to count the cost, if you sit down and figure out whether you can afford to have children, the answer is "no".

You can't afford it. No one can. Yet here we all are. My wife and I married young and had our first child after one year. And then another two over the next 6 years. We struggled financially, but it was worth it. In my experience, unless you're completely hopeless with money, you adapt.

You get a few hundred francs a month per child AHV deduction. You also get a lower overall tax rate.
Such an amazing response. Especially the first line. The answer is always "no" but as humans, we will find a way.
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Old 04.08.2021, 15:49
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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After that, it gets (slightly) better, at least in terms of childcare costs. So planning how you are going to get through those first five years is probably a key step to take.
does it? in my experience kids just get more and more expensive the older they get. the first 5 years is the cheapest. if you consider all the hidden huge costs like buying larger property with outdoor space, school fees, costs of various sports/lessons/hobbies etc, a family suitable car, extra travel costs etc, the total cost over their life to independence is just huge.
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Old 04.08.2021, 16:04
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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does it? in my experience kids just get more and more expensive the older they get. the first 5 years is the cheapest. if you consider all the hidden huge costs like buying larger property with outdoor space, school fees, costs of various sports/lessons/hobbies etc, a family suitable car, extra travel costs etc, the total cost over their life to independence is just huge.

People will make different choices hopefully, having considered their own means, and needs of their family.



It's misleading to claim any of that constitutes an "hidden cost". Most of the world does just fine without those things - such things would be lofty aspirations.



They are indulgences, not necessities. There's nothing "hidden" about them - many industries exist funded by parents who'd imagine those things constitute necessities, or like to keep up with the Joneses, or like gloating about what their family has on Instagram or Facebook. Delve into popular parenting websites and blogs, and you'll find them flooded with paid advertisements for products, and staged photos of family life.



Some people will desire those things, and pursue them. Others could afford them, but have no interest in them. Some will never have the opportunity to consider them.



Just think how many parents would be happy to have a stable living situation, or any car at all, let alone, a property with x, and a car with y.


By all means indulge, but let's be clear that's what it is.

Last edited by CliiniMuus; 04.08.2021 at 16:15.
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Old 04.08.2021, 16:06
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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does it? in my experience kids just get more and more expensive the older they get. the first 5 years is the cheapest. if you consider all the hidden huge costs like buying larger property with outdoor space, school fees, costs of various sports/lessons/hobbies etc, a family suitable car, extra travel costs etc, the total cost over their life to independence is just huge.
Probably true. The thing with childcare is that it costs a lot, you can't really control that cost and it doesn't help to have it when your child is sick - you still have to find alternative options or miss a day from work. Once they are in school, the cost of childcare should significantly reduce, so that is a fixed cost that you no longer have to factor for.

What you mention are things where you have a certain control over just how much extra you are going to spend. I am pretty sure that my parents never had recurring additional costs of more than 2500 francs per month on my account. If you are talking about having one or two kids, finding a home and a big enough car that you can park easily in most places without being "THAT person" is not going to be an issue. Once you are on to your third child, you get into "disproportionately more complicated and expensive as they age" territory, that's true.
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Old 04.08.2021, 16:19
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

Muuse - if your child is the only one in a class or a city that doesn't have what you call or reduce to an "indulgence", the child will understand it differently, even if you have a spiel ready about the world and necessities.

OP - crèche and career impact is probably the biggest thing. The only parents I know who used the 7-18 system were single parents who couldn't have more time with their children or a family to help them. Imagine couples' difficulties and count on not touching child support either, that has an impact, too. And it happens more frequently than not. Retirement impacted, etc. Short term costs are high, but long term are higher. Still, I would not change. Congrats on the decision and good luck conceiving, it is a gift and a true miracle.
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Old 04.08.2021, 16:45
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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People will make different choices hopefully, having considered their own means, and needs of their family.

By all means indulge, but let's be clear that's what it is.
i understand what you're saying but once you change your lifestyle to save money because you have kids then that cost is affecting you whether or not you chose to call it an indulgence. there is not changing the fact that whatever you could afford before, you can afford less of with kids, and even less of again with older kids. that applies all the way up the scale until maybe the top 0.1% of wealth.

if you are unable to afford a piano/tennis whatever lesson for your child and only 'aspire to own any car' then i would suggest that starting a family is going to be hard work. living in a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment with 3 kids just isn't realistic - its perfectly feasible for a couple though.

i'm sure everyone has travelled on a plane and stayed in a hotel at some point. (and if you're considering the poorest 1% of the population as your sample family then the conclusion isn't going to be very universally applicable). well guess what, now that flight and hotel are going to cost you double. young kids can sit on your lap and stay in your normal sized room, big kids can't.
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Old 04.08.2021, 16:53
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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does it? in my experience kids just get more and more expensive the older they get...
And it never ends. (Yes, it does really).
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Old 04.08.2021, 16:55
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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if you are unable to afford a piano/tennis whatever lesson for your child and only 'aspire to own any car' then i would suggest that starting a family is going to be hard work. living in a 1 or 2 bedroom apartment with 3 kids just isn't realistic - its perfectly feasible for a couple though.

i'm sure everyone has travelled on a plane and stayed in a hotel at some point. (and if you're considering the poorest 1% of the population as your sample family then the conclusion isn't going to be very universally applicable). well guess what, now that flight and hotel are going to cost you double. young kids can sit on your lap and stay in your normal sized room, big kids can't.

People do live exactly like that, though. Amongst people who aren't wealthy, 2 or 3 kids share a bedroom, and the entire living space is loving and warm, but small.


People do just fine without piano and tennis lessons. Both would be some people's definitions of hell. Others would love them. Neither is required to develop decent citizens who play a teamrole in the world. Go ahead and enjoy them, if it's your thing, and you have surplus money for them. Others will be out walking in nature, writing poetry, reading, relaxing, encouraging their kids to learn to cope with short bursts of boredom, sitting together as a family around a table breaking bread, and so on.


Loads of people holiday locally, and do just fine in campsites, theme parks, holidayparks, and local b&b's. Plenty stay with relatives during their holidays. Again, enjoy your international trips, if that's your thing, but kids don't need them to develop into decent citizens, and plenty cannot afford such luxuries.
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Old 04.08.2021, 16:57
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Re: Starting a Family in Switzerland - Costs

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And it never ends. (Yes, it does really).
I’ve a friend, now retired, whose kids are still in higher education, mid-twenties, so he is still shelling out for them from his retirement income.
Also, he’s not Swiss and would have ‘gone home’ years ago but stays for the kids, who are essentially Swiss.

I guess there’s a fair few ex-pats who stay here for the kids/grand kids.
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Old 04.08.2021, 17:03
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sitting together as a family around a table breaking bread, and so on.
that bread you're breaking - presumably there is more of it for your family of 5 growing teenagers than there was as a couple with a baby? or are you breaking it to divide it up? in which case it's a material sacrifice.
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Old 04.08.2021, 17:04
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I’ve a friend, now retired, whose kids are still in higher education, mid-twenties, so he is still shelling out for them from his retirement income.
Also, he’s not Swiss and would have ‘gone home’ years ago but stays for the kids, who are essentially Swiss.

I guess there’s a fair few ex-pats who stay here for the kids/grand kids.
i came here for the kids! how's that for a financial sacrifice....
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