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Old 05.07.2011, 10:43
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Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

I have searched and searched the forums and never seem to get a straight answer so I apologize in advance for this post....
I'm a US citizen living/ working in CH. At some point in time (5 years max) I will return to the US (non-EU) and leave CH permanently. Both my employer and I contribute to a Pensionskasse and a Zusatskasse. I have the following questions....

Pensionskasse = Pillar 1?
Zusatskasse = Pillar 2?

When I leave permanently, can I take a lump sum settlement on both of them or only one? If only one of them, which one?
Does the lump sum settlement include only my contributions or the employers also?

Part of my confusion is that some postings here say no lump sum is available yet, my program paperwork clearly states lump sum settlements in both the PK and ZK programs are possible. It's all soooo confusing.

Thanks for you assistance.
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Old 05.07.2011, 10:52
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

Please check out the sticky thread at the top of this section.

Swiss Pensions - General Summary / 3rd Pillar Pensions

First link in that thread has what you're looking for.
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Old 05.07.2011, 12:01
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

Thanks for your response.
I had previously reviewed that link and one thing it didn't clarify is what the "pension pot" consists of. Is it pillar 1, pillar 2, pillar 3 or a combination thereof?
Also it was geared toward UK, not US which is what I need.
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Old 05.07.2011, 12:14
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

When you leave Switzerland for a non-EU country, you can reclaim funds from your 2nd and 3rd pillar (minus tax.)

Have a search for "pension" in the "Leaving Switzerland" subforum. You're not the first with this question
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Old 05.07.2011, 12:19
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

I had a read earlier on this and the 1st pillar will become available to you when you reach the Swiss retirement age as there is a social security agreement with the US.

The 2nd Pillar pension can be cashed out completely, we have been given that option recently as we are moving to the US.

3rd Pillar can be taken as well


This is what I gleaned from the info.

Read this http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/dam/...zialvers-e.pdf

Last edited by kevlegs; 05.07.2011 at 12:30.
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Old 05.07.2011, 12:32
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

Switzerland has a social security agreement with the US, so I don't believe you can. The rules were changed a few years ago. I hope I have missread this!

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I had a read earlier on this and the 1st pillar will become available to you when you reach the Swiss retirement age as there is a social security agreement with the US.

The 2nd Pillar pension can be cashed out completely, we have been given that option recently as we are moving to the US.

3rd Pillar can be taken as well


This is what I gleaned from the info.

Read this http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/dam/...zialvers-e.pdf
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Old 05.07.2011, 12:46
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

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I had a read earlier on this and the 1st pillar will become available to you when you reach the Swiss retirement age as there is a social security agreement with the US.

The 2nd Pillar pension can be cashed out completely, we have been given that option recently as we are moving to the US.

3rd Pillar can be taken as well


This is what I gleaned from the info.

Read this http://www.bfm.admin.ch/content/dam/...zialvers-e.pdf

Could you give us a confirmation after you get it? I think a lot
of people want a "definitive" answer.
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Old 05.07.2011, 13:27
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

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When you leave Switzerland for a non-EU country, you can reclaim funds from your 2nd and 3rd pillar (minus tax.)

Have a search for "pension" in the "Leaving Switzerland" subforum. You're not the first with this question

Thanks MathNut. I found a pdf in one of the links that shows I can get pillar 2 & 3 but, as there's an Social Security Agreement with the US, will have to wait until retirement age to get pillar 1. This should be interesting.
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Old 05.07.2011, 13:41
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

Just a heads up on this topic:

Many Americans who qualify for US Soc Sec and a foreign pension may see their US benefits greatly reduced, thanks to the US Soc. Sec Windfall Elimination Provision. The following is worth a read:

http://ssa.gov/pubs/10045.html

(That is of course assuming that there is any US Soc Sec left at all by the time we all retire... )

Also, be sure you understand the US tax implications of investing in Pillar 2 and 3 - for some Americans these investments make little sense given the US tax consequences.
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Old 05.07.2011, 14:14
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

Thanks Meloncollie. I was not aware of the WEP. I did know about the Pillar 2 & 3 tax issues. I'm required to pay into pillar 2 but, I'm totally leaving pillar 3 alone.
I've always been planning for there to not be any Soc Sec left by the time I retire
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Old 07.09.2011, 14:56
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

Does anyone know how one finds his/her pension if you worked for a CH company that is now out of business?

Have returned to a non-EU nation and wondering what to do from abroad about recovering several years worth of pension contributions...
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Old 07.09.2011, 15:05
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

I believe that I have this information at home....

My old company went belly up, and I found my pension.....
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Old 07.09.2011, 15:29
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Re: Pensions cash out when leaving CH permanently

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Does anyone know how one finds his/her pension if you worked for a CH company that is now out of business?

Have returned to a non-EU nation and wondering what to do from abroad about recovering several years worth of pension contributions...
Try these guys - the pension should have transferred to them

LOB Guarantee Fund
Business Office
Postfach 1023
3000 Bern 14
Tel. +41 (0)31 380 79 71
Fax +41 (0)31 380 79 76
info@verbindungsstelle.ch
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