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Old 27.08.2013, 22:27
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Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

Hi there, I'm moving from Scotland to Switzerland in the coming month. My wife and kids are due to follow once I've arranged a house and set all the ducks up.

Now to my question, I'm Self-Employed (through a Swiss management company, so I'm paying both Employer and Employee at source). According to the management co I should clear between 11,500 and 12,000CHF a month, this figure is my net sum after tax excluding any Child benefit that we may be entitled to when we arrive.

Now we're a family of Five, have sourced a house we like in Aargau but it weighs in at a third of my take home pay. Am I over extending myself leaving only 8K a month to cover food, clothing, utilities and health insurance among others? Or should I still be comfortable?

I also understand that Aargau is not as Tax beneficial as Zurich, so my take home might be a bit lower.

Any help? I suppose my question is, is it possible for a family with 3 kids to get by on 11-12K Net a month in a 4K a month house?

Steve.
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Old 27.08.2013, 22:43
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

It`s a good salary, you will live easily & comfortably here on that. As long as your children are attending regular school. Not International school which is about 30k per year per child.
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Old 27.08.2013, 22:45
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

Worrying about living on 12k per month..... I feel very poor now
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Old 27.08.2013, 22:51
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

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Hi there, I'm moving from Scotland to Switzerland in the coming month. My wife and kids are due to follow once I've arranged a house and set all the ducks up.

Now to my question, I'm Self-Employed (through a Swiss management company, so I'm paying both Employer and Employee at source). According to the management co I should clear between 11,500 and 12,000CHF a month, this figure is my net sum after tax excluding any Child benefit that we may be entitled to when we arrive.

Now we're a family of Five, have sourced a house we like in Aargau but it weighs in at a third of my take home pay. Am I over extending myself leaving only 8K a month to cover food, clothing, utilities and health insurance among others? Or should I still be comfortable?

I also understand that Aargau is not as Tax beneficial as Zurich, so my take home might be a bit lower.

Any help? I suppose my question is, is it possible for a family with 3 kids to get by on 11-12K Net a month in a 4K a month house?

Steve.
The child benefit is taxable, and is therefore a factor in calculating your taxable income.

Is the rent for the house chf 4,000 per month excluding utilities? Utilities can vary greatly and unfortunately many owners and property managers are not very up front about these costs. If you don't have this information in advance, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise.
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Old 27.08.2013, 23:03
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

You will be fine. but will not live a life of luxury.
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Old 28.08.2013, 00:03
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

Specifically in Aarau (close to the border) you can additionally save a lot by "outsourcing" major shopping to Germany, where you will find most everyday items at roughly 1/2 the price compared to Switzerland.

12k should yield a decent life.

Enjoy and welcome to Switzerland!
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Old 28.08.2013, 00:13
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

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Is the rent for the house chf 4,000 per month excluding utilities? Utilities can vary greatly and unfortunately many owners and property managers are not very up front about these costs. If you don't have this information in advance, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise.
As far as I know it's excluding utilities, will find out more next week.

I'm aware though that Oil might be the most expensive utility, as it needs to be purchased yearly.

Do you think that the 4K might soon become nearer 5K with utilities?

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Old 28.08.2013, 00:16
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

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Worrying about living on 12k per month..... I feel very poor now
Sorry I wasn't trying to gloat. Seriously concerned I might be overstreching things. With three little ones in tow I need to be 100% sure I'm not setting us up for a fall later on.

Wife is German and kids have a good grasp of it so will be attending regular school/kindergarten.
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Old 28.08.2013, 00:35
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

You should live quite comfortably on CHF 12k net. How old are your children (up to about 9, I'm guessing)? Obviously they have the power to consume large chunks of your income -- do they ride horses, for example, or require skiing tuition, etc?

Do you need to live in a house? There are many 4- or even more bedroom apartments, often easier to find available as there is less demand at that end of the market. And do you need to live in AG? Finding "reasonably priced" accommodation (yes, your CHF 4k house is probably reasonably priced) is a trade-off against lower income tax in ZH (or lower still in SZ or ZG). Rents are generally higher in those cantons, although you may want to have a look at Pfäffikon SZ (not ZH), which I believe has the lowest overall tax in Switzerland, is close to Zürich city (if that's important to you), has (relatively) reasonably-priced home rentals and is attractively located close to Lake Zürich and the mountains. But it's not the most exciting place to live, with many properties rented but vacant as their absent tenants (illegally) exploit the income tax differential.

Good decision to send the children to Swiss schools. Top quality and a great way to integrate.
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Old 28.08.2013, 08:22
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

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As far as I know it's excluding utilities, will find out more next week.

I'm aware though that Oil might be the most expensive utility, as it needs to be purchased yearly.

Do you think that the 4K might soon become nearer 5K with utilities?

I cannot answer that question as I have no idea of the property in question.
What I can tell you is that in Kanton Aargau chf 4,000 per month is a relatively high rent. I have clients with families renting houses paying much less.

Many owners have converted oil heating to another source. Sometimes they have no choice in this. A new burner will be more efficient but not much benefit if the windows are not newer or the house is poorly insulated.

If there is a large garden, usually it must be maintained and trees may need to be professionally cut at the tenant's expense.

You need to factor all these costs into your "nebenkosten". Don't forget about the "kaminfeger", if there is oil heating.

You won't be living from hand-to-mouth. It is rather a question of how much of your income you want to part with just for housing. This is a lifestyle question and no one but you can answer this.

One more word of caution, and this is very difficult to find out but worth looking into and that is the owner's situation. Renting from an owner who cannot afford to make necessary repairs despite receiving good rent is frustrating. Others have ended up in a situation where an owner decides to sell. The market is good right now and interest rates are low. It is an attractive time to sell.

Apartments for families can be a challenge as noise can be an issue. If you live in a house the transition to an apartment can be difficult. There are family-friendly apartments, as not everyone wants a house and the upkeep which may come with it.
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Old 28.08.2013, 09:46
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

Thanks to everyone for the replies. plenty of food for thought there.

Appartment isn't an Option, the Kids 5, 5 and 9 are used to living in a detached house. They can be noisy brats. I wouldn't like to have a stressfull Situation with the neighbours after moving in.


Steve.
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Old 28.08.2013, 09:56
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

Hi Steve,
In which city will you be working in Switzerland?

It is important to check the train connections to
get to work.

Perhaps you knew this, but the taxes vary by
community, not just by Canton.
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Old 28.08.2013, 09:56
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

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Worrying about living on 12k per month..... I feel very poor now
Me too! lol


Apartment living isnt for everyone. If I was buying again I never would buy an apartment. I think your right to go for the house. . . Least you wont have to worry about the kids running around the place and bothering the neighbous below!

You should be fine on what you earn. I think your first winter may be a little bit of a shock (price of heating the place) as it usually is for alot of expats.

However it is all a learning curve. It will be an expensive first year here until you get the swing of things but you will figure it out.

If you can shop over the border you should save a little too!

Its a beautiful country & I hope your move goes well
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Old 28.08.2013, 10:31
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

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Hi Steve,
In which city will you be working in Switzerland?

It is important to check the train connections to
get to work.

Perhaps you knew this, but the taxes vary by
community, not just by Canton.
I was aware of the diffeing tax communes/regions. i will be working in Zürich but don't mind a 45 Minute or 1 hour drive to and from work if my Family can have a better Standard of living.
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Old 28.08.2013, 10:34
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

Drive? Traffic is bad on the main routes in and out of Zurich. Is the new house in a good public transport link into Zurich?

You'd be as well to test that commute at rush hour before you commit.
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Old 28.08.2013, 10:35
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

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I was aware of the diffeing tax communes/regions. i will be working in Zürich but don't mind a 45 Minute or 1 hour drive to and from work if my Family can have a better Standard of living.
Depending on just where in Zürich you'll be working, a one-hour driving commute at rush hour could place you ... not very far at all from work. I'd seriously consider public transport links. Trains, trams and buses are every bit as good here as they are reputed to be.
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Old 28.08.2013, 10:55
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

To drive from Aargau to Zurich is the worst thing you can do. There is traffic jams everyday. Also are you sure that there is a parking space available where you work? If it's really in Zurich this can be highly unlikely and then you will have to pay a fortune for a public parking space. Choose something with good train connections. Seriously.
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Old 28.08.2013, 11:14
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

There has been many a thread like this, where people have posed similar questions with their gross income being 120k or even less, some I recall 90k with families in tow, and yes, people say they do fine.

A lot of these threads surprise and shame me, I struggle to see how families survive on the lower scale sums being mentioned when I compare that to my lifestyle with no kids or family and the level of income.

Your level of income though is the threshold for me in terms of I can have comfortable life and set up family, so you will be absolutely fine, in my opinion. Several colleagues have same size families and they have nice houses and nice lives grossing 150k so I am sure you will not struggle at all.

It is certainly worth shopping around for housing and assuming you are not American and subject to worlwide taxation you should look to reside in a low tax area, it can make a big difference. homegate.ch is a useful tool for searching housing.

Although you may need a car for your time here, as others have mentioned, utilizing a very efficient public transport service would save you time and money in the long run, as well as the stress of commuting and parking in the city in the traffic and congestion.

Use the links provided in prior posts, comparis, to get a good idea of your monthly expenses.

4k budget for house is very reasonable if looking outer the city and for an actual house.

Health Insurance, a good one, for the whole family, along with with home insurance and liability insurance etc will come close to 1k I reckon.

A good cable tv (UK channels) and internet service, with telephone, is going to cost 100 CHF a month.

Mobile phone contracts for you and wife, assume not for children will cost approx 200 CHF for you both. Maybe you have phone through work and wife does not need a contract one and can save half this cost.

A lot of savings come from how and where you shop though. If your wife is not working she will become a master of this. That being said, I do not think you need to be watching your rappens too carefully, but if you are that way inclined, knowing what products to get from where saves a lot of money.

There is Coop, Denner and Migros as main supermarkets. Denner being the cheapest, but not always offering the highest quality in food products, but good for wine and bulk washing and cleaning products.

What drains the cash the quickest is eating and dining out, along with perhaps activities to keep the kids entertained. A decent meal out is 40-60CHF per head when factoring a drink or two. So your lifestyles, what the kids like to do be it karate clubs, tennis clubs, or whether they are happy outdoorsy types will weigh heavily on your expenditure.

Personally, I think you will do totally fine. But of course, it can all be relative to the life you led in Scotland, was it a kings one or?
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Old 28.08.2013, 11:17
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

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To drive from Aargau to Zurich is the worst thing you can do. There is traffic jams everyday. Also are you sure that there is a parking space available where you work? If it's really in Zurich this can be highly unlikely and then you will have to pay a fortune for a public parking space. Choose something with good train connections. Seriously.
I know those with a parking space in Zurich who still will not drive. If you do not need to use a car during the day, it makes no sense to drive.

Choose a location with an easy commute to Zurich and you can relax on the train rather than have the stress of driving.
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Old 28.08.2013, 12:02
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Re: Totally new to all this and need a bit of advice..

Have you checked on your self-employment status here in Switzerland? The rules aren't the same as in the UK. If you're effectively working for one company, you'll be considered an employee.

Here's a couple of links with more info:

https://www.ch.ch/en/becoming-self-employed/

http://www.kmu.admin.ch/themen/00614...x.html?lang=en
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