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  #21  
Old 26.12.2010, 16:19
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Yes Economisto, I have not done the maths for this (a few too many moved ahead ) but so long as Euro equivalent of CHF salary is higher than a Munich salary, it'll still be worth it?

The ability to buy a small amount of land (lifestyle block in NZ terms) in Germany is worth more than the tax differential I recon. But this a few years down the line, right now need to accumulate for a deposit
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  #22  
Old 26.12.2010, 16:34
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Those poor folks get yelled at because they "haven't done their research", I get yelled at because I do.
You are right, there are some people around this forum who spend most of their time just telling off people for whatever reason.

As an answer to your question, maybe one point to consider in making a decision is the high child-care costs here. From what I hear, although child-care costs depend on family income, they are still very high unless you are in a really low-income category. I see you are a stay-at-home mom, but still at some point you might want to send your children to Krippe so they can socialize. Well if they are already school age, maybe you don't want to worry about it.

I have only been to Germany for a few days so it is difficult to comment on life there but my first impressions were good. Berlin seemed like a really cosmopolitan place and it was way cheaper compared to Switzerland. A lot of people here cross over the border to Germany to do their shopping. Taxes here are definitely lower (compared to Ireland where we lived before) but you pay for health-insurance which will cost around 600 CHF minimum for a family of 4 (and you will need to pay for medical costs up to a certain amount on top of the high premiums) so you need to factor that in. Health-care is really good though, so at least you are getting good value for what you pay.

As some people have already said, language is more difficult to learn here than in Germany because of the dialect spoken here and if you are intending to take German classes, be prepared for high prices. People are generally happy to speak High German though as they know for a foreigner it is easier to learn.

Another thing to consider is what kind of residence permit you get. As non-EU you might get a restricted permit which makes things a bit more difficult.

These things come to my mind as things to watch out for. Hope this helps.
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  #23  
Old 26.12.2010, 16:35
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Um...Germany's crap.
Germany has the nicest girls in the world
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  #24  
Old 26.12.2010, 16:39
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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I've done a lot of time in Heidelberg, Mannheim and Bremen and travelled around a bit, mainly from the perspective of having recently lived in Zurich and London. Between Zurich and London, it's basically a rub, both having loads of pros and cons. Germany's kind of in the middle (not as "Swiss" as Switzerland, not as cosmopolitan and service oriented and alive as London) and so kind of pointless. It's the land of precision and organisation (you don't go there for the food or passion) but they're not as precise or as organised as the Swiss...

Anyway, it's a poor substitute to me.

EDIT: you could grab a place in the Black Forest or something and drive over the border every day to de facto live in Switzerland...
Thanks for sharing your experience and insight.

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Germany has the nicest girls in the world
Not quite relevant to me, as I'm already married to one of the nicest girls in the world (she's part German).
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  #25  
Old 26.12.2010, 16:43
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

I think Germany is quite a nice country (except for the Berlin weather) and that Munich has nice weather and good skiing. Zurich would probably give me the ability to work as well,if I wanted to, where Berlin certainly doesn't and Munich might. Basel looked very cute (and has possible jobs for my field) and we are looking for "cuteness" to give to the kids and the ability to have a garden and live a bit further out than we could in Munich, while being able to commute in. All the places we are looking at in Switzerland are small compared to where we would live here or in the US (based on our fields of work).
I think people who call Southern Germany a bad place to live have never been there. I think it's quite nice.
We will pay American tax rates (or higher) wherever we live, and from what I can see, until you negotiate your own tax rates- at a higher salary than we could make- Swiss rates are higher than in the US. So I'm looking for quality of life issues that are higher than Germany's. And I think Germany's are high.
To the person who asked why we would leave a good situation- why not? I'm American, my husband is German, we are not parochial stick-in-the-muds and we enjoy seeing new things and exploring new cultures. I wouldn't move to certain areas in the former East, though, because (right now and for the kids) it's all about quality of life. Switzerland sounds like it might be fun.
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  #26  
Old 26.12.2010, 16:45
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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If we make a good salary in Germany, I don't see the benefit (besides the weather, which looks immeasurably better there) to move to Switzerland. Why not just go down to Munich?
Because in Munich you'd still have to speak German.

Tom
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  #27  
Old 26.12.2010, 16:57
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Darn- can't wait until I can thank individual folks .
Language classes- does Switzerland not have subsidized integration the way Germany does?- I have permanent residency in Germany and as an American I think (from all that research) that I would, as the spouse of an EU with a B-permit, have no issue getting a work permit if I want one. In Germany, life is a lot easier if one parent is home: I'm not certain if it's the same in Switzerland.
Public school is free here- I think it is also in Switzerland? I'm guessing the kids, who speak perfect Hoch Deutsche (which I do not) wouldn't have issues picking up Swiss Deutsch.
I find taxes in Germany relatively high (compared to the US), so when I ran income through the tax calculators I was using and that in Basel came up as 9% higher than here, I was shocked- thus leading to my questions. Germany has a great social system and down south, great mountains, etc- so reading everyone complaining about prices and housing and seeing the bars to integration that Switzerland puts up, I was shocked to see that oft-quoted "lower tax line" seemed to be incorrect.
I'll keep reading and I'm glad that people have happy things to say. Kids are back from sledding- hope you are all enjoying your day.
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  #28  
Old 26.12.2010, 16:58
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Because in Munich you'd still have to speak German.

Tom

That keeps me from Germany as well, I definitely love the German women in comparison to the Swiss ones, but there's a few around ZH as well
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  #29  
Old 26.12.2010, 18:40
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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I'm new here and I've spent quite a lot of time trying to do my research, wandering through sites and searches and cost comparisons.
Now that I have actually run quite a few cost calculators and tax calculators and looked at housing costs and living costs, I want to ask: where's the benefit?
If we make a good salary in Germany, I don't see the benefit (besides the weather, which looks immeasurably better there) to move to Switzerland. Why not just go down to Munich? Everyone has talked about tax savings, but when I put numbers into the tax calculator, the taxes look darned high! Higher than the marginal rate we pay in Berlin, as a married one earner family with two children. Have I missed something? I looked at the Basel area and the Zurich area (particularly Winterthur) and although the latter is better than the former, I am missing something: what? Even though Munich is expensive in terms of housing, it looks like die Schweize is far worse. We have an opportunity to go to either Basel or Zurich area, my husband would do a lot of work travel, I speak bad German, the kids would go in German schools- can someone tell me where to look to see the financial benefits? Socially, it seems a bit more parochial than here (12 years to naturalize! Personal friends to testify, must remain in one canton!). I understand that there might be inheritance tax benefits, but is there a simple explanation of how a rate of 22-38% (not marginal) would make up for the higher cost of living? Are there major deductions that everyone takes that I am missing?
Thanks, and have a great holiday.

I am not trying to be negative, but I have lived in Switzerland for just a bit over a year and it might be the biggest mistake of my life on picking a place to live.
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  #30  
Old 26.12.2010, 18:44
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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I am not trying to be negative, but I have lived in Switzerland for just a bit over a year and it might be the biggest mistake of my life on picking a place to live.

wow--that's pretty intense, care to share the issues?
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  #31  
Old 26.12.2010, 18:47
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Basel has less dismal fog ( hardly any) in winter, than Zurich. It also has the advantage of being so close to both the French and German borders that I enjoy buying fresh vegetables regualry in St Loius ( cheaper than in Basel) and doing other general shopping across the german border.

I have Geman frinds who live just across the Germn border ( with kids) and come across for work every day. I also have two German friends ( both single, if that counts) who deliberately sought jobs and apartments in Switzerland and have no intention of going back to live in Germany.Then there are my English friends, and a Swiss one, who have deliberately gone to live across the French border, whilst working here - they both have kids who go to school in Switz. Other friends and colleagues also live in France and have their kids go to French schools.

Hhhhmmm, that probably doesn't help you much. I think it does boil down to individual preferences and lots of compromising choices available. Tell me what you like about where you are now in Germany and about the things that are important to you, what interests your family has, then perhaps we can do some comparisons. ( you will also get people here who will argue about the merits of Zurich V Basel....)

By the way, I thought your initial post was perfectly clear and well worded. :-)
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  #32  
Old 26.12.2010, 18:51
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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I am not trying to be negative, but I have lived in Switzerland for just a bit over a year and it might be the biggest mistake of my life on picking a place to live.
I am sorry that it is not feeling like it is working out well for you. I hope that circumstances change for you. Care to share your reasons - they may be ones that could be considered by others who are trying to decided whether to move here.
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  #33  
Old 26.12.2010, 18:57
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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I am not trying to be negative, but I have lived in Switzerland for just a bit over a year and it might be the biggest mistake of my life on picking a place to live.
Strange.

For me it was one of the best decisions I have made (the best was to move from Zurich to Ticino).

Tom
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  #34  
Old 26.12.2010, 19:14
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Salary

I'm hoping that my research is right (I guess I'll know for sure when I'm actually applying/interviewing though that's a couple of years away) but if it is, our salary in switzerland will translate to be a combined salary of £120k. Even at a more historically accurate exchange rate, the salary will be £100k. Sure things may be more expensive but I'm paying a lot for housing as it is (London) and food is not a large part of expenditure.

Overall the 15% or so of salary that we may say in Switzerland is a heck of a lot. Coupled with living in a nice country in the middle of Europe I doubt our move will be a backwards step for us.

My 2p worth and I hope this is helpful. I would also be interested if someone pointed out any giant flaws in my assumptions/calcs.
I was thinking about salary issues for my own situation. (not to detract from the poster...)

When I sit down with my potential Swiss employer, should I try to negotiate my worth at the historical exchange rate or at the current exchange rate?

The historical rate is .75:1, whereas the current rate is 1:1 due to the recession. It makes a big difference.
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  #35  
Old 26.12.2010, 19:50
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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where's the benefit?
If you see no benefit then there isn't any. Not everyone needs to move, or move to Switzerland. If you are happy where you are stay there. It's actually quite easy.
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  #36  
Old 26.12.2010, 20:29
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Reason #1 for me: transport.

I live here because I don't drive, I don't want to drive, and it's important to me to live somewhere with good enough public transport that I can function as a fully-fledged adult without owning and driving my own car.

I suppose that there several European countries, and many cities (even maybe two or three in the US) where this is possible. However, this is where I have a job, and my family seem fairly well integrated here now, so it works.
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  #37  
Old 26.12.2010, 20:36
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Basel has less dismal fog ( hardly any) in winter, than Zurich. It also has the advantage of being so close to both the French and German borders...Tell me what you like about where you are now in Germany and about the things that are important to you, what interests your family has, then perhaps we can do some comparisons. ( you will also get people here who will argue about the merits of Zurich V Basel....)
That's exactly why we had originally thought Basel rather than Zurich, even though Basel has worse verkehrsmittel to where we would need to go than Zurich. But the difference in tax (unless I am misreading the websites, and I'll have my husband look at the German language ones later) seems too high to allow Basel rather than Zurich.

I like the fabulous playgrounds in Germany, the wonderful access to VHS (adult education) in every field, the help with integration, the access to a great apartment in a great city for a quite good price (altbau in the center for the cost of a studio in the hinterlands of NYC). I hate the weather with a passion beyond belief and I long for mountains-I come from the Adirondacks and I miss the mountains every day in a way that it is hard to describe. I also appreciate the access to good ethnic restaurants and markets taht I have in Berlin. I hate German food with a passion and don't eat pig (which is in most German foods).

We want to ski weekends, climb trails, have a garden, a place with a decent kitchen, walk to the bakery, have a scwimbad in the nahe, bike with small kids, have access to the center of either Basel or Zurich (20 min by S-bahn, 30 if necessary) while being able to afford living in a place with at least three bedrooms (3+arbetzimmer preferable). Inheritance tax is also an issue. Access to classes for me after I take the kids to school is an issue- are schools ganz Tag or short in Switzerland? Does it vary? We will drive to the in-laws in NRW, which is about the same difference from Northern Switzerland as Berlin. Connections to Munich matter a bit- but work is project based so it is really access to an airport, then to trains that matters. Museums or opera for adults and the former for children would be a big plus. Access to decent ingredients is as important as good restaurants (but a good Tex-Mex and Vietnamese restaurant would be ideal).

Isn't this what everyone wants?

Last edited by Guest; 27.12.2010 at 00:37. Reason: Fixed quote formatting
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  #38  
Old 26.12.2010, 20:39
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Darn, I messed up the quote
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  #39  
Old 26.12.2010, 21:12
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Less dismal fog in Basel than Zurich? While there has been fog in Zurich in the last 2.5 years (while I've lived here), only on one day could I have possibly considered it "dismal" fog ... and even then it was borderline. So, has Basel had no days of dismal fog in that time?

I have not lived in Germany, so cannot do a comparison of that for you, but one thing I've found great living here with my three children is that I can confidently let the two older children (11 & 8) catch a bus and train on about a half-hour trip (with good timing!) from school to home on their own, when I need to work back instead of picking them up ... oh, and there are lots of public playgrounds, open space, and public swimming pools around!

Also, the people around the two places we've lived are friendly and helpful. The first area (Witikon) was very 'Swiss' in composition, from the people we met regularly, and they helped us get by - and the staff at the local Denner got to know me really well, and we could have 'bilingual' conversations (I'd struggle to say what I need in German, they'd reply confidently in their "little" English) as the groceries were scanned and paid for. The second area (Adliswil) is a lot more 'international' in flavour (we even heard a few groups of people speaking Greek and what I believe was Turkish on our first visit to view the apartment), but the people are also helpful ... including the 'Swiss' people who also live and work here, and appear to have welcomed the seemingly-steady flow of 'aliens' coming in.

One negative I've noticed about Switzerland, which I've also noticed in Australia (where I lived most of my life) and other countries I've visited, is that in big cities a lot of people can be very closed - while around my home people will greet me, once you hit the big city nobody talks to you unless they either know you or want something from you.

Hope this helps!
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  #40  
Old 26.12.2010, 21:13
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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I was thinking about salary issues for my own situation. (not to detract from the poster...)

When I sit down with my potential Swiss employer, should I try to negotiate my worth at the historical exchange rate or at the current exchange rate?

The historical rate is .75:1, whereas the current rate is 1:1 due to the recession. It makes a big difference.
Exchange rate with which currency?

First time I was in Switzerland, it was USD 1 = CHF 2.3 (1982)

When I moved here, it was USD 1 = CHF 1.9 (1986)

Now, it's USD 1 = CHF 0.95 (2010)

So, historically, the USD constantly loses value (long term).

Tom
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