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  #41  
Old 26.12.2010, 22:24
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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 astonished. Astonished that you needed thorough investigations to find out that Switzerland, if you deduct the costs from incomes, does not offer a higher living standard than many other places, like München

This reality has been established as fact by countless studies into the subject, so that you come fairly late .....
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  #42  
Old 26.12.2010, 22:28
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

If you can't come up with your own reasons to live in Switzerland, then please don't, you'll only join the crowd of those who keep unfavourably comparing individual things to elsewhere without understanding the big picture. Simple as that.
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  #43  
Old 26.12.2010, 22:30
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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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?
Yeah. You're not going to like Switzerland.
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  #44  
Old 26.12.2010, 22:30
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Your question is difficult to answer as other posters have said.

-Taxes here are lower than in germany. Try comparis.ch, I read that the tax calculator is ok. The website has a housing section where you can check the prices in areas that would be interesting for you, and see whether this is 'affordable' in your book.

-Basel is as far away from the mountains as you can possible get in CH, but you should be there in 1-2 hours. I think Zürich is closer by.

-The swiss healthcare system is different from germany, you might want to read up on this. You don't find 'Kassenpatienten' here, basically everybody is insured as a 'Privatpatient'. Dentist treatments are payed from your own pocket unless you have a specific dental insurance (which is only given to people with perfect teeth).

-I have lived in germany before and find that both countries have high standards of living. It really comes down to personal preferences. If you value nature and cleanliness I'd say CH is great. I'd say food choice and restaurants (and shop opening times) are better in germany.

-Oh and for the school times check this thread: school-timetable-terrible-don-t-know-if-i-am-coming-going
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  #45  
Old 26.12.2010, 22:35
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

While Switzerland is "nicer", "friendlier" and "more organized" than Germany, the two things that drive me nuts here is the language and the cost of housing. In Germany (or pretty much any country other than Switzerland) I'd be able to buy my own house, but here prices are 2-3 times the neighbouring countries, while the salary here is only marginally higher (anyway for sure not 2-3x higher). Plus Swiss-German drives me nuts. My high-German is acceptable and I can easily learn more when speaking it, but to grasp Swiss-Greman, is, well, something alot harder for me. And to constantly have to ask people to switch to high-German (or English) makes daily life all that much more harder.

So considering that, if I had a chance to move to Münich, I would probably take it. For those 2 reasons.
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  #46  
Old 26.12.2010, 22:38
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

I would say if your preferences include having a good living with lots of varieties, large apartment for good price and cosmopolitan life in a big city, then Switzerland is not for you.

You will defo save on taxes but you'll be paying double if not triple in everything else if you just need to have average life.
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  #47  
Old 26.12.2010, 23:17
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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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.

I have heard from other people that if you apply to RAV (unemployment office in German speaking CH) you might be eligible for language classes but it depends on your German level (it has to be low enough) and it is not guaranteed. Most people pay for their own language courses unless they have worked here before and being unemployed they are sent to German classes to improve their chances of finding employment.

About child-care again, I hear from people that when the mother is working they have to put the children in child-care after school as public schools aren't all day schools. Another thing I keep hearing is how long the school holidays are. So if you are working, you need to find someone to take care of the kids but you would get better information from people with kids.

Being married to an EU person, you won't have problems getting a proper residence permit which in turn means there won't be employment permit obstacles finding employment provided there are jobs in your line of work.
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  #48  
Old 26.12.2010, 23:26
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Don't move here. We are full up, no more room. Nothing more to see here, move on.
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  #49  
Old 27.12.2010, 00:21
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

I've lived in the NZ Australia US Italy U.K. and Germany, and I like Switzerland best.

I appreciate the safety, security, organisation, reliability, beauty, cleanliness. There are corresponding negatives in conservatism and dullness :-)

Sure costs are higher, but salaries usually cover that. A danger is that it is more difficult for women to work. Taxes are not lower if you include all the usual insurances.

The web site http://www.hallo-schweiz.ch/ is great for Germans who are moving to Switzerland.

Graham
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  #50  
Old 27.12.2010, 00:33
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Gail, this is just a question. Could you please clarify me on something you wrote?

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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 [emphasis mine]- can someone tell me where to look to see the financial benefits?
I believe that you would have to learn German in both Germany as well as Basel or Zürich. Is Switzerland worse because you have to learn Swiss-German as well, or because you can't send your kids to English-language schools?
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  #51  
Old 27.12.2010, 01:16
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Hi Gail,
many thanks for creating this thread.
It makes me think about CH vs. DE, too.

I have lots of "single" friends across Switzerland and they seem to be very happy with their current lives.
However, it seems to be a more tough thing (both in financial and organizational aspects) for a family with kids to live in CH and to fully enjoy all the usual things normally available for an average middle-class family in a typical Western country (maybe a garden, a Schwimmbad, a possibility to buy a flat / a house, various afordable after-school activities and classes to name a few)...
Switzerland is indeed a quite different country if you compare it to the UK or to the United States, - but maybe you're right, moving to Switzerland from Germany means getting a similar quality of life at a much higher price (IMHO; I don't want to offend those who have found their true lifestyle in CH).

So maybe Munich is a better place for permanent relocation, after all.
Another opportunity for your husband is to become a "Grenzgänger", i.e. to live near the DE-CH border on the German side and to drive to Switzerland on a daily basis. This way, you will live in south Germany and you'll have the possibility to enjoy all the stuff you've described above...

Last edited by Guest; 27.12.2010 at 01:44. Reason: Deleted broken quote
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  #52  
Old 27.12.2010, 01:49
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

@eddiejc1-
Sure- I speak terrible (although fluent) High German, my children are completely bilingual and go to a German school and my husband is German and bilingual (I believe he can even understand Swiss German, so perhaps tri-lingual?). We'd never send the kids to International schools because 1. we couldn't afford it most places and 2. here in Berlin where they are free, we wanted the kids to have German as a mother tongue. Not much point in moving to Switzerland, with its high education standards, and putting our kids in English language schools(as one of the goals of living in Europe was a closer connection to German family).
I'm not certain my grammar will ever improve, but hey- I can speak my bad german with the best of you!
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  #53  
Old 27.12.2010, 02:16
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Gail, the best way to make your mind up about the reality of a move is to pick a place you think represents what you might be looking for, then go spend a week there. Everything else is in the head and reality pays no attention whatsoever to what anybody thinks.
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  #54  
Old 27.12.2010, 11:59
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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The historical rate is .75:1, whereas the current rate is 1:1 due to the recession. It makes a big difference.
Maybe you put the rate to your agreement? I guess this is fare for both of you.
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  #55  
Old 27.12.2010, 12:23
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

I can choose between Germany and Switzerland and I choose Switzerland because of lower taxes (at least after kids are grown up and we become DINK). Another reason is, that I believe that country, where healthy people can live all their life not working and get their living payd from other peoples taxes, is doomed. Sooner or later.
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  #56  
Old 28.12.2010, 11:44
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Not quite relevant to me, as I'm already married to one of the nicest girls in the world (she's part German).
I don't know what your wife told you but being from Fredricksburg, Texas does not make you part German
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  #57  
Old 28.12.2010, 13:57
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Gail, if you are a US taxpayer moving to a lower tax country may not translate to much of a gain. For any country where the rate is the same or below the US rate what you save in host country taxes will largely be pocketed by Uncle Sam.

It's not just the difference between Switzerland and Germany - how that difference affects what you owe in US taxes plays a large part in your overall financial situation. Play with the various CH tax calculators, and then with something like Turbotax for a quick look at how your US taxes would be affected by a move to Switzerland. Won't be perfectly accurate, but close enough to give you an idea. If you have a tax advisor, have him/her run a projection for you.

I live in one of the the lowest tax Gemeinden in Switzerland - but all that really means for me is that I have to write a larger check to the US. Add to that the significantly higher cost of living...
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  #58  
Old 29.12.2010, 13:03
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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 you're - like many on this forum - in a middle-class to upper middle-class income range there really is no financial benefit. Only the super wealthy can profit from special tax treatments, and only people in rather low income jobs usually benefit from the higher salary levels in CH compared to Germany. If you're stuck in the middle, forget it - doesn't make sense from a financial pov.

Consider a move if you find something you like about the country or if you get a great job offer, but - honestly - as long as you don't have a very specific reason for moving to CH, Munich will be just as good or maybe even better (better social life for sure). With the exception of Ticino, the lake Geneva region and probably Basel the climate in CH is fairly horrible (endless days of fog in winter and rain in summer), definitely not better than Germany.
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  #59  
Old 29.12.2010, 14:40
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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With the exception of Ticino, the lake Geneva region and probably Basel the climate in CH is fairly horrible
Which is why I moved to Ticino 20 years ago (after 4 in ZH)

Tom
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Old 29.12.2010, 15:05
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Very generally speaking DINKs or people with rather high salaries benefit most financially from living in Switzerland due to the - in average - lower tax level. This does not seem to be a factor for your decision-making process. Families with children face higher costs for childcare in Switzerland compared to Germany. Upon retirement quite a few Swiss nationals from the greater Zurich move to areas in Southern German which are close to the border - the cost of living is significantly lower compared to Zurich.
Since there is no immediate tax benefit to you in living in Switzerland I'd consider Basel as a work location if you plan to move to the neighboring French speaking canton of Switzerland (Jura) or to France itself - being exposed to yet another culture and language may be quite an experience.
In case you are not interested in this I'd opt for Munich.
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