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Old 26.12.2010, 13:54
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Why move to Switzerland?

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.
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Old 26.12.2010, 14:10
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

If financial benefit is the most important thing in your life, move to the Cayman Islands.

And yes, you're missing a lot. Including, but not limited to the correct comparison of tax rates in Basel and Zürich.
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Old 26.12.2010, 14:19
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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?
Have I missed something?
I am missing something: what? Are there major deductions that everyone takes that I am missing?
You probably aren't missing anything....its more expensive here. You probably didn't need all that research to know that Switzerland is an expensive place to live.

And what are you missing?

People come here either because their salaries are higher or there are more important things to them than money.
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Old 26.12.2010, 14:25
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Yes, I understand. There must be more. Can none of you tell me what that more is? I already live in Europe. I do indeed pay far higher taxes than I would at home and I am fine with supporting a social system. Could those with nothing positive to say about Switzerland stay off this thread because I am looking for a reason to move rather than to be told that there are some (secret) ones. I understand that some people on this forum enjoy the opportunity to be sarcastic. Please use it somewhere else and ignore this thread if you have no positive (or negative to the point) responses.
Happy holidays.
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Old 26.12.2010, 14:35
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Sure, there are plenty of tax deductions available, but the big ones probably wouldn't apply unless you were to buy property in CH.

I'm guessing you've been using the CS tax calculator. It's not 100% accurate, as it can't possibly take your personal circumstances into account. For Basel, consider Bottmingen (4103) -- compare the tax burden to Basel (4000). Ditto for Zürich and nearby places in Schwyz, for example.

Salaries tend to be much higher in CH than elsewhere.

But seriously, if the only reason you would consider moving is for money ... don't move to CH. There are so many additional costs (food, rent, insurance, "stealth taxes") that you'd end up regretting it. Personally, I think it's sad that someone would consider a move from an already comfortable situation purely on financial grounds, but each to their own, I guess.
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Old 26.12.2010, 14:43
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Could those with nothing positive to say about Switzerland stay off this thread because I am looking for a reason to move rather than to be told that there are some (secret) ones. I understand that some people on this forum enjoy the opportunity to be sarcastic. Please use it somewhere else and ignore this thread if you have no positive (or negative to the point) responses.
With respect, your thread isn't attracting THAT much attention anyway, so you seem to be doing a good enough job with your oddly phrased post and your aggression to keep people away from helping

Good luck

Last edited by Guest; 26.12.2010 at 14:59. Reason: Fixed quote formatting
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Old 26.12.2010, 14:46
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Yes, I understand. There must be more. Can none of you tell me what that more is? I already live in Europe. I do indeed pay far higher taxes than I would at home and I am fine with supporting a social system. Could those with nothing positive to say about Switzerland stay off this thread because I am looking for a reason to move rather than to be told that there are some (secret) ones. I understand that some people on this forum enjoy the opportunity to be sarcastic. Please use it somewhere else and ignore this thread if you have no positive (or negative to the point) responses.
Happy holidays.
Where are you from?

We moved here from the US and absolutely love it. In Basel we feel that the kids grow up in a safe environment, the schools are good, and overall the quality of life seems good. There are lots of parks and things for kids to do. We pay a lot if we go eat out and the merchandise is more expensive, but at the same time it is nice to know that the people working those jobs can afford a place to live and have health insurance and access to education. I'm no expert on taxes but I believe that with deductions the tax rate is effectively lower... but if we don't pay enough here we would have to pay it to the US.
Good luck with your decision, seek some expert advice on taxes, and visit the areas where you would move. I wouldn't focus the decision strictly on tax rates.
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Old 26.12.2010, 14:56
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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...People come here either because their salaries are higher or there are more important things to them than money.
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...Can none of you tell me what that more is?...
I think the "more" varies from person to person. That is, there's no universal "more" that everybody shares, though many may share certain likes (and even dislikes) about the place. For all the complaining that goes on here, it says something that many complainers haven't packed up and left, though they certainly could.

The "more" for me is the rather unique history, culture, language mix, geography and nature, plus some dear friends and relatives. For those reasons I've wanted an opportunity to live and work in CH for many years, and may still one day realize that dream, but I'm aware (partly because of paying attention on this forum, and partly from personal experience) of the negative side — and it doesn't deter me much, if at all.
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:01
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Thanks, Patuleko for the helpful response.
I worded my question very carefully, because I have seen so many responses castigating poster for "not doing research". And I didn't expect a lot of response on Boxing day. But since I'm snowed in at my in-law's in NRW I thought I could ask. The "aggression" is because I don't enjoy useless sarcasm, I guess? Almost all the posts I have seen here about relocating seem to be about seeking a high salary: my post was specifically not about that. Those poor folks get yelled at because they "haven't done their research", I get yelled at because I do. Well, then.
We file in the US as well, but of course taxes here in Germany are significantly higher. The quality of life is also quite good here (except for the dire Berlin weather). We will go over and take a look in the spring, but with two small kids I like to get a head's up on how things are, because our other option would be to go to Munich and get closer to better weather and skiing there. So, I guess, I should reword this question tomorrow Or after the general holiday here in DE that lasts until the 3rd) and ask folks who have lived in Germany why they prefer Switzerland.
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:06
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Thanks to the others as well we gave me a thoughtful answer.
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:06
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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I get yelled at because I do. Well, then.
ohhhhh.....thats not being yelled at

I think your post is confusing because you focus totally on money and seemed to be asking which financial elements you miss out on....but maybe thats not what you mean...

There is a lot written here about what people like about Switzerland and you will find as many views as there are people who post. But for me....its the cleanliness of the environment, some of the best air in the world, the sense of safety and security and the skiing.....
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:10
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Thanks, Patuleko for the helpful response.
I worded my question very carefully, because I have seen so many responses castigating poster for "not doing research". And I didn't expect a lot of response on Boxing day. But since I'm snowed in at my in-law's in NRW I thought I could ask. The "aggression" is because I don't enjoy useless sarcasm, I guess? Almost all the posts I have seen here about relocating seem to be about seeking a high salary: my post was specifically not about that. Those poor folks get yelled at because they "haven't done their research", I get yelled at because I do. Well, then.
We file in the US as well, but of course taxes here in Germany are significantly higher. The quality of life is also quite good here (except for the dire Berlin weather). We will go over and take a look in the spring, but with two small kids I like to get a head's up on how things are, because our other option would be to go to Munich and get closer to better weather and skiing there. So, I guess, I should reword this question tomorrow Or after the general holiday here in DE that lasts until the 3rd) and ask folks who have lived in Germany why they prefer Switzerland.
I just think your post read something like 'according to my research I find no reason why anyone would want to live in Switzerland' just my opinion.

Also being from the US the tax situation becomes irrelevant. From my understanding taxes in Germany are higher than in Switzerland. The biggest adjustments come from the cost of living such as rent, food, and consumer goods. I also don't think people move to Basel for the weather.

cheers
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:10
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Um...Germany's crap.
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:21
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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I just think your post read something like 'according to my research I find no reason why anyone would want to live in Switzerland' just my opinion.

Also being from the US the tax situation becomes irrelevant. From my understanding taxes in Germany are higher than in Switzerland. The biggest adjustments come from the cost of living such as rent, food, and consumer goods. I also don't think people move to Basel for the weather.

cheers
People who move to Switzerland, move to Basel for the weather. Except those who love fog and excessively snowy winters, people feel that the weather is better in Basel than almost anywhere else in Switzerland, Ticino excepted (and even then, it's often compared to Ticino. And there are jobs in Basel. Sometimes.)
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:30
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Um...Germany's crap.
Not wanting to side-track the thread, but would you mind elaborating on that? I've had a few folks suggest that I "settle for" southern Germany as a substitute for Switzerland, and I've seen a few negative comments like this. So what factors have contributed to your (or others') having this perspective?
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:35
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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Not wanting to side-track the thread, but would you mind elaborating on that? I've had a few folks suggest that I "settle for" southern Germany as a substitute for Switzerland, and I've seen a few negative comments like this. So what factors have contributed to your (or others') having this perspective?
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...
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:41
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Dear OP

I think you really need to seek out people who have lived in Germany and Switzerland to get some opinions that will really help you in your decision - many of us can only compare Switzerland to our "home country", but have never lived over the border.

One thing: Swiss German. Trying to learn a non-written language that changes form canton to canton is a wee bit tricky. With the little High German I know, when we go shopping in Germany, I cannot believe how intelligent and well-spoken I am and I how understand everything! Here, even though I have lived here over 3 years and the ladies at the Coop always tell me how great my German is (ha! Swiss people can be very kind!) I feel like an idiot most of the time.

Best of luck to you!!!
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:50
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

Well our reasons for moving to Switzerland is for the experience of living in a different country (i'm a bit of a nomad) but mainly for the low taxes. There's a chance we will stay but my partner would like to live on a farm some day and I just can't see that as a viable proposition in Switzerland (land in Germany is far cheaper). But one never knows as by all accounts the country is appealing for me. At the very worst we would accumulate enough for a deposit in 2-3 years to buy something in Germany.

I am comparing Switzerland to UK so bear with me here. Also we will be 2 professionals with no kids, so I don't know if it will be comparable to your situation.

Taxes

My income is rougly £60k pa and my partner's will be roughly £25k by the time we move. My total tax will be 30% and marginal tax 41%. My partner's total tax will be 23% and marginal tax 31%. These are high rates particularly for my partner's low-ish income and we're not getting much value for them either, though this is a different discussion altogether.

From some reasonable research I've done, I should be able to get a salary of CHF 130k with my qualifications/experience, my partner should get at least CHF 60k. My tax calculations in Switzerland are based on the Swiss Federal Tax Agency http://www.estv2.admin.ch/e/dienstle...uerrechner.htm

and I used the most expensive commune in Zurich on purpose (Bauma). My calcs show that our total effective tax is more like 12% with a marginal rate of more like 30%. So not only is our initial tax bill a lot lower, the marginal rate is lower which actually makes it worthwhile getting pay increases!

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.
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:56
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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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...
I am musing over the possibility of doing just that but from the other side of Lake Constance into Zurich, but only because I thought there are more jobs in Zurich for me financy/insurancy type...
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Old 26.12.2010, 15:58
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Re: Why move to Switzerland?

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I am musing over the possibility of doing just that but from the other side of Lake Constance into Zurich, but only because I thought there are more jobs in Zurich for me financy/insurancy type...
Yeah but you'll have to pay high German taxes....won't you?
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