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Old 27.04.2017, 07:35
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What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

We're an active American couple from Vail, Colorado. We've been in Switzerland many times and love it. We speak "travel German" well enough to feel very comfortable as independent travelers. We have the resources to retire there comfortably. We'll be back in late May, and would love to visit with some English speakers who have done it.

Thanks
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Old 27.04.2017, 08:32
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

a) You may think you have enough to live comfortably here, but the Swiss authorities may not agree. If they decide it's not enough, you won't get a resident's permit to live here, simple as that. You would have to check with the relevant cantonal migration office to see what sort of figure they would be looking for.

b) US government's FATCA law - getting a bank account here is difficult for Americans due to it. To open any account here you would have to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to send the account info on to the IRS.

c) US tax returns - you still have to file them as US taxation is based on citizenship, not residency as in the rest of the world. So this means you could owe the US tax on top of your Swiss ones. Start your research on your filing obligations here:

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad

d) FBAR forms - if any foreign, i.e. outside of the US, account/s comes to more than the aggregate figure of $10,000 at any time of the year the account/s must be reported on an FBAR form detailing where the account/s is held and amount.

e) Think you can get away without filing? Think again. If you have serious tax liability figures then your passports could be revoked or not renewed until you pay up.

https://www2.deloitte.com/content/da...uent-taxes.pdf

f) Would you rent as most Swiss residents do or look to buy a property? If buying again, banks are very unlikely to give you a mortgage so you may have to buy outright - which would lose you some Swiss tax advantage and may push up any US tax.
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Old 27.04.2017, 08:49
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

Are you also an EU ciitizen?

If not, be aware that, canton dependent, your comfortable resources might need to be very comfortable indeed, as in gazillions.

A non EU, non working person might be able to negotiate a residence permit based on 'in the public interest', code for extremely wealthy, but this is an individual negotiation.

How much is needed, really? No one knows. Rumor has it the price of an entry ticket is lower in some cantons than others, but again... Rumors. Start thinking about how you will show how much you will be contributing to Swiss society (tax coffers) 'in the public interest'.

Gazillionaires are always welcome in Switzerland. Famous folks as well. But the rest of us non EU hoi poloi...
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Old 27.04.2017, 09:16
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

Have a look at Austria, much cheaper and almost as good. Still got to do the FATCA Bugaloo though.
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Old 27.04.2017, 09:31
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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Have a look at Austria, a little cheaper and almost as good. Still got to do the FATCA Bugaloo though.
FTFY.

Honestly Austria is not massively cheaper than Switzerland, particularly not Vorarlberg.
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Old 27.04.2017, 09:54
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

If you are not absolutely certain you have enough money to retire in Switzerland, you dont have enough money to retire in Switzerland.
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Old 27.04.2017, 09:55
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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We're an active American couple from Vail, Colorado. We've been in Switzerland many times and love it. We speak "travel German" well enough to feel very comfortable as independent travelers. We have the resources to retire there comfortably. We'll be back in late May, and would love to visit with some English speakers who have done it.

Thanks
Imo it only makes sense if your tax burden is lower with such a move. If not because of US worldwide tax why not going to France or Austria?
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Old 27.04.2017, 10:35
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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If you are not absolutely certain you have enough money to retire in Switzerland, you dont have enough money to retire in Switzerland.
Indeed.

I'm sure posters will pop up with all sorts of examples of how they have managed to retire in Switzerland without the usual eye watering expenses. Unlike EU folks who have a right to come even if not wealthy, the OP is a non EU retiree. It should be stressed that a non EU person would likely not be allowed in Switzerland if watching expenses. The ability and willingness to keep a liberally open purse seems to be part of the entry requirements for an 'in the public interest' permit.

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getting a bank account here is difficult for Americans due to it.
It probably should be pointed out if the OP is wealthy enough to successfully negotiate an 'in the public interest' permit the banks will be rolling out the red carpet for him. Even with the toxic American passport.

Last edited by meloncollie; 27.04.2017 at 11:13.
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Old 27.04.2017, 11:19
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

The OP did say "We've been in Switzerland many times and love it...... We have the resources to retire there comfortably"

They must know it is not the cheapest place to live in the world and he claims to have the resources necessary.

I think he knows what he wants, what it will cost and whether he has the ability to afford it
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Old 27.04.2017, 12:09
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

Yes, but can he say Chuchichäschtli?
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Old 27.04.2017, 12:10
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

And does he keep his eggs in it?
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Yes, but can he say Chuchichäschtli?
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Old 27.04.2017, 13:21
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

We've done it- 8 years ago, but from UK not USA. And I have double nationality, which OH has also acquired since.

It means for us that we do not have to pay medical insurance, as we have no Swiss income, only our UK pensions- but that would not apply to US retirees. And we do not have to pay tax in the UK either.
We both speak French, me fluently, OH well enough to communicate with all- and we have many excellent friends here and know the area well.

For us, the only problem that has made things very difficult is the £ to CHF exchange rate- which has gone down approximatively 55 to 60% - and there is absolutely nothing we can do about that. The only way would be to sell up and return to UK and gain on the exchange rate the other way round - which is not on the cards for now - yet.
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Old 27.04.2017, 14:11
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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FTFY.

Honestly Austria is not massively cheaper than Switzerland, particularly not Vorarlberg.
Ah but Vorarlberg is just the leftover Kanton. They still have hopes to join the Confederation Helvetica.
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Old 27.04.2017, 14:12
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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Yes, but can he say Chuchichäschtli?
Can you?
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Old 27.04.2017, 14:32
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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Ah but Vorarlberg is just the leftover Kanton. They still have hopes to join the Confederation Helvetica.
Oh no they don't. My friends there are very happy to be Austrian.
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Old 27.04.2017, 14:48
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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We're an active American couple from Vail, Colorado. We've been in Switzerland many times and love it. ..
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We've done it- 8 years ago, but from UK not USA.
We both speak French, me fluently, OH well enough to communicate with all- and we have many excellent friends here and know the area well.
Two very, very different situations. Coming back to retire in the area you grew up in, still with friends in the vicinity, gives you more than a head start. Even if Odile were not to see her 'friends and relatives' here often, she knows they are around. The language is, for her, no problem at all.

It isn't just normal 'How are you today?' conversation I'm thinking of, but possible emergencies and difficulties with authorities or neighbours. 'Understanding German' will mean you still won't understand conversations between native Swiss anyway. How much will you miss having folk to talk to who think the way you do. You only have to go through Complaints Corner to realise how 'alien' many folk find themselves here.

As you get older (speaking from experience here, I'm 76) problems come up which you just don't think of when young. What happens when I can no longer drive? Am I prepared to make mistakes with the language and be misunderstood when I get it wrong? Can I really laugh at myself when this happens? Can I do without my fix of 'home food' if it is not in stock at the moment in the one place which sells it? Can I cope cheerfully with rules, all more rules and nothing but the rules?

I'm not trying to put you off, but there is far more to it than having enough funds, liking the country (as a holidaymaker) and knowing some German. Take a good hard look at the life you hope/expect to live here.
Good luck in your decision making.
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Old 27.04.2017, 15:00
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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The OP did say "We've been in Switzerland many times and love it...... We have the resources to retire there comfortably"

They must know it is not the cheapest place to live in the world and he claims to have the resources necessary.

I think he knows what he wants, what it will cost and whether he has the ability to afford it
That doesn't mean the Swiss authorities will agree with him though. If they don't he can forget it. So first port of call has to be the cantonal migration office where they want to move to. Contact them and find out whether what he considers enough "resources to retire here comfortably" are really going to be enough. If he gets a positive answer then they can start planning the move, if he doesn't then either look elsewhere or stay in the States.
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Old 27.04.2017, 15:42
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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That doesn't mean the Swiss authorities will agree with him though. If they don't he can forget it. So first port of call has to be the cantonal migration office where they want to move to. Contact them and find out whether what he considers enough "resources to retire here comfortably" are really going to be enough. If he gets a positive answer then they can start planning the move, if he doesn't then either look elsewhere or stay in the States.
Exactly. It's somewhat similar to the conversation an aspiring home-owner has with their bank manager here.

"i want to buy an apartment. I have a decent salary, I live frugally, I don't smoke or drink, I don't feel the need to buy the latest iPhone, curved TV or newfangledwhatsit every ten seconds, and I've saved up CHF 100,000. I can afford to make payments at CHF 5,000 per month so at current interest rates, I'd like to borrow CHF 4,000,000, please."

"You have CHF 100,000 as a deposit? Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaa... aaah, never mind, we'll get to that later. You want to borrow four million -- so you'd like to buy a 3.5-room apartment in a dingy area of Zürich, hey? Well, we're going to pretend that interest rates could shoot up overnight to 5% (even though you're willing to take out a ten-year, fixed rate loan), so based on your 5,000.- per month, we could go to CHF 1,200,000."

"But... that would buy me just an underground car space! "

"If you're lucky. Oh, by the way, how much do you earn?"

"100,000.- p.a. I only spend four and sixpence a month on living expenses, so I'm rolling in cash at the end of every month."

"I thought you said you had a good salary? Well, we think you can afford to repay no more than 30% of gross earnings. CHF 2,500 each month, then. I'm pleased to offer you a loan of CHF 600,000."

""

"And I could cut the bank fees to just 250.- per month! Now, about your deposit...!"
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Old 27.04.2017, 15:44
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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That doesn't mean the Swiss authorities will agree with him though. If they don't he can forget it. So first port of call has to be the cantonal migration office where they want to move to. Contact them and find out whether what he considers enough "resources to retire here comfortably" are really going to be enough. If he gets a positive answer then they can start planning the move, if he doesn't then either look elsewhere or stay in the States.
The OP has >US$40million which is more than enough.

But in answer to the OP: retiring in Switzerland is kinda like retiring in the Netherlands. Only with more mountains.
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Old 27.04.2017, 16:12
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Re: What's it like to retire in Switzerland?

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The OP has >US$40million which is more than enough.

But in answer to the OP: retiring in Switzerland is kinda like retiring in the Netherlands. Only with more mountains.
Still, the question is will he save any tax by residing in CH? Still I don't get it if there is no tax advantage why retiring in the mountains and not in the south of France?
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