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  #21  
Old 14.07.2017, 18:15
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Re: What would you do differently?

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You're such a rebel!
Hang on, are you? Maybe you should tell people that it became mandatory only in 1994
1996.

Tom
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  #22  
Old 14.07.2017, 18:21
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Re: What would you do differently?

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What bureaucracy?

If you find that Switzerland has a lot of bureaucracy, check out the neighbors, they are all 10x worse!

Tom
It all depends where you come from

Things like "Yes you are correct that we asked for the wrong papers, and thanks for bringing the correct papers, but i first have to make a report that we made a wrong request, then they will officially see what papers we do need which indeed are the papers you have along, then we will file a request for those papers and only then i can take them in from you, so for now you have to take them home again until we ask for them." 2 months later they indeed asked for these papers, papers that "funny" enough were send back to me a month before all of this happened since they would file a correct request inwhere they ended up asking for the wrong stuff

Sound like madness to a Dutch, where you just go to a desk tell them they screwed up and then they just take in the correct papers with a handwritten note on an envelop for him/her who handles it.
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  #23  
Old 14.07.2017, 18:21
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Re: What would you do differently?

I would have bought a ticket to Zurich instead of Stockholm.
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Old 14.07.2017, 18:25
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Re: What would you do differently?

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I would have bought a ticket to Zurich instead of Stockholm.
That's one hell of a typo.
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Old 14.07.2017, 18:35
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Re: What would you do differently?

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1996.

Tom
You could also try to get an exemption for a couple of years
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Old 14.07.2017, 19:57
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Re: What would you do differently?

Hmmm...OP won't like this but sincere question merits sincere answer: I wouldn't have come. I would have kept my compass headed for a place with more thought and life.
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Old 14.07.2017, 20:00
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Re: What would you do differently?

I don't have a choice, we are relocating for work. I do appreciate your sincere response.
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  #28  
Old 14.07.2017, 20:08
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Re: What would you do differently?

I think the OP will realise by now that most of us are reasonably chilled with the way we did it. Sure, there are small things (as mentioned) like shopping around for insurance etc., but by and large, few of us make huge, lasting errors.

As a relative newcomer (been here around 8 years), I had the benefit of selectively reading through much of EF, and I recommend the OP does the same. If you do that, and if you read something like "Living and Working in Switzerland", you won't go too far wrong.
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  #29  
Old 14.07.2017, 20:15
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Re: What would you do differently?

First of all, I would have been more eager in pushing back to my boss in California and would have demanded to go to Berlin (where I initially wanted to go), rather than accepting the "Nah, you don't really want to go to Berlin, why don't you go to Switzerland instead?". I was young and naive

Failing that strategy and Zurich-bound, I would have done more homework and not come with rose-tinted glasses, and with the false expectation that "It's in Europe after all and I am European, how different can it be?" (hint: a lot).

Aside from that, I don't regret going to Switzerland - it ended up being a very positive experience. I also don't regret having a "repatriation plan" on the table just in case, which proved to be the right choice when I wished to move back to the USA.
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  #30  
Old 14.07.2017, 21:20
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Re: What would you do differently?

Nothing.
Nothing at all.

I've learned from my mistakes, and am still learning.
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Old 14.07.2017, 21:22
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Re: What would you do differently?

I would not buy my glasses at Fielmann!
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  #32  
Old 15.07.2017, 00:52
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Re: What would you do differently?

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1996.

Tom
Thanks for the link that confirms the law is from 1994, nothing beats double-checking.
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  #33  
Old 15.07.2017, 05:18
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Re: What would you do differently?

Packed my drill.
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  #34  
Old 15.07.2017, 11:20
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Re: What would you do differently?

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Thanks for the link that confirms the law is from 1994, nothing beats double-checking.
The law was approved in 1994, but IMPLEMENTED only in 1996.

Tom
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  #35  
Old 15.07.2017, 11:37
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Re: What would you do differently?

I would have put a deposit on property long ago. Now, because I didn't do it and after having spent so much on rent up to date, in anger, I decided to keep on renting even longer
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  #36  
Old 15.07.2017, 12:35
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Re: What would you do differently?

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Hmmm...OP won't like this but sincere question merits sincere answer: I wouldn't have come. I would have kept my compass headed for a place with more thought and life.
What keeps you here then? Ok, there are upfront costs for moving and all that stuff, but if the case is clearcut as it seems to be for you, that still begs the question, doesn't it?
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  #37  
Old 15.07.2017, 12:41
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Re: What would you do differently?

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I don't have a choice, we are relocating for work.
I've discovered I always have a choice, and sometimes it's only a choice of attitude.
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  #38  
Old 15.07.2017, 13:36
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Re: What would you do differently?

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Hmmm...OP won't like this but sincere question merits sincere answer: I wouldn't have come. I would have kept my compass headed for a place with more thought and life.
Like where?

"Thought and life" are unquantifiable and 100% subjective. One man's dull-as-a-bucket village is another man's goldmine of inspiration.
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Old 15.07.2017, 15:36
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Re: What would you do differently?

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I don't have a choice, we are relocating for work. I do appreciate your sincere response.
Np. I had no choice either, but regret has never occupied my life, you can totally thouroughly enjoy a place and make the most of it, despite the choice being done for you. Especially if you keep open to any challenge, adapt fast and allow enough time to find what suits you. Coming from a tribe that thrives on adjustment, worked out well. Yet. The inspirations have been consistently coming from elsewhere, if you know this ahead of the time and make arrangements, makes everything smoother. I can reach to them easier from here now than before, and share them with those here who care. It has been a pretty win-win enriching trip.
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Old 15.07.2017, 15:40
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Re: What would you do differently?

Caution: Waffling ahead, grab a cuppa if so inclined.


I don't think I would have done much differently in the preparation for our move. Actually, there was no prep - which is what made it easy. The whole thing was an adrenaline rush. I had only a few days to decide yea or nea, figure out how to get the dogs here, toss my hard-won career out the window, sell the house, blah blah blah.

Getting here and settling in was easy at first. Afterall, this was a short assignment, max two years, so really just an extended holiday. You can do anything for two years, in such a short time any ‘mistakes' made barely register.

—-

The hard part came arount the 5 year mark. In retrospect staying in Switzerland once the time limit to the expat assignment was reached probably was a mistake.

While officially an expat assignment, the conditions of the assignment (tax equalization, US Soc Sec agreements, international health insurance, currency exchange agreements, etc.) made up at least financially for the sacrifices we had to make to live here. Once those disappeared (in ZH expat conditions such as tax, social payments, foreign payroll, etc. were then limited to 5 years), we took a painful financial hit. Still, we were willing to keep up those sacrifices because we had enjoyed our Swiss adventure so far.

My Advice: As an American, you need to understand how your US and CH tax situation will play out down the road. Hire a tax consultant qualified in both US and CH systems - and be aware that the firm hired by your company works for them, not you.

Be aware that the chances of finding the same standard of living you currently enjoy in the US are slim. Some things are simply not available to all but the very lucky, very connected, or very very wealthy. You will likely live a nice 'Swiss' life, but you probably will have to accept that there will be a difference.

And I’ll say it again - hire a qualified tax and financial person, one who works for you.

—-

When the move to Switzerland necessitated giving up my career, I looked for a new way to find something meaningful to do with my life. I found it in volunteer work, and soon it became clear to me that this is what I am bone-deep meant to do, this is my passion, this is what makes it all worthwhile. Life was good.

But turns out that the work that has become my raison d’être is something not in keeping with local norms, the pressure to conform and the repercussions of not doing so has taken it's toll. So why persist in being a square peg in a round hole? I gave up so much to follow OH here - then having found the one thing that gives my life some semblance of purpose, damned if I am going to give up everything meaningful to me once again for… what, exactly? Pretty mountain views only go so far.

So my advice: When searching for new roles for yourself, look for things that are sustainable within local norms.

—-

Then the eldercare years came, and I needed to juggle responsibilities both in the US and CH. In retrospect, again, I should have moved back to the US then, although it didn’t seem possible at the time. It's been 15 years of playing whack-a-mole, there is no time to enjoy even those pretty mountain views.

So my advice: If you still have family in the US, make plans now for how you will fulfill your responsibilities to them from across the ocean. And put a lot of money aside for frequent trips back home.

—-

Be aware of how your ideas of the importance of security might change. I came as a tumbleweed, I was young(ish), footloose and fancy-free. But as I grew older and became more ’Swiss’ in my thinking, the ability to plan for the future became increasingly important to me. But there’s a catch: as a non-EU you have no security here, never forget that.

That may or may not be an issue for you. If you are happy to live in the now and roll with the punches, you’ll be fine. If you are the type who needs roots, you might struggle with this. Be aware that losing the ability to make concrete plans for the future is part and parcel of being a non-EU resident in Switzerland.

So my advice: Keep exit plans for several scenarios in your back pocket. The most obvious is to negotiate a solid end-of-expat-status relocation package into your contract. But if you stay beyondyour expat status, the day might come when you have to leave whether you want to or not. Don’t put down roots that cannot be easily pulled up when you have to leave.



But as above, the difficulties I encountered were all several years into our sojourn. You might never encounter these.

For now - treat this move as one big holiday. Be a tourist, enjoy what the country has to offer, travel the length and breadth of the country and throughout Europe - and create all sorts of good memories to take back with your if/when you eventually go home.

Wishing you all the best.
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