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Old 25.07.2018, 02:43
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I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Hello!

I am a US citizen, who just received a job offer near Fribourg / Vaud and I am supposed to start at the beginning of 2019!

I could not be more excited for the opportunity, and I am happy to have this forum as a great resource. I will have a few months to figure out which city to live in (Fribourg, Lausanne, Montreux, Vevey). I am in my mid-twenties, single, avid outdoors-man (skiing, cycling), but I also love the nightlife scene.
  1. Is ~6000 CHF a good estimate for my monthly take-home pay given a salary of 110,000 CHF paid out over 13 installments? Some of the calculator links that I've seen on the forums are dead, and others don't include Vaud.
  2. Is 110,000k CHF a comfortable salary for one relatively frugal person in Lausanne? I am not sure how reliable the online comparison calculators are, which is why I thought to ask here. I am pretty fiscally responsible, make many of my own meals, and go out to bars & restaurants just 1-2 times per week. My monthly living expenses in the US average around $2700 USD.
  3. Is there a train pass for commuters traveling outside of Lausanne?
  4. What would you recommend are the most critical items to take care of shortly after arrival?
  5. I am pretty conscious about my retirement investments here in the US. I was wondering if making a move to Switzerland would significantly impact my target retirement date (positively or negatively), or if I would be relatively on-track given a ~10-12% employer pension contribution and a ~8-12% personal contribution?

This will be my first time in Switzerland, but not my first time living in Europe. I've lived in two other European countries (both in university and through my old employer).

Thanks for any insight you can provide!
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Old 25.07.2018, 07:39
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Welcome!

Are you working in Romont?

If so, you are better off living in Fribourg. Not only is the commute shorter Fribourg canton is less expensive. It's a college town with plenty to do at night.

You can get a yearly 'abonnement gťnťral' for (almost all) public transportation.
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Old 25.07.2018, 08:36
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Not sure you're eventual permit will allow you to live outside Fribourg anyway.


An annual rail/bus pass for all of Switzerland's public transport, with a couple of exceptions for mountain railways costs less than Chf 4k/year.


Salary is good for your age, monthly net pay of Chf 6k is about right.
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Old 25.07.2018, 09:41
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Welcome to the forum and soon to Switzerland.

As Today Only said, you don't get a choice of which canton you live in. Fribourg canton grants the permit so Fribourg canton is where you live. From the Foreign Nationals Act:

"Art. 36 Place of residence
Persons with a short stay permit, a residence or a permanent residence permit are free to choose their place of residence within the canton that granted the permit.

Art. 37 Change of the place of residence to another canton
1 Persons with a short stay permit or a residence permit who would like to relocate their place of residence to another canton must apply for the appropriate permit from the new canton beforehand.

2 Persons with a residence permit are entitled to move to another canton provided they are not unemployed and there are no grounds for revocation in terms of Article 62 paragraph 1.

3 Persons with a permanent residence permit are entitled to move to another canton, provided there are no grounds for revocation in terms of Article 63."

https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...232/index.html

You might be able to ask Vaud and Fribourg cantons if you can change later if you really want to be in one of those other places.

You will find your banking choices limited due to the American taint from FATCA. UBS, Credit Suisse and PostFinance are probably the only ones who'll consider you for a salary/checking account.

And you need to bone up on your US tax filing obligations while living abroad.

https://www.irs.gov/individuals/inte...-aliens-abroad
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Old 25.07.2018, 09:52
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Your calculation is pretty spot on, though you may be able to deduct things like a travel pass, work tools, a portion of your rent if you have to work from home etc.

A good tax advisor should help you but be careful not to be ripped off just because you're an American. Most Swiss have one so get to know a few people locally, find out who they use and what they pay first. For a relatively simple salary you'll pay a maximum of CHF 500 a year - probably a lot less. Don't forget you may also have to make a US tax return as well, though it's unlikely you'll pay any US tax.

As for living costs, yes, with chf 6k a month you'll easily have enough to live well and put some money aside.

Many Americans I know tell me a Swiss pension is much better than the US one, but I have little personal knowledge in this field so can't help you there.
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Old 25.07.2018, 13:05
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

AG this year is 3860 chf. Goes up every year. If you commute to work every day, this would be justified. If you drive to work and just use public transport on nights and weekends, look into un abonnement demi-tarif.
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Old 25.07.2018, 18:41
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

As others have said, the AG can be a really good deal.
https://www.sbb.ch/en/travelcards-an...ravelcard.html
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Old 25.07.2018, 18:51
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Welcome! If you're interested in further discussion about budgets, you might like to read through kayakdad's thread. Even though he is asking about a family of 4 in Basel, there's a lot of info in there which could help you form a general idea.
https://www.englishforum.ch/finance-...y-4-basel.html

Another bumper thread is that of pinkpanter, even though there, too, it's about a family. I recommend that thread as one which contains much more animated discussion about pros and cons of various strategies. That can be useful, to learn from, though it's not everyone's cup of tea.
https://www.englishforum.ch/finance-...l-we-have.html

Please don't be put off by the fact that some of the posts on that thread, or on this forum, come across as less than friendly. Just skip over any bits you don't find helpful. There is a lot of kindness, here, too. I hope you find into you feel is relevant to your situation, and please do ask if you'd like more info.
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Old 26.07.2018, 15:42
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Thanks for all of the helpful information!

Keys for me:
-> Identify which canton to live in, so my employer knows which canton to request my permit in.
-> Look further into the American FATCA banking rules
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Old 26.07.2018, 15:58
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Thanks for all of the helpful information!

Keys for me:
-> Identify which canton to live in, so my employer knows which canton to request my permit in.
-> Look further into the American FATCA banking rules
They don't request a particular canton. They have to apply in the canton the workplace is based in - which governs what canton you can live in since you live in the same canton your workplace is based in. So if your employer is based in Fribourg canton that's where they have to apply to for your permit.
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Old 26.07.2018, 16:13
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Thanks for all of the helpful information!

Keys for me:
-> Identify which canton to live in, so my employer knows which canton to request my permit in.
-> Look further into the American FATCA banking rules
Also.. there isn't much to look into FATCA... basically you can open and account at UBS, Credit Suisse, Migros and Post Finance.

I opened one at Credit Suisse.. easy enough no problem.
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Old 26.07.2018, 19:24
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Also.. there isn't much to look into FATCA... basically you can open and account at UBS, Credit Suisse, Migros and Post Finance.

I opened one at Credit Suisse.. easy enough no problem.
Did you just open the account when you arrived, or did you set anything up beforehand?
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Old 26.07.2018, 19:36
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Can't set it up beforehand since they'll want to see either your Swiss permit or at least a letter saying it's being processed. Plus you'll have to sign a W-9 to allow the bank to send the account details on to the IRS.
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Old 27.07.2018, 12:27
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

gross salary 8461 per month
- Social Security = 5% = 423
- Unemployment insurance = 1% = 85
- Pension = 10% =846
- Withholding Tax = 848

Net Salary = 6259

Medical Insurance = 400 = 5859.

Rent @ 33% = 1933 = 3926
GA 2nd class 340 = 3586
Mobile phone = 60 = 3526

Living costs, approx 2500 a month all in i would suggest.

3526-2500 = 1026 to go back into savings.

Seems like a fair salary. My numbers are representative for zurich, so could be well off for lausanne.
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Old 27.07.2018, 12:47
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Did you just open the account when you arrived, or did you set anything up beforehand?
At least at Credit Suisse you can open up a basic account with a debit card by just showing them your registration papers. I don't know the German name, but it's what you get when you first register in your Canton.

So I was able to get my bank account open before I got my actually B-Permit in the mail. My only issue, they wanted me to make an appointment, but it took maybe 45 minutes, signed some things on and iPad and then I had my account!

Still haven't been back yet to upgrade the account and get a CC with it. Still using my US ones and the debit card locally.
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Old 27.07.2018, 17:37
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Hello!

I am a US citizen, who just received a job offer near Fribourg / Vaud and I am supposed to start at the beginning of 2019!

I could not be more excited for the opportunity, and I am happy to have this forum as a great resource. I will have a few months to figure out which city to live in (Fribourg, Lausanne, Montreux, Vevey). I am in my mid-twenties, single, avid outdoors-man (skiing, cycling), but I also love the nightlife scene.
  1. Is ~6000 CHF a good estimate for my monthly take-home pay given a salary of 110,000 CHF paid out over 13 installments? Some of the calculator links that I've seen on the forums are dead, and others don't include Vaud.
  2. Is 110,000k CHF a comfortable salary for one relatively frugal person in Lausanne? I am not sure how reliable the online comparison calculators are, which is why I thought to ask here. I am pretty fiscally responsible, make many of my own meals, and go out to bars & restaurants just 1-2 times per week. My monthly living expenses in the US average around $2700 USD.
  3. Is there a train pass for commuters traveling outside of Lausanne?
  4. What would you recommend are the most critical items to take care of shortly after arrival?
  5. I am pretty conscious about my retirement investments here in the US. I was wondering if making a move to Switzerland would significantly impact my target retirement date (positively or negatively), or if I would be relatively on-track given a ~10-12% employer pension contribution and a ~8-12% personal contribution?

This will be my first time in Switzerland, but not my first time living in Europe. I've lived in two other European countries (both in university and through my old employer).

Thanks for any insight you can provide!
Your income Should be enough if:

- you do all your dental work in Turkey
- you do your MRI scans in Bulgaria
- donít get any chick knocked up here
- donít get married to an unemployed Swiss
- In case you do get married donít file for a divorce here
- donít move in with anybody
- donít date a chick with three kids
- if you are vegan and animal rights try to ignore and donít remove the cow bells from the cows 🐄
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Old 28.07.2018, 14:47
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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Your income Should be enough if:

- you do all your dental work in Turkey
- you do your MRI scans in Bulgaria
- donít get any chick knocked up here
- donít get married to an unemployed Swiss
- In case you do get married donít file for a divorce here
- donít move in with anybody
- donít date a chick with three kids
- if you are vegan and animal rights try to ignore and donít remove the cow bells from the cows 🐄
You forgot don't speed.
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Old 28.07.2018, 14:57
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

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gross salary 8461 per month
- Social Security = 5% = 423
- Unemployment insurance = 1% = 85
- Pension = 10% =846
- Withholding Tax = 848

Net Salary = 6259

Medical Insurance = 400 = 5859.

Rent @ 33% = 1933 = 3926
GA 2nd class 340 = 3586
Mobile phone = 60 = 3526

Living costs, approx 2500 a month all in i would suggest.

3526-2500 = 1026 to go back into savings.

Seems like a fair salary. My numbers are representative for zurich, so could be well off for lausanne.
Thanks for this helpful breakdown.

My employer is providing ~200-250 CHF toward health insurance, which is nice.

The employer pension contribution is also much better than here in the US. We have 3% match 1:1 and the next 2% on half. But en Suisse will be 10%.

Vacation days will also be an added benefit. ~25 days here en Suisse versus the 10 that I currently have in the states.

Switzerland offers many intangibles that are tough to quantify toward my savings rate (i.e., Skiing in the Alps, stepping out of comfort zone, learning a new language (French), no Trump, etc...)
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Old 28.07.2018, 22:10
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

Just want to say how nice it is to know another American will be in the area (kind of, depending on where you end up living).

Sorry, not helpful I know, but heyówelcome
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Old 29.07.2018, 00:41
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Re: I'm coming to Switzerland! With a few questions...

I think the costs listed by J2488 are at least 1k too high for a 25yr old in Fribourg if OP is healthy.

Rent is more like 900-1.2k (OP, a 2.5-room apartment means one living room plus one bedroom, the ".5" indicates a large-ish kitchen - for Swiss standards. Typically 50-60 square meters or 550-650 square feet).

Health insurance should be around 3k annually or less based on max deductible of 2500 CHF. The emplyer's contributions make J2488's overstatement even bigger as thy alone should cover 80-100%.
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