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Old 16.02.2017, 18:44
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Moving abroad and salary expectation

Hi all!

Been missing for a while but now have a question I would like your opinion on

This is less about finding out facts but more about to understand how other people view this particular topic.

After a few years of successful career in CH the question is coming up about relocation. The countries being considered have salaries that are much lower than CH. Cost of living is also lower but not proportional to the lower salary.

We are also unsure if school costs differential would be covered so that would be a major additional cost.

Net, no matter how we look at it, we will earn less, spend a little less but have a different life for a while.

We really want to go for the career experience and giving the kids a different perspective but are worried about taking an income cut. Also worried about re-entering into CH at same salary level.

Would be curious to know what people's take is on this as am sure some of you have been confronted with this as salaries in CH tend to be higher than anywhere else.

Thanks for opinions

K
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Old 16.02.2017, 20:25
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

Depends on the country, I would say.

My OH technically took a pay cut when relocating from CH but when everything else is taken into account... it does not feel like a pay cut at all.
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Old 16.02.2017, 20:31
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

Savings from many years of a successful career, properly invested, should be already generating you a sizeable portion of your old salary every year.
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Old 16.02.2017, 20:37
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

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Savings from many years of a successfully career, properly invested, should be generating a sizeable portion of your old salary every year.
The problem is people are risk averse & holding cash rather than equities.
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Old 16.02.2017, 20:47
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

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Savings from many years of a successful career, properly invested, should be already generating you a sizeable portion of your old salary every year.
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The problem is people are risk averse & holding cash rather than equities.
... or too busy holding their collective heads above the water to invest anything.
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Old 16.02.2017, 20:51
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

Hard to leave Switzerland, one gets used to the nice cash! On the other hand, it's not all about cash, as you and other posters said.

On paper, I initially took a pay cut relocating from CH to the USA. On the other hand, I was promoted twice in 3.5 years, which I could have only dreamed of in CH, and I am in line for another promotion in the next 1-1.5 year if I stay with my current employer (which I plan to do). Compensation was adjusted accordingly at competitive/market rates.

I also happen to really like living here. Well, the Oompa Loompa aside

My husband and I talk about potential future relocations but these have more to do with family/personal reasons - if we have kids and want them to grow up closer to the grandparents in Europe, if my brother and his family also move back to Europe, if the Oompa Loompa blows up the USA, etc. We'd probably consider a 6-months to 1-year stint in a random country around the world just for kicks, but nothing longer or more permanent - we've both done the world travel and the expat thing, and we quite like our "settled down" life, so, if we move again, it would most likely be to something familiar/in our comfort zone, such as either of our EU countries of origin, or another EU country.

My 2 cents, YMMV. Good luck!
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Old 16.02.2017, 20:57
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

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... or too busy holding their collective heads above the water to invest anything.
Many people live above their means, expensive apartment, leasing new cars, latest iPhone because everybody else does it....... well not quite everybody does.
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Old 16.02.2017, 21:10
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

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Many people live above their means, expensive apartment, leasing new cars, latest iPhone because everybody else does it....... well not quite everybody does.
Or post -graduate debts, house deposits, kids, mortgage, kids, wedding, kids....
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Old 16.02.2017, 21:31
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

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Or post -graduate debts, house deposits, kids, mortgage, kids, wedding, kids....
All of those expenses were your choice.
I left school at 16, bought my first Porsche 911 at 21 (paying cash) & bought a house (75% mortgage) the same year & retired at 52.
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Old 16.02.2017, 21:34
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

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All of those expenses were your choice.
I left school at 16, bought my first Porsche 911 at 21 (paying cash) & bought a house (75% mortgage) the same year & retired at 52.
Yes, we're all aware how great you are, Tom.

Oh, wait. Wrong poster. My bad.
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Old 16.02.2017, 21:50
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

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All of those expenses were your choice.
I left school at 16, bought my first Porsche 911 at 21 (paying cash) & bought a house (75% mortgage) the same year & retired at 52.
Only 21?

I never went to school past 12, spoke 23 dialects of English and bought my first Raleigh Bomber at age 14. I retired at 22 having published 45 platinum albums.
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Old 16.02.2017, 22:42
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

I took a pay cut to move to CH from the US, but that was back when the USD still had some value (1986).

Tom
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Old 16.02.2017, 22:53
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

what kind of career experience? how do you know you will still have your job next year?

What if you get fired in the relocated country?

If you want to already reenter CH, why are you leaving?
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Old 16.02.2017, 22:56
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

Plan to retire where your kids/parents will be when you retire, I'd say. Or maybe I am too oldschool, but even if one plans something else - more likely or not you will just end up paying a lot for flights anyways, compensate the distance.
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Old 16.02.2017, 23:06
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

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Plan to retire where your kids/parents will be when you retire, I'd say.
My parents will be dead, and who knows where my kids will be, so pretty useless idea.

Tom
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Old 16.02.2017, 23:49
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

I am not saying attach yourself to your kids' behinds nor stalk your aging parents..but watching people's choices and behavior, more likely those who moved far eventually gradually moved closer and closer to those who need them.

I do not think salary is that important..heck, I am even staying in a country that was not picked by me, so my kid gets to see her dad, who certainly does not make her a priority. But I am pulling it off, love this place for most it has to offer and support my kid who is caught in between cultures and territories. I believe tough times make people stronger, a pay cut when one is learning a lot, can translate to a more important gain.
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Old 17.02.2017, 02:14
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

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All of those expenses were your choice.
I left school at 16, bought my first Porsche 911 at 21 (paying cash) & bought a house (75% mortgage) the same year & retired at 52.


Yes. They were. And I'm all the better for them. Just as all of your expenses were your choice.

And I'm still saying that not everyone makes decisions motivated purely by the mighty dollar. Not everyone, for a myriad reasons, can rake together cash, or have the numbers/business acumen to do what you did. Congrats on the car. I think. A Porsche still has the one wheel in each corner, right? And this is off topic.

OP: do your numbers. Look at the life choices you will have to make. Decide what the most important things to you and your family are.

How does the schooling differ? Could your kids "slot" in and back out again into the Swiss system without detriment to their long term future?

These are rhetorical questions obviously.

Whatever you decide, very best of luck. It's not an easy decision.
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Old 17.02.2017, 07:18
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

Thanks all for replies.

The benefits would be:
-International work experience for me and hubby
-International experience for the children - seeing something very different from Zurich
-Discovery of a new continent during the travels there
-Going to a more diverse school for a period of time (but one that does indeed allow a relatively smooth re-entry into the Zurich system)
-We would have an adventure
-Kids will learn English and hopefully some Mandarin

The downsides:
-Salary cut and potential risk to not get this level back upon return
-Higher risk (what if they fire me when abroad?)
-Lack of family nearby (as opposed to here)
-Kids will go through adjustment phase
-The huge amount of paperwork and physical work related to an international move

I guess it comes down to the question of how much salary cut is one willing to take for the benefits outline - bit like an investment in self and children development

Will ponder some more and let you all know

Happy Friday everyone
K
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Old 17.02.2017, 09:26
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

Great topic. We have been there. Twice. And yes, working any decent job in CH builds a golden cage around you. We left for some years to Singapore. I took a decent cut in pay, but the wife's expat package and the lower taxes somehow covered that. In the end did we save much more money there than here, even on a lower income. And the experience is pretty hard to put a price tag on. I'd do so again in a heartbeat - because life is not just about income and taxes, but about experiences and what you want to do with it.

We are currently considering to leave for another European country and even if the pay was the same: the difference in taxes hurt. A lot. And that's one of the "better" EU countries when it comes to taxes... We are likely going to do it for "career reasons" - taking on a specific job offer to improve the career for the next 30 years. So even if we lose in the short run might this pay off well in the long run. So that's the first consideration: How long do you want to leave? For a few years or for good?

The next thought is the true full cost calculation: What life style do you want and how much is it? There are those silly macro economic studies on how expensive a country is based on a standardized shopping basket. That's a completely distorted picture as there is no standardized life you can copy and paste into any given place - people live differently and you need to think about the full costs of it. Simple example: We live in Wollerau SZ. Tax is awesome, but real estate is pricey. My higher rent is easily paid for by the lower taxes (and then some), but I am probably never going to afford a landed house with garden there. Even a rather simple flat is easily over 1 M, a nice house would be somewhere between 3 and 5 Million CHF. That EU country we are considering? Taxes are twice as high, but a very nice house starts around 400k EUR... even with two good salaries and no kids - a situation where low taxes make a lot of sense - that's a price difference worth considering...
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Old 17.02.2017, 11:06
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Re: Moving abroad and salary expectation

Funny you are mentioning Singapore 😁

Plan would be to go for 3 yrs and then return but who knows, could also be the start of a longer stay in Asia. Currently parents are still fit so cross fingers that a 3 year stint allows us to be back in time to support them in later life.

I agree with the cost of living comparison tools, they often use baskets which are uncomparable.

And you are also correct about the "investment" - in my field if I would come back here with Asian experience it should be quite valuable. Some Headhunters also told me to go to Asia and change jobs later for higher pay as that is much easier. But I don't trust this too much, or rather don't want to count on it.

I guess if we were a couple only, I would not worry as much - worse comes to worse we would return. With 2 kids in primary this is a little more complicated (and adds to the cost issue given there is little choice but international schools there - unlike here)

I am starting to think that as long as what we are offered is enough to have the lifestyle we want, we should go for it and chalk it down to experience for a few years. We have been good savers so far, so 3 yrs of living "just" should be ok in the grand scheme of things, given we will likely work until 70 anyway 😆

Ok, more hamster wheels turning and thanks for the useful food for thought everyone!
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