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Old 24.08.2010, 15:46
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Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Hello Everyone

I realise everyone is probably sick of answering questions about cost of living in Switzerland/Geneva but I guess it is one of the key considerations when considering the move giving the costs associated with Switzerland.

I have done my calculations, and my primary reason for coming to Geneva (as well as it being a beautiful city) is the large uplift in pay, an uplift which I think allows me to save as well as live comfortably – at least this is what I hope you will confirm.

I don’t see a way of getting this advice without providing salary specifics so here goes, I don’t want a discussion about what is a good wage, bad wage, whether I should count myself lucky to get this amount (which I do – albeit it is worked very hard for) or whether it is a pittance in Swiss terms, I just want to know I am being realistic!

My wage is chf 138,433 which after tax is going to be approximately 86,600

I want to take my bonus out of this which then brings me out at 6563 take home a month (I still get paid 12 monthly not 13)

On top of this I get an extra 300 towards health insurance and 75 a month for travel. This then works out at ~ 6938 take home a month.

I am then deducting:
  • Healthcare ~350 (realistic??)
  • Rent 1150 (getting a very basic studio apt)
  • UK payments 640
  • Travel (fly back to UK 3 out of 5 weeks) includes trains/buses at UK end - 900
  • Phone – Work paid
  • Internet – 65
  • Bills – 100

= chf 3,205

I want to put 2000 by a month which will leave me with 1778 (~£1,100)

This will have to cover any extras such as eating out (which I don’t plan on doing very often in Geneva), clothes, beer, food (which I figure does not have to be more expensive than the UK, my rationale is that if I shop at Waitrose in the UK, shopping at a cheaper supermarket in Geneva in terms of the brand will probably be fairly similar???) and any other leisure activities and holidays. Given that I will be living on my own, flying back to the UK 3 weekends out of 5, which is where I will do my eating out, drinking, etc, I think this is reasonable and works out at ~250 a week.

Please let me know if you agree or think this is wildly optimistic.

Thanks a lot in advance,

Tristan
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  #2  
Old 24.08.2010, 15:58
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Thats seems pretty bang on to me.
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Old 24.08.2010, 16:00
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Why fly back to the UK so frequently? Flight aren't as cheap as they used to be - and the could well set you back 250chf a time.
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Old 24.08.2010, 16:07
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Thanks for your reassurance alanmack.

Dodgyken, unfortunately the flights back to the UK are not really a choice, my girlfriend cannot transfer over to Switzerland so is remaining in the UK. Thankfully she lives reasonably near Luton airport, which means I can get the 6pm EasyJet (I know, not ideal, probably late, no airmiles, etc) flight out on a Friday and back late Sunday night. Booked in advance, which I plan to do, these flights are ~£70 rtn with only hand baggage. Were it not for this then there is no way I would fly back as often as this, I would want to make the most of being in Geneva, but it is a sacrifice I have to make. At least I will still have two weekends out of five in Geneva, one of which my girlfriend will be joining me and one for me to be a lad , drink too much beer and play poker J
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Old 24.08.2010, 16:13
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

More than enough
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Old 24.08.2010, 16:16
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Great note and very detailed....people are sick of answering questions like "how much is enough to live on?" without any further thought, but your analysis seems good so people will happily help

Couple of points.....

1. I'd echo the point on travelling back....three out of five sounds like a lot and you may think you'll do it, but I bet that once you're here, it won't be so often (esp if you ski or learn to!)

2. Bear in mind that work paying your phone is taxable....probably not a big deal for you, but if you spend a lot of time calling home on it, you'll pay 30% of the cost in tax

Good luck
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Old 24.08.2010, 16:26
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

One question.

why is the tax so high? I put the salary in comparis tax calculator, it tells me that you will have 100k after tax.

Is it after the first and second pillar contributions?
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Old 24.08.2010, 16:27
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

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Hello Everyone

I realise everyone is probably sick of answering questions about cost of living in Switzerland/Geneva but I guess it is one of the key considerations when considering the move giving the costs associated with Switzerland.

I have done my calculations, and my primary reason for coming to Geneva (as well as it being a beautiful city) is the large uplift in pay, an uplift which I think allows me to save as well as live comfortably – at least this is what I hope you will confirm.

I don’t see a way of getting this advice without providing salary specifics so here goes, I don’t want a discussion about what is a good wage, bad wage, whether I should count myself lucky to get this amount (which I do – albeit it is worked very hard for) or whether it is a pittance in Swiss terms, I just want to know I am being realistic!

My wage is chf 138,433 which after tax is going to be approximately 86,600

I want to take my bonus out of this which then brings me out at 6563 take home a month (I still get paid 12 monthly not 13)

On top of this I get an extra 300 towards health insurance and 75 a month for travel. This then works out at ~ 6938 take home a month.

I am then deducting:
  • Healthcare ~350 (realistic??)
  • Rent 1150 (getting a very basic studio apt)
  • UK payments 640
  • Travel (fly back to UK 3 out of 5 weeks) includes trains/buses at UK end - 900
  • Phone – Work paid
  • Internet – 65
  • Bills – 100

= chf 3,205

I want to put 2000 by a month which will leave me with 1778 (~£1,100)

This will have to cover any extras such as eating out (which I don’t plan on doing very often in Geneva), clothes, beer, food (which I figure does not have to be more expensive than the UK, my rationale is that if I shop at Waitrose in the UK, shopping at a cheaper supermarket in Geneva in terms of the brand will probably be fairly similar???) and any other leisure activities and holidays. Given that I will be living on my own, flying back to the UK 3 weekends out of 5, which is where I will do my eating out, drinking, etc, I think this is reasonable and works out at ~250 a week.

Please let me know if you agree or think this is wildly optimistic.

Thanks a lot in advance,

Tristan
Actually....dear Mods.......can we sort of "frame" this post and point people towards it when they get frustrated at getting tough replies to stupid and lazy questions.....kind of newbie best practice
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  #9  
Old 24.08.2010, 16:30
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Personally, I think you'll struggle to set the full 2000 per month aside regularly, but at least it is a target you are setting yourself and you should probably manage 1000-1500 without too much of a stretch. That last 20-25% might be more of an issue (thinking of the 80/20 rule).

You'll need to spend wisely and look for discounts when shopping, looking for seasonal bargains, which of course takes time, but given that you are trying to save money and your main expenditure - chasing women - is not an issue with gf back home, you should have that time spare!

If Geneva is anything like Basel, you'll be well advised to do most of your shopping in France. This article suggests that, for example, meat is 200% more expensive in CH.

That all said, it is a good wage for a single person with no dependents.

Good luck.
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Last edited by Carlos R; 24.09.2010 at 17:33.
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Old 24.08.2010, 16:37
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Seems mostly realistic to me, except that 1150 for an apartment is going to be tough. Last year I was in a 50m2 one bedroom apartment and was paying 1900 a month... I think it will take you a long time working every contact you can find as well as some luck to find something that cheap, unless you are willing to take a room in a shared apartment. I would guestimate somewhere around 1400-1500 for a studio would be more realistic, and it will still take some time to find something decent.

Also, be aware of scammers, particularly on Craigslist adverts.
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Old 24.08.2010, 16:42
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Caviarchips - I haven't found a way to 'frame' this yet, but I've put on a couple of Tags which could help in a search in future. If anyone can think of other words or phrases which someone might try when searching, please let me have them and I'll add them to the list.
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Old 24.08.2010, 17:02
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

The tax looks wrong.
You will take home more money than that from 130k I would guess somewhere around 9.5k net a month.

I guess you have used this thread
Cost of living - help needed to get it right
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Old 24.08.2010, 17:05
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

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The tax looks wrong.
You will take home more money than that from 130k I would guess somewhere around 9.5k net a month.
Not in geneva you won't.
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Old 24.08.2010, 17:09
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Hi Cptcool/PlantHead,

The tax is actually based upon what the local Swiss HR team have told me. Please bear in mind I have not included the bonus, this actually puts my wage at 114,000, which is where the 6,563 comes from. I presume the table below does fit better with the tax calculations (~30%)?


Gross to Net Calculation

for a Swiss Resident



CHF





Total Employment Cost [excl benefits]
138,433


Employer Social Security Contributions
13,033

Gross Base Salary
114,000
Gross Bonus
11,400

Total Cash
125,400

Employee Social Security Contributions
11,277
Income Tax
27,500




Net Salary [before personal benefit contributions]
86,623
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Old 24.08.2010, 17:11
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Either way, better to calculate a worse tax rate, then you'll have a better surprise and have more give in your budget.
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Old 24.08.2010, 17:11
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

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Caviarchips - I haven't found a way to 'frame' this yet, but I've put on a couple of Tags which could help in a search in future. If anyone can think of other words or phrases which someone might try when searching, please let me have them and I'll add them to the list.
Maybe we can re-create/turn his post into a sticky as a model for what is a useful "is this enough money to live on/legit salary" post. If we take out the numbers and compile a few websites that might help curious on-lookers find the info to answer the questions for themselves (like what planthead already compiled-see above), then it would be great.

And it would give newbies an idea of what is a useful salary post, indicating that once they have done this kind of research, and still have questions, we are more than willing to help out (and give our 2 cents, regardless of what we may or may not *actually* know)...
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Old 24.08.2010, 17:13
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

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Not in geneva you won't.
This page may be useful. This gives the rates for tax at source based on salary bracket in Geneva.

http://ge.ch/impots/article/afc/clas...source/baremes

Based on this, for the stated salary the impot a la source by itself will be 20.43%. On top of that you will have all the other usual deductions.

EDIT: Ok just read the last reply from the OP, and it seems his actual salary is 125,400, giving an impot a la source rate of 19.19%.

Last edited by GenevaSculler; 24.08.2010 at 17:16. Reason: Updated rate for new info
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Old 24.08.2010, 17:13
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Thanks GenevaSculler

I am quite lucky, my company are paying for a firm to find my accommodation. I have told them they can stretch up to 1300 if needs be. They are paying for me to live in temp accommodation for my first month in Geneva in order to get somewhere suitable, and although I know it will still be very hard to find suitable accommodation, at least it will not be me that is doing all of the chasing but another agency.

Thanks again.

Tris
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Old 24.08.2010, 17:19
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Don't forget money to set yourself up there e.g. furniture, deposit etc - unless this is paid for by your company in relocation fees, that'll set you back a bit.

I agree with whoever said that 3 out of 5 weekends travelling will be tough, I've been travelling very regularly to see my boyfriend and I'd suggest that you get your girlfriend to travel over one of the 3 weekends instead. It's nice to have a break from the traveling once in a while and you also get to share your new home with the other half.
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Old 24.08.2010, 17:24
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Re: Yet another money question - Enough to live on?

Thanks Sparky,

Thankfully the company are covering the deposit and giving a month’s net salary for relocation costs. I am buying the furniture in the UK and shipping it across, as I am making the assumption it is cheaper here, and I don't have to pay for the shipping.

In terms of the trips, it will be a 'see how it goes', if I struggle then she may fly out more often, it is just not as practical as it involves her using half a days holiday every time, which is not massively fair given I am the one getting the extra money in a cool country, whereas she is still stuck in Milton Keynes I do actually quite like MK before I get abuse from any MK diehards!
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