Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Permits/visas/government  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 25.02.2017, 00:59
Hoppy's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oakland US
Posts: 454
Groaned at 20 Times in 16 Posts
Thanked 362 Times in 229 Posts
Hoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond repute
Return/retire CH

Dear EF,

My husband and I intend to return to retire in CH. We left CH 15 years ago, we still have a house in CH and return occasionally to check on it. He is 57 I am 56 years old. Initially did not anticipate being away this long, we just wanted the children to be schooled in English; now they are fully grown and independent. We have US, UK as well as CH citizenship. I am wondering how feasible it is for us to return, what I have to do to prepare and when we should think to make the move.
My husband earns, I do not. I paid into the Swiss and UK system whenever I worked (which was sporadic between babies). He paid into the Swiss system working for a Swiss company- about 50K total for 10 years worth, I think. Since 1996 we continued to pay taxes on the little house that we owned in TG. Stupidly, we stopped paying into the EHV. I would like to sell the house in TG and move to Tessin. I have read that unless we wish to incur a hefty penalty on sale, then we should live in the house as our primary residence for at least 2 years before selling. I don't mind doing that. I may not find work, although I am willing to do any work, I worked as an EFL teacher and in the international schools before leaving. My husband is highly experienced and specialized as a manager/engineer, so I hope that he will find work at least part-time. He has been asked to consult He earns well here in the US.

I would prefer to retire in Switzerland in 3 years, we have a beautiful life here in SF but Trump is taking his toll on us.
My husband is worried about the cost of living, pension, health insurance etc. in moving back. I would prefer to move back before he meets retirement age here. He thinks it may be better to reach retirement age here, to collect his pension in full and then move back, but hopefully continue to work and pay into the Swiss system once he gets to Switzerland. He will take any work, he is a workaholic.
Our mortgage will be low once we return, it is a small but very sound house; we will have paid the mortgage for over 30 years.

I would truly appreciate any advice that anyone has to offer, but my basic questions are:

1. How much per month will we need as basic income for 2 people at the present rate, besides the mortgage?
2. Can we expect to receive any benefits, or could we work towards re-establishing partial benefits?
3. What is the best way to deal with health insurance? (We are both very fit and healthy)
4. How do costs in Tessin compare with Thurgau.
5 What is the rate of tax?
6 how much tax would we have to pay on bringing money back into CH.

I know, I am taking a liberty in asking so much, but i promise to be a good citizen and pay back to the community when I return.

Yours hopefully,

Hoppy

p.s. I forgot to add that we are fully tax compliant in CH and US; our taxes are hefty!

Last edited by Hoppy; 25.02.2017 at 01:03. Reason: Addition
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 25.02.2017, 02:37
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: na
Posts: 10,856
Groaned at 34 Times in 30 Posts
Thanked 25,431 Times in 7,920 Posts
meloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

Quote:
View Post
2. Can we expect to receive any benefits, or could we work towards re-establishing partial benefits?
This thread links to an AHV calculator - plug in your numbers from past work, see what comes up for your situation.

AHV Amounts at retirement

AHV likely won't be much. An example:

OH will have contributed for 20-ish years by the time he retires*, that is, about half the time necessary to get a full AHV pension. The pension is prorated for years worked out of 44, at 20/44 OH's AHV will buy a cup of coffee and a newspaper, but not much else. But better than a sharp stick in the eye, as they say.

As for the other pillars:

Because of the blue passports OH was kicked out of his company's pillar 3 plan, as the plan included investments forbidden to US citizens. Make sure you understand what your US passports mean as you evaluate that possibility.

But Pillar 3 hadn't been all that great an investment vehicle anyway, so not that much of a loss.

And again thanks to the blue passports, pillar 2 hasn't been a great retirement vehicle either. The US does not view Swiss plans as qualified, so OH is taxed as income on both employee and employer contributions in the year accredited. So a big US tax hit upfront, and when OH retires and takes the Swiss pension he will be hit with CH taxes on that money, with nothing to offset on US taxes.

tl;dr: Consider the effect of your US citizenship wrt Swiss retirement saving, and seek tax and retirement planning advice from someone qualified in both US and CH taxes before you make any decisions.

---

Another thing - make sure you understand how drawing Swiss AHV affects your US Soc Sec, the Windfall Elimination Provision.

(That is, assuming US Soc Sec survives...)

---

Your Swiss tax rates will depend on the canton and community you choose.

---

You'll note the * when I write 'retires'.

You've probably read about attitudes towards age in the Swiss employment market. It is increasingly difficult to make it to 65 these days, some companies systematically fire employees over 50. In fact the '50 problem' seems to have become so normalized that even the days of early retirement incentives are waning. Many people over 50 will have difficulty finding another job given current attitudes. It's probably a good idea to have a plan for self employment or something similarly creative to bridge the gap from employment to pensionable age.

I mention this because it seems that continuing to work is important to your husband. If so, given his age I would recommend that he get his network going now, look for opportunities well ahead of the move. And you two should discuss what it might mean if once here he finds himself in the position that many 50s now face.

---

As for health insurance - you will of course get basic insurance which covers most things. If you are used to the US system you likely will be pleasantly surprised.

You might have difficulty qualifying for supplemental insurance at your ages, especially if you have pre-existing conditions. Many EFers who moved here later in life have found that to be the case, but as always there are exceptions. IIRC one or two EFers report being able to get supplemental despite their ages.

Sometimes having only basic insurance might limit your access to certain physicians/specialists, but again EFers seem to have had varied experiences, this might turn out not be an issue for you at all. I only have basic insurance and have several times run up against access limitations, but I live in an area not well served by medical providers. However, for a recent surgery I was able to pay a surprisingly affordable surcharge, so all in all not too bad.

---

I'll leave it to others to answer your Ticino/Thurgau questions.

----

As for your monthy budget needs - this is really a 'how long is a piece of string' question.

But to throw out some ideas: Healthcare might be something between 300-800 (franchise and supplemental policy dependent) per person per month plus a cushion for your franchise and Selbstbehalt. Cost of basic insurance varies by insurer, type of model chosen, and by canton. In SZ, with a traditional plan from a mid priced insurer at a franchise of 1500, I pay a bit more than 300 per month, OH a bit less. So for the two of us we are looking at a yearly cost of ca. 7200 with a cushion of 4400 to cover the self-pay before coverage kicks in. Here's a good site to play around with the many variables:
https://www.priminfo.ch/praemien/index.php?sprache=d

Food - really depends on how you wish to eat. A generous estimate might be ca 600-1000 per month, which should allow you a dinner or two out as well. You can probably do better than that, though, by shopping wisely. Or in Italy/Germany depending on where you end up. Take a gander at the Coop and Migros online shops (coopathome.ch, leshop.ch), put together your normal weekly basket to give you a rough idea of how your food budget might look.

Our biggest expense is the cost of traveling back home. Right now it's about once every 6-8 weeks, at the worst it was every two weeks. Do you still have family in the US, do you anticipate needing to travel a lot?

We move money back and forth all the time - but if there are tax implications in doing so it isn't on my radar. Obviously we pay the CH wealth tax, but the rate is so low as to really be a non-issue. Certain types of income are taxed differently in the US and CH - again, see a tax pro before you make concrete commitments.

There's a long 'cost of living' sticky thread. Even though some examples are years old prices really have not changed all that much. Browse throught that thread for some additional ideas.

---

We will be doing the opposite, after 20-plus years in Switzerland. We cannot stay here after OH retires (we are not Swiss citizens) so we are returning to the US. Doing so in the Trump era terrifies me, here's hoping we can hang on for another 4 years.

Good luck with your decisions and plans.

Last edited by meloncollie; 25.02.2017 at 03:57.
Reply With Quote
The following 7 users would like to thank meloncollie for this useful post:
  #3  
Old 25.02.2017, 04:25
Hoppy's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oakland US
Posts: 454
Groaned at 20 Times in 16 Posts
Thanked 362 Times in 229 Posts
Hoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

Wow, thanks meloncollie, quite detailed!
I tried to read up on the windfall but was confused as to ether it applies to us
It seems as if the CH contributions and US contributions will be combined.
We have to watch out for double taxation- when and where it applies.
I skimmed these but have only partially divested them, I am not sure how up-to-date they are and then again we have a few years to go!

Yes, medical insurance is a definite concern, I enjoy good cover, but so much here is linked to profit that it is difficult to trust whatrg is prescribed.
https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p54.pdf

https://www.ssa.gov/international/Ag.../switzrld.html
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 25.02.2017, 09:29
Sbrinz's Avatar
RIP
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Murten - Morat
Posts: 11,866
Groaned at 563 Times in 354 Posts
Thanked 11,548 Times in 5,941 Posts
Sbrinz has a reputation beyond reputeSbrinz has a reputation beyond reputeSbrinz has a reputation beyond reputeSbrinz has a reputation beyond reputeSbrinz has a reputation beyond reputeSbrinz has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

Here is the official government tax calculator for every village in Switzerland.
Note that although the tax years shown finish at 2015, this is up to date.

https://www.estv.admin.ch/estv/en/ho...errechner.html

(on this web site, only the basics are in English. There are more details with D/F/I language settings)

To get benefits here you need to have lived here 10 years. But you would be faced with the opposite situation, the Swiss would ask if you can support yourselves. It depends on the social security starting level set by the village, but would be at least Fr 5'000 per month for a couple.

Check out the rental & tax levels, in places Tessin can be an expensive canton to live in.
.

Last edited by Sbrinz; 25.02.2017 at 09:40.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank Sbrinz for this useful post:
  #5  
Old 25.02.2017, 10:36
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 31,394
Groaned at 2,324 Times in 1,692 Posts
Thanked 38,064 Times in 17,977 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

Quote:
View Post
in places Tessin can be an expensive canton to live in.
.
Indeed, my daughter paid the same for a renovated stand-alone house in Aargau as we paid for our apartment that could stand to be renovated.

On they other hand, when she lived in Vallemaggia, she paid 700/month for a 3 room, recently renovated apartment with a fireplace and stone roof, in the center of a small village, 20 minutes by public transport from Locarno.

Tom
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank st2lemans for this useful post:
  #6  
Old 25.02.2017, 10:57
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Return/retire CH

Quote:
View Post
Indeed, my daughter paid the same for a renovated stand-alone house in Aargau as we paid for our apartment that could stand to be renovated.

On they other hand, when she lived in Vallemaggia, she paid 700/month for a 3 room, recently renovated apartment with a fireplace and stone roof, in the center of a small village, 20 minutes by public transport from Locarno.

Tom
Indeed, for retirement at reasonable cost- it will be a case of location, location, location... but if your OH still needs/wants to work for next few years- then it will be difficult to marry both a cheap(er) location and be near potential work.
Remember that as a rule of thumb 'low tax area = very high prices' and vice-versa.

If you can find a low tax and low prices area- near potential work... then bingo- but it won't be easy.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank for this useful post:
  #7  
Old 25.02.2017, 14:11
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: na
Posts: 10,856
Groaned at 34 Times in 30 Posts
Thanked 25,431 Times in 7,920 Posts
meloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond reputemeloncollie has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

Quote:
View Post
I tried to read up on the windfall but was confused as to ether it applies to us
If I have understood it correctly, WEP was designed to prevent 'double dipping' in the context of the US labor market - unfortunately the case where one works part of one's career in the US and part oversees also gets caught up in this. Essentially - and again bearing in mind that I only am interpreting based on what I have read, I am not yet of pensionable age so no personal experience yet - the idea is that your US Soc Sec benefits could be reduced if you also are paid a pension from a non-covered source, i.e., an overseas pension.

Here's a calculator that takes WEP into consideration:

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/anyPiaWepjs04.html

I have not worked in Switzerland, so my tiny (and theoretical) Swiss AHV pension is really just a deduction from OH's. Running the Swiss caculator linked in the earlier thread, if I understand it correctly my claiming a Swiss pension (eligible because OH has always contributed more than double the minimum) actually reduces OH's benefit by more than I would receive. That, coupled with the effect of the WEP on my US Soc Sec, would mean a net loss.

So, unless I have fully misunderstood how this works (and that is always a possibility), it looks like we as a family would be better off if I simply do not claim any Swiss pension and then take my full US Soc Sec.

YMMV = and again with the assumption that US Soc Sec as we know it survives the next four to eight years. These days, anything is possible.

---

I'd love to hear from and EFers who have experience of US Soc Sec, Swiss AHV and WEP.

Anybody out there?
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank meloncollie for this useful post:
  #8  
Old 25.02.2017, 14:41
Medea Fleecestealer's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 22,036
Groaned at 404 Times in 313 Posts
Thanked 16,998 Times in 9,572 Posts
Medea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

Further on the tax situation, as American citizens you're required to file US tax returns no matter where you live in the world and could also owe the US tax on top of Swiss ones.

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

Getting a Swiss bank account will be difficult (assuming you don't already have one), again thanks to the American "taint" and FATCA. To open any account you'll have to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to send the account info on to the IRS. If any forieng account/s, i.e. outside of the US, comes to an aggregate figure of more than $10,000 at any time of the year it also has to be reported on a FBAR form.

There is a way out of this if you want to take it. As soon as you move back here contact the US embassy in Bern and get the documents to renounce your US citizenship. With any luck you can get it done in a year or 18 months and would then only have to file a final year or so plus the 8854 form to exit the US tax system cleanly. You can still get your American SS and travel back to the US for visits if you want to.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 25.02.2017, 15:30
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Re: Return/retire CH

Quote:
View Post
Further on the tax situation, as American citizens you're required to file US tax returns no matter where you live in the world and could also owe the US tax on top of Swiss ones.

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

Getting a Swiss bank account will be difficult (assuming you don't already have one), again thanks to the American "taint" and FATCA. To open any account you'll have to sign a W-9 form to allow the bank to send the account info on to the IRS. If any forieng account/s, i.e. outside of the US, comes to an aggregate figure of more than $10,000 at any time of the year it also has to be reported on a FBAR form.

There is a way out of this if you want to take it. As soon as you move back here contact the US embassy in Bern and get the documents to renounce your US citizenship. With any luck you can get it done in a year or 18 months and would then only have to file a final year or so plus the 8854 form to exit the US tax system cleanly. You can still get your American SS and travel back to the US for visits if you want to.
Since Hoppy and her husband are also Swiss and own property here, they may already have a bank account in Switzerland. But thinking about renouncing as soon as they move here might not be a bad idea.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 25.02.2017, 17:18
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Zurich
Posts: 72
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 32 Times in 26 Posts
energyale has earned some respectenergyale has earned some respect
Re: Return/retire CH

Another thing you can do before you make your decision is to send out Swiss-style CVs while you are still in SF to see if you get any responses for interviews. This may help you get a picture regarding employment options, if any.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 25.02.2017, 17:22
Hoppy's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oakland US
Posts: 454
Groaned at 20 Times in 16 Posts
Thanked 362 Times in 229 Posts
Hoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

Quote:
Since Hoppy and her husband are also Swiss and own property here, they may already have a bank account in Switzerland. But thinking about renouncing as soon as they move here might not be a bad idea.
Yes, I think it is a good idea, but doubt that my OH will do this, he TV inks that c it could meds up his receiving his U.S. private pension.
I know that living abroad you declare in your FBAR anything over $10k, you are not allowed to hold over $50k, I suppose the must be exceptions.
Sbrinz, you wrote that you get benefits here, you must be here for 10 years, is that 10 years total, or 10 years before retirement?
I would prefer my OH not to work, but like ci say he's a workaholic.
The over 50 prejudice with work is highly prevalent here in the Bay Area.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 25.02.2017, 18:07
Medea Fleecestealer's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Switzerland
Posts: 22,036
Groaned at 404 Times in 313 Posts
Thanked 16,998 Times in 9,572 Posts
Medea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond reputeMedea Fleecestealer has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

Given that you're Swiss nationals I don't know if the benefits thing would apply.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank Medea Fleecestealer for this useful post:
  #13  
Old 25.02.2017, 18:10
roegner's Avatar
Moderately Dutch
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Zurich
Posts: 10,966
Groaned at 360 Times in 301 Posts
Thanked 13,667 Times in 6,398 Posts
roegner has a reputation beyond reputeroegner has a reputation beyond reputeroegner has a reputation beyond reputeroegner has a reputation beyond reputeroegner has a reputation beyond reputeroegner has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

Quote:
View Post
The over 50 prejudice with work is highly prevalent here in the Bay Area.
Finding something here when over 50 is rather difficult.
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank roegner for this useful post:
  #14  
Old 25.02.2017, 23:20
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Zurich
Posts: 3,615
Groaned at 70 Times in 49 Posts
Thanked 3,773 Times in 2,049 Posts
rainer_d has a reputation beyond reputerainer_d has a reputation beyond reputerainer_d has a reputation beyond reputerainer_d has a reputation beyond reputerainer_d has a reputation beyond reputerainer_d has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

No wonder there are people who just spend all their retirement-savings traveling and living life to the fullest - and then return to Switzerland and claim benefits.
;-)
That way, at least you don't have to worry about all the stuff in this thread.

The gist I got from reading this forum is: if you're American, the only place that makes sense living (from a financial point of view) if you have money is the US (if you have no money - stay the hell away).

Because the more money you earn or own, the more Uncle Sam will put his teeth into your wallet - until you return to the promised land.

So, you either get rid of that passport ASAP or live with the consequences (or retire in the US).
All the "exemptions" and limits were drawn up in the 40s (last century), AFAIK, when a Dollar bought over 4 CHF and salaries were a lot lower on both sides of the Atlantic.

As for your current POTUS: I would quit watching TV (and YT) as well as cutting back social media (and the off-topic forum here...). Hikes, bike-trips and board-games look better every single day ...
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank rainer_d for this useful post:
  #15  
Old 26.02.2017, 03:51
Hoppy's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Oakland US
Posts: 454
Groaned at 20 Times in 16 Posts
Thanked 362 Times in 229 Posts
Hoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond reputeHoppy has a reputation beyond repute
Re: Return/retire CH

We do have a wonderful life here, but I am still kind of Swiss in many ways. We have to return to sell the house. I would like to be closer to my family in the UK. I also hope that Switzerland is still less polluted and I like the sense of order and solid infrastructure. The only reason I left was racism, but now we are more independent from institutions like school and work.
The Bay Area is probably as expensive as Switzerland.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
retirement, return to ch, taxes, where to retire in ch




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Pillar II distribution upon departure: Impact on CH tax return? richardm Finance/banking/taxation 2 03.09.2015 15:17
Promo return airfares from CH to Montenegro / Serbia jrspet Travel/day trips/free time 2 27.01.2013 22:09
Leaving CH, how to get the tax return from last year? peterson76 Leaving Switzerland 5 13.01.2011 10:16
Will you retire in CH or go back home? Sykes Daily life 32 25.04.2010 20:56
EU planning to retire in CH but looking to buy whilst still working in UK Sparky Permits/visas/government 19 09.09.2008 10:50


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 04:06.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0