23 with 23K to my name

Hello all!

First of all thank you for existing, I’ve begun trawling through the vast amounts of knowledge and can tell there’s a lot I can learn here. Wanted to post and gather some ideas as my initial trawling suggests that everyone is a couple of years further along than me and therefore probably full of good advice.

About me:

Age: 23
Location: Zürich
Job: Geoinformatics intern
Salary: CHF 3,900 after AHV etc - this is gonna drop as I’m moving to another internship that is 70%
Costs: CHF 1,500 per month (live with my parents)
Liquid Assets: CHF 24,000
Debt: 0

Next Steps:

  1. Dial in the budget, my aim is CHF 1,000 per month, especially as my wage will drop to CHF 2500-3000 or so
  2. Become financially literate and create an investment strategy
  3. Use my lower working hours to work on personal projects, generate alternate income sources and gain career capital

Would love to hear your inputs!


That’s peasant’s pay, doesn’t really matter a lot how much of it you save, work to at least 3-5x it and results will be better in any case.

generate alternate income sources

Your career and personal development is probably the best investment by far that you can make at this stage


While I agree that personal projects and alternate income sources are a great thing to have, I don’t think you should be focusing on those while being an intern.

Why are you working as an intern in the first place? Are you studying?

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My thoughts exactly. Even if studying, unless you’re on a break or something, it’s not a great use of time. And for these sweatshop rates…

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Don’t listen to them. Oh how I wish I started investing at the age of 23. Even with 1000CHF/month, you can expect to have around 500k accumulated by the age of 40. It’s rather obvious that as you career advances, you’ll be saving 2000-3000-4000 a month. With good spending habits to begin with, you’ll reach FI in no time.


Or you could be earning 500k a year (before taxes). Software’s a great industry to grow personally and to grow your TC

Hey oozoo, cheers for taking the time to answer.

Bit of context, I’m Swiss (fluent in German) but have lived abroad most of my life. Finished my BSc in Envrionmental Geoscience in June in the UK and was looking to kickstart a life in Switzerland. Apart from customer service and various volunteer management positions my CV was pretty bare, so was looking to start gaining experience in the field of GIS.

My current 6 month internship ends in March, and I’ve just received an offer for one that is more technical and in a field I’m interested in.

I guess on one hand I might be selling myself low but when job hunting a lot of positions ask for a Masters and/or 2-3 years of experience, both of which I still need to get.


17 posts were split to a new topic: Programming vs Farming

3900 CHF net or even 3000 CHF net as an intern is actually very good. A lot of interning is paid 0 a month, or max 1000 a month gross. It depends a lot from the industry though.


Saving as much as you can and starting investing early is a good strategy.
But as many as said, the best way to reach FI is obviously to make more money (and continue investing and saving it aggressively). So I think you should not spend too much time on investment strategies and managing your investment. Obviously do your research, try to save, but other than that getting a better paid job and your personal and professional growth should be number 1 priority, as this gets you to better jobs and higher salaries.


Do you have an example of a position you earn 500k? I find that hard to believe unless you are at board level or something like that


Do you have an example of a position you earn 500k

If you don’t mind moving to US - pretty much the only place where such kind of pay is feasible, then shop around - https://www.levels.fyi/comp.html

Also, hedge funds can easily beat that, and most of them are in the US too.

Well well. Looks like Intel and IBM employ mostly the unambitious and the slackers ;-).

@NKRB It is a very good start. Take you salary. I started with an internship earning 3500.- (before deduction). 15 years later I am now at >13000.- with plenty of benefits. Things come in due time and if you have no experience it is good to spend some time building it. This being said, I would not go for a 3rd intership, 2 is enough.

You got the spirit and the discipline, it seems, to achieve your FI goal. This is what really matter.

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Definitely, my first internship was pretty much to gain enough relevant experience to be considered for the second, more technical internship (I got rejected the first time for not having enough!). However I will definitely move my gaze away from internships after this one.

Thanks for sharing your experience, all the best.

Hehe thank you, a couple of internet opinions won’t shake me, I feel happy with where I’m at and look forward to the future both professionally and for my personal life in Switzerland.

Simple and sweet! I’ve had success with the first bit and I’m here help start my jouyney with regards to the second part.

I guess my plan for now is to allocate some money as emergency fund/buffer and then gradually invest the remaining amount. Do people have any thoughts with regards to 3rd pillar pension at my age? The biggest benefit seems to be tax savings, which I feel like in my income bracket may not be substantial (or is it)?


Or you could be an external consultant. 500k used to be achievable, now not anymore. Entry level is 100 per hour. If you’re highly experienced and have rare skills, you can get 200/h. And this is still for an expert role, no responsibility. Then, a project manager I knew used to get 300/h, but he had a really responsible job.

So how does it translate to annual wage? First you multiply it by 1800-2000 hours. Then you either pay company tax, pay out dividend and pay private income tax, or you pay yourself a salary and then pay social contributions for both the employer and the employee and then the private income tax.

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Congrats, you are paving the way for FI, you are doing a terrific job! Being 26 y/o, I can relate to your situation as I experienced it a few years ago. Here are my suggestions:

  1. Cultivate healthy habits towards money and a sound relationship with it. It will be your greatest ally on your way to FI. There nothing effectiver than a sane relationship with money for your financial future :smiley:

  2. You are currently earning a modest income, try to track down your expenses and see how much you spend. Soon you will get a thicker paycheck and you will be prone to lifestyle inflation. Record your expenses and try to follow your spending curve and to keep it reasonnable. If you achieve to save now, it is more likely than you will save later!

  3. Build an emergency fund. Try to save between 6 to 12 months of expenses, it will help you to get started once you land in your first job.

  4. Learn everything there is to learn from your internships! Curiosity will yield an enormous payoff in the future.

  5. Educate yourself, learn about personal finance, investing and so on, but not only, learn about psychology and philosophy. It will greatly help you to focus on the important things of life.

I strongly disagree, someone who earns tons of money and spend his whole income is still behind the frugal peasants in the race towards FI. The income side a really important factor, but it is at least as much as important that @NKRB cultivates a frugal way of living.