Aging parents - cost of retirement homes, etc

Well, either leave the country and settle somewhere else or book holidays on the Cayman Islands :wink:

Thankfully I won’t be in the situation, but if I would, I would definitely not pay.

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I think it’s a bit more complicated and there is also a free amount for children.

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Looks like there is some hope even before such extreme steps are required.

First of all the parent or social welfare office cannot order the assistance ex officio if there is no mutual agreement between both parties, so the claim must be brought before the civil court. This means you can appeal at the high court and even federal court, if needed. The conduct of the case may take several years.

Art. 329 section 2 says:

“Where in the light of special circumstances the court deems it inequitable to require a person to fulfil his duty of assistance, the court may restrict such duty or revoke it entirely.”

The legal insurance CAP says:

“Daneben muss die UnterstĂŒtzungspflicht aber auch zumutbar sein. So ist es beispielsweise unbillig, eine UnterstĂŒtzung zu fordern, wenn ĂŒber mehrere Jahre kein Kontakt bestand.”

So basically if you didn’t have a good relationship you can plead section 2 of the article and refuse to pay. Even if you had not so bad relations you can still claim it and fight it through the courts.

I would probably get an expertise from a psychiatrist which is waterproofed and makes me successfully claim section 2 and then I would hire the top lawyers in this area to fight it through the courts up to the federal court if needed. I’d rather spend 100’000 CHF or more on court fees and lawyers than paying for someone else, just as a matter of principle.

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I guess if you have Balkan parents (or any non-central European for that matter lol) you are pretty safe
 The court will be very interested to hear about their education methods. Pretty sure this is something that plays heavily in your favor

Not that I ever think that this will happen.

  • fleeing the country seems quite easy
  • my parents would probably rather kill themselves than to beg from their children
  • You wouldn’t necessarily need to cover all of the remaining costs, but probably just part of it. The measure underlies “VerhĂ€ltnismĂ€ssigkeitsprinzip” like almost everything.
  • There are a lot of years and the freedom of estate and inheritance laws is increasing, so this will fall within the next 20 years - and if I ever see a petition, I’ll sign it.
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this is an interesting topic.
If I’m right they account for the “taxable value” of your NW.

I’m wondering if you can buy real estate with debt to keep your NW below the threshold.
Or alternatively buy-in in your 2nd pillar, that is not accounted in nw. But this will work only up to a lower amount.
Both methods comply with the law.

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NW is already gross worth - debt. And yes, federal or communal offices always demand your taxable income, NW, etc

Buying properties is a pretty effective way to counter this yeah. Generally taking a leveraged credit seams quite feasible.

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If I have calculated correctly that’s not true. According to my link I posted before you would do the following calculation.

2500000 - 250000 (if you are single) = 2250000

Calculate in income according to the table

2250000 : 30 = 75000

Per month:

75000 : 12 = 6250 (which is less than the 10000 for the better lifestyle they allow you in income).


Before we get all excited, has anyone actually done the calculations?

Based on the link Erma posted for canton Aargau, this might not be that much:

They seem to compare your income + wealth against a lifestyle of 15’000 CHF per month (couples, 10’000 CHF individual), and only ask for contributions if your income + wealth is above that. If you already fired you will probably fall below that threshold.

Let’s assume a NW of 2’500’000 CHF, of which 600’000 are in 2nd & 3rd pillar. Of the remaining, depending on canton, we can deduct a tax free amount, lets assume this is 100’000. This leaves us with a taxable NW of 1’800’000 CHF. Of this we now knock off 500’000 (couples), and apply the ‘yearly consumption’ ratio from Erma’s link.

Assume we are ~45 years old this would get us to 32’500 CHF yearly NW contribution to the income. Add some dividend income, and we’re still far off the 12 x 15’000 CHF threshold. Zero contributions to welfare requested

Edit: posted 3 minutes after Erma


Oh wow you are right, thanks for posting this.

So a single person between 51-60 has to earn more than 10k per month. That’s 120k x 30 + 250k = 3.85 million in net worth if retired.

But what if you are 51, have a gross salary of 200k and 2 million in net worth? That’s 258k which they will count and so 138k above the “gehobener LebensfĂŒhrung”. They will come for 69k/year?

A bit less, it’s not the gross income but the taxable income. That should usually be less than the gross income.

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It seems that in some cases they are able to count the net salary (if your tax decutions are higher than usual), but that seems unlikely.

So lets assume 200k gross is 170k net and you can deduct 20k which leaves you with 150k taxable income and 1.75 million taxable net worth. That’s 205k which is 85k above the threshold, so the state could get 42.5k/year from you. Which is still a lot.

P.s. Can you deduct those contributions to your parents from your taxable income?

I’m glad this topic generated a good discussion with lots of valuable information.

The most important things is taking the time to discuss it with your parents and siblings before is too late - there needs to be at least some kind of rough plan in place. I have three sibling so the eventual cost for my parents will be split by 4 and make it bearable. I know my parents, both suisse and zero connections abroad would want to stay here.

It does pose an additional “risk” for FIREing too early if things are not properly discussed with relatives.

And finally I guess early donation and tricks to get EL are not really worth it and possibly unethical - it seems there isn’t even a real deadline and they can get back more than 10 years to ask you to contribute.

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Well this makes no sense (ofc, it is worth it lol, that’s why so many people do it), the later part does though
 I don’t fire to leech off society. That said, keeping the money to yourself, why you could make the life of your children better doesn’t make sense either imho. But yeah, that’s a different discussion I guess.

Isn’t the 10 year thing a myth? They can go much further?

I would need to consult with my sister, but there seems to be no hard rule, just that 10% or 10K (higher value) NW shrink per year (while earning income or pensions) is accepted.

I do however believe, that there are other civil law articles that basically set the rules here

Found an article:

Seit dem 1.1.2021 wird auch ein Vermögensverzicht angenommen, wenn innerhalb kurzer Zeit ein grosser Teil des Vermögens ausgegeben wurde. Man spricht dann auch bei Erhalt einer gleichwertigen Gegenleistung von einem ĂŒbermĂ€ssigen Vermögensverbrauch. Konkret bedeutet dies: Gibt eine Person mit einem Vermögen von mehr als 100’000 Franken innerhalb eines Jahres mehr als 10% ihres Vermögens aus, gilt der Betrag, der diese 10% ĂŒbersteigt, als ĂŒbermĂ€ssiger Vermögensverbrauch und somit als Vermögensverzicht. Bei Personen mit einem Vermögen von weniger als 100’000 Franken gelten BetrĂ€ge ab 10’000 Franken pro Jahr als ĂŒbermĂ€ssiger Vermögensverbrauch und somit als Vermögensverzicht. FĂŒr IV-Rentenbeziehende beginnt der zu betrachtende Zeitraum am 1. Januar des Jahres, das auf den Beginn ihres IV-Rentenanspruchs folgt, frĂŒhestens jedoch am 1.1.2021. FĂŒr BezĂŒgerinnen und BezĂŒger einer AHV-Altersrente beginnt der zu betrachtende Zeitraum 10 Jahre vor dem Rentenanspruch, frĂŒhestens jedoch am 1.1.2021.

Btw. Before that you there was no, or just a very limited time-frame, meaning you could gift your millions tax free to your children and still get EL
 Good they changed that.

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My thinking seems to be diametrically opposite versus @Grog 's father

We aim to retire with an annual expense budget of 2.5% of Net Wealth. A main reason is to allow our wealth to keep growing so we have freedom to buy good care in the future - and not have to accept a solution that we may not like

My grandmother ended her last few years in a home. Even though it was a nice place - relatively speaking - she just didn’t like it and although she was a very resilient person throughout her life she became lonely and depressed. She started refusing food and died soon after

I am happy with my life now and I would prioritize working a while longer to make sure I have freedom of choice and to be able to afford some luxuries in the future

I would also like to be able to help my parents if they need it but I never discussed the topic with them yet. Thanks @Grog for the thread and for triggering the thought


The most common misconception among many, still is that retirement homes are the same as old age homes. However the truth is, THEY ARE NOT. Retirement homes are well-planned communities that have been built to cater to the needs of the senior citizens while giving them an exceptional quality of life.