I have been thinking a lot recently about where we will be in 5-10 years. We are a family that has just started with expense tracking and should start doing budget by the end of the year, we have some effort to do in our lifestyle to reduce some expenses, even if on the principle we agree that they are expenses more or less valuable, it’s hard to change form one day to another. But we figure out that it will not change drastically our situation bay saving 50-100frs from here and there, we have to focus on the largest costs of the family.
We were living in Lausanne and working in Lasuanne and Geneva and all our family and friends are within 10km around it, mostly in small town and village hard to reach by public transport. A couple of years ago we decide to move on the other side of the Röstigraben for a very good job opportunity and to be able to live (very) close to work (I was sick of the 1h30 commute one way), in a village where kids can walk to school and we can bike around where housing is cheap and easy to find (try to find a decent apartment with a small garden for a family near Geneva without going to France and spending your days in traffic). The quality of life, low cost of housing, low taxes are great but still we are not happy in this place as we struggle to improve our German to be as fluent as our English for example and even so Swiss German is ten times harder than German to understand, so we have difficulty to meet people and construct a social life (covid didn’t help on top of that). The result is that we travel a lot by car on weekend and even in the week for my wife, to go back to Romandie and see family and friends as much as we wanted to. It’s also harder as we can no more drop the kids to our parents to do something for 3-4h and come back pick them up the same day. Every time we have to plan in advance, find a babysitter, pay her/him,…
So we are looking to come back to Romandie in the next 2-3 years. If we plan to have less (fixed) salary by reducing our working rate (mine as I’m the only one working at the moment and at 100% but my wife wanted to work again up to 40% if we are back in a place were she speak the language and can find a job). We are also looking to rent or buy (whatever make more sense economically) a house or at least an apartment with a private garden (so ground floor) like we have now, in a quiet place were kids can walk to school and play outside without huge risk (like now as well). I guess it’s more or less the lifestyle most FIRE (or plan to be FIRE) family are looking for. I’m not saying that we will FIRE in less than 10 years but we will definitely have more net worth and less or same income at top (and more free time if possible).
So where in Romandie, let’s say for us the area with most relative is around 20km in between Lausanne and Yverdon, but I’m open to the discussion more widely, can we find affordable housing (same level as we see here, 3-4 bedroom apartment with garden for 600-700k or 2000CHF/month, housing 3-4 bedroom with garden 700-900k or 2500CHF/month top), taxes not too aggressive for high net worth low income and quiet to live with a family with lot of outdoor activities and close enough to our relative to not explode our transportation budget and time spend traveling. But with these criteria, if you put a range of 30km around Yverdon (already shifting too much north from Lausanne) we find almost nothing and you have a lot of ads on the map around Bern and in German part of Fribourg.
Why Romandie looks so much more expensive than many other regions even close by like Bern/Solothurn? I guess it’s not about salary as I had (and still have) a lot of job opportunities around Lausanne with lower salary than I made, where taxes and cost of living are much higher. I had to refuse 3-4 jobs already because the salary was 10-30% lower than mine and I don’t consider it above than average (according to the salarium, I’m maybe slightly above 50% median with my profile).
Does such places exist or we are dreaming about something that will never happen? Is FIRE (and we don’t even aim full FIRE soon) only accessible if you agree to live in an apartment at the 4th floor of a building in a remote village without the benefit of city, neither of the village, or is it only for family with both parent working 100% and total income above 200k that spend 80-90% of their budget on housing, taxes, insurances and transportation and living extremely frugal without any traveling for everything else, not even afford to see relative more than a couple of time per month?