FatFIRE in Switzerland?

$subj, is it possible? With salaries topping out at around 150-200k and high CoL, it doesn’t seem realistic to me to gain some $5M within a reasonable timeframe here. What do you think? What’s a good way to make it big here? Or is the US the only way?

Given the parameters of your question., I can give you not just one, but two answers plus the entire spectrum in between: a) absolutely possible! b) forget about it …

Please excuse the snark in my reply, but I feel without further detail around your targeted CoL, investment strategy & parameters, time horizon, etc etc, it sounds like it’s impossible to answer your question?

Invest 6-7k/month for 25 years and you’ll get there.

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Yeah, in your 50-60s, that’s ordinary retirement.

How to make it big by, say, 40?

Even working for Google is not enough! Judging by Mr RIP example - guy worked for 7 years there and retired with just a bit over one lousy million…

  • Retiring in your 50s is retiring early.

  • I get a sense of an undue negative outlook on your side. I don’t want to dissuade you of your wishes but maybe putting them into perspective would cheer you up a bit?
    Being able to “LeanFIRE” with 40-50 and living a comfortable life for another 35-40 years is amazing! Historically almost nobody was ever able to do something like this. The option of working till your 58 and then “Fatfiring” doesn’t look so bad, if you consider that many people still today work until they die to support a minimal lifestyle for them and their family.

  • Everyone is different, but I also question whether “FatFIRE” is super desirable for most people. If you’re swiss and not poor, the marginal impact of additional spending on life satisfaction will not be huge. Other factors like having good relationships, life goals and bodily health will likely make a much larger difference.

  • To do what you want to do, you’d probably have to get a leading position in a medium to large company or start a company yourself.
    I’d say the first option is extremely improbable to work out (if you’re not incredibly capable and driven to get there) while you’re young, but if it doesn’t work out you still earned a decent income along the way.
    Starting your own company is much more likely to get you to FIRE in a way that you imagine but you lose a lot of security. You might just end up never being able to retire.

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Easy: create your own company, solve a problem which millions of people have and you are rich when you are 40. Or play lottery.

Sorry, but I can’t take you seriously if you are diminishing other people’s results which such a lousy comment…

PS: my troll detector is already in the red sector


I recently watched an interview of Graham Stephan (who himself is worth $6m at the age of 30) with a 22yo guy living with his parents, making $500k per month. He has a software company.

This concept of fatFIRE (that hear about for the first time) is probably achievable for the narrow group of highly paid IT workers in the US. Other than that, you probably need a business idea and take risks. But people with entrepreneurial mindset are too addicted to work to ever retire. Do you know any cases of: “he built a company from the ground up, sold it and now he’s travelling the World”?

Indeed. Let’s put things into perspective: for the first 25 years of your life you are not productive. Then, with a good salary of 100-150k you can hope to retire after 15 years, aged 40. You then live a good life until you die aged 80. You have worked for 15 of 80 years of your life. That is already quite an achievement.


I think you should add sales guys to your list. There are people who are earning 500k also in Switzerland, but they might not work in IT (I think we discussed this in another thread already)

Just check here: https://www.thebucketlistfamily.com/about
I think the guy also appeared in some videos speaking about how he sold the company.

Off-topic: On this website he posted the following “family goals” - wow he nailed it!

They got rich, they quit their jobs and followed their dreams. And of course they started a blog! :slight_smile: If there are only as many FIRE people as there are FIRE bloggers, then it only shows how narrow a group that is.

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According to some governments opinion, but hey in my home country people retire in 50s! (Ok, that’s for women only and there are talks of raising the pension age, but still). Also I heard it’s pretty tough to land a job in late 40’s / 50’s, so your retirement at that point may be involuntary anyway. Thus I don’t really consider it an early age to retire at.

Hey, it’s a serious question!

A million is good for a single person, but I’m looking for five, I’ve got five kids to feed, man! A million barely even buys you an apartment in Zurich, much less a house.

Very high risk, low chance that it’d work out. Success stories are subject to survivorship bias

Looking at big tech companies in the Bay Area or Seattle, you could be clearing 200-400k a year today with pretty low risk, guaranteeing yourself FatFIRE in a decade or two at most. Taxes are fairly low in the US, especially in Seattle - basically Zurich-level taxes and rents, other CoL costs much lower. The only difficulty is getting such job and visa, but after that it’s easy straightforward path to FatFIRE. I think it’s no coincidence that many FIRE bloggers came from US tech!

There doesn’t seem to a similar way to make it big here in Switzerland except entrepreneurship, but that’s high risk and requires a certain mindset and capital. And venture capital is also very sparingly available here vs. the US. Some types of VC companies, like the sell $1 for $.90 breed of startups of the late (Uber/WeWork/Grubhub …), are not even remotely going to be possible here, risk appetite for that is much smaller in Europe.

Taxes in the US are not low, this is a myth. The tax is Switzerland (at least in the German part) are close.
In Seattle with a salary of 400k, 126’769 in taxes (31.69%)
In SF with a salary of 400k, 162’ 121 taxes (40.53%)
Then, you need to add cost of living + insurance, ect

Building a company is pretty hard. In Switzerland, very few people were able to build a company and then quote it to a stock exchange.

You can play with that, even with a salary of 250k after tax, FatFire will take some time

I don’t understand why you would want to buy a house/apartment in Switzerland. From my humble point of view, buying real estate for yourself is not a good choice. It’s different if you buy to let, but even this one is too expensive in Switzerland.
If you have five kids to feed, you definitely chose the wrong country. Costs for child care, entertainment etc are really high in Switzerland.

Also, most of the people who are eyeing FIRE plan to work in Switzerland until they reached their FI number, and then retire somewhere else.
Why would you want to retire in a country which is famous for having some of the highest costs of living?

You know that you are comparing apples and oranges here, right? Bay Area /Silicon Valley is where most of the really high paying companies are located. Finding an affordable apartment in SF is almost impossible. Plus, if you have five kids to feed: good luck with finding an apartment.

Ever gave a thought about that some stuff is also mindset related?

I’m really wondering how you want to go the the US with having a family with 5 kids. Not saying it’s impossible, but some of your assumptions are way too simplified. I think the path to FatFIRE is way harder when having a big family. I don’t know any FIRE bloggers who have that many kids (no offense)

No, the tax on that amount is $110’924 or 27.7% - https://smartasset.com/taxes/washington-tax-calculator#WPv5wvXAvO

This is even lower than in Zurich - according to comparis you’d pay here 130k tax or 32.5%. You have to go to Kilchberg where you pay 110k to break even with Seattle! Though these calculations are before considering tax deductions.

The extra bit on top in your figure is social security. But did you conveniently forget to include swiss AHV/ALV in that case? Again, the US wins here: 2.3% vs >6% in CH.

Yes, the real myth is that the taxes in Switzerland are low. They are not, for high incomes at least. In eastern europe you can pay just 10% flat rate income tax!

Easy solution: move to eastern europe and have 10% flat tax.

Just compare to other countries in central Europe (Germany, Belgium, France). The taxes in Switzerland are low, compared to other places. I’m not even mentioning the better health care system (vs the US)

PS: I’m outta here now…


Definitely not retiring here. Just threw housing figure around to show how ridiculously expensive CH is.

The plan is to reach FatFIRE and retire in a cheaper country, yes. And ideally before i’m 40-50 where it’s too late having more kids. But it looks like I picked the wrong country to do that indeed. Seems much easier to achieve FatFIRE on US salaries in big tech (assuming I’m competent to get in)

Tax will be low, yes, but my gross pay will be even lower, so in the end I will still lose there. No FatFIRE for me in Bulgaria!

Why FatFIRE if your spendings will be lower after you leave Switzerland?

Well to be honest I’m considering Canada where stuff’s not that cheap so I do still want a longer runway. Stuff is much cheaper in my home country but it’s pretty disfunctional in a lot of areas especially heathcare. You do have to pay a good price for good QoL in the end.

Plus I need something for the inheritance / dowry for the four kids ‎;‎ )

Maybe get some perspective. This lousy million is something most people can only dream of.

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Hey, I dream big

But it seems this dream can only come true in America :frowning:

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