Finding a place to live in Switzerland after FIRE

I’m a bit surprised to see that so many people here in this forum live basically in tax hells.

First thing I did when I realised that I should probably change my spending habits and take better care of my money, is moving to another canton where I cut my taxes and health insurance costs into half, saving a 5 figures sum per year.

Especially for people who work remotely and basically can work wherever they want it is really worth it. Personally I work in the City of Zurich so I moved to a near canton where it’s still possible to commute and negotiated 2-3 home office days per week. Before, I also lived in Zurich City and thought that tax regime is already terrible but when I look at Bern or other high tax cantons, the situation is even much worse.

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Moving is easy when you do not have local strings. My whole family lives in the same canton and several in the same commune, all my friends are nearby, all my acquaintances are nearby as well. For me, this is entirely worth the money I pay to not move to a cheaper canton.

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When I moved to Switzerland, I chose Zürich as a good place to live for a start. Then when my income went up, I considered moving, the math would be as follows:

So, living in Pfäffikon/Freienbach would save me 20k in taxes per year. But before corona it was not realistic for me to have more than 1 home office day per week. And from Pfäffikon SZ there is one train every half an hour that takes 29 minutes to HB.

When I calculated 1h commute per day for 200 days a year, that tax saving was 100 CHF per hour. That is a lot, but it’s still not as much as I bill per hour. And Pfäffikon is an ugly place, there is definitely more to do in Zürich. So in the end it wasn’t worth it.

Now, with home office, it changes the picture. I could even move to a nicer looking location than Pfäffikon, with higher living standards for the same price. But my partner still has to physically be present in Zürich every day, so I’m blocked by that.

What I’m trying to say is that even if you’re totally reasonable and mustachian (many people aren’t), there are still valid reasons for why people don’t move.

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Understood, but that’s if you like / can tolerate:

  • commuting (I would despise anything more than 1-2 times a week; and if more often than that - longer than 20-30min)
  • working from home (which I don’t personally enjoy)
  • not having friends/family/liveliness around (I wouldn’t live in a town smaller than the 3-4 biggest ones)

If I had a family I would probably think otherwise, and possibly consider getting a larger cheaper place away from the centers of life.

Sure these are valid reasons to stay in the centre, everyone needs to consider pros and cons and then decide.

When I lived in Zürich, I was near Höngg and my workplace at that time was near Albisgütli so it took me around 55 minutes even though both places were in the same city. I tend to live in a place for 10-15 years but change my jobs more often, e.g. every 5 years, so it can be hard to keep commuting below 30 minutes at times because you’ll never know where you’ll work next.

My current employer provides a Bonus Pass from SBB so I can get a first class ticket much cheaper, so I make use of a bit more comfort and space, trying to do something useful in the train. E.g. sending mails, reading a book, listen to an audio book, watch YouTube, podcasts, read forum posts, things I would otherwise do at home in front of the PC. Sometimes I even do a bit of work, then it even counts as working time. So even though I don’t like commuting very much, I try to make the best out of the situation and enjoy the benefits that come along with it. I enjoy working from home very much and I also have an extra room for that just being my office and the flat is still cheaper than the one in Zurich :wink:

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Can definitely say that Canton Zug is good for mustachians.

Just as a success story: At the mustachian meetup in Zürich last autumn i met 2 others from Zug (one was just 500 metres away from my house), and we kept contact pretty nicely.

Mustachians have to be some of the most agreeable people around. Also for me it is helpful to exchange stories and knowledge with people older and more advanced in their careers. Makes you understand the business world better and how education and company profile works out to salary in the future.

Some other types of people that could work out as frugal friends:

  • Workers and visitors in the Brockenhüüsli
  • People that visit flea markets regularly
  • People in the cheap no-frills gyms (not those steroid youths :smiley: )
  • People in those repair shops, where you can bring things and they help you fix it
  • and of course people that do hiking/camping a lot
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As the discussion has deviated a bit towards cheaper places to live, you may want to read this study by Credit Suisse. All relevant factors are taken into account, not just taxes. Makes a lot of sense to me to optimize the location in such a manner.

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I love gems like this. Somebody put the work and presented it in graphical form, I will have a lot of fun with that website :slight_smile: .

BTW, to kind of refer to the topic, I think it would maybe be easier to find mustachian friends in mustachian destinations. Especially if you’re looking for a place to settle down, it’s important that there are people there that you can spend time with.

So I played with the tool. I agree with what you say, you should consider taxes, housing & commute, and this tool does a really nice job. What I don’t like is that the map is so small, they could have made it full screen. Moreover, they have a few preset options, and you cannot enter your own.

This is the closest to what I aim for. But I would be more interested to check for the following criteria:

  • I would like to reduce work, continue contracting from home office for maybe 2 days a week. That would mean employment income of 100’000 CHF
  • I would like to have saved 2m in stock, which would generate an additional 40’000 CHF dividend income (even if initially not there, I would still be saving and growing my portfolio for years to come)
  • Additionally, I’d like a mortgage on a house worth 1-1.5m
  • No commute, no children

I wonder how would the map look for these criteria.

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Well, I think CS wants you to pay for this type of studies.

Actually in the PDF they have more examples, with map, you just can’t click and see direct numbers. But yes, this kind of advisory, based on numbers, that’s worth paying for. Not “we take 2% of your wealth annually to manage it”

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