This would reasonably mean investing in shares (etf/funds), maybe reits. For shares, a timeframe of 5 years would not be optimal risk-wise. Reits can be sensitive to raising interest rates, too.
My conclusions from this:
- when outside of Switzerland, neither Swiss tax considerations, nor Swiss brokers or Swiss 3a pillar funds would be of much use to you
- as you keep your attachement to the US (I assume), managing capital gains in your long term investments should have a considerable priority
Some other thoughts:
- Switzerland does not tax capital gains of long term private investors, but taxes dividends and interest at the normal tax rate. European stocks pay much higher dividends than US or Japanese. US stocks are not cheap atm, though.
- If you are taxed normally, it matters a lot in Switzerland, where you live.
- you get a considerable risk free return by just opening a 3a bank account, paying in the max amount and taking the money out when you leave after 5 years. There are no fees and the Swiss tax savings should not be taxable in the US (? not sure how it works with Steueranrechnung?).
It’s very hard to open a bank account in Switzerland as a US-Person. My brother (Swiss) has a green card and could just do it with Postfinance.
IB is also much cheaper, especually with smaller amounts. With CT, each order can easily cost between 10 and 20 francs at the minimum.