Moving abroad - Savings Account

Hi,

I got a job offer abroad and will be leaving Switzerland in the foreseeable future, probably permanently. I have some Cash, but I would like to keep in a savings account and convert to EUR in increments of 1250 CHF per month until gone.

My main goal is not to get hit too badly with the FX rate - and since i can’t time the market, i’d rather do it slowly. I don’t want to invest it right now, it should be covering living expenses.

Any recommendations on saving accounts that are:

  1. free when abroad
  2. as high interest as possible (i’m not expecting much)
  3. as lax as possible on withdrawals. i wouldn’t mind some money being locked away if the interest is right (i.e the portion that i would only convert after 1 year anyway), but the biggest chunk should be in a different account, that i can access in case of emegencies.

Anyone have any tips?

So far, i have Postfinance, which allow me to retrieve 100kCHF per year. I was thinking of WIR bank as well, don’t know how they handle being abroad though. If possible, I believe 2 banks are better than one, as it would give me more flexibility on withdrawals.

Thanks

Currency is poor investment and not very volatile

Identify what you want to buy in the end and focus on that, not on fx rate

What i need to buy is food. And i wont buy it all at once. Please, i only need advise on saving accounts

You say you have a new job? So, you go buy food with the money that your new job pays

Please, i only need advise on saving accounts

Avoid them. Cash is trash.

I guess what kilyn is trying to say is that you should consider valuepension.ch or other similar offerings.

that’s not what i said

all swiss managed accounts are incredibly poor value proposition. he moves out of the country he can take that money and stop the bleeding

he’s just focusing on the wrong things it seems

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The question might be: to which account are you planning are you withdraw to?

Are you sure, you are going to keep your Swiss current account - and what will its costs be, as a non-resident? What other account are you able to withdraw to? Have you figured in the costs of international transfers and/or currency conversion?

You don‘t necessarily need a Swiss account. You can do currency hedging by other means.

10 free withdrawals, 8 CHF per withdrawal afterwards.
Also, negative interest 0.75% for amounts above 250‘000 CHF.

@kilyn:

You say you have a new job? So, you go buy food with the money that your new job pays

I have moving expenses. I have new furniture to buy. I have taxes. I will only have the salary at the end of my first month. It’s a new job and a new country. There’s uncertainty. I feel uncomfortable tying a significant chunk of my available income.

I should also mention that I don’t have 250KCHF sitting here. I’m really just looking for advice on saving. I appreciate you wanting to help, and I’m grateful that you’re taking the time to do so. Your answers are not adapted to my situation. One size does not fill all :wink:

Cash is what pays my bills, some of which i cannot yet foresee. Cash is king.

@MrCheese:
Valuepension/FinPension are not attactive either and will have the same illiquidity issues. Finpension asks for significant fees for my situation


Between 250 CHF and 400 CHF depending on when i will disolve it. Not worth it.

The question might be: to which account are you planning are you withdraw to?

to Revolut most likely. If I unexpectedly need larger sums, then transferwise or B-Sharpe. Final Destination is my account in Euros.

Are you sure, you are going to keep your Swiss current account - and what will its costs be, as a non-resident?

No, i don’t want to keep a current account. I only want a savings account, a free one if possible.

What other account are you able to withdraw to? Have you figured in the costs of international transfers and/or currency conversion?

Yes – In small increments it will be free hopefully (via revolut). I’ll possibly look into Vivid, who don’t have the stupid FX exchange cap like revolut and are cheaper than transferwise. Final destination is my euro account.

I just have a EUR account with a little more than 10KEUR. Enough for the short term, but only the immediate short term.

You don‘t necessarily need a Swiss account. You can do currency hedging by other means.

What do you have in mind?

I want to liquidate my CHF assets slowly, on an as needed basis. Long term Investing is out of the question, as I might need the money short term, possibly to buy an appartment. I’m currently not in a position that allows me to foresee the situation. I haven’t fully figured out taxes yet (import fees etc), and moving expenses are hard to predict right now as well. Cash is king…and even if it weren’t, I need the peace of mind of having disposable income that i can use and fall back on. If that means missing a few months of making my money work, that’s a compromise i’m willing to make. However, if there’s a smarter way to approach this, i’m all ears.

10 free withdrawals, 8 CHF per withdrawal afterwards.
Also, negative interest 0.75% for amounts above 250‘000 CHF.

Yes, that’s the Gretchenfrage. This is not great. I would have hoped for at least one retrieval per month. 8 CHF is really expensive. I have a lot less than 250 kCHF (divide by a factor of 4-5), so it won’t impact me.

What alternatives are there? If there is a provider that offers similar conditions to PF, then I could at least spread my cash between the banks and get 20 free withdrawals. 20 is way easier to handle than 10 and could even allow me to pay a bill in CHF that might not have arrived in time when i’m here. Any recommendations?

Timing the market doesn’t work for fx rates as well, so the cheapest way is just to transfer all in one go with whatever rate the market allows. You won’t get a better or less volatile rate if you transfer bit by bit.

The cheapest way is to open a Interactive Brokers account, transfer the money there, convert it to Euro and withdraw it to the new Euro account and close the Interactive Broker account. Should cost around 2 chf and a bit of time.

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I agree with your reasoning, not your conclusion though. if i can’t time it, might as well even out the risk over time, no? best case, i get lucky. worst case, it’ll average out. Is there something i’m not seeing?

if you’re referring to opportunity cost, i’d say that this is not applicable here, as i wouldn’t want to invest it right away, even once converted (and that’s just me being cautiously slipping into a new life and needing that re-assurance).

  1. will you still be able to top up Revolut through their local omnibus account at Credit Suisse as a non-resident of Switzerland (I’ve “heard” reports to the contrary at least once or twice, i.e. that this account is to be used for Swiss residents only)
  2. if so, will the Swiss savings account institution let you withdraw to Revolut’s omnibus account? Will they let you register as a reference bank account and/or let you arbitrarily choose payment reference for the bank transfer, which needs to include your personal customer number (maybe not a big issue with Swiss savings accounts or at least PostFInance. In many other European countries though, savings accounts and will only pay out to an acceptable reference account)
  3. if not, you’d need to transfer to Revolut’s CHF account in GB and/or LT as a SWIFT transfer. How much is that transfer going to cost at PostFinance - if they’ll allow it at all? How much for intermediary banks?

(note: same questions apply to TransferWise, and, I suppose, to B-Sharpe)

Do they even have local CHF banking details, considering that their offer isn’t even available to Swiss customers?

Currency warrants, options, futures, CFD? The list is long.

Again, will they let you make you payments to third parties? Will they allow payments with payment slips containing reference numbers, etc.?

PS: To be clear, nothing I mentioned will necessarily be an issue (or a cost factor). These are just the small detail that occurred to me. Especially since you said, 8 CHF would feel very “expensive” to you.

Also, going back to your initial post above:

Interest rates have lately been as close to zero as you can get.

Even if you were to receive substantial interest (which I doubt on CHF holdings in savings accounts), 35% withholding tax would be witheld. Are you sure you’ll be going through the hassle of reclaiming that? Would that even be worth it in terms of the cost of the necessary paperwork?

Transfer to euro and put it in a savings account there (I think many countries have a savings scheme with higher returns than Switzerland).

If you think chf will increase against eur, do that bet separately on IB.

All relatively fixed, predictable expenses

fx volatility is much lower than stocks. you’re losing way more timing the stock market in the meantime,

I do not see a solution here, it depends a lot on your destination.
Many countries have online banking, that offers a bit of % on savings account, that is all.
To your point of Cash is King, I see it more as Cash is Sh*t. I am not trying to offend :slight_smile: In 2020 they printed 30% of all the dollars in the world, inflation will eat the value, only assets are able to protect you… and definitely a savings account will not do it. An ETF like VIG, with dividend growth can give you a sense of savings accounts with dividends income, while most likely value should be about the same in the next 5 years if not more.

If you plan to buy a house, then you are right and should not invest it, however please consider the alternatives and what makes more sense economically.

If you leave Switzerland, you can try to keep your revolut account to move the money, or run some analysis to check if a change in currency of 2% will be worse than paying UBS 30chf/month (cost to check).

All the best in your new adventure!

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