You might think that living in the UK is expensive. But, it turns out that living in Switzerland is far more expensive. Yes, Switzerland’s cost of living can be harsh on your checkbooks because both services and living spaces are expensive in Switzerland. So, what is the average cost of living in Switzerland?
The cost of living in Switzerland is cited to be one of the highest in the world. Cities like Zurich, Geneva, and Lausanne constantly find a top place in the list of most expensive places to live in the world.
- A typical two-bedroom apartment will cost £1500 or higher per month in Zurich and Geneva.
- Compulsory health insurance will average around £250.
- Transport costs around £250 per month.
- Everyday groceries would jack up to £400/month (for a single person).
- The telephone/Internet/mobile/TV/compulsory garbage disposal fee would rack up to £200 per month.
British expats may find the education cost a bit taxing as well. The majority of the affordable Swiss universities charge anywhere between £650 and £1,000 annually for tuition fees for international students. Certain disciplines in a renowned university may carry higher fees, which can shoot up to £16,000/year.
Keep in mind that nothing is etched in stone over here because the cost of living would fluctuate a lot depending on an expat’s personal lifestyle and the choice of leisure activities.
City-Wise Cost of Living in Switzerland
The living cost in Switzerland can be poles apart depending on an expat’s living location because one may not necessarily have the same lifestyle in different cities. This isn’t to say that managing your monthly expenses would be easier if you move to a remote corner of Switzerland because living costs all over Switzerland are generally high compared to most neighborhood countries.
Of course, some degree of compromise in personal and leisure lifestyle can bring the cost down quite a bit. As mentioned before, the cost of living can fluctuate a great deal based on personal budgeting. An average budget should be around £1200 to £1600 per month to take care of food, accommodation, education, utility bills, and a few leisure activities. However, the above budget won’t go too far in cities like Geneva and Zurich.
The average monthly spending in Geneva and Zurich is estimated to be around £1500 to £2500 per month. In cities like Bern, the cost of living is around £1450, and in Basel, the living cost is said to be around £1250 to £1800 per month.
What is the Average Salary in Switzerland?
Wages are pretty good all over Switzerland. From the nurse, cashier, mobile developer, receptionist, and almost every other salary-earner you can think of averages better salary in Switzerland than its surrounding countries, or for that matter the UK.
From closest-to-correct estimates, only 10.7% of the jobs in Switzerland are paid less than £3200 per month. While a regular office-goer in the UK makes around £27,199, a Swizz citizen earns almost £66,671. On average, International employees in Switzerland generally bank around £4700/month. Moreover, the market salary for International workers with a Swiss residency is usually higher at £10150/month before taxes. Of course, expats in good positions make a lot more.
For those with high salaries, it’s easy to live even in the most expensive cities like Geneva and Zurich. Believe it or not, highly skilled International employees are paid much better than Swiss residents. This generally means more comfort, materialistic things, luxury activities, and disposable cash to enjoy life. So, a high-end salary does provide extra cushioning to a British expat to lead a better life than before despite the high cost of living in Switzerland.
Taxes in Switzerland
Taxes are deducted based on an expat’s residential status. For instance, International workers who live and work in Switzerland and possess a type C settlement permit will have to file tax returns every year.
Those who don’t have a residency permit will receive a salary minus the deducted tax. As such, Switzerland’s taxation system is simple and generally low compared to other countries. Spouses are charged along with their better half, and a minor’s income is included in his/her parent’s income. In Switzerland, there are canton taxes, city taxes, and federal taxes. All of these taxes combined together will eat up only 15 to 25% of a person’s gross earnings. This is fairly less compared to the UK’s existing tax structure for its citizens. Given the low taxes, a typical office-goer’s salary won’t dissolve too much due to taxes in Switzerland as opposed to most other countries of the world.
Also, Switzerland doesn’t have capital gain taxes. So, if you bank some money through stocks, you will have to pay zero taxes, provided you keep the stock in your portfolio for at least one year. Moreover, International workers are taxed only on Swiss-sourced income. That being said, non-residents are not eligible for any allowances or personal deductions.
Due to superior salaries, Switzerland offers an unmatched standard of living and better financial stability, which allows one to buy shiny new things despite the high cost of living. The wages are in-line with the cost of living.
Basically, it’s easy to live in Switzerland due to the high salaries. While Zurich’s average net salary is £4500/month, some expats working at banks and other top institutions earn very high salaries. Not to forget the fact that ‘Switzerland’ depicts ‘quality’ in the air, food, water, stay, and every other aspect way of life. Believe it or not, you can drink water from any fountain or tap insight and not die a gruesome death. Plus, there is no shortage of scenic beauties in Switzerland. As they say, ‘The best summary of life is living in Switzerland.
Everything said and done, the difference in ways of living can vastly alter the cost of living for an expat looking to move to Switzerland. Since expats are paid well in almost all jobs, they would have enough to live comfortably in Switzerland as long as they have a stable job. As hinted before, an average monthly budget stands at £1200 to £1600 per month, which should be enough to support a small family in Switzerland.