Everybody in Switzerland can retire in 10 years!

RIP, wake up

Holy sheet, again? Is there another thing about me out in the wild I should care about?

Of course…

Is it about the newspaper interview? Are haters coming? Btw didn’t we agree that you’re Rico Pelli? So it’s your job to handle them. See you bye bye ciao ciao

It’s not about the your boring interview on the Tagesanzeiger. And you didn’t want me to be Rico Pelli so it’s your duty to handle haters 🙂 Anyway, take a look at our metrics

Our metrics? My metrics! All the merits and none of the work… Holy crap, what’s this peak? Am I getting viral? And what is this referral traffic from englishforum.ch?

Someone is talking about us… you… on englishforum. I think you may be interested in the topic being discussed 😉

Sure, let me take a look… thread title: “I am sick of working in an office, at a desk“. Cooool, I love the smell of anticubicle in the morning!

Maybe you feel it too after years of sitting at a desk and working with abstract concepts all day long: you want a break, you want to be outside, interacting with the real life.

Any ideas about possible jobs/gigs that one can do in Switzerland so that she stays out of the typical corporate office?

I’m mid 30, I know a basic level of german, better french, gesturing in Italian, with a background in software development. I don’t need to earn a fortune, just enough to have a frugal life and most important: stay employed.

The purpose is to have a purpose :), to do something really useful and, ideally, outside somewhere, or simply put: not at a desk.

Opinions? Feelings? Is it just me? …

Welcome to the IT world, my dear friend 🙂

Of course we all felt it too, of course “after years of sitting at a desk and working with abstract concepts” we all feel like growing a garden, opening a bar in Jamaica, and do real things with real people! Welcome to the career you chose years ago my friend! And welcome to mid 30 (been there several years ago): welcome to your midlife crisis!

I can strongly relate to you (and empathize with you). That’s why I started building my bridge before the flood came (amazing article by wealthwelldone, go check it out).

Anyway, let’s see how the discussion’s going. There are 90 comments to the thread and apparently somewhere someone must have mentioned my blog. Really curios to know how people outside the FIRE community handle this philosophical question. Let me guess: “you gotta do what you gotta do”, “at least you’re not working in a farm grabbing tomatoes”, “try some hobby”.

Let’s see 🙂

The discussion seems interesting. There are useful comments and suggestions along with rants, helplessness and resignation.

For example:

Ok. Well, now I’m going to be unpopular: if you don’t have a job it means you don’t want a job.

It means you never worked with that goal in mind. Which is not necessary a bad thing, but you need to know that’s your responsibility, not just bad luck.

If you’re unemployed in your 20s it’s ok. Take your time to learn something, volunteer, do that cheap backpack trip in south Asia, live with your parents. Everything is learning, everything is “sharpening the knife”. Avoid time sinks (social media, mobile games, porn…), everything else will move you toward some direction.

If you suddenly find yourself involuntary unemployed in your 30s or 40s either you’re so good they can’t ignore you (and will be back in the business within minutes) or you’ve done so many mistakes in skill building and networking that probably you didn’t care much about having a job in the first place.

Maybe that doesn’t apply after age 50, but then you should have already built bridges my good old friend (no pun intended).

Anyway, the discussion goes on with good solid advices on how to improve your work situation:

Very good advices, laughing cow 🙂

your work/life balance:

and finally:

Read FI/RE Blogs! I strongly recommend that too! 😀

Which one?

Holy cow, here comes the shitstorm! Haters are coming!!

Btw I’m not the only FIRE blogger in Switzerland, go visit also… oh no, too late! Here’s one:

Yeah, it’s easy if you earn a lot of money! In fact I’m in the lowest quartile in my company by salary and… why is still everyone around? Why are grey haired bankers still around? Ever heard of lifestyle inflation? I agree it’s easier to retire early if you earn a lot, but I’d be aiming to that even if I earned half of what we currently earn. We would still be saving 50% of our take home pay anyway.

Even though I earn a lot I still live in a 50 square meters old and cheap apartment, I still cut my own hair, don’t own a car, don’t buy new clothes, don’t buy almost anything! And I f***ing maximize Migros 10x, 5x and 2x coupon returns!

Btw I don’t earn 250k. Not far from that though.

And one cannot lose “income” on bad investments. Eventually one can lose wealth, i.e. accumulating income leftovers. I can lose income if I get fired or quit. Don’t confuse income with wealth.

Aaargh, I’m proud to not be a “financial genius”! And nobody – NOBODY – talks about FIRE because he/she is a financial genius! Financial Independence is not about being a financial genius!

Run away from those who promise financial independence thru smarter investments (MLM, Day Trading, bitcoinzz)

But why? 😀

If we already save 70% of our take home pay, I guess we don’t need same amount of income to not “give up quality of life”. We would only need 30% of it, assuming we plan to maintain future expenses at current level.

And btw, we’re a family of 3 and Mrs RIP doesn’t earn much (and going to earn zero starting from September). Almost all of our friends in Switzerland are DINK or DIK with combined income higher than us.

Oh, finally 🙂

Maybe not an average salary, but not higher than an average couple of salaries.

Yeah, someone is coming to rescue me 😀

If you don’t consider last year wedding our expenses have been below 60k CHF/year.

We’re actually on the path to spend 60k this year too (2018), even with BabyRIP around 🙂

It’s a very aggressive goal, but nothing compared to this guy:

Challenge accepted! Raised budget entry for beer to 70k 😀

Apart from jokes, the discussion continues. It’s 5 pages of high quality comments on work satisfaction, happiness and Ikigai

But most important of all, I discovered Switzerland is a third world country 😮

Which is actually true, according to Wikipedia! Holy shit, I ended up in the third world…

Ok, ok, I said jokes apart. I can’t help myself though. I just watched a TED talk about the importance of humor and I’m trying to practice 😛

I didn’t bring the thread to your attention to only talk about myself though: I’m here, as the post title suggests, to make a strong claim:

Everybody in Switzerland can retire in 10 years (or less)!

Cmon, RIP, what the fock are you saying?? Yes, maybe with your salary and your cheap-ass attitude… but a regular person working in Switzerland can’t retire in just 10 years!

I claim you can, even with a waitress salary, even with a cleaning lady salary!

BULLSHIT! Prove it!

Challenge accepted!

I want to consider a cleaning lady, one of the lowest paying jobs around. And show you what you can achieve even with such a low paying job in just 10 years!

Before you complain about gender discrimination: it’s not me. In German it’s called Putzfrau!

Buongiorno, Ich bin Rogero Federero, the new Italian cleaning boy. Where’s the broom? Can I take a siesta now?

But also Putzmann is a thing!

Uh… what the f… ok, fine!

Our subject will be a cleaning boy!

Let’s call it Roger, and let’s give him Italian stereotypical Mustaches!

but he looks like… I’ve already seen that guy…

Let’s get back on track.

Of course it won’t be easy for Roger to retire in 10 years, I’m not saying that.

Mind that in Switzerland you’re supposed to work for 44/45 years, from age 20 to 65. Some trade schools student starts working at age 17. That’s almost 50 years of work to reach age 65.

We’re trying to cut it down to 10, for one of the most unfortunate professions around.

And you’re here claiming they can retire in 10 years? With the lowest paying job?

Let’s run the numbers and then we will check how much of a clickbait article is this one.

(spoiler: just a little bit).

Earning: how much does a cleaning boy earn per month, in Switzerland? Where I live hourly costs for hiring a cleaning boy are around 25-30 CHF/hour if you contact them directly, else 35-50 CHF/hour if you pass thru a cleaning company that takes a big cut. My data are backed by quitt.ch (and personal experience).

Let’s assume full time occupation. I know it’s not realistic for a cleaning boy to be working 8 hours each day. But if he’s good and word of mouth spreads enough he can get very close to full time occupation. Our previous one was very popular that she started saying no to potential customers.

And hey, listen… I’m running the math for one of the most unfortunate worker class of the entire Switzerland and I’m going to show you how he can retire in 10 years… do you really want to complain about small details? Yes??

Ok, FINE. Let’s give Roger some extra rest, let’s assume he works 80%. Fridays off so he can relax at the nearby park and play with squirrels.

Since the average salary is closer to 30 CHF/hour than 25, at least let me use 30 CHF as hourly wage.

50 weeks of work per year. Sorry Roger, only 2 weeks of vacation if you want to retire early and work just 80%.

What’s his yearly income: 200x8x30 = 48k CHF/Year

(4k CHF/month).

Earning growth over 10 years: I assume skills improve with time, so does market value too. A modest 2% raise (after inflation, which is close to 0% anyway) per year. Are we ok? No? Ok, fine, just 1% per year. You’re demanding, picky reader…

Here’s Roger earnings by year:

Years Earning
1 48000
2 48480
3 48965
4 49454
5 49949
6 50448
7 50953
8 51462
9 51977
10 52497

Cool. What about spending?

Now, is Roger living alone or sharing expenses with someone?

I said it won’t be easy, some sacrifices have to be done. Be prepared to live on beans and tasteless focaccia for a decade my friend, that’s the price of freedom.

Switzerland is expensive, I agree, but what’s really expensive is the superfluous, the unnecessary. Basic goods are super affordable, even cheaper than Italy for example.

Let’s take bread for example. In Italy bread price ranges from 3 to 5 EUR/kg. Every kind of bread. In Switzerland you have 3 tiers of bread. The turbo-expensive ones (80% of the market share) in the 9-12+ CHF/Kg, the second tier (15% of the market share) in the 5-8 CHF/kg and the cheapskate hidden-from-view poor person’s bread at 1.90 CHF/kg. Guess which one I always buy?? Wrong, I’m guiltily indulging more in the second tier lately. A man must admit his own weaknesses.

Anyway, groceries costs can be cut dramatically if you accept store brand products. And both Migros and Coop have 2 levels of store brands. Those for “poor but not uber-poor” (M Classic, Coop Qualité & Prix) and those for the ultra-poor or cheapskate, or the RIPs (M Budget, Coop Prix Garantie).

Enjoy!

I’m still waiting for the M RIP line from Migros. Editor note: wasted two hours trying to photoshop RIP logo into a funny image with crappy food but failed. Time to hire a graphic designer? Nope!

Roger, just do like I do (or better): don’t own a car, shop for the cheapest health insurance (Assura or Mutuel), find an old and small apartment, save on groceries and – unlike me – save on travel too.

That’s the recipe to spend less than 4k per month, in two. Or 2k/month each.

If he’s sharing a life with someone, he’s only responsible for half of their combined expenses. If you want to aim to FI (or sort of) in 10 years on your salary you need some expense trimming.

If he’s living alone it’s a little bit more difficult. Expenses don’t all scale down by 50% but most of them do. The only one that’s not easily compressible is housing. But if you accept to rent a room instead of an apartment you can still do it with 2k per month. Very hard though.

Anyway, I’m going to consider 2k CHF/month as expenses for Roger. Expenses are not growing over time, just being inflation adjusted. I know that’s aggressive, but if you want to achieve something extraordinary you have to act extraordinarily. We, the RIPs, have achieved several “below 4k” months before BabyRIP. And we’re not doing our very best to cut every bill. It would be ridiculous for us, given we’re already saving 70% of our salaries. But for our cleaning boy who wants to escape his (customer’s) cubicle situation? Time to tighten the belt!

So here’s Roger income/spending/saving in today CHF (inflation adjusted):

Years Earning Spending Saving
1 48000 24000 24000
2 48480 24000 24480
3 48965 24000 24965
4 49454 24000 25454
5 49949 24000 25949
6 50448 24000 26448
7 50953 24000 26953
8 51462 24000 27462
9 51977 24000 27977
10 52497 24000 28497

Nice! What to do with the money saved? Invest it, of course!

Let’s assume each monthly saving goes directly into Roger’s brokerage account and he invests all of it each month into a 70/30 stocks bonds allocation, buying low costs ETFs.

Let’s assume an average yearly growth of 5%. Too much? Ok, fine, 4% (very unrealistic).

Want another unrealistic assumption? Roger is currently broke! He has ZERO to his name. He wasted all his money trying to become a professional tennis player and he’s now broke.

Here we go:

Years Earning Spending Saving Investment growth Net Worth
1 48000 24000 24000 480 24480
2 48480 24000 24480 1469 50429
3 48965 24000 24965 2516 77910
4 49454 24000 25454 3625 106990
5 49949 24000 25949 4799 137738
6 50448 24000 26448 6038 170225
7 50953 24000 26953 7348 204526
8 51462 24000 27462 8730 240718
9 51977 24000 27977 10188 278884
10 52497 24000 28497 11725 319106

But RIP, 4% average growth is not guaranteed… the market is bullish since 9 years now… what if the market crashes?

Roger should celebrate a market crash! He’s in his accumulation phase, he should hope for a crash! He should dance and sacrifices virgins and animals to market Gods to make it crash tomorrow!

Let’ assume the market crashes in his first year by 50%, and then recovers 8% per year for the next 9 years. 100 dollars invested in such scenario would become 99.95 dollars after the 10 years! We’re talking about a very shitty situation, but somehow lucky for our cleaning boy: he’d end up with a net worth of 364k CHF instead of 319k!

Yeah RIP, now you want to make me believe one can retire with 300k CHF in Switzerland?

Well, I didn’t say “you can retire in Switzerland in 10 years”, I did say “if you’re in Switzerland you can retire in 10 years”. Didn’t say where 😀

If Roger picked just another third world country he’d be already retired. He could spend the remainder of his life playing soccer with kids in Zambia, for example.

With 320k CHF he’d have a Stocks Dividend portfolio similar to Jason Fieber‘s one, without having invented Dividend Mantra, MrFreeAt33 and having published books about dividend investing… and still having a portfolio of just 350k USD, that blows my mind!

Dear imaginary cleaning boy, go live in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and you’re free forever!

Done! 😀

😀

😐

What?

A-ha, clickbait spotted! Let’s go back on Facebook and leave you alone, please everyone follow me this direction…

Wait wait, aren’t you impressed anyway? Yeah, I’ve been a little bit clickbait-ish but did you follow me from the beginning? We’re talking about a cleaning boy, working part time, broke at the moment that in 10 years accumulates 320k CHF!

Do you know where this leads in another 10 years? If Roger keeps going for 20 years instead of 10?

It leads to 855k CHF!

He could then retire in Switzerland (with a 2.8% SWR) in less than half the time he’s supposed to work! He could finally quit his job and play his favorite sport for the rest of his life, sitting on a huge nest egg (compared to his lifestyle) without having to think about money!

Do you know what happens if instead of 4% his investments grow by just 5%? Do you know what happens if he decided to work full time instead of 80%? Do you know what if you’re not a cleaning boy but any other professional worker with a standard six digits yearly salary? What if you’re confident enough on your skills that you don’t need to reach 100% of your FI Number to retire early? What if you adopt a strategy based on passion plus passive income?

[Edit: ok, 6 digits salaries are not “standard”, I exaggerated a bit. Check Swiss salaries on zeigdeinenlohn.ch]

Run your math, I’ve created a spreadsheet for you.

Ah, btw, he also contributed (his customers on his behalf) to Pillar 1 pension, for 10 years. According to my previous post calculation he could lump sum evaluate his Pillar 1 pension between 40k and 90k, depending on his age after the 10 years.

Of course this is a provocative post. Of course it’s close to impossible to retire in Switzerland with a part time cleaning gig after just 10 years.

Of course!

But maybe…

Anyway, how would you now reply to the original poster of the above mentioned englishforum thread?

That’s what I’d tell them:

Maybe you feel it too after years of sitting at a desk and working with abstract concepts all day long: you want a break, you want to be outside, interacting with the real life.

Again, welcome to intellectual working my friend. It’s awesome for a while, it slowly becomes soul destroying until you burn (or bore) out.

Plan accordingly. Build bridges while you feel like you can do that for ever, because one day you won’t.

Any ideas about possible jobs/gigs that one can do in Switzerland so that she stays out of the typical corporate office?

Cleaning? I’m joking.

me too

Here’s the point: either you find a job/gig that’s more “outside” but lower paying, which could lock you in until age 65 (good luck with that), or you become extremely smart with your money (earn more, spend less, invest wisely) and enable more options for yourself.

Roger, our imaginary cleaning boy, accumulated 320k CHF in 10 years.

It’s not a nest egg I’d feel confident sitting on to permanently retire, but for someone like you, with a salary I guess at least double than our Roger, it would take much less to accumulate that amount. Or you can accumulate double (or more) than that in the same time.

Would 600-800k CHF be enough in Switzerland? Probably not to “retire” traditionally, but what about a LeanFI? A BaristaFI approach? A permanent work time reduction to 50-80%? A year or two of sabbatical to explore other passions?

I’d recommend you to keep grinding and build your nest egg. Unless you’re already burnt out.

I’m mid 30, I know a basic level of german, better french, gesturing in Italian, with a background in software development. I don’t need to earn a fortune, just enough to have a frugal life and most important: stay employed.

Gesturing Italian is an amazing skill!

Apart from jokes, I’m curious about what’s your definition of “frugal life”.

With “software development” background I bet your salary is well above my “frugal life” line.

The purpose is to have a purpose :), to do something really useful and, ideally, outside somewhere, or simply put: not at a desk.

Totally agree! Did you start building your bridge few years ago? No? Do you think you have time to start building one today? Find that time.

Opinions? Feelings? Is it just me? …

No, it’s not just you. It’s almost everybody in this world 🙂


The thread diverged on other interesting topics like “happiness and the role of work”. I’d like to highlight some of the comments:

I guess it’s important because you probably gotta live in your office until age 65, for 8+ hours a day. Don’t you want to make it a pleasant experience?

Sure. There are tons of article about engagement at work showing percentages of “actively disengaged” on the rise. And robots are coming.

Build your bridges TODAY.

The comments that made me thinking how Personal Finance and Financial Independence should be mandatory classes in any curriculum are the following two.

First, the resigned:

Second, the combo-of-bad-feelings:

That’s all for today, I hope you enjoyed.

See you in Thailand in ten years 😀

20 comments

  1. It’s funny how we find excuses to not learn from others: she has a high income, he doesn’t have kids, she retired in a cheap place, he has a side-hustle…

    I know it because I subconsciously look for these excuses as well. It is easier to just dimiss it than to extract lessons from the story.

    I feel that geoarbitrage should be easy to leverage in Switzerland (especially in cities) as almost any other place is going to be cheaper. It could be a place far away like Thailand but I’m sure there are cheap small towns in a 1000 km radius.

  2. Well played Mr.RIP. This is how one should handle criticism. People can lie, but numbers can’t.

    Even I think you were too pessimistic in the example. You should not run away that far as Africa to retire on that amount. That Roger guy would be not just retired but a very happy fellow in my country.

    Let me jump into the calculations too. Mr. Roger ended up with 319106 CHF which translates to 281414 €. Let’s stick the good old rule of thumb 4% (I know, I know, it is not bulletproof) rule and you we get to the annual withdrawal of 11256€ which is 938€ per month. I know from experience that amount can cover the cost of living for our family of four in Serbia. If you would like to have more options check out this map of average salaries on Wikipedia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_European_countries_by_average_wage

    In my opinion, if your withdrawal amount crosses the average salary of a country you can happily retire there running a comfortable middle-class lifestyle. So if Mr. RIP would decide to retire now with his current portfolio he would have a lot of options according to the map. Maybe I would avoid some of the places marked with red but still see a lot of good destinations amongst the orange ones.

  3. Hello Mr RIP – Discovered your blog through EF. Huge admiration and respect for you! Keep up the good work and thank you!!!

    With regard to your post though, when you say:
    “any other professional worker with a standard six digits yearly salary?”
    I am 30, working as tax consultant in Zurich and barely reaching that threshlold.
    In Switzerland, I don’t think common people usually do (by common I mean the people you would generally see around you in the street).
    Check that out: https://zeigdeinenlohn.ch/
    Needless to say that, worldwide, a six digits yearly salary will only remain a dream for 99,9% of the population.
    So yes, FIRE in Swizterland should be relatively easy mode, especially if you consider Thailand at the end of the road, but let’s not pretend you (and Hooli) are not an exception!

    1. Very interesting!
      Thanks for the link, going to add to the original article 🙂
      Anyway, I scrolled a couple hundred “faces” and excluding interns, praktikum(s) and lehrer(s) the good old Roger in my post is at the bottom of the ladder. Less than 5% earn more than 4k per month.
      If you filter by IT-related jobs almost everybody earns more than 6k per month. Ok, not 6 digits but not that far.
      The fact that everywhere else “6 digits is a dream” reinforces the claim that Switzerland is awesome for wealth building.

      I and Hooli are totally exceptions, that’s also why I’m close to my goal after less than 6 years 😀

    2. to be honest I am surprised that anyone willing to publicly share his salary with full name AND photo can earn more than a couple of k. I mean how stupid is that?

  4. Hello RIP. Nice article. But did you really calculate it trough. You just say that retirement in Thailand is cheap. Of course it is cheaper. But as a european you always pay more in Thailand. I was thinking about this. But 300k is not enough. I calculate 1500 CHF each month. Which is more than most thais have. But if you want to have a little “freedom” you need to be able to travel. Eat outside and enjoy the paradise you live in. With the 300k you have to live like in jail. Open for other opinions

    1. Hi Thai, I don’t plan to retire in Thailand of course 🙂
      I was just pointing out that at least a FI blogger (Jason Fieber) is doing that with a net worth close to that amount. He actually wrote an article about claiming that 200k might be enough

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