Saving for retirement Planning for retirement

Regardless of whether you are thinking of retiring early, planning to take regular retirement, or want to continue working after reaching retirement age: You need to plan your retirement savings carefully.

Once you reach retirement age a new phase of life with exciting opportunities opens up for you. You will finally have more time to do what you want – vacations, traveling, hobbies, sports, grandchildren, friendships, and the list goes on. There’s a lot to look forward to. But you need to make sure you don’t put off making the important decisions. By carefully planning your financial future, you can look forward to a carefree retirement.

A well-planned retirement

If you are 50 or older, we recommend you start actively planning your finances for the time after you stop working. This way you will have plenty of time to plan and take the necessary steps: 

  • Early 50s is when you should start reading up on the pension fund rules and gathering general information. For example, you should find out whether your pension fund lets you retire early or if you can semi-retire. That way you will have an initial overview of your options.
  • Mid 50s is when you should start thinking about what is the right time for you to retire. What are the benefits of retiring early, retiring when you reach retirement age or deferring retirement? You should also think about if you want to ease into retirement or if you want to just stop working from one day to the next. Please note: Flexible retirement and semi-retirement are only possible with pension funds; they are not an option with OASI. 
  • Your 60s is when you need to decide how you want to draw your retirement savings: as a pension, as a lump sum, or a mixture of both? What option you decide on will depend on your individual circumstances.  This blog post includes a guide for you. Please note: Depending on the pension fund, lump-sum withdrawals have a registration deadline of up to three years.

How much will I receive when I retire?

Once you retire, your income will come from several different sources:

  • OASI pension max. CHF 2,450 for individuals / CHF 3,675 for couples (as of 2023)
    • only if you have contributed for the full number of years (with no gaps from age 21 to regular retirement age) and
    • have an average annual income of at least CHF 88,200 (as of 2023)
    • Education credits/care credits raise the average earned income
  • OPA pension or lump sum, depending on your retirement savings
  • Any money saved in the 3rd Pillar (3a and 3b)
  • Any social security/daily benefits
  • Any earned income from part-time jobs
  • Any income from investments and rent

Planning your early retirement – what do you need to know?

If you want to retire early, this means your pension will be considerably smaller. You may draw your OASI pension one or two years prior to the regular retirement age. But your pension will be reduced by 6.8% or 13.6%, respectively. During this time you will also continue to pay the OASI minimum contributions. Some pension funds let you retire early starting at age 58. For every year of early retirement, your pension will be reduced by between 5% and 8%. 

Tax optimization for retirement 

When and how you take out your retirement savings from the pension fund or your 3a accounts makes a tremendous difference, because taxation varies greatly depending on the time and amount of the withdrawal. So, if you gradually take your OPA savings out of your 2nd Pillar account over a longer period of time, you could easily save several thousands of francs in taxes. You can make withdrawals starting five years before and up to five years after the regular retirement age. This same principle applies to withdrawing your funds from your 3rd Pillar pension over multiple tax years.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much can I expect from my OASI pension when I retire?

    The minimum and maximum retirement pension for individuals and married couples can vary from year to year. The pension you receive will depend on your average income as well as whether you have been paying your OASI contributions from age 21 without any gaps up to your regular retirement age. The current legal conversion rate also plays a role in this. Since making individual calculations is complicated, starting at age 40 you can request a free pension forecast from OASI every five years. An online pension estimate is good enough if you just want a rough idea of what your future retirement pension will be. 

  • What is a pension gap and how can I avoid it?

    If you want to maintain your accustomed standard of living, you will need around 80% of your most recent gross salary every month. If the amount paid out after retirement is less than this, this is what is known as a pension gap. Pension gaps can be avoided by making financial preparations for the period after retirement with suitable retirement solutions. Incidentally, this is also a smart way to save on taxes and achieve your individual savings goals.

  • From what age can I take early retirement?

    Regular retirement age is 64 for women and 65 for men. In general, you can take early retirement up to two years before the regular retirement age. You should also consult the rules of your pension fund. They explain what options your occupational retirement plan gives you. Generally, occupational retirement plans let you retire at age 59, although there may be exceptions. You should consult the rules for your pension fund to be sure.

  • How much do I stand to lose in benefits by retiring early?

    If you retire early, the retirement capital you accrue will be less than would be the case at regular retirement age. To determine your anticipated pension benefits on the desired retirement date, you can perform an online calculation or ask your employer to do this.

  • Can I defer my retirement? If so, for how long?

    By law, you can defer retirement for up to five years beyond regular retirement age. However, the provisions in your pension fund regulations are also definitive here. The deferral results in a higher conversion rate and hence a bigger pension.

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