From 55 years

Frequently asked questions about retirement

On the home stretch to retirement, there’s a lot to know and watch out for – answers and advice from our experts.

Will my assets be enough after retirement?

After you reach the age of 50, retirement is within reach. Thinking about budget planning now gives you more flexibility later so you can look forward to retiring carefree.

Income during retirement

Income often decreases by more than the cost of living during retirement. Cost of living typically is reduced by only 20 percent – if at all. It therefore pays to compare your current budget with your anticipated income in retirement. This lets you realistically assess your financial situation and lay the right foundations for the future.

Checking your financial situation

The budget planner gives you an overview of your expenses in retirement. When setting up your fixed expenditures, consider that expenses in some areas could increase – for example, for health, leisure, renovation or remodeling of your home. Take into account potential special payments such as donations. And also expect that your professional situation could change sooner than planned because of early retirement.

Determine your basic income

Your prospective retirement provision is made up of your AHV benefits and your pension fund benefits. You can find the amount of the AHV benefit in the AHV benefit projection, which you can order from your compensation office. The amount of your pension fund assets or your prospective pension fund benefits is presented in the pension fund statement.

Take stock of your situation

If you can cover your future requirements with your prospective basic income, you've properly laid the foundation for the future. You could possibly even think about early retirement.

If the basic income is not enough to cover your requirements, you should check to see what additional assets you have in order to close your pension gaps. These include real estate, securities, life insurance policies and savings in pillar 3a.

Do you need to take action?

We would be glad to look over your financial situation together with you and show you what steps you can take to optimize your retirement provision and build up additional assets. 

Pension or lump sum – what's better for me?

To be clear from the outset: There's no one answer to this question. The decision for or against a lump-sum payment from the pension fund depends on your life situation, income and assets. You should also take your personal wishes and goals into account.

A rule of thumb: Cost of living and basic needs should be covered by the benefits from AHV and the pension fund. Whatever you have beyond that can be withdrawn as capital. When deciding whether that makes sense, you should take the following into account:

A pension provides more security

A pension provides you with a secure, monthly income – for the rest of your life. And in the event of death, your spouse gets a guaranteed survivor's pension. In general, this amounts to 60 percent of the original pension.

Good to know: There is no protection against inflation, however, which means the pension fund is not required to adjust the benefits to higher costs. And the pension fund benefits must be taxed as income.

A lump-sum payment offers more flexibility

If you decide on a lump-sum payment, you have more scope for action in your personal financial planning. You're free to invest your money as you please, but also bear some risk of variability in return. And in the event of death, the unused retirement savings pass on fully to your heirs – which is not the case for a pension.

Good to know: You benefit from a reduced tax rate if you choose a lump-sum payment.

Plan early

Weigh the benefits and disadvantages of a lump-sum payment early and find out from your pension fund in detail what opportunities they open up and what deadlines apply. Many pension funds require you to abide by several-year notice periods for lump-sum payments. 

Get advice

The decision to take a pension or a lump-sum payment depends on many factors. We would be glad to help you in making your decision. 

Also of interest: our factsheets

  • Pension or lump sum
  • Retirement planning
  • Correctly understanding the pension fund statement

Is it worthwhile for me to make a purchase in the pension fund?

Voluntary purchases in pillar 2 are an attractive option. Ultimately, this can improve your pension – especially if there are gaps in your contributions. Additionally, you can save on taxes because you can deduct the payment from your taxable income.

What is the ideal time?

The tax-savings effect of a pension fund purchase is the greatest when income is at its highest. For many employed persons, this is the case in the years right before retirement. For this reason, it is worthwhile to make a purchase in the pension fund during that time. The longer the purchased amount stays in the pension fund, the smaller the return. You may deduct a purchase in the pension fund from your taxable income.

What are the key issues?

As a rule: A purchase in the pension fund is only possible if there is a pension gap. Gaps result from an interruption in employment, for example for training or further education, family breaks, a stay abroad, unemployment or a sabbatical.

You can find out from your pension statement whether you have the option to make a voluntary purchase – or ask your pension fund.

Our tip

Don't pay a larger, one-time amount into your pension fund, but stagger the purchases over several years. This way you stay in a lower tax bracket for longer and save more taxes than with a one-time purchase.

We'd be glad to show you if a voluntary purchase in the pension fund is worthwhile for you – and how this can save you on taxes.

Also of interest: our factsheets

  • Purchase in the pension fund
  • Retirement planning
  • Correctly understanding the pension fund statement

What should I keep in mind with regard to early retirement?

Early retirement is always connected with financial penalties. Your income from your employment stops earlier and your pension is less – for the rest of your life. This makes it all the more important to take as much advantage of tax-deductible pension offers as you can.

Develop a clear picture

If you draw your AHV retirement benefits in advance, you will need to face reductions for the entire benefit duration. This is 6.8% for each year of early retirement. At the same time, you're obligated to contribute to AHV until you reach retirement age.

There are also financial penalties in pillar 2. People who retire early have built up substantially less capital and the returns from interest and compound interest are less. Additionally, the conversion rate for early retirement is lower than for ordinary retirement. If you go into early retirement, you should expect an even greater reduction in your income after you retire.

Our tips

If you have a gap in your pension, you can reduce this, for example, by making a purchase in the pension fund. The amount you are allowed to pay in is noted on your pension statement. You generally receive this annually from your pension fund.

Additionally, you should exploit your opportunity for private provision in the third pillar. Pillar 3a gives you an opportunity to build up additional capital with a retirement savings account or a custody account. If you have set up several retirement savings accounts, you can withdraw the money in staggered amounts. You should also check what other opportunities you have to build up capital to keep financial penalties to a minimum.

Check alternatives

Even by practicing financial discipline, not many can afford early retirement. But maybe you have alternatives? Many pension funds allow for partial retirement. Clarify with your employer whether a soft exit is possible.

Get advice

Whether early retirement or partial retirement – comprehensive planning is important. We would be glad to help you and show you in what ways you can keep income gaps to a minimum.

Also of interest: our factsheets

  • Early retirement
  • Purchase in the pension fund
  • Correctly understanding the pension fund statement

How to settle my estate?

It's never too early to plan your estate. Arrange your affairs in writing – this way you create clarity and can be certain that your assets will be distributed in accordance with your wishes. Remember that pension fund assets are governed by legal regulations, which you cannot get around by writing a will:

Pillar 1

In the event of death, the AHV does not pay out assets, but only a monthly survivor's pension.

Pillar 2

In the event of death before retirement, the pension fund pays a survivor's benefit stipulated in the regulations. Depending on whether you've decided on a pension or lump-sum payment, estate planning is as follows:

  • Drawing a pension: The regulations determine to what extent the spouse or common-law partner is eligible for a pension.
  • Lump-sum payment: Under the terms of statutory entitlement regulations, you are free to dispose of your assets by will as you choose.

Pillar 3

In the case of pillar 3a, the nomination of a beneficiary is regulated by law in the event of death: The surviving spouse gets all assets from 3a. You potentially have the opportunity to nominate the common-law partner as the beneficiary – but you must do this in writing. If there is no surviving spouse or partner, the children have a claim to your assets.

Other assets

In any event, spouses and children have a claim to statutory entitlement in the case of valuables such as real estate, savings accounts, securities or life insurance policies. Anything in addition to this is yours to dispose of as you choose.

Settling the inheritance

If there is neither a will nor contract of inheritance, the rules of intestate succession are brought into play. If the result is that the beneficiaries are the right people, you basically do not need to do anything.

With a will, you avoid ambiguities or even disputes. A will, for example, can be written out by hand if it's drawn up in accordance with certain procedural requirements. In this respect, it's advisable to enlist the help of an expert. You can amend or revoke your will at any time.

Estate planning guide

You'll find extensive information on the topic of estates and inheritance in our free guide.

How can I save on taxes now and when I retire?

It pays to plan for retirement. You can repeatedly save on taxes: when paying in and when withdrawing.

Save on taxes with pillar 3

If you still have a couple of years until retirement, check whether making a purchase in the pension fund is worthwhile. In this way, you reduce your tax burden and gain additional tax advantages:

  • You may deduct the paid-in amount from your taxable income.
  • Your pension fund assets are exempt from wealth tax.
  • The interest earnings and capital gains are tax exempt.

Save on taxes with pillar 3

Payments into pillar 3a make good tax sense for several reasons:

  • You may deduct the paid-in amount from your taxable income.
  • Your assets in pillar 3a are tax exempt until you withdraw benefits.
  • The interest earnings and capital gains are tax exempt.

Depending on your income, place of residence and the amount paid in, pillar 3a could save you several hundred Swiss francs on taxes. However, there's a maximum amount you're allowed to pay into pillar 3a annually.

Our tips

If you intend to pay in a larger amount into your pension fund, you should split up your deposits over several years. By making staggered purchases, you can generally save more on taxes than with a single payment.

Retirement savings from pillar 3a are also taxed when paid out. Planning early for the disbursement is therefore worthwhile. Ideally, over the years, you can set up a second or even a third retirement savings account. You can withdraw your money in staggered amounts later – and keep the tax burden to a minimum.

If you'd like to have your pension fund assets disbursed later, you should make sure that the disbursement doesn’t coincide with a larger payment from pillar 3a in the same year.

Calculate tax savings

Use our tax calculator to find out how much pillar 3a can save you in taxes.

Calculate tax savings

Use our tax calculator to find out how much pillar 3a can save you in taxes.

Also of interest: our factsheets

  • Retirement planning
  • Tax tips
  • Purchase in the pension fund

Should I amortize my mortgage after I go into retirement?

Home ownership is an important building block of pension provision. After 50, however, there are a few things you should keep in mind.

What changes in terms of financing after 50

When financing home ownership with your pension fund assets, you basically have two options – advance withdrawal or pledging. But now the following also applies: 

  • After the age of 50, you can no longer lay a claim to all of your pension fund assets.
  • You can only pledge or withdraw the higher of the following amounts: the vested benefit to which you would have a claim after the age of 50 or half of your current pension fund assets.
  • Advance withdrawal must also take place no later than three years before you can claim your retirement benefits – unless your pension fund provides otherwise.

Sustainability of the property

You should also check the sustainability of your own home after retirement. Often income after retirement is lower. A rule of thumb: Monthly costs should not come to more than a third of income.

Remember that as a rule, the second mortgage should be amortized by the time you retire.


Remodeling, renovations or relocation to a senior-friendly property? Our home ownership specialists would be glad to help you if you want to discuss new or already existing financing.