Do you already picture yourself sitting happily on the terrace of your own home and enjoying your retirement? Or would you rather spend your retirement sailing, skiing or walking? And how do you view those trips that you had no time for while you were working?
Whatever you plan for your retirement, you should have as much pension at your disposal as possible. For that reason there are many things to consider.

As a couple the AHV sees you into old age

Are you married? Do you and your partner each receive your own pension? This can be lower for a married couple than it would be without that marriage certificate.
If there are no gaps in your contributions, as a single person you would receive a maximum AHV pension of 2,350 francs a month. If, however you have a spouse, who is also a pensioner, the maximum state provision you would jointly receive would be 3,525 francs (Effective: 2016)
These pension ceilings apply also in a civil partnership. You are only excluded from these when you co-habit. In that instance you and your partner would receive pension as single people.

Pension plans and private provision give you what you earn

Your pension plan and retirement provisions (e.g. from a Pillar 3a account) pay out what you yourself have saved. In spite of what individual contributions you and your partner have paid respectively into the second and 3rd Pillar the pension rights accumulated during the marriage belong equally to both of you.
As a couple you should allow yourselves to draw your savings out as capital, doing this in different years. In this way you can save tax. That also applies for the 3rd Pillar. It is therefore important to have more than one Fisca Account.

A widow’s pension is usually only due to those who are married

The death of a partner brings sadness but often concerns over finances as well. To support the surviving partner there is a widow’s or widower’s pension.
As a wife you can have an entitlement to an AHV widow’s pension if at the time you become a widow you have at least one child. Or if you are over 45 and have been married to the deceased for at least five years.
A man only receives a widower’s pension if there are surviving children who are under 18. This also applies for civil partnerships. The size of the widow’s or widower’s monthly pension is between a minimum of 940 francs and a maximum of 1,880 francs. (Effective: 2016).
In addition, you may receive from the deceased’s pension fund a surviving spouse’s pension. Often though you only receive this if you were married. With some pension funds however you can leave your life partner as a registered beneficiary.

Don’t come up short as a couple: 3 simple tips

  1. Keep a close eye on your pension fund: Each of you pay into separate pension funds, so you can carefully consider how you would like to draw the money later. It can be beneficial for you if you can pay out a portion of your pension savings as a capital sum and the rest as income
  2. Release your pension provisions gradually: Have you got several pension funds and accounts between you? If you liquidate these, you will pay tax on that capital. You can reduce this if you stagger the payouts over multiple years
  3. Protect each other if you are cohabiting: Check with your pension fund whether your partner can be left as a beneficiary. Then not only can your cohabiting partner receive a widow or widower’s pension from the AHV but also from the Accident Insurance. Without a will the cohabiting partner inherits nothing. But in the event of a separation you have no financial claim. Therefore, it is important that you protect yourself against this possibility

A divorce can substantially alter your pension

If you get divorced, your AHV pension might be reduced from the maximum 3,525 Francs. Divorcees are treated as single people which in some cases might result in an increase in their AHV pension.

A divorce can however also lead to shortfalls in pension provisioning. Payments made into pension funds or private schemes during the partnership are equally divided after a divorce. Consequently, in certain instances contributions have to be provided for the partner.

Do you have you a marriage contract with the separation terms agreed? This doesn’t help you as regards your credits in your pension fund. What is saved for old age during the marriage is basically divided between both marriage partners. Only with a waiver can you relinquish your share during a divorce.

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