Why is Switzerland Too Expensive?

Switzerland is known to be one of the most expensive countries to live in the world. Daniel from Zurich is quite active on discussing life and facts about Switzerland at popular QUORA. He agreed to share with SUISSEPIC how it is to live in the golden “Zuri”.

“Switzerland isn’t “too expensive”. It is just “expensive as hell”.

I live and work in Switzerland, and we pay a lot for housing, medicines (which often cost less than 10% of the Swiss price as soon as you cross the border to Germany, Italy or France), food, housing, insurance…

But we also get paid significantly better than in surrounding countries.


Very roughly and using a lot of approximation, a well-paid employee (say middle management of a large national company) will be able to achieve more or less the same standard of life in Switzerland (living and working there) as in France or Germany (living and working there). Taxes vary by income bracket, but the overall “buying power) will be roughly comparable. I said “very roughly”, okay?

The image of Swiss employees swimming in bathtubs of cash while people working the same job in France, Germany, Italy or Austria living on the street is nonsense.

Generally speaking: What is very good in Switzerland is the quality of what you get for your money. If you take your car to a mechanic, then you can be (pretty) sure that the mechanic isn’t just some guy who knows which end of the hammer to hold, but someone who has actually been through at least three years of full-time professional training and holds a Swiss federal diploma as a qualification. Same with bakers, cooks, nurses, truck drivers, hairdressers, plumbers and other professions. This means that they are generally competent, even if they are young. I find that in other countries that don’t have this apprenticeship system (which has its roots in the middle ages, interestingly) where young professionals start learning at the age of 15–16 and complete their training at age 17–18, have veeeeery varying quality of service. Because it’s basically a form of Russian roulette whether you have someone who actually knows what they are doing or not.

Also, housing is generally not falling down. You can drink the water from any fountain and out of the water taps without dying a gruesome death. Public transport is very god indeed and (in the towns at any rate) you can get just about any type of food or cooking ingredients you fancy. Also public schools are generally good to very good (unless you get an asshole of a teacher… Then they are crap, but that’s the teacher, not the school system). University is excellent and there is a whole range of higher education (called “Fachhochschulen” which are “professional universities” where you can work your way up to a bachelors’ and beyond in your professional field, which is very cool).

Overall, I’m happy living in Switzerland, and although some things are kind of quirky, I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else at the moment, in spite of the high prices”.

Originally published at QUORA

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