5 tips for buying into a pension fund in Switzerland

Insights, Videos, Wealth & Pension Planning
25.11.2022 Tempo di lettura: 2 minuti
Voluntary purchases into the pension fund (2nd pillar) are considered an attractive option to save taxes

Voluntary purchases into the pension fund are regarded as an attractive option for saving taxes. But there are constraints and risks involved that you should clarify in advance.


A voluntary purchase into the pension fund means raising the level of second-pillar finance with additional amounts to close so-called gaps in contributions.

A gap in contributions can occur, for example, following a salary raise: the new, higher salary is not fully reflected in the pension fund because the lower income from the previous years is the main contributory factor. Luckily, this contribution gap can be made up, as long as your financial situation enables you to do so.

But how much sense do voluntary purchases make, when all factors: ranging from taxes via yields to pension fund benefits are taken into consideration? Also, specific cantonal regulations are an important factor in this context.

Should I buy into my pension fund?

This five-point check will help you to decide whether buying into the pension fund makes sense::

  • Impacts on pension fund benefits

    Does the paid-in amount have a positive impact on your pension fund benefits? The important thing here is that your savings objectives and risk considerations should not be undermined by the selected benefits solution.

    What happens to the voluntary pension fund buy-ins if you die or need to claim insurance benefits as a result of, for example, invalidity? Does your pension fund take the additional amounts into consideration or does it pay benefits only on the basis of the insured salary?

  • Protection or remedial action

    How is your level of pension fund coverage? If it is well below 100 percent, remedial action may be necessary. The costs for this are paid mainly by insured persons who are in employment—for them, either the conversion rate, for example, or interest, or both, can be reduced.

  • Returns after tax

    Voluntary purchases into the pension fund can represent a profitable investment. First and foremost are the tax benefits. But, there are big differences depending on your canton of residence. In order to account for cantonal regulation, it is, for example, worth setting up an individual purchase plan in order to stagger paying in (see tip 5).

    Either way, it is important to calculate after-tax returns beforehand, together with an expert.

  • Statutory waiting period for withdrawal of capital

    Anyone who makes voluntary payments into the second pillar, only gets unlimited access to the money they have paid in after three years, at the earliest. Otherwise, taxes which were saved would have to be repaid. This becomes relevant, for example, if you want to use pension fund capital for buying a house. There are exceptions to this rule, but these have to be reviewed individually.

  • Staggered pension fund purchases

    This is particularly important for anyone with greater financial scope: It does not always make sense to pay in the maximum amount all at once. Depending on the canton, it may make more sense to pay in stages. So you can further optimize the tax benefits. In this case, an individual purchase plan is a tried-and-tested aid.

 

  

When is caution required when buying in?

Buying a house, moving house, divorce: Certain decisions in life also open a new chapter in our old-age provisions. In order for purchases into the pension fund not to end up conflicting with other objectives, advanced planning is recommended in the following four situations:

  • Advance withdrawal for buying real estate

    The pension fund is a popular linchpin for financing the dream of one’s own home. But many are unaware of the fact that an advance withdrawal of pension funds must be fully repaid before voluntary purchases in the second pillar can once again be deducted from taxable income.

    Pledges are not affected.

    Did you know: As soon as you repay the advance withdrawal for buying real estate, the capital withdrawal tax that you must pay upon your withdrawal, is repaid to you. However, take care to plan-in the legal deadlines which must be observed.

  • You moved here from abroad

    You have moved here from abroad and have never been associated with a Swiss pension fund? In that case, your annual buy-in in the first five years may not exceed 20 percent of the insured salary.

  • After divorce

    Divorces often lead to partners having to split their pension fund assets or pay one another off. That impacts later purchases in the pension fund.

    Before normal purchases can be made, any gaps must first be “filled”. 

    One interesting difference to normal pension fund purchases is the statutory waiting period: Normally, you must wait three years after a buy-in before you may withdraw your pension benefits as capital. Otherwise, you lose the tax benefits retroactively.

    Buying into divorce gaps are excluded from this waiting period.

  • Early retirement

    Anyone who buys into the pension fund benefits from tax privileges and may, under certain circumstances, stop the progressive tax increases. That also applies to purchases that finance your early retirement.

    Have you already exhausted your purchasing ­potential for normal retirement at 64 or 65? Further purchases are still possible if you are preparing early retirement via your buy-ins.

    Important: Retirement must then occur at the planned age, otherwise, in the worst case scenario, you risk a reduction in benefits. Get in touch with your pension fund or your financial consultant to clarify the details.

 

  

 

  

DID YOU KNOW?

The information included on your pension fund’s insurance certificate is not always binding. That is particularly the case if you have retirement assets saved elsewhere: e.g., vested benefits foundations, basic provisions or in pillar three. We can support you in optimizing your overall situation.

Tax savings 2022—Swiss cities compared

The example below shows how much you can save in taxes if you buy into the second pillar with CHF 50,000.

2022 ZURICH BERN BASEL ST GALLEN
LAUSANNE

Employment income

200,000

Buy-in second pillar

50,000
by 31.12.2022

Taxable income

150,000

Tax without pension fund purchase

 43,946

 56,856

 59,040

 51,671

 48,537

Tax saving with pension fund purchase

 17,452

 20,261

 18,245

 19,320

 18,230

Tax with pension fund purchase

 26,484

 36,595

 40,795

 32,351

 30,307

Amounts in CHF. Calculation basis for pension fund purchase: Married couple with two children, Catholic. Wealth not factored in. For each city, calculated tax and tax saving includes all types of tax (Federal, canton and municipal taxes).

  

Do you have specific questions on this theme?

Needs and financial objectives change depending on your life phase. With detailed financial planning from our experienced experts, you will be well prepared.

  

  

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