It's Getting Ugly

^^ I also think the effect of the “infomation age” is two fold. On one hand you have what bchad and krnyc are talking about. I would like to see how “sensible” the candidates of decades past would look on the stage they must perform on these days. In addition, I think American society is more complex than it ever has been. The combination of access to information and the personal freedoms allowed makes for, perhaps, the MOST confusing time in history to be a human being. Today’s politician is moulded by the attempt to represent and appeal to this complexity.

You’re too angry to be Canadian. And you can’t bring your assault weaponry to any of these places. I love all of those places (and America), but I’d only live long-term in Canada or the U.S. And yes, Canada can have incredibly divisive politics too. We just went through a brutal election cycle ourselves. Though now we have a dumb pollyanna that shits rainbows leading the show so maybe we will all be happy go lucky hippies by the time you get here… I know France can be intense politically and the Belgians are essentially in a non-violent civil war. Germany and Switzerland might work, if not completely overun by Syrians.

Anyway, wasn’t Obama supposed to fix all this? And isn’t the solution Bloomberg’s imminent entry into the race which will provide the voice of reason you all want to hear?

Isnt owning assault weaponry a requirement for living in Switzerland?

If you are a Swiss citizen and an adult male below the age of 65 (I believe), it is indeed a requirement to have an assault rifle. I believe it is supposed to be in your place of residence as well.

I don’t know if it’s a requirement, but per capita gun ownership in Switzerland is extremely high. According to the perpetually accurate wikipedia, the great neutral land is in 4th place, behind Amurica, Serbia, and Yemen.

everything is better in Germany.

This is true, fair point, the entire population is armed. Its part of their national defense strategy. Possession of the ammunition though is prohibited. The idea is if an invasion occurs, they’ll distribute out the ammo. Actually having a functional firearm is much more difficult, especially for a foreigner.

I can change!

Ah, no wonder their murder rate and specifically gun deaths are so high.

Well almost true. The military service is mandatory but it is possible to do alternative civilian service instead which lasts about 50% longer and even if you go to the military you could opt to do your service gun-free e.g. in the kitchen or as a mechanic. And also it is not mandatory to keep the rifle at home, I think today most people leave them at the base. The guys who stay in the militia (part time soldiers) after the mandatory service have regular drills and exercises. It is still quite common to see those guys with their assault rifles e.g. standing in line at burger king. Found that quite weird when I got here from Germany.

To come back to the original question, I think Switzerland could be an alternative for guys like BS. Any other place in Europe must seem like a socialist dystopia to them. Switzerland on the other hand has little government meddling for European standards, extremely low income tax (love it!), high individual responsibility in society, direct democracy, small share of “professional politicians” and actual business people in government. I find it very refreshing here. Then again I never lived in the US so I have no idea how Switzerland compares directly. Regarding a few other questions I read here: If you come to the EU and you are in you can move around anywhere and work anywhere. Switzerland is not in the EU but they are part of the Schengen-treaty which technically should allow free exchange of people just like in the EU. However currently a quota solution is discussed in Switzerland since more EU citizens came than expected. The EU is not happy about this but I understand, since ca. 26% of all people in Switzerland now are not Swiss, mostly from the EU. These are not unskilled workers looking for a better future but highly trained individuals, doctors and of course financial professionals, so actually quite good for the Swiss economy, especially since the unemployment rate is at around 3.5%.

Sorry that got a bit long.

ps: here is an interesting map of Switzerland showing which communities have which income tax. Yes every town sets its own income tax rate which results in a kind of competition. It’s beautiful but makes apartment hunting even more complicated.

For example, single, no kids, making 200k CHF per year, your income tax would be as little as 10.94% in a town south of Zurich near the lake, or 18.75% in Zurich. I don’t know about the US but you would pay 50% or more in almost any other European country including Germany and France.

^YEF, what has been the most surprising or biggest adjustment? What are the people like on a broad level (personable, reserved etc)? And is it tough adjusting to their higher cost of living in terms of existing savings not doing well in the transition?

Also, how hard was the process of finding a job and making the move? It has always seemed like a difficult prospect (probably more so from the US)? Any comment on that from the perspective of coming from America?

Switzerland has been my gf and my’s #1 target due to the lower level of federal government, cleanliness, quality of life and our love of mountain sports.

Also, what’s the language situation like?

Good idea. Toronto is a bastion of level-headed political leaders.

It’s like those Swiss have four different words for everything.

So the Swiss army give you a free gun. Do they also give you a free knife?

If you really wanted to be canadian you would have first apologized for being to angry to be a canadian, then told him you can change. Apologizing for anything and everything is the canadian way!

The Swiss have a bad reputation in the UK for whatever reason. It’s not a big enough a thing to be a full blown national stereotype (like the French being passionate or the German’s getting off on bureaucracy) but anecdotally the association is arrogant, aloof, selfish, slimey and generally just the worst parts of the French, Germans and Italians combined. Personally I’ve only ever met a handful of Swiss and they all seemed like good people.

I’m sorry.


It took some time to adjust. It can feel a bit like a parallel society, two layers, expats and Swiss. It is a common cliché that the Swiss don’t mingle a lot with the foreigners but again, I understand because many come for a few years and then go back. I have a few Swiss friends but most people I hang out with are indeed from abroad too.

Culturally it was not a big change, mainly because I grew up not far away in Bavaria, although I would agree that the Swiss are a bit more reserved. I know some people, mostly from the northern parts of Germany who actually did have a hard time to adjust. Then again, in Zurich and Geneva most people in Finance are from all kinds of places.

I got used to the cost of living rather easily since the purchasing power in Zurich is so high and I still save in Euros (and USD currently) because I plan to go back one day anyway. Buying anything here is out of the question for me. The housing market is very strange and deserves a separate posting.

Finding a job was relatively easy. I didn’t live far away and the job market here is very dynamic. It was more coincidental and I wasn’t even looking to move to Switzerland. As I said, from the EU to Switzerland is fairly uncomplicated. Sorry, I have no idea what you would have to go through but I do know some people from the US working here so I can ask around if you are seriously considering it.

I don’t know where you work now but Zurich and Geneva are still reasonably small cities. That would be my only concern. I like a big city and if I leave than it will be because of that. Mountain sports is a big plus though, I agree. Another big plus is the travelling. Switzerland is so central that in a few hours drive you can be in France, Germany, Italy, Austria etc. Greece, London or Spain are just a short flight away.

Language should not be a problem, especially in finance. Sure, knowing German or French would improve your chances but most big firms have English as a company language. Come to think of it, most of my friends don’t speak German (well). What does your gf do? I guess some industries e.g. engineering do require German.

Let me know if you have any other questions.

I hear you do get a swiss army knife but I am not sure if you get to keep it. In Germany we have mandatory military service too, although it’s much easier to get out of. I only got to keep the underwear and the socks.