For members


What’s the best way to make money on your investments in Switzerland?

You must have noticed by now that your bank savings accrue very little interest these days — well below 1 percent. And rates are not likely to go up in the foreseeable future.

What's the best way to make money on your investments in Switzerland?
Where should you put your Swiss franc in 2020? Michele Limina/AFP

The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is keeping its key interest rate at minus 0.75 percent, charging banks that park their money there negative interest. The pressure is now increasing on the banks to pass this penalty interest on to their customers.

You may therefore be tempted to invest your money elsewhere, but be cautious. The promise of a potentially higher yield may actually backfire, according to the financial expert from the VZ Vermögenszentrum in Zurich

Consider these options carefully:


Shares are an attractive investment, Rolf Biland, head of investment at VZ Vermögenszentrum told the web portal. “Depending on the stock index, dividend income of around 1.5 to 3.5 percent is distributed before taxes,” he said.

However, keep in mind that there are risks involved: larger fluctuations in value can occur in the equity area, which can significantly — though temporarily — reduce the invested assets. “Therefore, in addition to the necessary risk capacity and risk tolerance, equity investors also need a multi-year investment plan,” Biland noted.


In terms of risk, investing in gold is similar to investing in stocks but, unlike stocks, “no long-term asset accumulation is to be expected”, Biland noted. And gold does not generate any returns, while savings interest rates could rise again.

However, “gold can make sense in a diversified portfolio as an addition to other investments”, he added.


Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are hot-button topics, but they are “a highly speculative investment”, according to Biland. The price fluctuations are immense and there are no signs that this could change in the future. Bitcoins should therefore “not even be seen as an investment, let alone as an alternative to cash or bank balances”.

READ ALSO: Switzerland leads the way as Bitcoin makes a return 

Real estate

Real estate can generate a higher dividend yield than other investments. “However, there are also major risks on the real estate market, particularly in Switzerland, such as bubbles or liquidity risks”, Biland said. But, like gold, real estate could make sense as part of a diversified investment portfolio.

Art or vintage cars

If you are considering investing in art objects, watches, vintage cars, and such, think again, Biland said. The lack of a regulated market is particularly problematic and “a very high level of specialist knowledge is required to make a purchase decision. Such items should, in the best case, make up a small proportion of a large fortune”.


You have to decide how much of a financial risk you are willing to take in order to grow your assets. If you are not totally risk-averse, then a diversified investment portfolio may be your cup of tea. Otherwise, stick to the traditional savings account, which will not yield you interest but at least your money will be safe — unless the bank goes bankrupt.

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For members


8 things you need to do after having a baby in Switzerland

The birth of a child is an exciting milestone for families. But in Switzerland it also requires you to complete a substantial amount of paperwork - all at a time when you're operating on minimal sleep. Here's what you need to know.

8 things you need to do after having a baby in Switzerland

The days and weeks after the birth of a child are a whirlwind of emotion, sleep deprivation, cooing, family visits, and nappy changes. Many nappy changes.

At the same time there is a huge amount of organisation that you have to get done.

The most important piece of advice that anyone can give is to get as much of the paperwork printed, filled out and ready to send off before your baby arrives.

You aren’t allowed to send any of it in until your child has been born, but you’ll likely find that you have precious little time or energy to cope with the mountain of admin coming your way afterwards.

Registering the birth

Every child born in Switzerland must be registered with the civil register office at the place of birth – and not at the baby’s future place of residence.

While your bundle of joy must be registered within three days of having landed on planet Earth, you needn’t worry. In Switzerland, the hospital, maternity clinic, or medical staff usually takes care of this formality for you. However, you will need to provide them with a few documents beforehand.

You will need to provide a proof of parental address, the parent’s or parents’ identity document(s), and your child’s birth certificate. The latter will be supplied by the hospital or doctor.

Should you wish to take care of your baby’s registration yourself, then know that you’re free to do so. You can also sign a power of attorney allowing someone of your choosing to register your child on your behalf. This is also the case for mothers who decide to have a home birth.

Registering your baby at the civil register office will also automatically mean your child is registered with the tax authorities and your (and the baby’s) place of residence.

Naming the baby

Understandably, in order to register a baby, you’ll have to come up with a name for your newborn and while you may think this isn’t such a big deal, in Switzerland it can prove tricky for the more modern-minded.

These days, it’s not just celebrities who seem to have a penchant for ruining their child’s life by bestowing him or her with an odd moniker. In Switzerland however, there are several rules about what you can – and cannot – name your child.

For instance, you may not give your child a name which will damage their well-being, nor can you give them one that is considered offensive or fit for a villain. So, Loki, Voldemort and Thanos are all not an option – sorry. You can read more on the rules surrounding baby names in Switzerland in The Local’s article on the topic:

EXPLAINED: Why so many baby names are banned in Switzerland

Before you draw inspiration from celebrities such as Rihanna who recently revealed her son’s unusual Wu-Tang Clan-inspired moniker RZA, or fellow musician Grimes, mother to son and daughter duo X Æ A-Xii and Exa Dark Sideræl – remember to double-check that your chosen name is in fact legal in Switzerland.

Pictured is a newborn baby.

Pictured is a newborn baby. Photo by Aditya Romansa on Unsplash

Apply for health insurance

In Switzerland, basic health insurance is mandatory even for the youngest among us.

Though it is generally recommended to register your baby with a health insurance prior to giving birth to save yourself the admin headache during recovery and bonding time, you can also take out health insurance after birth. You should do this no later than three months after welcoming your baby.

When taking health insurance out after birth, your baby will be insured retrospectively from their birth. This also means that the premiums must be paid retrospectively up to the entire month of birth.

You must also inform your own health insurance of your new arrival. Note that your baby does not have to be registered with the same health insurance as you or your partner.

Inform your employer

This is another one that you should do immediately – or on the first working day – after the birth.

For working mothers, Swiss laws on Mutterschutz dictates that they are not allowed to work for the first eight weeks after the birth and after that up to the 16th week only with their consent. As a mother you have the right to at least 14 weeks of paid maternity leave. During this time, mothers are entitled to 80 percent of their wage before birth in the form of a daily allowance.

This allowance is usually calculated from your earnings in the last month before the birth. If your income is irregular, the last 3 months before the birth or – in exceptional cases – a longer period of time is considered.

You are also protected against dismissal for up to 16 weeks after the birth.

A baby on ice

A baby on ice with winter clothes on. Photo by Jimmy Conover on Unsplash

Should you choose to get right back to work once your first eight weeks are up, you will no longer be entitled to compensation from that moment on.

Since January 1st 2021, working fathers are entitled to two weeks paternity leave including weekends, which equates to 10 days off work.

Find a paediatrician

In Switzerland, it is almost always recommended that you find a paediatrician before the birth, however, you are free to do so after the birth if you wish.

When deciding on a paediatrician for your child, it’s important to consider several factors, such as distance to the clinic. How easy is it to reach on foot? What about public transport links? Is there enough parking? Keep in mind that you will be travelling this journey with your child in the future.

Depending on where you live, you might have to call up quite a few paediatricians before you find one who has space. Your midwife can also help you with recommendations.

If you are spoilt for choice, it is always a good idea to prepare a few questions to ask the medical staff beforehand. Some clinics may respond quicker in times of emergency, while others may have better overall facilities, such as a lush waiting area.

Apply for family allowance 

All employeed people in Switzerland earning at least 597 francs a month can claim a so-called family allowance in order to at least partially compensate for the costs incurred by caring for children – no matter their nationality or type of residence permit they hold.

Those not working are also entitled to the benefits, unless their annual taxable income exceeds 43,020 francs.

The amount of this allowance is regulated by The Federal Act on Family Allowances (FamZG) according to which parents are entitled to a child allowance of at least 200 francs per child and month for children up to the age of 16. This amount can be higher in some cantons and with some employers and a so-called special allowance may be paid out on the birth of a child.

If a child is ill or disabled and therefore unable to work, child allowances are paid up to the age of 20.

Note that family allowances are not automatically paid out and you must apply for them even if you’re eligible.

READ MORE: What welfare benefits can you get if you have children in Switzerland?

Consider ordering a passport

If you are looking to travel abroad, you will have to apply for a passport for your baby in preparation for your trip – you cannot add them to your own identity document(s). Although a baby’s face is not yet as expressive as an adult’s and changes every other day, it still has some clearly visible features such as the shape of the eyes or position of the ears.

You can apply for your baby’s first passport using an online form and wait for the passport office in your canton of residence to invite you to have your child’s biometric data recorded.

Depending on the canton, you can also arrange this appointment by phone in which case you can also have your child’s identity card issued in combination with the passport.

The passport itself costs 60 francs for children or 68 francs (excluding postage) if you wish to combine it with an ID card.

Think about day-care spots

Last but not least, you might want to start thinking about securing a Kita spot for your child. In some major cities, day-care spots in childcare are more precious than gold, leading parents to start looking for a spot before the child has been born.

In Switzerland, municipalities recommend expected parents get in touch with a day-care of their choosing early in the pregnancy to avoid disappointment as waiting lists can be very long. You can enrol your baby by contacting the day-care facility directly, or by reaching out to the childcare services in your local municipality.