Where Can I Find Information about the Status of My Three Pillars?
It is not very easy for people who recently started living and working in Switzerland to keep an overview of their pension status. The AHV and pension fund statement provides important information about the status of your three pillars.
At the start of the year, the mailbox is overflowing: In addition to the tax return, various account statements and receipts for donations arrive in people's homes. Employed people also receive their personal pension fund statements. Some will throw these into the recycling bin without a second glance. But that is not a good idea, because the pension fund statement contains a lot of important information about one's own future: It shows insurance benefits in case of death and disability, as well as how much money you will receive as a pension after you retire.
First Pillar: AHV
Pension provision in Switzerland is based on three pillars. The state pension is called "Old Age and Survivor's Insurance / Disability Insurance" (AHV/IV). It forms the first pillar and is the same for everyone who works in Switzerland. In your individual account, the compensation office records how much money you personally pay in and how much money your employer pays in. It also enters your gainful employment income. The pensions are later calculated based on these entries. If you want to check whether all contributions were paid into your account without gaps, you can order an account statement from the compensation office at any time, free of charge.
The account statement lists all income, contribution periods, and credits for time spent caring for relatives. These three factors form the basis for calculating the old age, survivor's, or disability pension. In addition, the account statement shows any contribution gaps. The maximum contribution period for men is 44 years. For women it is 43 years. A full contribution year exists if:
- You were employed.
- Your employed husband or wife paid in double the minimum contribution.
- You receive parenting credits or credits for time spent caring for relatives.
Second Pillar: Pension Fund
For many people in Switzerland, the pension fund (second pillar) is the most important part of retirement provision. This is because both the employee and the employer pay into the pension fund. So after a couple of decades, a large part – if not the largest part – of one's personal assets are in the pension fund account. The annual pension statement that you receive from your pension fund gives you detailed information about your personal pension status.
Third Pillar: Voluntary Pension Provision
The third pillar offers you the chance to voluntarily pay into a special pension account with a bank in order to improve your personal situation after retirement. If you like, you can also invest the money in special securities solutions. The annual maximum amount that you can pay into the 3a account is determined by the Federal Councilor and can be deducted from taxes.
Keep Hold of All Documents
Due to the many different pension funds, there is no universal pension statement in Switzerland, but rather many different statements. Some only contain a few basic pieces of information. Others are very detailed. Whatever your personal statement looks like, it is important that you read all of the information carefully and safely store all of the pension documents for the three pillars - 1. old age and survivor's insurance / disability insurance (AHV/IV), 2. pension fund, and 3. private pension provision.
Please note that the forecasts are based on your current assets and your current age. If your salary increases, your pension fund assets could be higher at the end than you currently expect.