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No country is perfect. You can relate to that in your own country. It is the same for me and Switzerland. While I like Switzerland and plan to spend all my life here, there are some things I do not like about it. This article discusses the five things I hate the most about Switzerland.
I am not about to leave Switzerland, and I hope I will never have to. I also wrote about the things I love about Switzerland! There are more things I like than things I hate. But I think it is essential to realize that no country is perfect. Some things should be improved in Switzerland.
Of course, these things will probably differ from one person to another. I know that some people like some things from my list. Please tell me what you do not like about Switzerland in the comment!
1. Health insurance system is crazy
In Switzerland, health insurance is mandatory.
That means every Swiss people is insured for health issues. The idea is excellent, but the execution is not great at all.
First of all, it is incredibly expensive. I am using the highest deductible (2500 CHF) and paying 235 monthly for my insurance. I still have to pay the first 2500 CHF if something happens yearly. I have never got anything from my insurance in the last five years. I paid 10’000 CHF for insurance and about 4000 CHF for health fees.
One of the reasons it is so expensive is that people that do not use it pay for people who are using it too much. Some people go to the doctor if they have a slight fever. And that drives up the cost of health for everybody. Health insurance should only be mandatory for big things. It should not cover a simple cold.
Second, it is getting more expensive every year. In 2014, I was paying 209 CHF for my insurance. It is a 12% increase over four years. This is much more than inflation in Switzerland. Again, mainly because people are abusing the system. And another problem is that the cheapest insurance is never the same yearly. So you should change your health insurance each year. The system encourages you to change frequently.
And this is also a business for insurance advisors. You can change your insurance until one month before the end of the year. By the end of the year, advisors will try to call you many times to make you change insurance.
And they rarely offer you the cheapest insurance. Since it is mandatory, it should be the same state insurance for every person in Switzerland. But when the Swiss people voted about that, they said no (to my distress…).
The fact that everybody has health insurance is good. But mandatory health insurance should only cover important things (not a damn cold…). And it should be the same insurance for everybody. And it should be managed by the state.
To avoid this issue, you should read my health insurance guide.
2. The Serafe tax is nonsense
This is probably the single thing that I despise the most about Switzerland.
The Serage (previous Billag) tax is here to pay for Swiss Radio and Television. I do not have anything against this.
But I do not watch TV, and I do not listen to the radio. I do not even have TV channels at home. I only watch TV Shows and Movies. No need to waste time with advertisements. And in my case, I much enjoy my music and not the crap that is generally the current music fashion. I do not understand popular music these days.
The problem is that even if you do not consume Swiss Radio or TV, you must pay the Serafe tax. This is nonsense. The tax is 365 CHF per year. Entirely wasted. And the worse is that we could have changed this.
In 2018, we had to vote to cancel this tax. The Swiss people refused to let go of a tax. We like paying taxes in Switzerland, it seems!
The only good thing about this vote is that the tax was reduced to 365 CHF in 2019. Still too much, but a small saving nevertheless.
3. Real Estate in Switzerland is overpriced
I am not fond of Switzerland Real Estate.
Houses are costly. In my region, you rent a four-bedroom villa for about 2000 CHF. You can buy it for at least 600’000 CHF. And these are the lowest price here. And my region is not very expensive compared to some parts of Switzerland. That is already a price-to-rent ratio of 25, which is considered high.
Some regions and cities have much higher price-to-rent ratios. There is another big issue with owning a house in Switzerland. Even if you live in your house, you pay a tax as if you were getting rent out of it. It does not make sense. No wonders Switzerland is one of the countries with the lowest number of homeowners. The only advantage is that home loans are currently very low.
Even renting is very expensive here. And what I dislike the most is that most owners are protected. The rental leases are highly binding. You can only change to a new apartment on set dates around twice a year. And you have to pay a big guarantee for the rent.
In Switzerland, rent price is indexed to a reference interest rate. If the reference goes down, rents should go down. But you have to ask for a reduction yourself. It means hundreds of thousands of people are paying too much because they never ask for a reduction in rent. I can guarantee that once the reference goes up, all the rents will go up without asking for it…
Overall, renting and buying a house in Switzerland is very expensive. And even with very low interest rates, buying a house in Switzerland is not a very good investment. I do not think it is a smart investment move to buy a house in Switzerland for living in. It is another story if it is the only way to live exactly where you want. And if you buy to rent to other people, it could be interesting. I am not entirely set on this subject. I do not like the current state of real estate in Switzerland.
4. Swiss Public Transportation is too expensive
I hate the Swiss Public Transportation system. I did not realize this until I went to other countries. It is not the worse quality, for sure. But the price is insane. It is not public transportation. It is rich transportation.
Going from my home to the city center costs 7.60 CHF. It is only a 20 minutes trip. And if I want to go back, I have to pay it again. No return ticket… Come on! Trains are even more expensive. A return ticket from my city (Fribourg) to Geneva costs 84 CHF! That is one hour and a half train. If you do not have an all-inclusive subscription, it is always better to take your car.
I am not the only one thinking like this. I have discussed this issue with many of my friends. They all think the same. If you live outside of a city, you must have a car. It is pointless to take public transportation. Even driving to the airport and paying for the parking for your car for several days is cheaper than going by train.
I have tried public transportation in Paris, Berlin, the US, and China. Everywhere it is better than in Switzerland. Our buses are changed way too regularly. But who cares if the bus has new seats every year? If I could pay five times less and take a bus that was 20 years old, I would!
Another big problem, in my opinion, is the train company SBB/CFF. Before, it was a public company from the state. Now it is a private company but principally owned by the state. So the state is forcing the company to make a profit for the state. In many other countries, the state is financing public transportation to be public.
And things get even more expensive when you have several people. When you have two or more people, a car is always cheaper, even factoring in the parking.
So yes, trains are always on time. Yes, they are generally clean and comfortable. But the price you pay for this premium is just insane. Everybody wants you to take public transportation, but nobody wants to lower its price…
5. Swiss Banks are not great
Most foreigners are aware of Swiss banks. They have been known to be a tax haven for many years. However, this is not entirely true anymore. This makes most foreigners think that Swiss banks are great. But they are not. The Swiss bank offer is quite poor. Fees are high, and interests are low.
For many years, Swiss bonds have even had a negative interest rate. The best interest rate you can currently get in Switzerland in savings accounts is 1.5%, but only under certain conditions. Awesome, right? Even third pillar accounts (retirement accounts) have incredibly low interests.
And the offer for credit cards is not very great either. They offer a very low bonus or very high fees. When you compare it with the US, it is a joke.
Only my emergency fund is in a bank account. If I find a better-yielding account, I will switch to another bank. If they start with a negative interest rate, I will invest most of it to avoid the negative yield.
And this is not the only problem with Swiss banks. Most of them have not evolved in a long time. They have bad applications, very long transfer times, and such.
Over recent years, there have been some good changes. Today, the best banks are more digital than ever.
These are the things I hate the most about Switzerland. The public transportation system is probably what I dislike the most about Switzerland. It is simply way too expensive. It is too fancy. I am also very vocal against the Billag tax. It is probably the bill I hate paying the most every year because I pay for it even if I do not use any of the services it finances.
As for real estate and the health insurance system, it is too expensive. Compared to many countries, becoming a house owner in Switzerland is tough. And finally, Swiss banks have an international reputation, but they do not offer anything good to ordinary citizens. They are just rich banks for the rich.
However, these things are far from enough to make me dislike Switzerland. I like living in Switzerland a lot. I like the mountains, the lakes, the calm, the chocolate, the cheese, and many other things. However, I wish these five things could be improved. If you are interested, you can also read about the 11 things I love about Switzerland.
Do you agree with me? Is there something else you hate about Switzerland?
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