Swiss Life Select will not help your finances| Updated: |
(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)
I have already talked about the Swiss Life Select (SLS) company in the past. I paid for their services. And I consider it is one of my biggest budgeting mistakes. There are many reasons for that. Not only was paying for their services a mistake. But so was accepting some of the products they recommended. And I just thought a new thing that I find out about them. They screwed me over with bad insurance.
So I want to talk more about that. I do not want other people to make the same mistake as me. While this post is focused on SLS, it applies to most of all the financial advisors and insurance advisors you will be in contact with. They almost all have the same issues.
As a note, this only reflects my experience with Swiss Life Select. Maybe some other people had a better experience with them. And since you have a private advisor in the company, it is also possible that my bad experience is related to that.
So, let’s see what is wrong with that SLS offers you in this article! I hope that this does not come as too much of a rant. I made some bad choices by trusting these people, and I want people to avoid making the same mistake as me!
My experience with Swiss Life Select
First, it is essential to get some context. Two years ago, I had a much smaller knowledge of investing. And I was much less aware of what you can do for free. It is important. Now, I would simply laugh if I heard some of the things they recommended me at that time.
In 2016, I was contacted on the phone by Swiss Life Select to have an appointment and review my insurances, investments, retirement, and tax plans. Usually, they only contact you because somebody gives them your phone number. I am pretty sure I was contacted from a random phone list. But I cannot know for sure.
So, we settled on the appointment date. It lasted two or three hours, and we discussed my insurances, my retirement, and my investments. Mostly, it was an interesting discussion. But there were a lot of things I already knew. And they insisted on going slowly over everything. It was too long, honestly. But for people who do not know enough about these subjects, it may have been good.
After this, we settled on another appointment to review their offer. SLS proposed me several things:
- Change my car insurance for a cheaper one.
- Subscribe to legal insurance.
- Stop my TCS subscription because it is a duplicate of some of my car insurance policies.
- Invest in Swiss Life partner investment funds.
- Subscribe a second, third pillar life insurance
From the top of my head, that is all they proposed I do. I went on with the first three points. For the fourth point, they said they would contact me again later for this.
And the fifth point was just dumb! Even at that time, I knew this was not a good idea. I should have realized at that time that it was not a good deal altogether. A life insurance 3a is a very bad investment.
Now, we can get over the reasons why you do not need Swiss Life Select at all. And some of the reasons why you should avoid it!
You can get everything for free!
There is absolutely nothing that Swiss Life Select will offer you that you cannot get for free. Of course, it may take you a little time on your own. And you may have to do some research. But everything is out there. If you are serious about your insurances and your finances, you should do it yourself. In the long-term, you will be much better off if you do it by yourself rather than using the offer of people like Swiss Life Select.
SLS is supposedly helping you find cheap insurance. However, all the others are out there. You can easily compare different insurance policies and find the one that is the most affordable for the coverage you need.
Currently, the best free and independent website for comparing insurance policies is comparis.ch. Their website can compare many types of insurances and has many options. It works well. It is even faster than asking someone to check your insurance coverage for you. It is the best option for getting the best insurance. If you want, you can, of course, also do it yourself by asking an offer from each insurance provider you are interested in. But in that case, it will likely take you a lot of time.
If you want to compare different retirement strategies and third pillar investments, you also have many resources online. For instance, on this blog, I have discussed several third pillar alternatives. But, there are also resources such as moneyland.ch that can help you find what you need. All of this is for free. If you do your research well, you can find the best option for you.
SLS tries to sell you sub-par products
Not only can you find everything they do for free, but you can also actually find better options than what they offer. You should not forget that they are paid by the number of insurances they sell you. I think that different insurances offer different commissions. Therefore, they may not offer products from insurance that do not offer big commissions.
In my case, they recommended I change my car insurance for a cheaper one. I was happy with the recommendation, and I went with it. However, I found out afterward that this was not the most affordable option for my car. They also recommended I get legal insurance. I think this was a good idea. However, the insurance they recommended is significantly more expensive than other options. It took me a while to find out about that because I trusted their choice.
Another thing they recommended me is to invest in funds offered by their partner private bank, Pictet. I did not invest in them. But that is highly fortunate since they only have costly funds. They have mostly active funds with at least 0.7% of fees. Their funds are, by far, not the best investment funds there are.
SLS offers you bad contracts
When I met with them, they convinced me to take a legal insurance cover. I thought it would be a good idea. I still think it is a good idea. However, I made the mistake of trusting SLS in their choices, and I did not do my research.
It turns out that there are three issues with the legal insurance they made me take. First, it is way too much coverage for me. They made me take one million coverage insurance. I could have taken the minimum coverage, which is 250’000 CHF, and I would have been fine. Secondly, the insurance they offered me is not the cheapest there was. I found out later that they sold me medium price insurance. Finally, the contract they made me sign is bad. I cannot get out of this contract for many years. This contract is insane.
One could argue that I should never have signed. And I agree with that. It is mostly my fault. But these people are merely exploiting people who trust them. They should not be trusted! You should realize that they just want to sell you insurance to get referral fees! They are not acting for your sake.
They do not keep their promises
Another thing that I did not like with my interactions with Swiss Life Select is that they told me they would contact me again for more things that we did not have time to cover in our meeting. And they never did.
They were supposed to offer me some investment opportunities with their partner, the private bank Pictet. They were also supposed to contact me again to do an evaluation of opportunities for my taxes. For both of these, they never contacted me back. I guessed that since they already had my money, they did not care so much anymore.
To be honest, I do not care about that anymore. The investment funds they would have advised would have been strictly worse than passive index funds. However, I am a believer in doing the things one says. But I may be a bit old school on that.
Overall, I think that Swiss Life Select (SLS) does not offer anything that you cannot get for free. Moreover, what they offer is not optimal. You can generally find better options by doing the research yourself.
Most of the reasons highlighted in this article apply to most financial advisors. It is essential to remember that those people work for commissions money. Even if you do not need it, they will want to sell you new insurances and new products. And these products may even be worse than alternatives you could have found yourself had you needed them.
Now, I may be a bit biased since these people have had me. Most of the fault is mine. So I hope this post does not come as too much of a rant. But it does feel good to write this! And I hope that other people will not make the same mistake as me!
What do you think? Do you have any experience with bad financial advisors?
Download this e-book and optimize your finances and save money by using the best financial services available in Switzerland!Download The FREE e-book
26 thoughts on “Swiss Life Select will not help your finances”
Thanks for your post. I have just started an engineer position in Switzerland and was looking for some help with insurance. I have just been introduced to a SLS advisor and had a meeting with him this morning. He introduced me the whole system, and I was very doubtful with the part about contacting friends. He then made me signed a contract without plainfully describing the terms, I shouldn’t have signed it but I still did. It seems that by signing it, I have asked them to do an audit for me to the price of 295 CHF.
Now that I have read your article, I will be very careful with the continuation of our collaboration (as it is called in the contract). Since I have paid for this audit, I will probably let them do it and see precisely what they offer, while being extremely careful about what I will sign from now on. I do hope that I had read this before this morning though.
The contract itself is not too bad, it’s just a fee to get their “advice”. Their advice is probably less valuable.
Indeed, be very careful about what they offer. Be especially careful if they recommend life insurance 3a.
Thanks for sharing!
I made a deal with a Swiss Life advisor when i came in Switzerland. He only offered me the third pillar (3a). I accepted making 200 CHF monthly contributions for around 250 yearly fee. That would make around 8000 CHF in fees and around 20 000 CHF in missed interest gains (with an avarage market performance) until my retirement. If I invested the money myself. I dont think it’s that bad of an offer but not optimal for sure. What do you think?
I also started investing individually recently and i have to say – your blog is very helpful, thank you. Bought into some ETFs and I really enjoy it. I’m abit concerned about dealing with the divident taxes but I saw you covered that so I’ll take a look at your topic at later.
The 250 yearly fee is the fee of the advisor? It seems reasonable for a financial advisor.
What could be worse is the fund they made you invest in your third pillar. How much is the fee of the fund?
The dividend taxes is only painful to do that first year, after that it gets easier.
Hi, I have read many of your posts but wish I had read this one before being introduced and signing a contract with a Swiss Life “financial advisor.” I was recommended by a friend and naively thought SL would help me navigate all these new insurance options as a recent transplant from the States. Instead I was encouraged to share all my financial info, invest in a 3rd pillar, and tack on lots of insurance I didn’t even know existed. Also every document, including the contracts, were in French, and I know zero French… I am embarrassed and also mad I was so trustworthy and signed documents I did not understand. I hope other new ex-pats also avoid Swiss Life — the anxiety and stress it caused me and the bullying I received from the “advisor” has put such a negative light on my time in Switzerland. Please avoid this company, yes they just want commission and your money.
Sorry to hear about your experience. It’s unfortunately a very common experience. They are not here to help, they are here to collect.
Good luck cleaning up your financial products!
Hey, I recently moved from another EU country to Switzerland. I took the quote for health insurance and liability insurance myself online but signed via agent since he agreed to do the taxes for me in return. However, the agent is asking me to invest in the third pillar via SwissLife, reading from your blog, I think I should avoid this agent? I do not speak any other language other than English.
Unfortunately, most agents will try to make you invest in expensive third pillars. That’s just how they make money. It’s sad but you cannot trust them to make you save money. Just tell him you will invest in the third pillar (good advice) but not in Swisslife. You should check Finpension 3a or VIAC.
Thanks for your advice and time.
Thank you for writing this blog. This is really helpful. I am an expat and was looking for a 3rd pillar for tax savings purposes. Then an agent from Swiss life also manipulated us with promises that’s why we took a 3a life insurance with guaranteed value plus investment. He did not show us the surrender value table where the company is saying that it is part of what we have signed. Anyway, I am thinking to cancel but i will loose 7,000 chf. I am the sole breadwinner and have two children… for life insurance alone there are more cheaper alternatives in my country The Philippines. We are going back by end of January next year and the 3a will be converted to 3b. I also asked to pay the minimum premium of 175 chf per month. But still, I am not happy with the guaranteed amount. I feel that every month I can loose money if I continue. I still have 27 years to pay before the expiry of the contract.
Would you advice us to continue the 3b life insurance with them or cancel and forget the 7,000 chf?
Sorry to hear about that!
If you are going back to Philippines, it means you won’t get the tax advantages of the life insurance, which makes it even worse.
So, yes, I would cancel it. It’s a big loss, I know, but you will be happy in 27 years with the amount accumulated, in the meantime. And if you feel you need life insurance, you can simply take a better and cheaper policy, in your country.
I have heard several people being able to negotiate better surrender values when canceling the contract earlier, you may try that but I have no experience with it.
Thanks for stopping by!
P.S. No need to post twice, your comments are there, they just need to be moderated by me ;)
My policy can be switched from 3a to 3b.
Their advice is to switch when I go back and have the minimum premium only. This will be like a retirement fund and the life insurance is just added benefit. But want I don’t like is the level minimum guaranteed amount, although they say I could benefit from income and bonus of my investment. Is converting to 3B a wise move?
Are you planning to retire in Switzerland or in the Philippines? If in Switzerland, you may consider keeping it, although it’s already not a great option. But if you are planning for the Philippines, you should consider selling it.
Thanks for stopping by!
Yep lowering the fees to like 150 or whatever else they accept and then paying the full year of fees 12*150=1800 for the new contract and aditionally the three months I already paid for the old contract which would save me around 450 compared to the 3000 which I would need to pay if I cancel the old contract straight away.
At the end of the day I do not come around of paying the fees but at least perhaps I lower them a bit.
Can you mabye explain why you think “Subscribe a second third pillar life insurance.” is a dumb idea? Because they proposed a second one?
Yes, they proposed that I take a second third pillar life insurance.
They only wanted the commission on that life insurance.
Even though a life insurance could make sense if you are the sole breadwinner, having two does not make any sense. Having a third pillar in a bank account is much better.
Does that answer your question?
Thanks for stopping by!
Thank you very much for your answer.
Unfortunantely I was also financially adviced by Swiss Life Select… The only product I took from them was the third pillar insurance for a 250 monthly fee with investments in equities with no guaranteed return. I though that the long investment period will cover the losses.
My thoughs were that I invest the other 300 in maybe two seperate third pillar bank accounts with lower risks obviously.
But you sound like you would not recommend at all?
Sorry the last sentence should mean “But you sound like you would not recomment insurances at all?”
It’s still possible that the long investment period will cover some losses. It won’t be as great as a VIAC account, but it could be good.
Your solution is good, keep investing in the third pillar life insurance as well as two third pillars.
Now, if you just started investing in the life insurance, you may consider breaking the contract. You will probably lose some money but if it’s early, it’s not a deal-breaker.
I think there are cases where a life insurance makes sense. For instance, it makes sense if your significant other is not working and would be in trouble if you were not working. But for most people, it’s actually not that great.
Do this make any sense? It’s a bit disorganized.
Yes unfortunately if I cancel the contract I will lose about CHF 3000 because they wrote in the areement that I’m only able to cancel the contract if I pay the first year worth of fees.
The only option I came up with is to ask them to lower the fees as much as possible and a new contract is set up and I pay them the total amount of fees for the new contract which might save me a few hundert bucks instead of cancelling the current contract immediately.
Sorry to hear that it’s expensive to cancel. But it’s great that you found an option to make it less expensive!
What do you mean lower the fees? Do you mean the monthly contribution?
Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for sharing your experience.
Something similar happened to me in Germany with an advisor (a “Berater”). I got a pension plan in which I had to pay 6% upfront, 2.5%/year TER, and no tax discount (!). What did they do? They just bought an MSCI World ETF. When I found out that I could do it myself x10 times cheaper, I cancelled it inmediately.
We have to spread the word. Beware of advisors.
Anyway, I want to be positive. Thanks to that bad experience I am now pursuing Financial Independence!
Comparis verschafft dir sicher eine gute Orientierung im Versicherungsdschungel. Dennoch sind sie nicht unabhängig. Comparis wird von den Versicherungsgesellschaften bezahlt. Deswegen sehen wir nie ALLE Anbieter dort.
I would prefer comments in English.
Yes, that is right, Comparis is not entirely independent. However, it is the best comparator available out there. And they are much more independent than SLS will ever be.
We have to be careful of everything on the internet.
Thanks for stopping.
Do you have an alternative that works?
For health insurance there’s https://www.priminfo.admin.ch/de/uebersicht, but I don’t know of any other options for other insurances. I assume other Websites such as bonus.ch or verivox.ch also benefit from provisions they receive from insurance industry.
Thanks for the link, I did not know this!
Personally, I am still using comparis, but I am also checking offers directly on the websites. I would also think that most, if not all, of these websites, receive bonuses from the insurance companies.
I would still trust their data, especially if they all converge to the same offer.
Thanks for stopping by!