Early retirement in Switzerland is possible for any reason. However, such a decision is not without consequences in terms of pension and social insurance. In this type of situation, the acquisition of a third pillar provides greater pension security.
Switzerland has a pension system which is based on three pillars, namely the 1st pillar consisting of the AHV and IV, the 2nd pillar which is the occupational pension scheme and the 3rd pillar (A or B). From a tax point of view, the third pillar is an extremely interesting way of reducing the tax burden. The tax rules are set out in the Ordinance on Tax Deductions for Contributions to Recognised Forms of Pension Provision.
Finally, Pillar 3a assets are not subject to wealth tax, and the income they generate is free of income and withholding tax. On the other hand, withdrawals from pillar 3 are subject to separate and privileged tax treatment, in the form of a lump-sum tax corresponding to the amount that would normally be paid in one year on such income.
Pillar 3a and Pillar 3b
Pillar 3a: tied individual pension provision open to both employees and self-employed persons. Payments are deductible from taxable income up to a maximum limit. This is a form of tied pension provision, which means that the credit balance is only available under certain conditions.
Pillar 3b: individual free (or "untied") pension provision, open to all. There is no ceiling on payments. However, Pillar 3b has fewer tax advantages than Pillar 3a.
In the field of occupational pension provision, the law (LOB) does not envisage early retirement. The regulations of the pension fund may, however, foresee that the entitlement to old-age benefits arises from the day on which the gainful activity ends (Article 13 LOB).
It is therefore necessary to familiarise yourself with the regulations of the pension fund to which you are affiliated in order to find out whether such an eventuality exists. If this is the case, it is necessary to find out the consequences of such an anticipation, either from your employer or directly from the occupational benefits fund. If this possibility is offered to the member, it should be borne in mind that since the entry into force of the 3rd part of the BVG revision (tax provisions) on January the 1st, 2006, a purchase must be made more than three years before retirement.
At the same time, it would be advisable to ask the pension fund whether its regulations provide for the granting of a bridging pension, a temporary additional payment sometimes also referred to as an "AHV Bridge".
Early retirement in terms of occupational pension provision is often possible, but it has costs and consequences that need to be carefully analysed before a decision is taken. Once the decision has been taken, it will be difficult to change it without harming the beneficiary.
This is why the establishment of a 3rd pillar will offer you more flexibility for the comfort of your retirement. The conditions for early retirement will depend on the type of 3rd pillar you have chosen. For a linked 3rd pillar (pillar 3a), it is only possible to withdraw your savings early if you leave Switzerland or become self-employed. Otherwise, you will have to wait up to 5 years before reaching retirement age. In the case of a free third pillar (pillar 3b), the savings can be withdrawn at any time and without reason. Finally, these savings can also be converted into a pension over a fixed period of time in order to supplement the AHV/AVS pension.
In conclusion, an employee or self-employed person would be well advised to set up a 3rd pillar for his future retirement, which will allow him to live more comfortably.