A few of the benefits of growing old(er) in Switzerland

Pensioners have many benefits in Switzerland
Retired seniors can have a sweet life in Switzerland, especially looking at views like this one, above Zug in central Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Despite its high cost of living, which makes it difficult  for some people to make their ends meet, Switzerland is a good place to spend the proverbial “golden years”. Here are some of the perks Swiss seniors can enjoy.

What exactly is considered “old” in Switzerland? Age is all in the mind and if you don’t mind it, it doesn’t matter.

But just as a point of reference, in the context of this article “old” means post-retirement age, though many people in this age bracket don’t feel, or think of themselves, as “old”.

Men in Switzerland retire at 65 and women at 64.

Even though the retirement age for women was raised to 65 in June 2021 — to start going into effect from 2023 — it still lower than in some other European countries, such as Italy, Iceland, Norway and Greece, where people stop working at 67.

This means people in Switzerland are still relatively young when they retire — after all, according to one piece of common wisdom, 60 is the new 40 — so  they can enjoy many perks in their later years.

And there are quite a few benefits for Swiss pensioners, as international studies show. For instance, in one survey which ranked 44 countries in terms of health, quality of life, and finances in retirement, Switzerland came in the second place.

These are some of the benefits for older people in Switzerland.

Longer, healthier lives

Switzerland regularly comes up on top (or close to it) in life expectancy studies, with women expected to live until 83.8 years of age and men until 81.9.

Although it ranked in the fourth place globally in one such study by World Population Review, it was first among European nations.

The main reasons for the the country’s high life expectancy, are “wealth, a sense of well-being, and healthy diet”, the study found.

However, In 2020, a year marked by Covid, life expectancy at birth fell to 81.0 for men and 85.1 for women  in Switzerland — a decline of 0.9 and 0.5 years, respectively.

READ MORE: Biggest fall since WWII: How Covid slashed life expectancy in Switzerland

Sense of well-being

According to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Switzerland performs very well  — and better than many other countries — in many categories relating to well-being of its people, including pensioniers.

The country ranks above the average not only in income and wealth, but also inhealth status, social connections, environmental quality, housing and personal security.

Pension system    

The goal of Switzerland’s three-pillar pension is to allow retirees to retain their previous lifestyle in old age, or if they incur a disability. 

While individual pensions vary, the general rule is that those who worked full time for 44 years should receive enough income in social security and pension benefits each month to live comfortably for the rest of their lives.

READ MORE: How does the Swiss pension system work – and how much will I receive?

Health care

Switzerland has one of the best and most accessible health care systems in the world (even if it is among the most expensive too).

This means high-quality medical care is available to everyone, which becomes even more important as people grow older.

High standard of living

Switzerland and Swiss cities are regularly ranked among the best places to live in the world, scoring highly on criteria such as personal safety, cleanliness, and good infrastructure — all of which are important for seniors.

Social support network

Vast majority —  96 percent — of Swiss residents say they have at least one person they could rely on in a time of need.

This strong sense of community — which is higher in Switzerland than the OECD average — is important as people get older, as it prevents the sense of loneliness and isolation common in old age.

Public transportation

As people age, many don’t like to (or can’t) drive anymore, especially long distances.

Switzerland has an extensive and reliable public transportation system, which can take people practically everywhere from point A to point B.

Sports and fitness

Among the reasons seniors in Switzerland are healthy, live longer, and enjoy their lives is that they stay physically active well into their old age.

The country’s stunning landscape and nature make it easy to for people of all ages to maintain healthy habits.

Seniors on bikes, skis, and hiking trails are a common sight. In fact, they often seem to have more energy and stamina than their younger counterparts.

Leisure and culture

“Senior discount” is commonplace in Switzerland, allowing people to get cheaper movie tickets or pay less for entrance to museums, galleries, and other venues.

Many other places also offer reductions based purely on proof of age.

With all that, it’s easy to enjoy getting older in Switzerland.

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