dog and girl

What is better than taking your future into your own hands?

Do you already have the path for your financial future laid out? Or are you still unsure about where you're heading? We can blaze a trail through the jungle of the three-pillar system for you: Come and discover new perspectives with us.

Find your way through the retirement provision jungle

The landscape of Swiss retirement provisions used to be well-organized: One path straight as an arrow took people from their apprenticeship to retirement. The sky was not the limit, but the direction was clear.

Today, the world has become more complex – you can do far more to control the course of your life and may actually have to find your very own path. At the same time, the three-pillar system of government, occupational and private retirement provisions is increasingly turning into a jungle. We'll accompany you on your journey and bring light into the depths of the jungle.

1st pillar – your challenge

The system of government retirement provision is almost 80 years old. A lot has changed since then. Above all, we are becoming much older than people back then. Those who turn 90 today have drawn a pension for 25 years. Can that still be financed?

2nd pillar – your challenge

Did you know? Occupational retirement provisions probably represent the majority of your assets for retirement. But this pillar has also become outdated and should be reformed to enable you to live without financial worries later on.

3rd pillar – your challenge

Since you can no longer rely on the first and second pillars alone, you should take charge of your financial future – via a private retirement provision. But how does that work? And how do you find the solution that really suits you and your lifestyle?

Your life – your decisions

I want to make provisions for my future and save on taxes.

Your options

  • You can save in the third pillar, e.g. with securities.
  • You can pay additional money into your pension fund.
  • You can insure your family and yourself against serious illness or death.

I want to finance residential property.

Your options

  • You can draw on money from your pillar 3a.
  • You may be able to use money from your pension fund.
  • You can insure your mortgage – so that you have the option to remain in your home, even in the event of an accident or illness.

I may want to retire earlier.

Your options

  • You can get a clearer picture of your personal situation in a consultation.
  • You can find out whether early retirement is a viable option for you.
  • You can accurately cover any financial gaps you may have.

To be specific: this is how you can save for retirement

If you invest the price of a coffee in your third pillar every day from the age of 30, you will have saved around CHF 100,000 at retirement thanks to compound interest.
If you are no longer able to work, for example due to illness, there will be a large gap in your household budget. For as little as CHF 5 per day, you can insure yourself and your family to guarantee the standard of living that you are accustomed to.

If you work in a 60% part-time job from the age of 35*, you will have CHF 156,000 missing from your pension fund when you retire. You can make up for this with as little as CHF 10 per day.

*with an average salary in the Canton of Zurich

Whether it's a round-the-world trip or early retirement, it's never too late to save for old age. With just CHF 10 per day, you can put aside almost CHF 40,000 extra for your retirement between the ages of 55 and 65.
With occupational retirement provision employees save for their old age for 40 years. The Vita Joint Foundations and Zurich offer sustainable, fair and transparent pension solutions for you and your employees.

Current studies confirm: knowledge is worth more than gold

Women and retirement provision - more knowledge for equal opportunities

  • Almost 80% of women grade their financial knowledge as mediocre to very poor.
  • 48% of men, but only 32% of women invest their personal savings with a yield orientation.
  • 61% of the full-time employed pay into pillar 3a - among the part-time employed this is only 48% although this would be especially worthwhile for them.

More about the study


  • 57% are not aware that for many people the greater part of their assets is to be found in the pension fund.
  • 50% of employed people regard the contributions to the 2nd pillar as a kind of tax or fee. Why? Because they are deducted directly from the salary. 
  • Only 22% of people ask about this at the job interview: yet occupational retirement provision plays a major role for income in old age.

More about the study

Interaction of the three pillars

What does the first pillar do?

Government retirement provision (OASI/IV/EO)

Together with the old age, surviving dependants' and disability insurance (OASI/IV), governmental retirement provision forms the first pillar in the Swiss retirement provision system. The goal of the first pillar is to protect the existence minimum for pensioners, the disabled and surviving dependants. If the benefits from OASI and IV are insufficient for existential protection, the person involved in addition receives supplementary benefits. The first pillar is financed on a pay-as-you-go basis. This means gainfully employed and employers pay monthly contributions with which current pensions are paid out. 

The following are insured:  

  • everyone who lives and works in Switzerland 
  • people who work in Switzerland but live abroad 
  • people who live in Switzerland, but do not engage in any gainful employment (e.g. students, housewives/-men, the disabled and early pensioners) 

More information

What does the second pillar cover?

Occupational retirement provision (BVG)

Together with the first pillar, occupational retirement provision is intended to protect your standard of living in old age, disability or death. Employees and employers contribute to the second pillar, usually in equal shares (so-called equal share financing). By contrast with the first pillar, each insured party saves and earns interest on their own retirement capital – however, 56 percent of the Swiss population is unaware of this. They do not include their pension fund savings in their own assets. Yet for many people, this is the greatest portion of their assets. 

All employees with an OASI annual salary of more than CHF 21,510 are subject to mandatory insurance for the risks of disability and death from January 1 after turning 17. Retirement benefits are also insured from January 1 after turning 24. The following can take out voluntary insurance: the self-employed, those with an annual salary under CHF 21,510 and those with several employers.  

More information

Redistribution in the second pillar: What does this involve?

Occupational retirement provision is the most important retirement provision pillar. But it has for long been faced with major challenges. There are three reasons for this: In the first place, people are becoming much older than in the years when occupational retirement provision was created. Secondly, a low interest rate level has existed for more than ten years, leading to the investment of retirement assets generating much lower returns. Therefore, interest as «third contribution provider» along with employees and employers is no longer fit for purpose. Thirdly, the rigid statutory requirements result in excessive guarantees – in the form of conversion rates that are too high and unrealistic interest rate promises. The consequence: A financing gap for pensions has arisen that is not so easy to close. Retirement provision institutions have to finance these with a considerable portion of the investment returns of the employed and redistribute investment earnings in favor of the retired. Find out how much this redistribution affects you and what can be done to counter it.  

More information

Can I make an early withdrawal of my retirement capital in the second pillar or top it up?

Early withdrawal of second pillar retirement capital 

Your pension fund assets belong to you, but they can only be withdrawn early, i.e. before retirement, in three special cases: If you want to acquire residential property, become self-employed or leave Switzerland for good.  

More information

Purchase potential in the second pillar

Many people have contribution gaps in their retirement provision – because they studied a long time, lived abroad or took a maternity break. Many are not even aware of this. Even a salary increase also has the potential to adjust the insurance benefit to the new salary retrospectively. Those who pay in additional money can compensate for their contribution gaps, improve the retirement benefit and at the same time reduce their tax burden. This is because the purchase sum can be deducted directly from the taxable income in your tax declaration. The current purchasing potential is given in the pension certificate. Since almost all pension funds operate under the so-called defined contribution principle, purchases to increase the future retirement pension have become more important. 

What potential does the third pillar have?

Personal retirement provision enables you to reduce the difference between your current and future income and close retirement provision gaps. You can deduct your contributions to pillar 3a up to a particular amount from taxable income. A life insurance not only enables you to save for retirement, but also protects against life risks such as disability and death as well as closing retirement provision gaps. Normally, you only have access to the money saved upon retirement. There are a few exceptions, such as financing self-used residential property or self-employment. 

What life risks can I cover with the third pillar?

Those who rely exclusively on the first and second pillars are threatened by income gaps – not just in retirement, but also in the event of the life risks of disability and death. 

Disability: Those with long-term illnesses or even disabled must expect clear losses, depending on the situation. These losses can be covered by personal disability insurance. 

Protecting your partner or family in the event of death is also important, e.g. to enable them to continue to live in the customary location. Depending on the situation, benefits from the first and second pillar only flow to a limited extent. Life partner couples are worse off in our retirement provision system. The lump-sum death benefit from risk life insurance can then represent an important safety cushion for surviving dependants. 

How can I achieve my savings goals?

Our tips: 

  • Take a look at your wage certificate: Your current wage certificate or pension fund certificate provides you with a lot of important information about your current retirement provision status. Our customer advisors would be glad to explain the numbers to you. This will give you a solid basis for further planning. 
  • Draw up a budget: Note all income and expenses per month/per year. Also deliberately financially plan for vacations, hobbies or purchases, and create reserves for the unexpected. This will tell you how much money you have left for saving. 
  • Plan for the future: What wishes and dreams would you still like to fulfill – and what would it cost? Saving is much easier with a clear goal in front of you. 
  • Benefit from retirement provision planning: Our experts would be glad to advise you free of charge and without strings. 
Woman and man

Women and retirement provisions: How to get more out of your savings

Women are more likely to have gaps in their retirement provisions than men, which puts them at higher risk of financial hardship in old age, as shown by a new study from the research institute Sotomo.
Woman, man and piggy bank

Make your retirement provision a priority!

The money from the 2nd pillar, the pension fund, is often the largest component of your income in old age. To ensure good protection, each and every one of us should know as precisely as possible how much money will flow from which pillar. This enables us to plan for the future and close any gaps.
Two women look at a document

Good retirement provision for part-time employment too

Children or career? Today, both are possible – the world has become far more flexible and part-time employment far more widespread.
Marriage or common-law partnerships

Marriage or common-law partnerships: Who gets the best deal?

As soon as two people are co-habiting, they are living in a common-law partnership. A couple in a common-law partnership, however, does not enjoy the same protection as a married couple. We explain why.
Mother and daughter doing yoga on sofa

denly disabled – what now?

In the case of disability due to illness financial losses of 30 to 40% of your previous income are nothing unusual. This doesn't have to be the case.
Happy family at the beach

5 reasons for choosing term life insurance

Death changes everything in one stroke – suddenly a father, sister or husband is gone. The emotional pain is difficult enough. Why compound it with financial worries?
plant earth

Are you a woman working part-time? Take charge of your future now!

Do you work part-time?  Then it's particularly important that you have a clear strategy for your financial future. We can show you what is needed. 
Girl dog

Protection here and now – and in the future

Your protection for the future is very important, but so is your protection in the here and now - for example, with Zurich Car Insurance: with us, the best service comes along with it. Thanks to our Zurich Help Points, we're always close by, with free replacement cars and fast repairs including a lifetime warranty.