What women should know about their pensions.

Answers to the most frequently asked questions about retirement provisions.

Women run a high risk of not making enough provisions for old age. This is because maternity leave and working part-time can give rise to pension gaps and financial hardship in later life. Hence, women should look into their pensions as early as possible.

What does the term “retirement provision” actually mean? 

The term retirement provision refers to any money you will have access to for living costs after retirement. It consists of three pillars: 

  • Pillar 1: This pillar is the AHV pension, also referred to as the state pension. But on its own, this pension is not enough to live on.  
  • Pillar 2: This pillar is your occupational pension. If you are employed and currently earn a minimum salary of CHF 22,050 a year (as of 2023), part of your salary will be automatically paid into this pension fund This money will serve as an additional benefit to you in retirement. 
  • Pillar 3: If you want to maintain your current standard of living and have peace of mind, then you need to set extra funds aside through a private pillar 3 pension. To do so, you can open a retirement savings account into which you can pay a maximum amount of CHF 7,056 (as of 2023) annually.  


Why are women more likely to end up with pension gaps?  

Because many women reduce their working hours to start a family. You might take an extended break to have a baby and then return to work on a part-time basis. That means less money in your pension fund. Or none at all if, as a part-time worker, you earn less than the minimum pension fund salary of CHF 22,050. At the same time, lots of young families ease the demands on their budget by pausing payments into the woman's pillar 3a. This results in large gaps in your retirement provisions. 


My husband has our family covered. Isn’t that enough?  

Roughly 40% of all marriages in Switzerland end in divorce. If that happens, you will have to rely on your own savings after the divorce. It is true that compensation payments are ordered when couples divorce, but most women with children only return to work part-time afterwards and the gaps grow larger again. Statistics show that: 25% of all divorced pensioners need supplementary benefits because AHV is not enough: 

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