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Becoming self-employed

So you've decided to go it alone. You’ve prepared for the financial challenges of starting a company, but have you considered the impact on your pension?If you are self-employed, you will have to carefully review your retirement and disability coverage as well as your life insurance – and supplement them if necessary. Your BCV advisor can work with you to assess your situation and propose the right coverage for your needs.

What's required, what's optional?

Required: basic social security

In Switzerland, the core (first-pillar) social security system provides old-age and survivors' insurance (assurance vieillesse et survivants, or AVS), disability insurance (assurance invalidité, or AI) and loss-of-income insurance (assurance perte de gain, or APG).  If you are self-employed, you have to pay all of your social-security contributions yourself.

Optional: occupational pension, individual retirement products, insurance

Self-employed people are not required to pay into an occupational (second-pillar) pension fund. But there's nothing stopping you from doing this, either.

There are also a number of individual (third-pillar) retirement products that, in addition to building up your tax-advantaged retirement savings, pay benefits in the event of disability or death.

Finally, as a self-employed person you may consider taking out professional accident insurance and/or loss-of-income insurance, particularly if you have a family.

Ignore retirement planning at your peril

Many self-employed people focus their energy on their business, and pay little heed to their retirement and disability coverage and life insurance – all of which may be woefully inadequate. If you don't shore up your second- and third-pillar coverage, you will only receive basic social security (first pillar) when you retire, and that's not enough to live on.

What additional pension coverage is available?

You can choose an individual (third-pillar) retirement product, such as a restricted Pillar 3a savings account or a life insurance policy. In general, the term "third pillar" or "Pillar 3" refers to individual retirement accounts. If you opt for life insurance, you can have disability and death benefits included in the policy.

Pillar 3b products offer coverage to supplement what’s available under the second pillar and Pillar 3a. They are more flexible than Pillar 3a policies, but they do not offer the same tax advantages. Under certain conditions, such policies also provide benefits in the event of bankruptcy.

What we offer

Epargne 3 account

A capital-guaranteed retirement savings account. It has all the tax benefits associated with retirement savings, and is not linked to life or disability insurance.

Annuity contracts

You can convert your pension savings into an annuity to get a regular stream of income that is guaranteed for the rest of your life (RP Rente Viagère) or for a set period (RP Rente Certaine).

Learn more about starting a business

For more information, have a look at our page on setting up a company in Switzerland.