Dossier: Young adults

Old-age provisions for young people

When you’re young, you don’t give much thought to your old-age provisions. But if you did, you would notice the immediate financial benefits in the form of tax savings. Pension advisor Antonio Plati can speak from experience.

Text: Robi Wildi; photos: Sebastian Doerk

As a child, Obelix fell into a magic potion and remained in a permanent state of superhuman strength. 34-year old Antonio Plati shares an experience not entirely dissimilar to Obelix’s stroke of luck. As a teenager he completed an apprenticeship at the Thundorf local authority in Frauenfeld and gained an insight into the tax department. To his astonishment, the financial tax burden of people with similar incomes differed greatly. “My instructor explained in great detail how you could make long-term payments into tax-deductible pension plans and benefit from attractive tax deductions over many decades.” 18-year old Plati was impressed and wanted to see the effects for himself. So he set about opening his own pillar 3a account into which he paid a monthly sum of CHF 150. His apprenticeship had a profound effect on his life.

Old-age provisions can help in younger years

Today Antonio Plati is a qualified pension specialist with expertise in finance and taxation and affiliated with the Swiss Life AG general agency in Thurgau. In his office in Frauenfeld he devises personalised investment and savings plans for customers of all ages. He believes it is critical to reach young people age 25, 30 and over, or at the very latest in their mid-thirties. “It’s precisely these people who mustn’t miss the boat for creating a sensible pension plan.” The pension expert recommends not leaving it any later than 30 to start thinking about your retirement savings and contemplating a pension strategy. “If you wait until you’re in your forties or older, you won’t be able to pay as much into your plan and risk having serious gaps in your finances upon retirement that might increase the risk of poverty.

”His own experiences have taught him that it is definitely worth investing in a savings plan early on: Shortly after their wedding, Antonio Plati and his wife began planning a family and searching for a property to buy. Aged 27, he was able to fall back on a significant amount of his savings that he had accumulated in his nearly ten-year old 3a pension plan to provide the necessary equity for a new home. “This is permitted when you want to become self-employed, buy property to live in as your primary residence or when you retire”, he explains. It’s possible even if you move abroad, but there are restrictions.

An investment strategy tailored to every life plan

Antonio Plati may have found the perfect approach for him, but the ideal strategy can vary greatly depending on your circumstances: “Everyone has different objectives and needs which will affect the way they approach the matter.” For some, having their own home is important, others strive for ambitious career paths with expensive further education, some want to found their own company or attach great importance to taking a sabbatical during their career to go travelling.

And this is why young people should think about their retirement fund, especially if they plan to take a break from work for a trip around the world or a further training course. Anyone travelling or studying for several years won’t be paying any contributions during this period. This can result in gaps in your finances that have a negative effect on your AHV pension. It is worth requesting a free extract from your OASI/DI individual account from the compensation office in order to check you have no gaps in your pension fund. Don’t panic: any missing contributions can be paid in within a five-year period.

And you should never neglect your own pension fund. Employers and employees only start making contributions to second pillar when you have an income of at least CHF 21,330 a year. So, for example, anyone who has two or three different incomes with different employers that are all below this threshold should start being proactive. Clarify with your employers whether your various sources of income could all be insured under the same pension plan. Freelancers also have the opportunity to voluntarily join a pension fund in order to increase their retirement assets.

Antonio Plati knows from day-to-day experience that his customers’ plans are always changing, which is why he recommends the flexible 3a pillar pension solutions for secure retirement planning as you can adjust your annual contribution depending on your current situation or in order to have multi-year premium breaks.

How high should the risk be? Know your requirements

Choosing the right pension plan must be based on the customer’s individual risk profile. How much money are you prepared to invest? Where should the balance be between income and pension contributions so that your day-to-day life isn’t affected in an emergency? Antonio Plati addresses these questions with his customers in order to devise a tailor-made strategy.

Antonio Plati is due to become a father for the second time very soon. The financial burden and personal responsibility he feels will increase again. He’ll make a few tweaks to his family’s pension portfolio, he says with a chuckle. “I’ve really learnt that the earlier you think about it, the better.”

Antonio Plati is a qualified pension specialist with expertise in finance and taxation. He works for the Swiss Life AG general agency in Thurgau.