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Pension

Should I have multiple 3a accounts?

Investing in a private pension makes sense. And spreading money across multiple accounts is an even better idea. Our pension expert will tell you why.

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Question: I’ve contributed to my 3a pension account for years. The balance has grown to CHF 50,000. Should I contribute everything to the same account or open a second account?

Answer: For larger sums, two or more 3a accounts are recommended. Multiple accounts allow you to optimise your pension and save on taxes. That’s because the disbursement of pension funds from pillars 2 and 3 results in taxes. The higher the amount disbursed in a given year, the higher the applicable tax rate. This is known as progressive taxation. To prevent this increase and avoid higher taxes, you should spread the disbursement of 3a funds across several tax years. However, to qualify for staggered withdrawals, you must have contributed to several accounts. You cannot withdraw partial amounts from a single account.

The amount of taxes you can save by staggering depends on your place of residence. Tax rates are dependent on the canton. For example, if a person who is single, not affiliated with any religion, and lives in the city of Basel liquidated their 3a account with a balance of CHF 100,000, they would have to pay CHF 5,310 in capital withdrawal taxes. On the other hand, if the person withdraws CHF 50,000 from two different accounts, they would only owe CHF 1,836 per account, or CHF 3,672 in total. In that case, they would save a total of CHF 1,638.

If you have CHF 50,000 in saved assets, you’ve reached a level where opening a second 3a account makes sense. There are no legal restrictions that would prevent you from opening additional accounts. However, some cantons limit staggered withdrawals to a certain number of accounts and impose taxes for additional withdrawals.

It’s easy to open multiple 3a accounts at most banks. In most cases, you will not incur any costs. Most providers charge fees only for early withdrawals or when you liquidate the account.

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You can increase your return on investment over the long term by investing your 3a assets in retirement funds. To do so, you can use MiFuturo, Migros Bank’s online pension solution.