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Ratgeber Private Vorsorge: Unterschiede 3a und 3b

What is the difference between pillars 3a and 3b?

Would you like to put away some money for your retirement or to save for a long-held dream? With a private pension plan there are various options for achieving your savings objectives. Helvetia explains the differences between tied and flexible pension plans.

What is the third pillar ?

The third pillar of the Swiss pension system is also referred to as private pension provision . Private pension planning comprises both tied (pillar 3a) and flexible (pillar 3b) options and supplements your OASI (pillar 1) and occupational pension fund benefits (pillar 2) . Demographic trends and rising life expectancy mean that pillar 3 pension provision is becoming increasingly important in Switzerland . When you retire, your pillar 1 and pillar 2 benefits alone will often only provide about 60% of your previous salary. That’s why it’s worthwhile for young adults to think seriously about private pension provision.

Pillars 3a and 3b compared

Who benefits?

Pillar 3a
All employed persons with OASI-liable incomes who live in Switzerland
Pillar 3b
All persons, irrespective of occupation and place of residence

Tax advantages on making payments

Pillar 3a
The amount can be deducted from taxable income each year
Pillar 3b
Deduction in the context of flat-rate deductions for insurance premiums

Taxation during the contract term

Pillar 3a
Pillar 3b
The surrender value is subject to wealth tax

Tax advantages on payout

Pillar 3a
Reduced tax rate, separate from other income
Pillar 3b
Tax-free under certain conditions


Pillar 3a
You can have your savings from pillar 3a paid out between five years before and a maximum of five years after the ordinary retirement age. An earlier payout is only possible if you are buying your own home, paying off a mortgage, becoming self employed, emigrating or, under certain circumstances, in the case of disability or when buying into the pension fund.
Pillar 3b
Freely selectable

Hereditary beneficiaries

Pillar 3a
When the insured party dies, the law prescribes who will inherit the capital from pillar 3a. The prime beneficiary is the spouse or registered partner, followed by the children.
Pillar 3b
Freely selectable, taking into account statutory shares


Pillar 3a
Only for the financing of owner-occupied residential property
Pillar 3b
Possible at any time if accepted as liquid cover

3a or 3b: Which is the right choice?

You can invest your money in tied or flexible pension provision, depending on your savings goal. If you primarily want to put the money away for your retirement, pillar 3a is the right choice for you because of the tax advantages. But if you’re saving for a round-the-world trip, you should invest your money in pillar 3b, which allows you to withdraw your money whenever you choose.
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