His job is to take the ideas of fashion designers and turn them into finished pieces of clothing. When it comes to his personal finances, he’d prefer to leave things to his wife. Martin Schumacher, a pattern maker at Strellson, tells us about his professional strengths and his fears when it comes to pension provision.

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“I can’t imagine retiring early. I don’t think my money would last”: An interview with Strellson pattern maker Martin Schumacher

What excites you about your career?
I’ve worked at Strellson for the past 13 years. The thing I enjoy the most is helping to develop our products each and every day. I’m involved from the first sketch to the handover of the collection. My main task is to turn the designers’ ideas into reality and produce a finished piece of clothing. I love working with my hands, with the various materials and dealing with people. As clothes are produced abroad nowadays, I’m often on the road and I get to know different mentalities, cultures and people. It makes things exciting.

How did you wind up working in your current position?
I originally trained to be a tailor. Then I studied design and engineering. I worked abroad, at a production facility in Turkey, and then I worked in a few different positions before joining Strellson.

Did you find out anything about your new employer’s pension fund before you started working there?
The pension fund meant nothing to me when I started at Strellson. Above all else, Strellson was a cool brand and I wanted to work for them. That was the main reason I started working for them.

Is the topic of “pension provision” relevant for you?
I recently celebrated my 51st birthday. You start thinking about pension provision at some point and how long until your 65th birthday. And then suddenly the time grows short. But I haven’t given a lot of thought to pensions yet. Somehow I still feel so young and that retirement is still so far off. I’m in the middle of my career and cannot imagine stopping. That’s why it still seems so far away, at least mentally.

Does the issue of pension provision worry you?
I spent half my working life in Germany and the other half in Switzerland. I’ve put down roots here and want to remain in Switzerland. Now I’m starting to think about whether my pension will be enough if I draw half from Germany and the other half from Switzerland. The cost of living here is very different than what’s provided for with a German pension.

And what gives you confidence when you think about pension provision?
My wife gives me confidence. She is Swiss and knows the pension system and insurance inside and out. I trust her 100 percent. We’ve been saving in Pillar 3 together and I think we’re well insured, that we’ve saved for the future and that together we’ll be just fine in old age. When I came to Switzerland, I noticed that there were many things that were different about insurance, including pension insurance. The three-pillar system was new to me. But now I’m familiar with it. 

Do have any dreams you’d like to realise?
My dream is to have more time to sail. Restoring a boat is my life’s dream. Money plays an important role too, of course. But the main thing for me to make sure that my wife and I have sufficient funds in old age. 

Can you imagine reducing your level of employment in order to have more free time?
I can’t imagine working part-time. For me, the next few years are filled with work. But there are still a lot of things I want to do in my private life after I turn 65: restore a boat, sail and other hobbies. I don’t have time for these things now. But I still can’t imagine retiring early. I don’t think my money would last. I have twins at home – my boys are eight years old – and I still need to raise them. I have a very good work-life balance. We have enough time to do things together.

What does self-determination mean to you?
 To me, a self-determined life in old age means independence. Financial independence, but health too, of course. That you can do the things you want to do without the help of others and realise certain dreams.

Provide for the future with three pillars

The three pillars of the Swiss pension system help you build your assets up over the years and decades – for when you’re older, if you become disabled or if you die. We can help you look forward to a self-determined future.

BVG solution

Strellson is a long-time Swiss Life occupational provisions client. Swiss Life offers a full range of BVG products, from full insurance with a 100% guarantee to semi-autonomous solutions. Employers can choose the solution that best suits them and provides their employees with a self-determined future.

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