If you have plenty of ambitious goals, you may find it difficult to wear all your various hats at once. That’s how it is for Marcel Henrion. The trained cabinetmaker, competitive athlete and entrepreneur has lost the plot more than once. Nevertheless, Marcel’s wife has always stood by him – and he is more appreciative of her help today than ever before.

It’s been 20 years since Marcel Henrion and his wife Brigitte took up self-employment: with its staff of ten, the Holzparadies timber business in Möhlin is their pride and joy. It wasn’t always clear that the couple would stay together, or that Marcel would take time out for his loved ones. He’s never much liked staying put. Not in sports, not in his work, and not in his private life either. There were times when Marcel only had eyes for his ambitious goals, and for his excessive practice of athletics. His ambition saw him turn in top performances in handball and marathon running – but it wasn’t only the competition he outstripped: he was literally leaving his family behind as well.

It is only now that Marcel realises the extent to which his wife Brigitte had his back, in spite of everything, and how ready she was to give her all for their partnership, at any time. When the two of them opted for self-employment, Marcel’s excessive athletic schedule was automatically curtailed. Nowadays the two prefer to exercise together and have been enthusiastic golfers for some time. What matters now is the time together – not their performance. The focus is on relaxation and taking time for things, and they thoroughly enjoy their days looking after their four grandchildren. Marcel is filled with gratitude as he now performs the duties he missed out on at the time, and enjoys his self-determined life. Marcel and Brigitte have bought a house in Ticino and are renovating two apartments in it for their children.


Interview with Marcel Henrion

Thinking entrepreneurially in their private life as well as professionally, the couple have already planned out their retirement and their pension fund withdrawal together with their Swiss Life advisor. A lump-sum payment will allow them to continue investing money in their renovation projects. After all, there’s no better retirement provisions than real estate that pays for itself while generating regular rental income. 

I don’t know if I’m ever going to retire. I think of everything I do as a hobby.

Actually, when he was young, Marcel was firmly intent on retiring at 55. But today he is so at home in his Holzparadies that it has become more of a leisure activity than a job. He’s also happy to work on the side as a lifeguard. Still, Marcel would like to dial it back a little. He is gradually reducing his working hours at Holzparadies and handing the business over to this son, with great confidence.


Marcel Henrion is 57, a trained cabinetmaker, entrepreneur and part-time lifeguard. He and Brigitte have been married for 32 years. They run Holzparadies in Möhlin near Basel together. They share a passion for buying and renovating houses, which also plays a starring role in the couple’s future provisions. They are planning to withdraw their pension fund assets as a lump sum, to invest the money in real estate, and thus be able to count on a secure investment in future.

Additional articles of interest


Retirement: retire earlier or work longer?

Read more


Budget planning for retirement: how much will I be able to afford after I retire?

Read more


First steps towards independence

Read more