I recently came across an article which asked if expats were better off money wise (link to follow – just need to find the article again!). As an expat myself, I have had to ask myself the question: Am I?
For me the correct answer is not as simple as a yes or a no. My native country of Norway is known for it’s rather high cost of living. As is my adopted home city of London. And there are so many factors to consider.
In Norway, you might have higher salaries, but then the cost of living and taxes are higher. I have paid as much as £9 for a 500ml (that’s not even one pint!) of beer. Fair enough, this was on a ship in the middle of tourist territory in Oslo. But most places you will have to fork out at least £5-6 for a pint. Apparently the tax on beer is 17 times higher than the European average. This in mind it soon becomes apparent that the little kroner you may earn, quickly gets swallowed by VAT and whatnot. But then we don’t pay much for health care and university education is practically free.
In London on the other hand, you pay insane amounts in rent, don’t earn that much on average. I hear £25,000 is the average salary in the UK. But after the tax man has taken his share, you’re left with very little. And then there’s the travel card per month, the cost of living and the fact that each time you step outside the four walls of your abode, you seemingly haemorrhaging money.
Without going into more detail about the differences of the two “homes” I’m familiar with, I would have to say that I’m not better off financially here in London. Then again, I’ve only got two of the most expensive places on earth to compare with each other. Would be great to hear from other expats in London on this topic.
But one thing I will say. I am better off socially and culturally. With a metropolis like London on my doorstep, I’ve got an abundance of opportunities just waiting to be seized.
And I do save all of my little pennies in a jar, waiting patiently for it to fill up before taking it to the bank. As they say, every little penny counts!