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The world’s most affordable and expensive expat destinations

By March 6, 2017October 6th,

The world’s most affordable and expensive expat destinations

March 6, 2017


One of the top questions when someone plans to immigrate to a new country and become an expat, is “What’s the cost of living like?” The ideal scenario is finding a country with a low cost of living and good quality of life. In this blog post, we are going to look at the cheapest and most expensive expat destinations.

According to Numbeo’s cost of living survey, which looks at a wide variety of costs ranging from food and drink to accommodation, clothing, leisure activities and utilities, the cheapest country to live in the world is India, followed by Moldova, Pakistan, Kazakhstan and Nepal. South Africa comes in the top 20 at number 19, followed by Romania at number 20.

The world’s cheapest expat destination: India

So what makes India the cheapest place to live in the world? Well, everyday items from food to toothpaste are all priced relatively low and booming hubs like New Delhi and Mumbai offer good salaries. This combination means expats can earn good money, relative to local costs, which leads to a good quality of life.

The large domestic market means that most local goods are affordable and because of the large population, labour is very cheap – the result is local goods remain low in cost. If you want to buy your favourite imported brand of toothpaste however, you might be in for a shock as imported goods are much higher in price. As in all countries, the busier the city, the more desirable the accommodation, so don’t expect to pay a pittance for an apartment in the heart of bustling Delhi.

India has a thriving expat community and expat careers range from teachers and artists to CEOs. The majority of expats are paid well and with India’s low living costs, enjoy an affluent lifestyle.

The world’s most expensive expat destination: Bermuda

Forget Monaco, Hamilton, Bermuda’s capital is the costliest city on earth. Bermuda was followed by Switzerland, The Bahamas, Norway and Iceland with the UK just missing the top 10, falling in 12th place. According to Numbeo, the cost of living in Bermuda is 223,63% higher than in South Africa (rent is not included) and rent in Bermuda is 510,83% higher than in South Africa. The World Bank ranks Bermuda as one of the most affluent countries in the world and if you are an expat commanding a high salary, Bermuda’s beaches can be very attractive. However, if you earn under US$88 000, there are cheaper countries where you can enjoy a better quality of life.

If you’re busy planning on immigrating and need advice about your financial migration, contact us today and we’ll help you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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