Jobs? Where are they?
The economy has definitely seen better days and the job market is about as buoyant as the Titanic.
Not that long ago I was on the job hunt. Initially I was looking for jobs within 10 miles of my home, but as time went on the radius of acceptable commuting distance kept increasing until it had joined up on itself at my antipodal point, somewhere in the sea, just south of New Zealand.
I was now looking for a job anywhere in the world and why not, not only had I increased my chances of finding a job, but I had opened myself up to a myriad of other benefits, like finding a job I actually wanted and living in a climate that didn’t have me shopping for thermals in May.
Expatriate living is sometimes forced upon us, but for me it was something I wanted to choose. So along with the job hunt I started researching the best places for an easier life and here is what I found. The best places to be an Expat are:
Funnily enough it turns out the UK is one of the worst places to live, particularly London. Accommodation costs are through the roof, labour costs are high and there’s little chance you’ll have money to spare for luxuries like home help or a swimming pool.
My Rating 0 out of 10
An interesting option, a country that is on the verge of becoming the world’s new super power may be the canny man’s choice. I know a few people that have chosen to live there, none of them are still there however. After talking to them about why they chose to leave no one had a straight answer. All agreed that the cost of living was a little cheaper, but not greatly so and most importantly they never felt settled.
My rating 4 out of 10
While doing my research this was the place to go if you wanted to save. Salaries seemed pretty high, and apart from accommodation the cost of living was rock bottom leaving plenty left over to add to the pension pot and a little extra for some colonial style luxuries. The down side is the accommodation isn’t that cheap and I don’t want to sound condescending, but India is not for everyone when it comes to overcrowding and general ambience.
My rating 5 out of 10
Not too far away from me in the UK which is great for still being able to see the family, but more importantly the Dutch know how to live. Your wages combined with the typical cost of European living will not give you the luxurious expat lifestyle you may enjoy in Singapore say, but the quality of life that can be had in the Netherlands is pretty high making it a good long term choice.
My rating 6 out of 10
Another European gem was high on my list, Belgium. A friend of mine lived in Brussels working for the EU for many years, I would visit regularly. His home was lovely and not too expensive. Life seemed good in Brussels, it’s a pretty town with a great cultural life and quite luxurious surrounds. I could see myself being able to live there for a long time.
My rating 7 out of 10
Back in my student days this was the place to go and live for a year, but what about once you’ve moved on from picking fruit? Well I know two people living on Australia’s east coast not far from Sydney, a young couple of doctors, and not only are they living to a much higher standard than I am, they are managing to save too. Flights to Sydney may take a while, but the rewards of a better standard of living and the opportunity to save some of your earnings surely off set that mild irritant.
My rating 8 out of 10
It’s hot and sweaty; they have some bewildering rules, regulations and laws, but when it comes to standards of living this is the place to be. The affordability of high quality accommodation, good private education, health care and home help, all help towards enabling you to live the high life in Singapore.
My rating 9 out of 10
Drum roll ….
First things first – you don’t pay income tax! I may have to battle a little with my middle-class-socialist upbringing if I moved here, but I’m sure I’d get used to the extra cash. I am not that old yet either and Dubai’s mostly young expat population all use this extra cash to enjoy the incredibly opulent surroundings of this breath taking city. The other thing is that it isn’t really far away. Flights to Dubai are almost half the distance as those to Singapore or Australia. The only down side is it is a highly religious country so one must behave modestly, but it is a minor hindrance for the privilege of living in paradise.
My Rating 10 out of 10
This list is obviously very subjective and you may want to disagree whole heartedly with some of it, maybe all of it.
Choosing a place to live is a deeply personal choice, but there are some general things everyone should consider when thinking of moving abroad, will you be able to deal with the climate, sights and smells of the place? Are you just looking for a place where you can save some of your earnings or are you looking for a better quality of life straight off? Will you want to stick it out?
There is no point in going to all the hassle of moving to another country if it doesn’t meet your expectations or you just can’t handle the culture shock.
I’m sure a few folks will have some strong opinions about what I’ve said here and I’d love to hear them in the comments below.