For many people working or retiring abroad is a dream come true. With English the international language of commerce, politics and the media and with global business the order of the day, there are increasing opportunities to experience life in another county.
If you work for a company that has international representation and have the chance of being posted oversees then it’s likely that your organisation will be aware of the Mercer’s Survey. The world’s most comprehensive cost of living survey it is used to help multinational companies and governments work out appropriate compensation allowances for staff working abroad.
The survey covers 214 cities across five continents and measures the comparative cost of a basket of over 200 items in each location. They look at all manner of ex-pat expenses including housing, transport, food, clothing, household goods and entertainment.
The 2010 survey certainly throws up a few surprises. Whilst there are of course a number of ‘usual suspects’ – Tokyo or Geneva for example, there are a number cities in the top 10 that you would be forgiven for never even considering likely to be at the top end of an international cost of living list.
They say money makes the world go round. Well how can going round the world make you money? Here are 10 destinations that certainly won’t leave you counting the cash and could leave you seriously out of pocket.
The top 10 most expensive cities in the world are:
- Luanda -Angola
- Tokyo – Japan
- Ndjamena – Chad
- Moscow – Russia
- Geneva – Switzerland
- Osaka – Japan
- Libreville -Gabon
- Honk Kong
- Zurich in Switzerland
- Copenhagen – Denmark
Told you you would be surprised. Angola has now surpassed Tokyo as the most expensive city in the world for ex-pats to live in.
Why the 3 African cities in the top 10? With New York used as the base city for the index and currency movements measured against the US dollar the results can be largely explained by the fluctuation of currency and the high costs of imported goods that ex-pats might require. Rental property to an ‘ex-pat standard’ is also expensive due to limited availability. As the cost of housing – often the biggest expense for ex-pats – plays an important part in determining where cities are ranked then it will have a significant influence on the rankings.
If money was in particularly short supply you could always apply for that new vacancy in the Pakistan office. Karachi coming in 214th and last on the list – the most affordable city for an ex-pat to live in.