Author Topic: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?  (Read 16733 times)

JoJo

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I'm just in interview stage right now, so I have no clue if I'll get the job or what the salary will be, but here's an interesting question to ponder:

I've always dreamed of working abroad.  An opportunity has come up in a city that is consistently ranked in the top ten expensive cities of the world.  Here are some costs I found on the internet:  Rent = $2500 minimum, dozen eggs = $7 (and I eat alot of eggs!), pound of chicken = $15, pound of apples = $5, deodorant = $7, meal in a restaurant = $50.  Also, health insurance is mandatory and not paid for by the company.

Last night, I had a dream (nightmare) about living in that expensive place (after reading the cost of living on the internet yesterday)

Would you ever consider living in a place so expensive?

About me:  my net worth is in the $1.2-1.3M range and my annual expenditures in the US are lower than $30,000 (and at least 20% of the that is international travel).  If I didn't get this job, my current thought is to work a couple more years until my net worth is in the 1.5-1.6M range. 

madame librarian

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2014, 01:30:16 PM »
If the salary was high enough to compensate (eg maintain the lifestyle and savings rate that I wanted), sure. But I wouldn't retire there. :o)

bo_knows

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2014, 01:35:11 PM »
You're FI by most/all standards, and you have an opportunity to do something you've always wanted to do?  As long as you're not LOSING money to take the job, do it!  Even if you're netting $0, you're still FI in the states.

AlanStache

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2014, 01:38:42 PM »
You're FI by most/all standards, and you have an opportunity to do something you've always wanted to do?  As long as you're not LOSING money to take the job, do it!  Even if you're netting $0, you're still FI in the states.

yep, so long as the job is paying for it self you will be in kick ass shape in a year or two (hell you are now already :-)  ) 

Do the math if/when you get an offer.

Also maybe talk to locals there see if eggs really are 7$/dozen or is this the Whole Foods price where most people shop cheaper.

anisotropy

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #4 on: August 19, 2014, 01:53:19 PM »
can you hook me up with your current job then if you do decide to move and take the new job?

:)

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2014, 01:55:23 PM »
It would be an awesome experience.  If the city is Hong Kong, I have heard it is both horrible and awesome to live there.  I would give it a try.

BooksAreNerdy

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2014, 03:14:40 PM »
We are considering a transfer to Singapore, which is the most expensive city in the world. However, housing (5-15k/mo!!!) is covered by the company. Also, they have some of the cleanest and safest public transportation, so a car isn't necessary. Which is nice because the cost of a modest jetta is almost 100k. So, while this is an insanely expensive city, I don't think it HAS to be that was.

For us, it may end up being a net zero, but staying here could mean job loss and other companies pay 10-20% less than DHs current salary.

JoJo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2014, 03:23:06 PM »
It's in Switzerland

JoJo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2014, 03:24:41 PM »
If the salary was high enough to compensate (eg maintain the lifestyle and savings rate that I wanted), sure. But I wouldn't retire there. :o)

My current savings rate is about 140,000 per year.  I have a feeling that would drop significantly - maybe 100,000-120,000 per year if there's no raise along with the move.

AlanStache

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2014, 03:34:03 PM »
Quote
I have a feeling that would drop significantly - maybe 100,000-120,000 per year if there's no raise along with the move.

drop by or drop to?

urbanista

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2014, 04:54:04 PM »
I would absolutely do it for a while. Switzerland is so beautiful that I would be willing to work a bit longer just for the sake of living there for a couple of years.

JoJo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2014, 04:56:43 PM »
Quote
I have a feeling that would drop significantly - maybe 100,000-120,000 per year if there's no raise along with the move.

drop by or drop to?

drop to

Zikoris

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2014, 05:26:46 PM »
I would do it. Switzerland is fabulous, I'd love to live there. Don't worry, it's not horribly expensive - I spent a few days in Zurich in July and found it not too outrageous. Here's what some stuff cost, converted into Canadian:

One day unlimited transit pass: $10 per person. Comparable to many cities, including Vancouver. Gets cheaper for a monthly pass, etc.

A box of chocolate and a giant chocolate bar from the Lindt factory: $11

Buffet dinner at Hiltl, a popular vegetarian place: $28 for two people (no drinks)

Small bag of groceries at Co-op, the cheaper grocery store: $9 (don't remember exactly what we got, I think it was grapes, bread sticks, and a couple other hotel-friendly things)

Paul der Krake

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2014, 05:32:18 PM »
You would need to pay me a lot of money to move to Switzerland. Aside from fantastic mountaineering and skiing (granted, that's a huge bonus), the whole country is basically a retirement home.

YMMV.

lizzzi

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2014, 05:45:00 PM »
But think how easy and convenient it would be to travel to other European countries from there. Just another plus. I agree with whoever said OP is just trying to make us jealous.

JoJo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2014, 06:12:04 PM »
But think how easy and convenient it would be to travel to other European countries from there. Just another plus. I agree with whoever said OP is just trying to make us jealous.

sorry - i wasn't going for the jealousy aspect. 

Honestly, I'm a bit compulsive and my frugality is one of those compulsions.  I'm just afraid I will freak out over every little purchase if I know the $7 carton of eggs is $1.50 back in the USA.  Thus, the reason for last night's nightmare.   I'll visit family every year so I can stock up on some things there but it would be rough getting used to the much higher prices.

And I agree about the travel - There are some major fringes of western europe that I haven't explored - Iberian peninsula, morocco, most of eastern Europe - those are tops on the list.

Anyways, I'm suppose to have my 2nd interview this week and then maybe a fly-in interview.  Thanks for the good thoughts. 

Lukim

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2014, 06:46:18 PM »
We are considering a transfer to Singapore, which is the most expensive city in the world. However, housing (5-15k/mo!!!) is covered by the company. Also, they have some of the cleanest and safest public transportation, so a car isn't necessary. Which is nice because the cost of a modest jetta is almost 100k. So, while this is an insanely expensive city, I don't think it HAS to be that was.
t

Singapore is expensive but, as you point out, it does not have to be, particularly if the employer pays for the housing.

The tax rate is very low - which is also attractive.

As long as you do not get caught in the Singapore expat lifestyle of spending to keep up with your work colleagues, it can be a good place to live.

It is one of the least interesting cities in Asia to live in - but it is probably the most efficient.

rmendpara

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2014, 07:41:16 PM »
If the salary was high enough to compensate (eg maintain the lifestyle and savings rate that I wanted), sure. But I wouldn't retire there. :o)

My current savings rate is about 140,000 per year.  I have a feeling that would drop significantly - maybe 100,000-120,000 per year if there's no raise along with the move.

You're still plowing $100k/yr into your investments?

I smell paranoia... how could that be too little?

The whole point of FI is to be able to do things that you couldn't do normally. Typically, this involves taking a job with lower pay, but what's the difference if you're just moving to an area that costs more? Same thing, right?

swissgva

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2014, 04:51:17 AM »
Been living in Geneva for 5 years now. Yes rent is expensive but groceries aren't. Keep in mind that we have no capital gain tax and that income tax is relatively low. You'll also won't need a car if you live in a city. Local public transport is affordable. Cities can be biked. Trains  are on the expensive side but cost half if you get a discount travel card. The one thing I find expensive are restaurant (100+chf for 2) and if you need a maid or a nanny. But wages are definitely in line with the cost of living. And the cities are not as boring as people may think but don't expect NYC/SF/London. Come for the nature and the high quality of life. No the culture. Pm me if you have specific questions.

swissgva

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2014, 04:51:22 AM »
Been living in Geneva for 5 years now. Yes rent is expensive but groceries aren't. Keep in mind that we have no capital gain tax and that income tax is relatively low. You'll also won't need a car if you live in a city. Local public transport is affordable. Cities can be biked. Trains  are on the expensive side but cost half if you get a discount travel card. The one thing I find expensive are restaurant (100+chf for 2) and if you need a maid or a nanny. But wages are definitely in line with the cost of living. And the cities are not as boring as people may think but don't expect NYC/SF/London. Come for the nature and the high quality of life. No the culture. Pm me if you have specific questions.

DecD

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2014, 05:48:41 AM »
If it's your dream, of course you should go if you get an offer.  You only get to live life this one time, if you pass up all the opportunities you really care about you're missing the point.  You're not racing toward a finish line or taking part in a "who can stash the most" competition.


blackomen

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2014, 04:38:15 PM »
I lived on less than 1000 CHF/mo in Switzerland as an Exchange Student back in 2008.. granted, I got cheap housing but I don't see how you can't live off of, say, 2500 CHF/mo if you follow the mustachian principles here but pay full price for rent.

You might also want to take a look at this thread:

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/ask-a-mustachian/swiss-'stache-let's-talk-frugality-in-the-most-expensive-country-of-the-world/msg345931/#msg345931

The Hamster

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2014, 05:00:16 PM »
I'm sure the salary will be commensurate with the costs of living and I highly doubt you would be worse off.  Plus, your investments will still be growing while you are away.

Also, I've never been there but I wouldn't be 100% trusting that some random figures off the internet are absolutely accurate as to the cost of groceries and stuff.  You may be pleasantly surprised and may even be able to live much more cheaply than you think.

With over $1M in savings you don't have anything to worry about really.  Surely the reason to stash money is so you can afford to do whatever you want, so now you have the chance why wouldn't you take it? 

JoJo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2014, 06:10:34 PM »
Been living in Geneva for 5 years now. Yes rent is expensive but groceries aren't. Keep in mind that we have no capital gain tax and that income tax is relatively low. You'll also won't need a car if you live in a city. Local public transport is affordable. Cities can be biked. Trains  are on the expensive side but cost half if you get a discount travel card. The one thing I find expensive are restaurant (100+chf for 2) and if you need a maid or a nanny. But wages are definitely in line with the cost of living. And the cities are not as boring as people may think but don't expect NYC/SF/London. Come for the nature and the high quality of life. No the culture. Pm me if you have specific questions.

Re: capital gains tax - I'm an American.  I understand I need to pay American taxes on everything above $xx,xxx per year (and I'll be well above that) - does anyone know how cap gains apply to American living abroad?

beltim

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2014, 07:35:18 PM »
Re: capital gains tax - I'm an American.  I understand I need to pay American taxes on everything above $xx,xxx per year (and I'll be well above that) - does anyone know how cap gains apply to American living abroad?

You'll still owe the US capital gains taxes, although you can get a credit for foreign taxes paid (income or capital gains) so that you shouldn't be worse off than the higher of the two countries total tax burdens.

lhamo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2014, 09:33:56 PM »
One thing to be aware of is that when they do these cost of living calculators/comparisons they often are taking a "basket of goods" approach that would look at the exact equivalent of whatever you would by in the US (sometimes even including brand) and then see what that costs in the foreign country.  This is why the State Department, etc. ends up with these absolutely ridiculous cost of living estimates for cities like Beijing.  Yes, if you are going to buy a box of Kellog's cornflakes that has been shipped 10,000 miles from Iowa to Beijing, you are going to pay $8 for it.  Never mind that you can buy a box of perfectly adequate LOCALLY produced cornflakes (mfg by the local arm of Kellogs) for $2-4. 

Also, they will often do their "market basket" shopping in such cases in specialized import stores because those are the only place they can get the full array of products.  So meat, eggs, etc. are similarly overpriced, even if they are local, because the local businesses know the expat market is easy to get more money out of because they often have language limitations, fear of shopping in local markets, etc.  I would never buy meat from the import market because I know it is nothing special and horribly overpriced, and I can walk 20m up the street and get better, cheaper, fresher meat from the local butcher.  I save at least 50% on my meat purchases by having/using more options.

The best way to save money in any foreign country is to live as local as possible, and that means adapting your diet to focus mostly on what local people eat.  We did a great job of this when we were in Chengdu, since the availability of imports was limited.  We've slipped into a more import-heavy diet since moving to Beijing, due to the greater availability of certain things my family really likes (especially cheese).  But we still only average around $500/month on groceries for a family of 4.  If we cut back significantly on imports and treats, we could probably bring that down to $350-400. 

You are making such a high salary and saving so much of it that I wouldn't worry about it so much.  Negotiate hard and try to get the best offer you can.  Research housing options/commutes when you are there for the interview -- I bet you can find something affordable if you try. 

Good luck and let us know what you decide!

Grog

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2014, 11:53:18 PM »
Hi! I'm swiss, born and raised, and as a child I always thought I was living a very rich life until I discovered my family actually classify as poor (2 adult, 4 children, single income ~90k). Switzerland is expensive if you let it be, but the trick is living frugally is not so difficult and in most places it's widely and socially accepted. No strange looks if you bike everyday or bring your lunch.

I've lived 6 years in Zurich and it was a fantastic city to live in. Rent in city itself were high, but you could easily, and I repeat easily live at 15 minutes travel time (train) and rent go down a little bit. If you don't mind living with other people, sharing a room in a flat, then the rent can be as low as 500 chf. It's a very widespread tradition and is a lot of fun! In 5 years I've lived with czech,polen, germans, mexicans, croatian, russen, italian, other swiss, ucrainian, us american...lot of different meals with different tradition at home, Zurich is truly international and I felt like traveling without ever leaving the city.

Helath insurance is tricky. Temporary foreigner can look for some sepcial helath insurance that costs way less, or so did many exchange students I know. If not, I would say it goes from 190 chf a month (minimum insured up to 600.- (including a suite in the hospital :D )

Grocery are cheap, truly. In Zurich you can find many different ethnic stores (chinese, africans, east-european) and they import directly at large quantities and are usually quite cheap. But even the largest superstore are not so expensive. Alcohol in stores is ridicously cheap, you can buy and drink wherever you want , on the street, public places, parks you don't have to hide or anything.

Going out is really expensive, bar, pub, night club, restaurant usually charges a lot. Fast food is ridicously expensive (McDonalds, Ehtinc takeaways). There are underground clubs where you pay like 15-20 chf entry and the beer is 5 chf, so still manageable. Not fancy, but funny.

That's way since we are so liberal with alcohol cosumption, we would end up buying beer from stores and hang out around a public barbecue/fireplace in a public park/near the lake. Cheap and rewardful. At night parks and street are incredibly safe. Women could walk around naked and 99% of the time nothing happens.

Public transportation is amazing, for the city of zurich the year pass costs 600 chf. With that kind of offer is stupid cheap, you can even make a bike pass and tranport the bike on train/buses and you are truly independent.

Winters are cold, but not extreme, fall and spring are frisk and rainy, summer quite nice, temperate and sunny (usually). Lot of lakes, rivers, mountains.

I would recommend doing it, because being in Zurich/Geneva means being in the heart of Europe. There are lot of cheap flights for every eruopean corner, there are dozen of nationality and different people, you constantly hear dozen of different languages every day. It's quite cool.

But dealing whit "real" swiss can be quite tricky. We seems cold, when in truth we just respect private space of other people very highly and tend not to start conversations or mingle in someone else's private stuff. For instance if you start at a new job probably nobody is going to invite you around or doing stuff. Everyone's assume the others are fully capable of finding something to do on their own. Is up to you to ask and organize something, make something happen, and then swiss people open up and can be a lot of fun.

Well those are my 2 cents, hope you manage to come here!

Doaner19

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2014, 11:58:58 PM »
You only live once and can't take it with you.  Go!

swissgva

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2014, 12:01:20 AM »
IaAgree with everything Grog is saying! Enjoy your move. check out http://www.englishforum.ch and glocals.ch for more info on being an expat in CH

water1974

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #29 on: August 21, 2014, 12:17:57 AM »
Been living in Geneva for 5 years now. Yes rent is expensive but groceries aren't. Keep in mind that we have no capital gain tax and that income tax is relatively low. You'll also won't need a car if you live in a city. Local public transport is affordable. Cities can be biked. Trains  are on the expensive side but cost half if you get a discount travel card. The one thing I find expensive are restaurant (100+chf for 2) and if you need a maid or a nanny. But wages are definitely in line with the cost of living. And the cities are not as boring as people may think but don't expect NYC/SF/London. Come for the nature and the high quality of life. No the culture. Pm me if you have specific questions.

Re: capital gains tax - I'm an American.  I understand I need to pay American taxes on everything above $xx,xxx per year (and I'll be well above that) - does anyone know how cap gains apply to American living abroad?

As for whether to go or not: I'd say go. I live in Shanghai which isn't much cheaper (on average) than what you're talking about, but with a little effort it's not too hard to find cheap food, cheap eats, cheaper rent, etc. The key thing about the stats on the cost of living is that they're averages whereas if you're already frugal you'll be on the look-out for better prices on everything. Bottom line: don't make a decision based on the average costs incurred by non-Mustachians.

Now, as for capital gains, the short story is if you sell any stocks during the year that have capital gains you'll be adding those gains to your income and paying tax on whatever is above US$ 100,000. The long story is: hire an accountant if you're an American living abroad. Unless you're a tax accountant yourself I wouldn't recommend doing them yourself. Believe me, that accountant will be money well spent.

TheNorwegianGuy

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #30 on: August 21, 2014, 04:05:17 AM »
I already live in one of the most expensive cities in the world (no 8 on the list), so my answer have to be yes I would as long as the salary is as high as it is. The real measurment should be purchasing power not the prices. The day I do not have to work anymore I have the benefit of moving to almost any city in the world and live a far cheaper lifestyle :)
« Last Edit: August 21, 2014, 04:09:32 AM by TheNorwegianGuy »

sly

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #31 on: August 21, 2014, 05:09:45 AM »
I used to live in switzerland, nice place. People who enjoy it the most are the outdoorsy types who go skiing, fishing, hiking etc. Many expats struggle with the language barrier, especially in the german speaking parts where the locals are a known to be a bit defensive about their dialect. Health insurance is very expensive but hopefully your work might provide it as a benefit.

side note: as a US tax payer you are gonna struggle to access even the most basic financial services in Switzerland. Opening an account at a local bank might be a challenge. I would make sure that you have that part covered one way or another.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2014, 05:16:15 AM by sly »

JoJo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #32 on: August 21, 2014, 10:46:47 AM »
Well, I'm going to go for it!  2nd interview is next week.  Also, I think a change in job locally might also be opening which would give me an opportunity to manage a couple people offsite and allow me to spend a few weeks with them per year in NYC  (i'm in the PNW now), although I fear that's really just an opportunity to do my current job + half of another job which may lead to too much overtime.

As for the "living my dream", I'm going to live abroad whether I do it in my working years or in my early retirement - so the dream will happen whether now or a few years from now.


Thanks everyone for the tips.  I have been checking out the expat sites and I have another co-worker who moved there 4 years ago with family who has also given some tips.

Trudie

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #33 on: August 21, 2014, 05:59:56 PM »
I'll keep it simple:  if you want to do it, and it's your heart's desire, you will find a way.  You will find a way that it doesn't cause you financial ruin.  "Running in place" is one thing.  "Backsliding" is another.  Sounds to me like if you did this you'd AT WORST be "running in place", but that's not likely.  And you'd have the opportunity of a lifetime.  I would stop thinking "IF" and start thinking "HOW."

Stashing Swiss-style

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #34 on: September 03, 2014, 06:20:39 AM »
I've been living in Switzerland for 15 years and I love it.  If you love nature and like being active outside, then this is the place to be.  Yes it is very expensive, but you are already in control and you won't get sucked into making bad financial decisions.  Being an American could make it difficult to open a bank account etc, as Swiss institutions are incredibly nervous about taking on American citizens after the beating they took from the US Govt about facilitating Americans who wanted to avoid paying taxes.  However, money talks, and with a good salary you will find a bank to take you on.  Medical insurance is mandatory and expensive but the service is exceptionally good. 

Come for the experience and don't compare prices here vs the US.  You will gain far more from the experience than can be measured in $ terms.  Good luck.  Happy to answer any questions you might have.  Good luck with the interview !

Dicey

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #35 on: September 03, 2014, 08:32:08 AM »
The best thing about frugality is that it's 100% portable and always fits in your luggage. Go for it! I am sure you can make it work. You will never regret the experience and you won't go broke, either.

norabird

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #36 on: September 03, 2014, 08:39:37 AM »
I live in a place most mustachians wouldn't consider living (NYC) though not as expensive as where you're looking, and I really wouldn't trade being here for having a lower COL. There are other factors to account for and it seems worth it!

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #37 on: September 03, 2014, 09:45:06 AM »
We are considering a transfer to Singapore, which is the most expensive city in the world. However, housing (5-15k/mo!!!) is covered by the company. Also, they have some of the cleanest and safest public transportation, so a car isn't necessary. Which is nice because the cost of a modest jetta is almost 100k. So, while this is an insanely expensive city, I don't think it HAS to be that was.

For us, it may end up being a net zero, but staying here could mean job loss and other companies pay 10-20% less than DHs current salary.
I spent a lot of time in Singapore 10-15 years ago.  Housing was a killer back then as well.  There is subsidized housing for locals but with such a large ex-pat population getting company paid housing the rental market is insane.

But eating was so cheap compared to the US.  Many people ate out 2-3 meals a day.  Not hard to do when you could eat well at a hawker center for $3-4 USD.  Food was expensive compared to the surrounding countries though. 

If you can handle the heat and humidity Singapore is a nice place.

TreeTired

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #38 on: September 03, 2014, 10:09:45 AM »
Quote
Well, I'm going to go for it!
   good!  I was going to offer encouragement,  ie "JUST GO!"

I also always wanted to live offshore, so when the opportunity came up I was all over it and we lived in Hong Kong for 3 years, and then lived in Tokyo for 3 years.  It was great.   The big difference (apparently, based on what you have written) is that I had a great corporate package which covered most of my expenses.  Company paid our rent AND utilities (very important!) so we lived very well.  Had a club membership too.  Had a small cost of living adjustment in HK and a huge cost of living adjustment in Tokyo, so we were able to save much more money living in Tokyo than had we remained in the U.S.

Living in Switzerland you should have the opportunity to easily travel all over Europe, which should be great.  And the skiing.....   :)

JoJo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2014, 10:30:33 AM »
Just found out I am getting an offer.  Don't know how much the $ will be yet but will know soon.  This will be a hard decision.

Melody

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2014, 05:36:41 PM »
Swiss wages are A LOT higher than Australian wages (which in turn are A LOT higher than US wages).
One of my best friends lives and works there. She makes $100k (a low income earner over there) and as a result pays no tax. So she brings home $100k. In Aus her role (admin) would pay about $60k and she might get to keep $47 of that once the government has taken their cut. All of a sudden the high rent doesn't seem like such a problem. Good luck!

DollarBill

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #41 on: October 01, 2014, 06:37:25 PM »
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I've always dreamed of working abroad.  An opportunity has come up in a city that is consistently ranked in the top ten expensive cities of the world.  Here are some costs I found on the internet:  Rent = $2500 minimum, dozen eggs = $7 (and I eat alot of eggs!), pound of chicken = $15, pound of apples = $5, deodorant = $7, meal in a restaurant = $50.  Also, health insurance is mandatory and not paid for by the company.
I just threw up in my mouth...I don't think I could do it. I think I would starve even if I made a ton of money because I would refuse to pay those prices. Maybe you can drive to another Country to buy groceries. 

MsRichLife

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2014, 06:58:24 PM »
It's in Switzerland

Abso-freaking-lutely. I love Switzerland and I'd jump at the opportunity to live there for a few years, even if it put FIRE on hold for the equivalent time.

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #43 on: October 02, 2014, 12:28:58 PM »
If it is Geneva go for it.  Understand that some of the bars have really high cover charges ($25-$50), they do it to keep pick pockets out of the bars, most (possibly all) give you tickets for free drinks once you are in.  The best place to get an amazing gyro is close to the train station across the street from Starbucks.  Enjoy 

JoJo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #44 on: October 02, 2014, 01:05:26 PM »
If it is Geneva go for it.  Understand that some of the bars have really high cover charges ($25-$50), they do it to keep pick pockets out of the bars, most (possibly all) give you tickets for free drinks once you are in.  The best place to get an amazing gyro is close to the train station across the street from Starbucks.  Enjoy

Zurich.  I heard from HR and it will take 1-2 weeks until I know what the offer will be so now it's just sit and wait.  The way things are going + the visa process means no way a move will happen until the new year.  Need to do more researching in the meantime.  I haven't had a roommate in over 20 years but this might be the time to consider that. 

I'll probably soon be posting over in the rent vs. sell your condo forum :)


JoJo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #45 on: October 24, 2014, 01:29:36 PM »
It's decision time so now I'm soliciting advice.  Funny enough, my company counter offered a promotion so now I have options.

Option 1:
Stay where I'm at with a promotion
Based in Seattle (where I own my apartment outright)
Manage some people in NYC with a few trips there per year (all expenses paid, likely ability to  pocket some of the meal allowance and rack up miles)
Probably much more stress taking on additional direct reports
Good amount of vacation days
I know and like all of the people, including the direct reports, and am well respected.


Option 2:
Switzerland - a little more pay but when I factor in cost of living will mean saving about $20,000 less per year
About 2 extra days off per year due to more public holidays
Probably less stress
More politics
Will need to make a name for myself
Subsidized rail pass & cheap flights to europe = loads of travel on my free time!
Possible problem discovered:  mandatory, generous pension plan that will cause me to pay taxes on contribution AND gain AND distributions and will cause onerous tax filings for the rest of my life.

Any opinions?

Dicey

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #46 on: October 24, 2014, 01:53:18 PM »
Wow! I was solidly in the "GO!" camp until a saw this list. Shows the value of making lists. Now I'm leaning the other way. What the hell, staying, FIRE-ing, and then going to Switzerland also seems like a reasonable response, especially after the first and last parts of Option 2.

TN_Steve

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #47 on: October 24, 2014, 02:19:58 PM »
Like Diane C, I was thinking on the first go-round, "gotta go" (although I didn't post).  But, this is now difficult and makes me also lean against it.

Reading your prior posts, guess you are early 40s ("no roommate for 20 years"), and getting close to early retirement with present saving rate and net worth.  Thus, probably no physical/age reason to weigh heavy on Europe now versus after FIRE (If you were early 30s, it might be different).

The extra savings from promotion advances FIRE.

The nasty tax filing consequences (which will also probably involve the Swiss?) would probably make me avoid the move overseas.  You'd be looking at FATCA compliance today, and international pension compliance tomorrow.   Yuck.  (I hate tax complexity that doesn't serve a purpose, so this is major for me.)

Unless you are planning longer term career advancement from the international posting (which [would be] likely [for careerists], but contra to FIRE), I'd not go.

Tough to choose, but you've put yourself in a position that neither of these options is a "bad" call.


(Edited--added bracketed text to clarify)
« Last Edit: October 24, 2014, 02:22:00 PM by TN_Steve »

JoJo

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #48 on: October 24, 2014, 04:49:58 PM »
Thanks for your opinions!

re: tax.  The fact that it was so much more expensive there = higher salary + no ability to put money away (HSA, 401k) to lower my AGI = well into 33% tax bracket and I was thinking about renting out my condo here too which would have been pretty worthless.

The mountains of Switzerland were calling me but then I looked at all of my nice photos of the PNW and we really live in an amazing place - I can drive 45-90 minutes from my house and be at some really amazing hikes.  And my good vacation time allowed me to travel to some really amazing places in the past and save at the same time.  I have a couple weeks to think this over and my current bosses are working on a deal.  I'll update when I know something.


hodedofome

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Re: Would you move to one of the Most Expensive Cities in the World?
« Reply #49 on: October 24, 2014, 05:44:29 PM »
I had a friend of the family do this in Italy. They basically decided they would view it as a paid 3 year vacation to travel through Europe. I'd say go for it and make a very memorable experience.