A major consideration which may influence your decision on where to live is the cost of living. For many expats, the assignment destination is decided for you by your employer but if you are lucky enough to be a digital nomad or are looking for roles with an expat element to them, it is worth knowing the most and least expensive places to live.
What is a digital nomad?
A digital nomad is a term for people who work remotely around the world using telecommunications, all they need is their laptop and an internet connection to work. Digital nomads are usually self-employed but can also work for a company in a role that does not require a physical presence in an office.
Whether you are a digital nomad or a more traditional expatriate, the cost of living in your destination country is an important consideration. InterNation’s Expat Insider survey found survey found Bulgaria, Mexico and Vietnam to be the countries with the lowest cost of living for expats in 2018. To rank well, countries had to provide inexpensive accommodation, utilities, food and entertainment. In most instances expat salaries far surpassed the cost of living locally.
At the other end of the scale the most expensive countries to live in as an expat are Argentina, Italy and Greece, where weaker economies mean expats are not as happy with their finances. Although expat salaries are good in these areas, once accommodation, taxes and other costs are removed, there isn’t much left to spend and save.
Overall cost of living is impacted by:
Household income: most expats say their income exceeds expenses in the countries with the lowest cost of living. In many instances salaries are similar to their home country while living costs are considerably less.
Personal finance: this essentially focuses on the expats view of their financial situation after bills. Those working in the highest-ranked countries were very happy with their disposable income whereas those in the lower side of the scale were less likely to be.