Understanding the Cost of Living in Europe
The majority of people who decide to make an international move out of America, decide to transplant to Europe. This is mainly due to the fact that the quality of life is very similar there compared to the United States. Also, a large portion of Americans have roots that trace back to Europe, and people like to visit and live in their homeland. What a lot of people may not realize though is the cost of living can be drastically different in Europe that American immigrants may not be prepared for. While the cost of living does depend on the country you are moving to, chances are it is higher than it is in the United States.
In order to understand the differences in the cost of living from one country to the next, you must first understand what cost of living actually is. Cost of living is a dollar value that represents the amount of money a person will need to pay for items in their daily lives. Things like taxes, rent or mortgage, food costs, transportation costs, schooling, medical bills, and day to day necessities are all factored into the cost of living value. This value can be greatly affected by government policy. Some countries may offer free healthcare, but will have much higher taxes to pay for it. This is just one example of how a government policy will skew the cost of living number. Another thing to look into is the exchange rate of the currency of the country you are moving to, compared to the American dollar. Your money might be worth more or less depending on where you go. The countries that are in the European Union, for example, use the Euro as its form of currency, which is more valuable than the American dollar, which means your money will be less after transferring.
The Cost of Living in Specific Countries
So what countries have the highest cost of living, and which ones have the lowest? As of this year the top five highest cost of living countries in Europe are Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Luxembourg in that order. Keep in mind that this could change from year to year depending on the economic structure of the country and any policies that the government may impose. As of this year the lowest five countries are Belarus, Macedonia, Ukraine, Albania, and Bulgaria. If you decide to move to one of these countries, your dollar will go a lot longer than it will in Switzerland, so keep that in mind when looking for a new destination.
However, the countries listed above are not the most popular places for an American to relocate to. To look at some of the more popular countries, you will notice that many still have a higher cost of living than the United States, though not as drastic as the top five. The United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Greece, Ireland, France, and Italy, all have a higher cost of living than the United States at this time. There are some popular destinations that have a lower cost of living however. These include Portugal, the Czech Republic, and Poland. The bottom line is, no matter what country you are looking to move to, make sure to factor in the daily cost of living into your budget, so you can maintain the same lifestyle, or better, in your new home that you currently enjoy in the United States.