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foreign cost of living
Old 08-09-2006, 09:57 AM   #1
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foreign cost of living

I thought I'd share a study comparing international cost of living for those interested in foreign retirement

http://www.ubs.com/1/ShowMedia/media...L_2003_e_m.pdf

This study is from 2003. There is a 2006 version but I haven't located the English version.
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-09-2006, 01:08 PM   #2
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Re: foreign cost of living

Very, very interesting. I enjoyed looking at that. Looks like Argentina would be a good destination, although prices keep escalating. Would love to see more current if you come accross it.
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-09-2006, 01:17 PM   #3
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Re: foreign cost of living

We did a comparison in 2003 with a Candian couple living in Mazatlan MX (they retired fulltime to Mexico in 1997) with current costs in Vancouver Canada and determined that, after adjusting for currency changes, the costs of retirement in Mazatlan were 55% of those in Vancouver. This included all the normal stuff like a car with insurance, medicare, satellite TV, high speed internet. The one thing that has changed is the LD phone charges from Mexico to friends and family - VOIP has reduced it significantly.

The study highlights Mexico City and compared to Toronto (and Mazatlan) it is high plus these studies are for working people so there are many costs that drop when retired in both places.

We know some people from the Okanagan that are planning to purchase oceanfront property in Uraguay, and although there is no entry for Montevideo, I note that Buenos Aires is less than half the price of Toronto in the study.
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-09-2006, 02:56 PM   #4
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Re: foreign cost of living

Keep in mind that the cost of living in a small town in a less developed country can be extremely low even though the cost of living in the country's booming centers can be quite high. Russia would be one example. Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world while there are Americans who manage to live comfortably on a few $K/y just a few hundred miles from it. Of course, living in Third World countries can be chancy, but that's a whole different story.
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-10-2006, 08:39 AM   #5
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Re: foreign cost of living

2006 version of that UBS report can be found here: http://www.ubs.com/1/ShowMedia/media...uL_2006_en.pdf

Here's a different one, annually updated from Mercer HR:
http://www.mercerhr.com/pressrelease...ontent/1142150
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-10-2006, 10:44 AM   #6
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Re: foreign cost of living

Quote:
Originally Posted by Offshore Guy
2006 version of that UBS report can be found here: http://www.ubs.com/1/ShowMedia/media...uL_2006_en.pdf
Thanks for the link.

Where can I find the contents of the 122 items basket used to tabulate* "Price Comparison" table/chart on page 5?
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-16-2006, 10:20 PM   #7
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Re: foreign cost of living

The full UBS 2006 report is now here (previous link was to the media release - the link below is the full report and has much more detail):
http://www.ubs.com/1/ShowMedia/ubs_c...2&name=eng.pdf

Sam, they go into more detail about the items used in their 'basket' in this full report, but they don't itemize them.
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-16-2006, 11:19 PM   #8
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Re: foreign cost of living

Thanks, Offshore Guy.
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Old 08-17-2006, 12:42 AM   #9
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Re: foreign cost of living

I did some in depth research on cost of living in urban Mexico here:

http://raddr-pages.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2510

I spent a month there this summer.

I find "cost of living" studies basically useless unless you are an expat businessman living the good life. Living retired is completely different and you need to learn details about specific aspects of living in your desired location and apply them to your unique situation.

Kramer
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-17-2006, 07:52 AM   #10
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Re: foreign cost of living

Quote:
Originally Posted by Offshore Guy
Sam, they go into more detail about the items used in their 'basket' in this full report, but they don't itemize them.
Thank you, Offshore Guy.
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-17-2006, 05:48 PM   #11
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Re: foreign cost of living

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrooge
Moscow is one of the most expensive cities in the world while there are Americans who manage to live comfortably on a few $K/y just a few hundred miles from it.
Does that include the cash needed to pay the obligatory bribes?
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-17-2006, 05:57 PM   #12
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Re: foreign cost of living

Quote:
Originally Posted by 3 Yrs to Go
Does that include the cash needed to pay the obligatory bribes?
I don't think he mentions it in his publicly posted blog entries, but you can always send him an e-mail and ask

More seriously, lack of transparency is a major problem if you want to go live in a Third World country. The old rule of foreign travel -- "what you see is not always what you get" -- applies to a much greater extent than it applies in the First World. Discovering just how much the two can differ can be a rather costly proposition.
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Re: foreign cost of living
Old 08-17-2006, 06:16 PM   #13
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Re: foreign cost of living

My family and I lived as expats in Asia for 4 years while I was working for megacorp. Megacorp subscribed to a service to evaluate the cost of expat living relative to that in the US. Based on that evaluation we got a goods and services allowance to make up the difference. For a family of 5 we received a monthy allowance of $700-1000 during those years. In reality, though, we found that the cost of living for us was substantially lower living there than in the US, and we could pocket almost all of my takehome payand live off of the allowance alone. Had we bought all imported goods and services the cost of living might have been $1000 higher, but buying at the middle class local standard was modestly cheaper.
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