Worlds most expensive cities for expats

Published:  20 May at 6 PM
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Expats come in all shapes and sizes, as do their bank accounts, but all are looking for that one special place to create a unique lifestyle.

Expats aren’t just retirees, English teachers, backpacking globetrotters or contractors working on oil rigs needing R&R including great weather, cheap beer and sexy girls. Expat life can be as luxurious as the budget allows, although it’ll have to be huge to survive the world’s most expensive cities.

It has to be admitted that London is the favoured destination for expats looking for the high life, but the cost of housing alone will put off all but the most comfortable financially. Expat bankers landing city-based jobs will do well, but the salary won’t last long after rental payments, dinner at fashionable restaurants and your own luxury transport.

Tokyo has a well-earned reputation for expensive housing and eating out, but it’s also the place for expats searching for well-paid jobs in finance. Culturally, it’s one of the world’s most fascinating cities, and many Western expats decide to stay on as long as is possible. For those with Asian dreams, English teaching here is a good way to enrich the entire experience.

Adventurous expats might well take a look at N’Djamena in Chad, but Western food costs are prohibitive and security is dodgy, to say the least. Luanda, Angola is another African hotspot, but it’s best avoided for the high housing costs in safe, secure areas combined with the wages for your bodyguard.

Switzerland is known for its billionaires, perhaps the only people who can actually afford to live there. Zurich’s crushing prices span housing, meals, drinks, transport and just about everything else, but its stunning setting make it all worthwhile. Ditto for lakeside Geneva and beautiful Bern.

Heading east again, Seoul is a pricey treat with an upbeat population, but Western food is invariably imported and housing costs are through the pretty, peaked roofs. Ignore the fact that, 35 miles away, Kim Jung Un is sitting with his finger on a large red button. The city state of Singapore is a better choice, but you’ll pay through the nose for the privilege of living there.

China’s opening up to the rest of the world has created job opportunities for expats, with Beijing heading the list. It’s possible to live relatively cheaply here, but you’ll need to once you’ve paid the month’s rent. In Shianghai, it’s expat consumer goods that break the bank, with expats happy to live the Chinese way more than content with their choice.
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