## Monday, December 14, 2009

### How to analyse countries side by side?

Question: I am the CFO for a company who has staff working on projects in around 20 countries. How can I use your product to put these countries side by side in one analysis.

Answer: The best solution would be to run a report for each location using your HQ as the from location in each case. You will then have detailed cost of living reports for each country and can analyze the data across all 20 in a spreadsheet.

## Sunday, December 13, 2009

### cost of living per diem rate question

Question: How can I run a report of what a per diem rate should be for a Canadian employee who is traveling on business to the UK. I want the information to cover the cost of food and miscellaneous expenses but not the cost for hotel or transportation.

Answer: We suggest you use the SPPP (Salary Purchasing Power Parity) Calculator. For food use “Groceries” and for miscellaneous expenses use all or some of the following, “Miscellaneous”, “Personal Care”, and “Recreation and Culture”. Please note that restaurants and Meals out are covered in the same category as hotels. Public transport is included in transportation. The way to use the calculator for a per diem rate is to select only the above as “Paid from Salary”. The way to exclude the other basket items is to select them as “Provided”. In the salary field use the local per diem rate in Canada and select the appropriate UK city as the “to” location. The calculator will calculate the amount of per diem needed in the UK to have the same purchasing power as in Canada.

## Saturday, December 12, 2009

### Cost of living questions

Question: I wonder in what way tax pressure and cost regarding social security are taken into account. As far as I can see the gross salary is calculated and not the net salary. Because of great differences in tax pressure, using the gross salary might give a somewhat less correct outcome.

Answer: The calculator does not take tax into account. Most users use their net/after tax salary as the basis for the calculation. This will calculate the equivalent net salary in the other location. You would then gross up the net salary by the amount of tax to arrive at a gross salary in the other location.

## Friday, December 11, 2009

Internationally comparable cost of living data is crucial to forming sustainable expatriate pay policies and monitoring progress. Market exchange rates give misleading comparisons because they do not reflect salary purchasing power differences. Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) accounts for price differences between countries and so measures real quantities.

The purpose of an expatriate pay program is to maintain employee spending power and standard of living irrespective of global location. Salary Purchasing Power Parity (SPPP) is the amount of salary that equalizes the purchasing power of different currencies given the relative cost of the same basket of goods (cost of living) at the exchange rate versus one US Dollar. This means that a given salary, when converted into different currencies at the SPPP rates, will buy the same basket of goods and services in all countries.

Currency exchange rates are highly volatile as they are based on short-term factors and are subject to substantial distortions from speculative movements, economic outlook and government interventions. Currency exchange rates, on their own, do not in our view reflect cost of living changes in the short-term. Exchange rates, even when averaged over a period of time such as a year, are not a good measure of the comparative value of a salary in relation to its comparative international purchasing power. In the short to medium term at least, apparent changes in the comparative level of remuneration between one country and another may be principally a function of changes in the exchange rate as opposed to cost of living.

The basket of goods and services used in SPPP calculations is derived on an International basis and includes certain items often excluded from expatriate cost of living data (most notably housing costs), however any or all of the 13 basket groups can be included or excluded from a calculation. SPPP's provide a reasonably good picture of the differences in standards of living for individual’s resident and paid in different countries.

## Monday, November 16, 2009

Internationally comparable cost of living data is crucial to forming sustainable expatriate pay policies and monitoring progress. Market exchange rates give misleading comparisons because they do not reflect salary purchasing power differences. Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) accounts for price differences between countries and so measures real quantities.

## Sunday, November 15, 2009

### Alcohol & Tobacco International Cost of Living Ranking

Alcohol & Tobacco costs include alcoholic beverages such as alcohol at bar, beer, locally produced spirit, whiskey, and wine as well as tobacco products such as cigarettes.

The October 2009 alcohol & tobacco international cost of living rank is as follows:

Rank Country, City

1 Kiribati, South Tarawa
2 Qatar, Doha
3 Korea Republic of, Seoul
4 Comores, Moroni
5 Norway, Oslo
6 Bahrain, Manama
8 Thailand, Bangkok
9 Guinea, Conakry
10 Djibouti, Djibouti

## Friday, October 23, 2009

### October 2009 International Cost of Living Ranking

The October 2009 International Cost of Living Ranking, one of the most comprehensive in the world, covers 276 cities in 209 countries across 13 basket groups. Below we have listed the Top 10 most expensive countries to live in, the biggest movers up and down in country ranking and the 5 most expensive countries per basket item.

There is no change to the first and last places. Japan remains the most expensive place for an expatriate to live with the highest overall cost of living index and Zimbabwe with the lowest cost of living index.

The Top 10 most expensive ranked international cost of living locations as at October 2009, together with the previous year's rank as at October 2008, is as follows:

October 2009 Rank Country, City (October 2008 Rank)[Change in Rank]
1. Japan, Tokyo (1) [0]
2. China, Hong Kong (33) [-31]
3. Switzerland, Geneva (4) [-1]
4. Central African Republic, Bangui (46) [-42]
5. Switzerland, Zurich (8) [-3]
6. Denmark, Copenhagen (3) [3]
7. Venezuela, Caracas (32) [-25]
8. United Arab Emirates, Dubai (34) [-26]
10. Norway, Oslo (2) [8]

Biggest Movers Up
The biggest movers up in the rankings as a result of an increase in relative cost of living are:
1. Solomon Islands, Honiara by 152 places
2. Canada, Calgary by 134 places
3. Kiribati, South Tarawa by 109 places
4. Timor-Leste, Dili by 106 places
5. Montenegro, Podgorica by 93 places
6. Vanuatu, Port Vila by 91 places
7. Saudi Arabia, Riyadh by 83 places
8. Rwanda, Kigali by 83 places
9. Cape Verde, Praia by 75 places
10. Congo Democratic Rep, Kinshasa by 61 places

Biggest Movers Down
The biggest movers down in the rankings as a result of a decrease in relative cost of living are:
1. Tonga, Nuku'Alofa by 172 places
2. Poland, Warsaw by 158 places
3. Vietnam, Hanoi by 126 places
4. Fiji, Suva by 99 places
5. Paraguay, Asuncion by 91 places
6. Hungary, Budapest by 85 places
7. Equatorial Guinea, Malabo by 82 places
8. Albania, Tirana by 77 places
9. Kenya, Nairobi by 73 places
10. Gambia, Banjul by 66 places

Top 5 most expensive international locations for each basket group
Our 13 basket groups are the result of extensive research of actual spending habits, this allows our cost of living indices to reflect a reality-based international expenditure pattern. When comparing the cost of living between 2 locations, the difference in the aggregate cost of all the items in each of the 13 basket groups are examined in each location, this is done by using the average reported price in each location for the same quantity of each item. Cost of living is the relative differential of the local cost of the basket groups and the ruling exchange rate between the 2 selected locations. The 13 basket groups are weighted according to Expatriate expenditure norms.

Alcohol & Tobacco costs for alcoholic beverages such as alcohol at bar, beer, locally produced spirit, whiskey, and wine as well as tobacco products such as cigarettes is most expensive in:
1. Kiribati, South Tarawa
2. Qatar, Doha
3. Korea Republic of, Seoul
4. Comores, Moroni
5. Norway, Oslo

Clothing costs for clothing and footwear products such as business suits, casual clothing, children's clothing and footwear, coats and hats, evening wear, shoe repairs, and underwear is most expensive in:
1. Croatia, Zagreb
2. Russia, Moscow
3. China, Beijing
4. United Arab Emirates, Dubai
5. Qatar, Doha

Communications costs for various communication costs such as home telephone rental and call charges, internet connection and service provider fees, mobile / cellular phone contract and calls is most expensive in:
1. Guinea-Bissau, Bissau
2. New Caledonia, Noumea
4. Latvia, Riga
5. Cameroon, Douala

Education costs such as creche / pre-school fees, high school / college fees, primary school fees, and tertiary study fees is most expensive in:
1. Venezuela, Caracas
2. Angola, Luanda
3. Brazil, Brasilia
4. Bermuda, Hamilton
5. Central African Republic, Bangui

Furniture & Appliance costs for furniture, household equipment and household appliances such as dvd player, fridge freezer, iron, kettle, toaster, microwave, light bulbs, television, vacuum cleaner, and washing machine is most expensive in:
1. Central African Republic, Bangui
2. Mali, Bamako
3. Cameroon, Douala
4. New Caledonia, Noumea

Grocery costs for food, non-alcoholic beverages and cleaning material items such as baby consumables, baked goods, baking, canned foods, cheese, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fruit juices, meat, oil & vinegars, pet food, pre-prepared meals, sauces, seafood, snacks, soft drinks, spices & herbs is most expensive in:
1. Central African Republic, Bangui
2. Japan, Tokyo
3. Denmark, Copenhagen
4. Solomon Islands, Honiara
5. Congo, Brazzaville

Healthcare costs for general healthcare, medical and medical insurance such as general practitioner consultation rates, hospital private ward daily rate, non-prescription medicine, and private medical insurance / medical aid contributions is most expensive in:
1. Japan, Tokyo
2. China, Hong Kong
3. Kiribati, South Tarawa
4. Angola, Luanda
5. Bermuda, Hamilton

Household costs for housing, water, electricity, household gas, household fuels, local rates and residential taxes such as house / flat mortgage, house / flat rental, household electricity consumption, household gas / fuel consumption, household water consumption, and local property rates / taxes / levies is most expensive in:
1. China, Hong Kong
2. Japan, Tokyo
3. Taiwan, Taipei
4. Venezuela, Caracas
5. United Arab Emirates, Dubai

Miscellaneous costs related to stationary, linen and general goods and services such as domestic help, dry cleaning, linen, office supplies, newspapers and magazines, and postage stamps is most expensive in:
1. Central African Republic, Bangui
2. Norway, Oslo
3. Finland, Helsinki
4. New Caledonia, Noumea
5. Qatar, Doha

Personal Care costs for personal care products and services such as cosmetics, hair care, moisturizer / sun block, nappies, pain relief tablets, toilet paper, toothpaste, and soap / shampoo / conditioner is most expensive in:
1. Kiribati, South Tarawa
2. Gambia, Banjul
3. Algeria, Algiers
4. Comores, Moroni
5. Slovakia, Bratislava

Recreation and Culture costs such as books, camera film, cinema ticket, DVD and CDs, sports goods, and theatre tickets is most expensive in:
1. Central African Republic, Bangui
2. Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby
3. Mozambique, Maputo
5. Vanuatu, Port Vila

Restaurants, Meals Out and Hotel costs such as business dinner, dinner at a restaurant (non fast food), hotel rates, take away drinks and snacks (fast food) is most expensive in:
1. United Arab Emirates, Dubai
2. Greece, Athens
3. Qatar, Doha
4. Belgium, Brussels
5. Slovenia, Ljubljana

Transport costs for public transport, vehicle costs, vehicle fuel, vehicle insurance and vehicle maintenance such as hire purchase / lease of vehicle, petrol / diesel, public transport service maintenance, tires, vehicle Insurance, and vehicle purchase is most expensive in:
1. Timor-Leste, Dili
2. Georgia Republic of, Tbilisi
3. Cameroon, Douala
4. Solomon Islands, Honiara
5. Norway, Oslo

The definitions of each basket and the full cost of living rankings for all 276 locations are available at Xpatulator Articles

## Sunday, July 12, 2009

### International Cost of Living July 2009

The most expensive global location to live in, as at July 2009, is still Tokyo Japan, however there have been some significant changes in the last year mainly due to large differences in exchange rates, and more recently, a real drop in prices along with the majority of global locations enjoying their lowest inflation rates in recent times.

Tokyo’s cost of living index only increased by 1.4% from July 2008 to July 2009, but is 16 index points clear of 2nd placed Hong Kong (11th in July 2008). Last year Oslo, Norway, was the 2nd most expensive global location to live, however Oslo’s cost of living relative to the rest of the world has decreased by 27 index points over the past year.

The cost of living indexes are based on pricing the same basket of goods in local currency and comparing them in US Dollars using exchange rates with New York as the base (New York = 100). In most cases the major factor driving the changes has been the weakening of other currencies against the US Dollar. This is the main factor behind Oslo’s drop from 2nd to 13th most expensive global location to live. The Norwegian Kroner has decreased 19% against the US Dollar over the past year. In contrast the Japanese Yen has increased 12.7% against the US Dollar over the past year.

The 5 Most Expensive Global Locations Overall
Joining Tokyo and Hong Kong in the top 5 most expensive global locations are Caracas in Venezuela (up 62 places in the rankings) to 3rd most expensive, followed by Bangui in the Central African Republic, and in 5th place is Geneva in Switzerland, down 2 places from July 2008.

The 5 Biggest jumps
The largest increase in relative cost of living is Harare in Zimbabwe, albeit off a very low base. Harare has been ranked the least expensive global location for several years, mainly due to hyperinflation and a constantly weakening currency. This year Zimbabwe’s cost of living index has jumped 118% and is now ranked 275th most expensive out of 276 global locations. Other large increases in relative cost of living in the past year are Honiara in the Solomon Islands up 37% compared to July 2008, Caracas up 22%, Kigali in Rwanda up 19% while the 5th largest jump belongs to Manama in Bahrain, up 17%.

The 5 Least Expensive Global Locations Overall
The least expensive global location to live in this year is Tianjin in China with a cost of living index of just 30 compared to New York’s index of 100. Harare in Zimbabwe, last years least expensive global location is now 2nd least expensive, followed by Durban in South Africa. Phnom Penh in Cambodia is ranked 4th least expensive followed by Mbabane in Swaziland.

The 5 Biggest drops
The largest decrease in relative cost of living is Nuku'Alofa in Tonga with a decrease of 45%, followed by Brazzaville in the Congo with a decrease of 31%. The Congolese Franc has lost 44% against the US Dollar compared to July 2008. Mbabane in Swaziland had a decrease in relative cost of living of 30%, while Budapest in Hungary decreased 28%. The 5th largest decrease between July 2008 and July 2009 was Guangzhou in China with a decrease of 27% despite the Yuan strengthening slightly against the US Dollar by 1%.

The Details: What Costs the Most Where?

Top 5 Alcohol & Tobacco
Alcoholic beverages such as beer, locally produced spirit, whiskey, and wine as well as tobacco products such as cigarettes are most expensive in Doha in Qatar, followed by Oslo, Manama, Moroni in Comores and South Tarawa in Kiribati. The least expensive place for alcohol & tobacco is Kuwait.

Top 5 Clothing
Clothing and footwear products such as business suits, casual clothing, children’s clothing and footwear, coats and hats, evening wear, shoe repairs, and underwear are most expensive also in Doha, followed by Zagreb in Croatia, Dubai, Beijing and Manama. The least expensive place for clothing is Dhaka in Bangladesh.

Top 5 Communication
Communication costs such as home telephone rental and call charges, internet connection and service provider fees, mobile / cellular phone contract and calls are most expensive in Bissau in Guinea-Bissau, followed by Noumea in New Caledonia, Riga in Latvia, Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, and Douala in Cameroon. The least expensive place for communication is Conakry in Guinea.

Top 5 Education
Costs such as crÃ¨che / pre-school fees, high school / college fees, primary school fees, and tertiary study fees are most expensive in Caracas followed by Luanda in Angola, Brasilia in Brazil, Hamilton in Bermuda and Lagos in Nigeria. The least expensive place for education is Paramaribo in Suriname.

Top 5 Furniture & Appliances
Costs for furniture, household equipment and household appliances such as DVD player, fridge freezer, iron, kettle, toaster, microwave, light bulbs, television, vacuum cleaner, and washing machine are most expensive in Douala, followed by Bamako in Mali, Bangui, Lagos, and Freetown in Sierra Leone. The least expensive place for furniture & appliances is Harare.

Top 5 Groceries
Costs for food, non-alcoholic beverages and cleaning material items such as baby consumables, baked goods, baking, canned foods, cheese, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, fruit juices, meat, oil & vinegars, pet food, pre-prepared meals, sauces, seafood, snacks, soft drinks, spices & herbs are most expensive in Tokyo followed by Bangui, Honiara, Copenhagen in Denmark, and Lagos. The least expensive place for groceries is again Harare.

Top 5 Healthcare
Costs for general healthcare, medical and medical insurance such as general practitioner consultation rates, hospital private ward daily rate, non-prescription medicine, and private medical insurance / medical aid contributions are most expensive in Tokyo followed by Hong Kong, Caracas, Luanda and Hamilton in Bermuda. The least expensive place for healthcare is Tianjin.

Top 5 Household
Costs for housing, water, electricity, household gas, household fuels, local rates and residential taxes such as house / flat mortgage, house / flat rental, household electricity consumption, household gas / fuel consumption, household water consumption, and local property rates / taxes / levies are most expensive in Hong Kong followed by Tokyo, Taipei in Taiwan, Dubai, and Luanda. The least expensive place for household costs is Asmara in Eritrea.

Top 5 Personal Care
Costs for personal care products and services such as cosmetics, hair care, moisturizer / sun block, nappies, pain relief tablets, toilet paper, toothpaste, and soap / shampoo / conditioner are most expensive in Banjul in Gambia followed by, Algiers in Algeria, South Tarawa in Kiribati, Moroni in the Comores, and Bratislava in Slovakia. The least expensive place for personal care is Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia.

Top 5 Recreation & Culture
Costs such as books, camera film, cinema ticket, DVD and CD’s, sports goods, sports clubs and theatre tickets are most expensive in Maputo in Mozambique followed by Bangui, Doha, N'Djamena in Chad, and Cotonou in Benin. The least expensive place for recreation & culture is Harare.

Top 5 Restaurants, Meals Out and Hotel
Costs such as business dinner, dinner at a restaurant (non fast food), hotel rates, take away drinks and snacks (fast Food) are most expensive in Dubai followed by Doha, Athens in Greece, Brussels in Belgium and Ljubljana in Slovenia. The least expensive place for restaurants, meals out and hotel is Tianjin.

Top 5 Transport
Costs for public transport, vehicle costs, vehicle fuel, vehicle insurance and vehicle maintenance such as hire purchase / lease of vehicle, petrol / diesel, public transport service maintenance, tires, vehicle Insurance, and vehicle purchase are most expensive in Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia, followed by Honiara, Dili in Timor-Leste, Douala, and Oslo. The least expensive place for transport is Tianjin.

The Top 5 Best Place to Live
So if you were to relocate anywhere in the world right now, where would you experience the lowest cost of living with the least amount of hardship? Hardship is used as the measure of discomfort a person and their family are likely to experience. Each global location is ranked between 1 which is minimal hardship and 4 which is extreme hardship. Assuming therefore that you would want to live in a minimal hardship location, the location with the lowest cost of living index is Adelaide in Australia. Adelaide is a minimal hardship location and has a cost of living index of 60 compared to New York’s index of 100. The next 6 best places to live on this basis are all in the USA. Memphis Tennessee is 2nd followed by El Paso Texas 3rd, St Louis Missouri 4th, and in 5th is Indianapolis Indiana. The next best non-USA location is Auckland in New Zealand in 8th place.

The detailed cost of living rankings as at July 2009 for each basket group for each of the over 200 global locations can be found at Xpatulator.com.

Steven Coleman runs Xpatulator.com an internet service that provides free cost of living and hardship information for 276 global locations to registered users. The premium content international cost of living calculator and cost of living allowance calculator are used for international cost of living comparison and calculation of cost of living allowance. Follow Steven on twitter steveninseattle.

## Tuesday, June 30, 2009

### Argentina Cost of Living

Argentina cost of living is ranked a low cost of living location.

Argentina is in Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay.

CAPITAL CITY: Buenos Aires

LARGEST CITY: Buenos Aires

CURRENCY: Argentine Peso (ARS)

ECONOMY: Argentina's economy comprises rich natural resources, it has a highly literate population, with an export-oriented agricultural sector, and a diversified industrial base. Buenos Aires is the financial, industrial, commercial, and cultural hub of Argentina. The Buenos Aires port is one of the busiest in the world and it is one of the wealthiest cities in the world.

COST OF LIVING OVERVIEW: Buenos Aires has an overall cost of living index which equates it with Low Cost of Living Locations. The overall cost of living index is comprised of the prices for defined quantities of the same goods and services across all 13 Basket Groups. Buenos Aires is currently ranked 252 overall, most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live, out of 276 international www.xpatulator.com locations. The exact customised cost of living index for Buenos Aires is based on the Basket Groups that you select in the Calculators.

In terms of the relative hardship people are likely to experience, assessed in global terms, Buenos Aires is ranked as a high degree of hardship location. The exact customised hardship index premium for Buenos Aires is based on the comparison location that you select in the Calculators.

## Monday, June 29, 2009

### Antigua and Barbuda Cost of Living

Antigua and Barbuda cost of living is ranked a middle cost of living location.

Antigua and Barbuda are in the Caribbean, they are islands between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, east-southeast of Puerto Rico.

CAPITAL CITY OF ANTIGUA: Saint John's

LARGEST CITY OF BARBUDA: Codrington

CURRENCY: East Caribbean Dollar (XCD)

ECONOMY: Antigua is the largest and most populated island. Half of their GDP is dominated by tourism, however weak tourist arrival numbers since early 2000 have slowed this down, pressing the government into a tight fiscal corner. Medium term economic group will depend on income growth in the industrialized world, especially the USA as most of the tourists come from here.

COST OF LIVING OVERVIEW: Saint John's has an overall cost of living index which equates it with Middle Cost of Living Locations. The overall cost of living index is comprised of the prices for defined quantities of the same goods and services across all 13 Basket Groups. Saint John's is currently ranked 139 overall, most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live, out of 276 international www.xpatulator.com locations. The exact customised cost of living index for Saint John's is based on the Basket Groups that you select in the Calculators.

In terms of the relative hardship people are likely to experience, assessed in global terms, Saint John's is ranked as a high degree of hardship location. The exact customised hardship index premium for Saint John's is based on the comparison location that you select in the Calculators.

## Wednesday, June 24, 2009

### Angola Cost of Living

Angola cost of living is ranked a high cost of living location.

Angola is in Southern Africa, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Namibia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

CAPITAL CITY: Luanda

LARGEST CITY: Luanda

CURRENCY: Angolan New Kwanza (AON)

ECONOMY: Angola has had a high growth rate which is driven by its oil sector. There has been a post-war reconstruction boom with the resettlement of displaced persons which has led to high rates of growth in construction and agriculture. Due to the 27-year civil war much of the country's infrastructure is still damaged or undeveloped.

COST OF LIVING OVERVIEW: Luanda has an overall cost of living index which equates it with High Cost of Living Locations. The overall cost of living index is comprised of the prices for defined quantities of the same goods and services across all 13 Basket Groups. Luanda is currently ranked 11 overall, most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live, out of 276 international www.xpatulator.com locations. The exact customised cost of living index for Luanda is based on the Basket Groups that you select in the Calculators.

In terms of the relative hardship people are likely to experience, assessed in global terms, Luanda is ranked as an extreme hardship location. The exact customised hardship index premium for Luanda is based on the comparison location that you select in the Calculators.

## Sunday, June 21, 2009

### Andorra cost of living

 Andorra, Andorra la Vella
Andorra is found in South-western Europe, between France and Spain.  Andorra la Vella is the capital and largest city and it is the economic and commercial center of the country. It is also the center of the banking and business hubs that thrive from the country's tax haven status, with the banking sector and tourism contributing substantially to the overall economy.

Andorra has an overall cost of living index which equates it with a MIDDLE Cost of Living Locations. The overall cost of living index is comprised of the prices for defined quantities of the same goods and services across all 13 Basket Groups. Andorra la Vella is currently ranked 126 overall, most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live, out of 276 international www.xpatulator.com locations. The exact customised cost of living index for Andorra la Vella is based on the Basket Groups that you select in the Calculators.

In terms of the relative hardship people are likely to experience, assessed in global terms, Andorra la Vella is ranked as a some hardship location. The exact customised hardship index premium for Andorra la Vella is based on the comparison location that you select in the Calculators.

## Thursday, June 18, 2009

### Algeria Cost of Living

Algeria is found at the top of Africa bordering Morocco, Mali, Niger, Libya and Tunisia. It's capital and largest city is Algiers. Algiers is an important economic, commercial and financial point in Africa, and has a stock exchange which records on average an annual capitalisation of 60 billion euros.  The port of Algiers is also one of the most important of West Africa. There is structural reform within the economy, such as the development of the banking sector and the construction of infrastructure.

Algeria cost of living is ranked as a MIDDLE cost of living location and ranked 149 overall in June 2009, most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live, out of 276 international locations. The exact customised cost of living index for Algiers is based on the Basket Groups that you select in the Calculators.

In terms of the relative hardship people are likely to experience, assessed in global terms, Algiers is ranked as an EXTREME hardship location.

## Wednesday, June 17, 2009

### Albania Cost of Living

The Republic of Albania's is a Balkan country found in South Eastern Europe and has a cost of living which is ranked as a LOW COL location.
 Tirana, Albania
Tirana is the capital and largest city of the country.

While the economy of the country has improved slowly following the fall of communism, prices have risen and as a result economic hardship has continued for much of the population.

Tirana is currently ranked 216 overall, most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live, out of 276 international locations.  The overall cost of living index is comprised of the prices for defined quantities of the same goods and services across all 13 Basket Groups.

In terms of the relative hardship people are likely to experience, assessed in global terms, Tirana is ranked as an extreme hardship location. The exact customised hardship index premium for Tirana is based on the comparison location that you select in the Calculators.

## Monday, June 15, 2009

### Afghanistan Cost of Living

Afghanistan's cost of living is ranked as a middle cost of living country.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country located in the heart of Asia.  The capital and largest city is Kabul

Afghanistan is relatively impoverished, however, it has achieved a more respectable economic recovery and growth since 2002.

From a cost of living perspective, Kabul has an overall index which equates it with a Middle COL. The overall cost of living index is comprised of the prices for defined quantities of the same goods and services across all 13 Basket Groups. Kabul for June 2009 ranked 173 overall, most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live, out of 276 international locations.

In terms of the relative hardship people are likely to experience, Kabul is ranked as an extreme hardship location. The exact customised hardship index premium and cost of living ranking for Kabul is based on the comparison location that you select in the Calculators.

## Monday, June 1, 2009

### Expat Kids, all about attitude

Is being an expat all about attitude, and if so, does this have an immense influence on expat children and how they perceive their situation in this new environment?

After much research on the topic there were a few points that stood out for me on how to be an expat child these are discussed below:

1. Attitude
Your attitude as the adult and parent is going to greatly influence how your children settle in the country and accept the move.
We can decide whether to be positive or negative about becoming expats. The more positive parent results in a well adjusted child who looks at the glass half full, finds the positive in every situation and tries to adjust as much as you do.

Trudie says: We saw this move as a wonderful opportunity to expose our children to the world and maybe broaden their horizons.
Shirley says: I hated where we moved to and people were not as friendly as I thought they would be and it was hard and lonely. I had to work hard to change, but with a positive attitude, my children have become so much happier.

2. Being Open minded:
In every case of becoming an expat, the circumstances you are going to experience are different. If you have not been brought up in the culture it is going to be an adjustment. Parents need to be open minded and to allow their children to do the same.

Monique says: Being an expat parent really depends on a lot of things, e.g. where you are being posted, most of my postings have been to central African countries where food and medical care can be scarce. This can be stressful with younger kids and as a parent you need to be open minded and prepared to adjust and change your way of thinking and learn many new skills, like administering medical aid, like doing your own stitches on a screaming kid without pain killers.

3. The right Schooling
We can easily make the wrong school choice for our children (even in our own countries), but when moving to a culturally different country this could be what either develops your child into having a positive attitude or not.
Let your child go to a school that will suite his/her personality. Will they develop better in a smaller, bigger, sporty or academic school, what is the vision of the school for the students, check and double check if your child will suite the style of the school. Many parents prefer to home school their children. Children need to thrive and will do so if the school appropriately develops their strengths. Find a school that teaches in your child’s home language and that has children around them with similar cultural backgrounds. Sometimes you do not have an option e.g. there is only 1 school available, get involved with the school and teach your child about cultural diversity. If your child is old enough, discuss the options with them and let them help make the decision.

Liz writes: I would seriously recommend sending your kids to a similar type size of school you are leaving, we went from a little school to a private huge, pressure school, the main focus was on academics but not a holistic school. WORSE mistake, Nick went from a happy outgoing little boy to vomiting every day and getting nauseous when we drove past the school. NIGHTMARE the school offered no support only interested in bums in seats and \$ in the bank.
Well it was so bad we contemplated going back to the country we had come from (not home), but gave a smaller school a go. Nick had counseling for the trauma, and is back to his happy self.

4. Immerse your family in the language, culture and religion.
Try to learn the new language, immerse this in the culture, religion and history of the country, go to museums, take tours and do a bit of what the locals would do and participate in some of the festivals. Make it fun, tell them stories about the culture and history, and make it educational at the same time. Imagine the stories your children will be able to tell their friends back at home of their adventures.

Denise says: We take the children to the museums, on safaris, to cultural villages, and encourage them to try the local food, it may just surprise the taste buds. Mostly we want them to learn the local language so that they can communicate with their peers. Who knows they may well live here when they are older.

5. Be Encouraging
Encourage your child to take part in different activities. Let them learn that they can overcome any challenge thrown their way, encourage and support them with whatever decisions they make. They are likely to develop a belief that they can achieve anything in life, as long as they are positive and set their minds to it. They will learn to embrace challenges head on, rather than being too afraid and shying away from these situations.

Trudie says: I love the freedom that we have here, that we don’t have to worry that something will happen to our child if he goes to the bookshop by himself or to the bathroom. I let my child become independent with confidence. We encourage it.
Denise says: I remember growing up very protected from the outside world. As an 18 year old, I had no worldly experience and could not make any decisions in life. It has been hard to unlearn that and to make decisions you feel are right for you. I want my children to be unafraid of making decisions and be courageous enough to try.

6. Flexibility and stability
Be flexible in your daily life and know that life is not to be taken too seriously, focus on opportunities to have fun and learn in the process. Your children will take a page from your book and learn to be flexible in their own lives. There is always somewhere new to go and people to meet. It is an adventure, so take advantage of the opportunity. At the same time you need to maintain a stable relationship and environment for your children because one of the most difficult things for the expat child is building long-lasting friendships and not seeing the home they are living in as home.

Denise says, "The feeling of not knowing what's coming next can be quite stressful at times, and I often have that sick feeling in my stomach about where life is going to take us next, I want my children to be flexibe and be ok with wherever they land up. So I try and show that, I am excited so that my kids will grow up not being apprehensive like I am. Life is for the living, so we must live it."
Trudie: This is definitely not home and never will be, but I’m not really sure that matters, as long as they know home is somewhere.

7. Communicating with others
Remember the way you interact with people as an expat will determine how your child will interact and accept people from different backgrounds. As an expat you are going to encounter, not only the new local culture and people, but people from all walks of life, from countries they may never have heard of. Your children need to be encouraged to be unprejudiced towards different cultures.

It is so important to constantly communicate with your children. Did you involve them in the decision to relocate?
Denise: When my husband came back from his interview and had been offered the position, we told the kids about the country and focused on the positive aspects of moving, eventually our son asked whether we could please move there. We were very excited that he was so excited.
It is important to consider your child’s opinions and constantly talk to them about how they are feeling. Listen to your children, really listen!

Trudie: We constantly communicated, during our alone time I reassure Matthew that dad will be with us soon, when dad went straight to our expat spot and we had to go there Matthew was the first to jump at the idea. We also constantly talk about the fact that we will move again- this is not home yet- we will be here for a couple of years - we wanted Matthew to be prepared for that and use it to motivate him-work harder at school etc.

Monique writes: I discuss everything with my kids and never hide the truth from them, they have learnt a lot and I would not change what we have done, they have really experienced life to the fullest, doing things most kids their age dream about.

9. Personality, age and attachment types
Your child’s personality, age and how they attach themselves to you is also going to determine how well they settle.

Denise: My daughter who is 6 remembers those people who were closest to her, she remembers experiences mainly through our home videos. Our son at 8 remembers a lot more about home and took longer to settle and make friends. Jess will attach herself to mostly any other children, Sean will shy away and take longer to be comfortable to mingle, but once the mingling starts he is just fine.
Teenage years are tougher. If your child is shy, and attaches themselves to you for support, then settling will be harder. The child with an assertive, outgoing personality is going to find it a lot easier to get along in the new environment. To help, make play dates for the shy child, join clubs, and take them to different social events. In the long run, it is going to make your life easier if your children have friends and settle down.
Get your kids to focus on what they are experiencing right now and not on the things they are missing out on at home. If they are feeling depressed, get busy and have fun!
Shirley says: I did not worry about Natalie (she was 13) I thought she would adapt easier than Marco (15 ½), which was the case in the end.
Marco could not play the sports he was really good at. He found it hard to settle into a boy school after being at a mixed school. I think this was a tough time and I worried and felt sorry for him. He also found it difficult to make friends at the beginning, that changed after a couple of months and he has now made some good friends.
Natalie was more adaptable, she made friends quickly and easily … she even has a local accent now. We encouraged everything they did and gave them the space they needed to grow. We let them be independent, which we could not do at home. They have flourished and are very independent, strong and self assured now.

10. Family traditions, original culture and language
It is important to keep your countries traditions going within the family, remember everyone at home is growing up with those traditions and if you are going back to live, keep those traditions alive within your own family.

Trudie: Well where we come from we don’t have any dress codes but two things that are close to our hearts, are sport and food. We always watch all and every major sporting event from cricket to rugby with our kids, they can see the intensity and passion we have towards sport. The food part is easy, my children get traditional food over and over on a weekly bases.

It also helps to create new family traditions while maintaining your own value system.

Last thoughts:
Much of the research I encountered showed that expat kids grow up to be diversified, tolerant, intelligent, savvy, articulate, worldly wise and interesting adults.

http://www.xpatulator.com

## Saturday, May 30, 2009

### The right Schooling

We can so easily make the wrong school choice for our children (even in our own countries), but when moving to a culturally different country this could be what either develops your child into having a positive attitude or not.

Liz writes: I would seriously recommend sending your kids to a similar type size of school you are leaving, we went from a gorgeous little school to a private huge, pressure pressure school, the main focus was on the academics but not a holistic school. WORSE mistake, Nick went from a happy outgoing little boy to vomiting every day and getting nauseous when we drove past the school. NIGHTMARE the school offered no support only interested in bums in seats and \$ in the bank.

Well it was sooo bad we contemplated going back to the country we had just come from (not home by the way), but gave a smaller school a go. Nick had counseling from the trauma, and is back to his old happy self ..... so my friends don’t get caught up in the hype but go with your gut feel.

xpatulator.com

## Thursday, May 28, 2009

### Expat Kids - Being Open minded

Being Open minded:
In every case of becoming an expat, the circumstances you are going to experience are going to be different, even if you move within the USA, if you have not been brought up in the culture it is going to be an adjustment. Parents need to be open minded about a culture, to allow their children to be open minded about it too.

Denise says: I remember when we first moved to the Middle East we found the people drove like maniacs and we raise our arms like the ??? in the movie Madagascar and say “Look at me look at me I am a crazy local driver” and all roll around laughing. Eventually our kids were mimicking us and believed that all Middle Eastern people drove badly. We had to correct them on that and say, eventually everyone that lives here drives badly, it is just how it is here and somehow you adjust, even we drive badly now.
Monique says: Being an expat parent really depends on a lot of things, like where you are being posted, most of my postings have been to central African countries where food and medical care can be scarce, this can be stressful with younger kids and as a parent you need to be open minded and be prepared to adjust and change your way of thinking and learn many new skills, like administering medical aid, sometimes going as far as doing your own stitches on a screaming kid without pain killers.

xpatulator.com

## Monday, May 18, 2009

### You have to have a positive attitude as an Expat

Your attitude as the adult and parent is going to greatly influence how your children settle in the country and accept the move.
We can decide whether to be positive or negative about becoming expats. The more positive parent results in a well adjusted child who looks at the glass half, finds the positive in every situation and tries to adjust as much as you do.

The positives, in themselves, of living in a new and different environment so outweigh the negatives. We can start with that fantastical dream of living abroad (the “Out of Africa” experience or exotic India thoughts), this is an adventure for you and them and it needs to be embraced as such.
Perhaps it is the benefit of a better environment, climate, economic situation, better job opportunities and prospects, a better political situation, safer country iow less violence, the reason you have left your country of origin is your positive and this positive must be lived every day by the family.
What you and your family are achieving can be what your peers back home can only dream of ever achieving one day. Your attitude back then, when you were deciding to take this adventure, was one of hope and opportunity, of adventure and new beginnings and this is how this dream needs to be lived.

Trudie says : We saw this move as a wonderful opportunity to expose our children to the world and maybe broaden their horizons.
I was 36 weeks pregnant when we arrived and I was stressed beyond mention. Adjusting to this part of the world was the hardest for me. I gave up a whole support system at home to have a baby in a strange country and had to cope on my own- with just Craig by my side. For Matthew (8) coming to this part of the world is associated with so many wonderful things-he got to be with dad again (as Dad was always away when we lived at home). He finally got a sibling that we had been praying so hard for. And he got to go to a new school, make new friends and take up a combat sport-For Matthew life was grand.
Shirley says: I hated where we moved to with a passion. It was cold, wet, windy, the people were not as friendly as I thought they would be and it was a really hard and lonely time for at least a year. My first six months I told my husband that I could not handle this place and wanted to go home, but the thought of the crime back home and the safety of my children was more important for me and that was an absolute put off. I really wanted my children to be able to come and go as they wanted and not always worry about whether they would be safe, or if I had to drive them somewhere, would I get hi-jacked. It took me long time to stop hugging my handbag to my chest, to stop looking over my shoulder to see if I was been followed or whether someone was going to snatch my bag, to stop locking all my car doors and putting my handbag under my seat. That became a plus in my book and I had to really work hard to change my attitude and that is what I did.

I still miss my family and my friends, but I have made new friends here and it helps a lot. I don’t worry about locking my car door anymore or worrying about whether my bag is going to be snatched etc, it makes life more simple and therefore I just carry on with life and hope and pray for the best. My children are happy and that is what counts.

Each of these parents has had a positive attitude towards their circumstances, even if it did not start off as positive eventually expat parents realize that only their positive experiences can result in their children having a positive attitude too.

xpatulator.com

### Is being an expat all about attitude?

Is being an expat all about attitude, and if so, does this have an immense influence on expat children and how they perceive their situation in this new environment?

If as adults we are so unsure about moving to another culture, how do you think our children are feeling?

The inevitable question is “Do we leave our comfort zone?”
What this question means is that we disrupt our lives, move away from everything we know and love, our home comforts, family and friends. And finally do we tear our children away from all the above? Inevitably they have the same concerns as we do…. And in the end, do they have the choice or a say in the move?

I can tell you this, in their minds they are asking questions like, can I adapt, will I be happy, how can Mom and Dad do this to me, will I make new friends, will I be accepted, will I be good enough and to top it all off they are leaving all their friends behind, just like you are.

More on this topic tomorrow....

xpatulator.com

## Tuesday, May 12, 2009

### Expat article

Thanks so much to everyone who has help to contribute towards the Expat article I am working on. Watch out for the article to be posted soon!

## Saturday, April 25, 2009

### Expensive or not

Paris, France is 24th most expensive for expatriates out of 276 global cities. Overall COL index 98.61 (NY=100)

Oslo in Norway is 25th most expensive for expatriates out of 276 global cities. Overall COL index 98.37 (NY=100)

Milan in Italy is 26th most expensive for expatriates out of 276 global cities. Overall COL index 98.2 (NY=100)

San Marino is 27th most expensive for expatriates out of 276 global cities. Overall COL index 97.97 (NY=100)

San Francisco is 28th most expensive for expatriates out of 276 global cities. Overall COL index 97.79 (NY=100)

Monaco is 29th most expensive for expatriates out of 276 global cities. Overall COL index 97.43 (NY=100)

Vienna, Austria is 30th most expensive for expatriates out of 276 global cities. Overall COL index 97.21 (NY=100)

xpatulator.com

## Monday, April 20, 2009

### International Rankings - Cost of Living 1 April 2009

International Cost of Living Rankings

International cost of living rankings are the result of comparing the cost of an expatriate’s personal budget, using the local prices for the same defined quantities of the same goods and services in each country throughout the world.

Our findings show that the compound impact of the multifaceted global economic trends that impact each country in one way or another, are contributing to rapid substantial changes in the relative cost of living of countries around the world. The changes in relative cost of living are large and have occurred in a relatively short period of time. The reason for this is due to the fact that so many economic crises are occurring simultaneously. 2008 saw the housing bubble burst followed by the failure of a number of global fund / asset management, insurance and banking giants. Some have been liquidated or taken over; others have been bailed out with government funds. In 2009 we have seen the continued fall in house prices which many believe have yet to bottom out. Stock prices and market indexes are down to levels last seen a decade or more ago. The trend towards decreased inflation and lower interest rates continues in developed and developing markets. We are also experiencing exchange rate volatility with a number of large economies seeing their currency weaken considerably in the past year. The economic impact is continuing to spread around the globe. We are currently seeing a truly global recession with reduced demand for manufacturing inputs and outputs as well as reduced energy demand and large scale job losses.

This study of 276 global locations covered every country in the world. The study comprised the cost of several hundred items that expatriates typically spend their pay on, grouped into 13 Basket Groups. The findings as at 1 April 2009 have been compared to the previous findings of 1 December 2008. The Index uses New York as the base (New York = 100). An index greater than 100, means that the cost of living is higher than New York, an index less than 100, means that the cost of living is lower than New York.

Geneva has a cost of living index of 110 for example. That means that on average, goods and services that cost \$100 in New York, cost \$110 in Geneva. Each city is ranked according to their overall cost of living index which includes the cost of all basket groups.

A cost of living index increases or decreases based on the local price of the goods and services used in the study and the ruling exchange rate. As a general principle, a country with a currency that has increased against other currencies (stronger currency) and which has relatively high local inflation (rapid/large price increases), will generally experience an increase in cost of living compared to other countries. On the other hand, a country with a currency that has decreased against other currencies (weaker currency) and which has relatively low local inflation will generally experience a decrease in cost of living compared to other countries. It is important to note that we are talking about relative changes. Take London as another example. As recently as December 2008, London was still ranked the 6th most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live. As at April 2009 it is the 23rd most expensive place in the world for expatriates. That does not mean that the local cost of living for expatriates living in London has decreased. What it does mean is that relative to other places in the world, London is no longer as expensive as it was last year. What makes London’s cost of living relatively lower than it was is mainly due to the increase in the cost of living elsewhere together with the weaker British Pound.

These relative changes have a substantial impact on expatriate employees. An expatriate working in a high cost of living - strong currency country such as Hong Kong where the Hong Kong Dollar is pegged to the US Dollar illustrates this point. The high cost of living makes it difficult to save due to high local prices; Household (Accommodation including utilities) in particular is very expensive. However, an expatriate working in Hong Kong will now likely find that remitting money back home provides greatly increased spending power at home. In the past year the Hong Kong Dollar has increased 15% against the Malaysian Ringgit, and 30% against the Indonesian Rupiah and the Australian Dollar.

The Top 10 Most Expensive Places for Expatriates to Live

Tokyo has retained its status as the most expensive city in the world for expatriates to live. The cost of living index for Tokyo has increased from 126 in December 2008 to 143 as at 1 April 2009, and the Yen has strengthened against the US Dollar. At the other end of the scale, Harare has retained its status as the least expensive city in the world and is ranked 276 with an index of just 17 and a currency which is still in free-fall. Tokyo is ranked 1st for Healthcare expenses, 2nd for Groceries and 2nd for Household (Accommodation including utilities).

Hong Kong is now ranked 2nd overall having climbed from 33rd place in December 2008. Its cost of living index has increased from 103 to 121 and is ranked 1st for Household expenses and 2nd for Healthcare. It is interesting however to note that Hong Kong is not expensive in all categories. It is ranked 202nd for Alcohol & Tobacco, 226th for Recreation & Culture, 227th for Education, and 247th for Furniture & Appliances.

Lagos is the 3rd most expensive city in the world for expatriates, having previously been ranked 11th. It is ranked 1st for Groceries and for Furniture & Appliance expenses, 6th for Healthcare, and 18th for Restaurants, Meals Out and Hotels.

Caracas has moved substantially up the rankings to 4th, having been ranked just 32nd in December 2008. It is ranked 1st for Education expenses, 5th for Healthcare, and 6th for Household expenses (Accommodation including utilities).

Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea is the 5th ranked overall most expensive city for expatriates due to most goods and services being imported from Australia. Port Moresby is ranked 6th for Recreation & Culture, 7th for Communication and for Healthcare, and 8th most expensive for Clothing.

Geneva has dropped slightly to 6th, having been ranked 4th in December 2008. It is ranked 3rd most expensive for Transport expenses, 11th for Recreation & Culture, 15th for Healthcare, and 20th for Clothing.

Dubai has moved into the top 10 most expensive places in the world for expatriates to live for the first time. Dubai is now ranked 7th, substantially up from 34th in December 2008. Its cost of living index has increased from 103 to 109 since December 2008. It is ranked 1st for Restaurants Meals Out and Hotel expenses, 6th for Clothing, 11th for Healthcare, and 16th for Groceries. Dubai is currently ranked 4th for Household expenses (Accommodation including utilities), however evidence is emerging that this will decrease significantly in the next quarter as it has been hit relatively hard in the property sector with falling property prices and rentals.

Doha has moved up in the global rankings faster than any other city. In December 2008, Doha was ranked the 45th most expensive city for expatriates, it is now 8th. The overall cost of living index has moved up from 101 to 109, equal to that of Dubai. It is ranked 2nd for Restaurants, Meals Out and Hotel expenses, 3rd for Clothing, 7th for Household expenses (Accommodation including utilities), 8th for Groceries as well as for Recreation and Culture, and 10th for Healthcare.

Denmark has dropped slightly to being the 9th most expensive place in the world for expatriates, having been ranked 3rd in December 2008. It is ranked 3rd most expensive for Groceries, 5th for Transport, and 15th for Furniture and Appliances.

Hamilton in Bermuda completes the top 10 moving from 26th in December despite the overall cost of index remaining 108. Hamilton is ranked 4th most expensive for both Education and Healthcare, 10th for Personal Care, 11th for Household expenses (Accommodation including utilities), and 15th for Groceries.

The full overall cost of living ranking list, sourced from Xpatulator.com as at 1 April 2009 is as follows:

Rank and Location
1 Japan, Tokyo

2 China, Hong Kong

3 Nigeria, Lagos

4 Venezuela, Caracas

5 Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby

6 Switzerland, Geneva

7 United Arab Emirates, Dubai

8 Qatar, Doha

9 Denmark, Copenhagen

10 Bermuda, Hamilton

11 Angola, Luanda

12 Switzerland, Zurich

13 Russia, Moscow

14 Solomon Islands, Honiara

15 Cameroon, Douala

17 Taiwan, Taipei

19 USA, New York NY

20 New Caledonia, Noumea

21 Greenland, Nuuk

22 Ireland, Dublin

23 United Kingdom, London

24 France, Paris

25 Norway, Oslo

26 Italy, Milan

27 San Marino, San Marino

28 USA, San Francisco Calif

29 Monaco, Monaco

30 Austria, Vienna

31 Bahamas, Nassau

32 Central African Republic, Bangui

33 Nauru, Yaren

34 USA, Boston Mass

35 Finland, Helsinki

36 Italy, Rome

37 Kazakhstan, Almaty

38 Cote D'Ivoire, Abidjan

39 Bahrain, Manama

40 Micronesia, Palikir

41 Isle of Man, Douglas

42 Haiti, Port-au-Prince

43 USA, San Jose Calif

44 Cameroon, Yaounde

45 Djibouti, Djibouti

46 Palau, Melekeok

47 Guinea-Bissau, Bissau

48 Azerbaijan, Baku

49 Benin, Cotonou

50 Slovakia, Bratislava

51 Belgium, Brussels

52 Netherlands, Amsterdam

53 Sao Tome and Principe, Sao Tome

54 Jersey, Saint Helier

55 Mali, Bamako

56 Gabon, Libreville

57 United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi

58 Croatia, Zagreb

59 Singapore, Singapore

60 Ghana, Accra

62 Ukraine, Kiev

64 Cayman Islands, George Town

65 Sierra Leone, Freetown

66 Germany, Berlin

67 Czech Republic, Prague

68 USA, San Diego Calif

69 Jordan, Amman

71 USA, Los Angeles Calif

72 USA, Washington DC

73 Estonia, Tallinn

74 USA, Baltimore Md

75 Falkland Islands, Stanley

77 Guernsey, St Peter Port

78 Comores, Moroni

79 Sudan, Khartoum

80 Germany, Bonn

81 Vatican City, Vatican City

83 Timor-Leste, Dili

84 Hungary, Budapest

85 USA, Seattle Wash

86 Brazil, Brasilia

87 Lebanon, Beirut

88 USA, Miami Fla

89 Vanuatu, Port Vila

90 Luxembourg, Luxembourg

91 Jamaica, Kingston

92 Australia, Sydney

93 Kuwait, Kuwait City

94 Moldova, Chisinau

95 Congo Democratic Rep, Kinshasa

96 Germany, Frankfurt

97 Tuvalu, Funafuti

98 Iceland, ReykjavÃ­k

100 Portugal, Lisbon

101 Mozambique, Maputo

102 Senegal, Dakar

104 Niger, Niamey

105 China, Beijing

107 Turkey, Ankara

108 Togo, Lome

109 Equatorial Guinea, Malabo

110 Martinique, Fort-de-France

111 Armenia, Yerevan

112 USA, Chicago Ill

113 Liberia, Monrovia

114 Gibraltar, Gibraltar

115 Sweden, Stockholm

117 USA, Portland Ore

118 Israel, Jerusalem

119 Malta, Velletta

120 Puerto Rico, San Juan

122 Rwanda, Kigali

123 Guam, Hagatna

125 Zambia, Lusaka

126 Andorra, Andorra la Vella

127 Cyprus, Nicosia

128 USA, Las Vegas Nev

129 Samoa, Apia

130 Saint Helena, Jamestown

131 Tanzania, Dar es Salaam

132 Greece, Athens

133 Poland, Warsaw

134 Maldives, Male

135 Malawi, Lilongwe

136 Thailand, Bangkok

137 Indonesia, Jakarta

138 USA, Jacksonville Fla

139 Antigua and Barbuda, Saint John's

140 Gambia, Banjul

141 United Kingdom, Glasgow

142 Lithuania, Vilnius

143 Belarus, Minsk

144 USA, Dallas Tex

145 Australia, Canberra

146 India, Mumbai

147 Australia, Melbourne

148 USA, Denver Colo

149 Algeria, Algiers

150 Georgia Republic of, Tbilisi

151 Honduras, Tegucigalpa

152 USA, Atlanta GA

153 USA, Cleveland Ohio

155 USA, Milwaukee Wis

156 Congo, Brazzaville

157 Guinea, Conakry

158 Saint Kitts and Nevis, Basseterre

159 USA, Detroit Mich

160 Panama, Panama City

161 Latvia, Riga

162 Uganda, Kampala

163 Korea Republic of, Seoul

164 USA, Charlotte NC

165 Marshall Islands, Majuro

166 Australia, Perth

167 USA, Phoenix Ariz

168 USA, Columbus Ohio

169 USA, Austin Tex

171 USA, Tampa Fla

172 United Kingdom, Birmingham

173 Afghanistan, Kabul

175 Vietnam, Hanoi

176 USA, Indianapolis Ind

177 USA, St Louis MO

178 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Kingstown

179 Peru, Lima

180 Syria, Damascus

181 USA, Fort Worth Tex

182 Slovenia, Ljubljana

183 Mauritania, Nouakchott

184 USA, El Paso Tex

185 Philippines, Manila

186 China, Shanghai

187 USA, Memphis Tenn

188 USA, Pittsburgh Penn

189 Belize, Belmopan

190 India, New Delhi

191 Romania, Bucharest

192 Guatemala, Guatemala City

193 Iran, Tehran

194 Cape Verde, Praia

195 India, Chennai

196 USA, Houston Tex

198 Costa Rica, San Jose

199 Dominica, Roseau

200 Nicaragua, Managua

201 Guyana, Georgetown

202 Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo

203 Bulgaria, Sofia

204 237 Suriname, Paramaribo

205 Cuba, Havana

206 Oman, Muscat

207 India, Calcutta

208 Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar

209 Tajikistan, Dushanbe

211 Burundi, Bujumbura

212 USA, San Antonio Tex

213 Myanmar, Yangon

214 Uruguay, Montevideo

215 Paraguay, Asuncion

216 Albania, Tirana

217 Brunei, Bandar Seri Begawan

218 Mauritius, Port Louis

219 Fiji, Suva

220 Egypt, Cairo

221 Australia, Brisbane

223 Korea Democratic Republic of, Pyongyang

224 Laos, Vientiane

225 Mexico, Mexico City

226 Morocco, Rabat

227 India, Bangalore

228 Saint Lucia, Castries

229 New Zealand, Auckland

230 Kiribati, South Tarawa

231 Kosovo, Pristina

232 Kenya, Nairobi

235 Pakistan, Lahore

236 Bolivia, La Paz

237 Colombia, Bogota

238 Botswana, Gaberone

239 Sri Lanka, Colombo

241 Turkmenistan, Ashgabat

242 Kyrgyzstan, Bishkek

243 Macedonia, Skopje

244 Pakistan, Karachi

246 Montenegro, Podgorica

247 Chile, Santiago

248 Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur

249 China, Macao

250 Eritrea, Asmara

252 Argentina, Buenos Aires

253 Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo

254 Uzbekistan, Tashkent

256 Nepal, Kathmandu

257 Tunisia, Tunis

258 Yemen, Sanaa

259 Bhutan, Thimphu

260 South Africa, Johannesburg

261 China, Shenzhen

262 Tonga, Nuku'Alofa

263 China, Dalian

264 South Africa, Pretoria

265 Lesotho, Maseru

266 China, Wuhan

267 Namibia, Windhoek

268 Libya, Tripoli

269 South Africa, Cape Town

270 China, Guangzhou

271 Seychelles, Victoria

272 South Africa, Durban

273 Cambodia, Phnom Penh

274 Swaziland, Mbabane

275 China, Tianjin

276 Zimbabwe, Harare

Steven Coleman runs the most comprehensive global relocation calculator available, an internet service that is used primarily to calculate expatriate salary levels for global assignments, which can be found at xpatulator.com

## Tuesday, March 24, 2009

### Dubai

We have taken Dubai as our location to equate the cost of living to the rest of the world. Each emirate in the UAE have slightly different practices. Most companies provide, reimburse or provide an allowance, for benefits such as Healthcare, Housing, Schooling etc. These benefits are usually determined by your job and family status and varies by company and sector. When using the calculator, you need to select which of the basket groups is applicable to your circumstances and this will determine the equitable salary.

Dubai has an overall High Cost of Living. The overall cost of living index is comprised of the prices for defined quantities of the same goods and services across all 13 Basket Groups. Dubai is currently ranked 7 overall, most expensive place in the world for expatriates to live, out of 276 international www.xpatulator.com locations. The exact customised cost of living index for Dubai is based on the Basket Groups that you select in the Calculators.
In terms of the relative hardship people are likely to experience, assessed in global terms, Dubai is ranked as a minimal hardship location. The exact customised hardship index premium for Dubai is based on the comparison location that you select in the Calculators.

I will equate, a few more Middle East countries tomorrow.....

## Thursday, March 19, 2009

### Moving to The United Arab Emirates

I have had a lot of clients looking at moving to The Middle East, in my first blog on a country, I will focus specifically on The UAE.

It is a union of seven small Arab emirates.

LOCATION: The United Arab Emirates is in the Middle East, bordering the Gulf of Oman and the Persian Gulf, between Oman and Saudi Arabia.

CAPITAL CITY: Abu Dhabi

LARGEST CITY: Abu Dhabi

CURRENCY: UAE Dirham (AED)

ECONOMY: The United Arab Emirates has a highly industrialized economy. Although the UAE is becoming less dependent on natural resources as a source of revenue, petroleum and natural gas exports still play an important role in the economy. A massive construction boom, an expanding manufacturing base, and a thriving services sector are helping the UAE diversify its economy. There is currently approximately \$350 billion worth of active construction projects. Although Dubai's economy was built on the back of the oil industry, revenues from oil and natural gas currently account for less than 6% of the UAE's revenues. The government's decision to diversify from a trade-based, but oil-reliant, economy to one that is service and tourism-oriented has made real estate more valuable, resulting in extreme property appreciation. Large scale real estate development projects have led to the construction of some of the tallest skyscrapers and largest projects in the world such as the Emirates Towers, the Palm Islands and the world's tallest, and most expensive, hotel the Burj Dubai.

Climate
From October to April (Winter) - moderate temperatures averaging 20 degrees.
The temperature peaks in Summer (May to September) up to 49 degrees.
Sandstorms and dustorms are common, while the eastern highlands are generally cooler and rainier.

HISTORY
The emirates had its beginnings in the 18th Century. The economy relied on pearl fishing and trading. In the 1820s, Britain forced the states to sign a series of treaties due to the conflict between ruling leaders and piracy along the coast. They took control of foreign affairs. In 1958, oil was discovered and in 1962 the first exports began. In 1952, the emirates set up a Trucial Council to increase cooperation between the various states and in 1968 Britain announced the withdrawal of its forces.

POLITICS
in 1971, he country became independent, when 6 of the 7 states agreed to form a single country - the United Arab Emirates. In 1972 the last state joined the emirates.
The emirates consist of the following states - Abu Zaby (Abu Dhabi), Ajman, Dubayy (Dubai), Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah (Sharjah), Umm-al-Qaywayn and Ras al Khaymah.
Each Emirate has its own Emir who controls internal affairs.
The federal government controls foreign affairs and defence and plays a leading role in the social and economic development of the country.
The 7 Emirs form a Federal Supreme Council, it elects the federation's president and vice president who serve for five years.
The President appoints the Prime-Minister. The country is one of the most liberal and tolerant of the Persian Gulf countries, but is the only one without elected bodies.
It is the 6th largest oil exporter in the world.

Abu Dhabi
Dubai

Tomorrow I will discuss the Cost of living in the emirates in more detail....

## Monday, March 16, 2009

### Being an Expat

Moving around the world has its ups and downs and we must be honest you never really quite know what you are letting yourself into. It takes at least 6 months to settle down into a kind of routine, then you need to learn the rules of the road, country and people (unless of course they are similar to yours), where are the best shops, restaurants, beaches or entertainment, places of interest, etc etc. Even after exploring, researching and talking to other expats and locals , you can still unfortunately get this horribly wrong.

6 months to a year down the road, and you are an expat local, you know where YOU like to go, what YOU like to do and how YOU like to relax. The city is now yours, but getting there takes time and it is this time that we need to give ourselves to settle. Unless you are a nomad or a gypsy, getting used to being an expat can be trying at best.

I would like to try and make this a blog where you can express yourself as an expat, how have you coped, what insight can you give to others on your experiences, how can you help people moving to your part of the world to settle? Do you have something to help people, let them know…….help is all that is needed.

## Sunday, January 25, 2009

### A New Approach to Expatriate Pay

The challenges of ensuring expatriates are paid fair salaries across different countries, in the current economic climate, of the credit crisis together with rapid currency and inflation fluctuations are increasingly complex.

The current economic climate has made it necessary to constantly review expatriate salaries. Rapidly fluctuating exchange rates and inflation can increase or decrease the amount of salary paid, and significantly impact purchasing power both positively and negatively in a very short period of time. The approach many organizations have taken is to convert a spendable percentage (typically 60%) of the expatriate’s salary into the host country currency on a monthly basis and to provide non-cash benefits such as accommodation, transport, education of children etc. This can result in employers paying too much or too little salary in these volatile times.

Too Much: The expatriate experiences short-term upside, as a result of a change in the exchange rate. A fall in the value of the host country currency against the home country currency, without an increase in the prices of goods and services in the host country, results in the expatriate having increased purchasing power. It may appear for a while that all is well. The expatriate has an unexpected windfall. A wise expatriate will save this windfall knowing that the situation will not be permanent. Either the exchange rate will adjust back to where it was or prices and inflation will begin to increase until economic equilibrium is achieved. The reality is, that in the short-term the employer will be faced with increased overall salary costs, and will eventually have to deal with disappointed expatriates when the trend inevitably reverses itself and their purchasing power drops again to realistic levels.

Too Little: The expatriate experiences short-term downside as a result of a change in the exchange rate. An increase in the value of the host country currency against the home country currency, without a decrease in the prices of goods and services in the host country, results in the expatriate having reduced purchasing power. This is when the employer faces complaints from expatriates unable to make ends meet. Prices of goods and services have remained the same in the host country but as a result of the change in the exchange rate, the expatriate receives less salary in local currency. In the long term either the exchange rate will adjust back to where it was, or prices and inflation will begin to decrease until economic equilibrium is achieved. The reality is that in the short-term the employer will be faced with decreased overall salary costs and will have to deal quickly with unhappy expatriates.

Clearly the approach on converting a portion of the salary into host country currency on a monthly basis does not work any more.

The expatriate compensation questions that employers must consider:

-What amount of salary will ensure that the expatriate will have the same purchasing power overseas as they have at home?

-What process / tool will be used to ensure the salary retains its purchasing power when inflation and exchange rates change?

New Approach: The ideal approach is for the employer to decide on a process / tool that establishes and maintains the expatriate’s salary purchasing power. The Salary Purchasing Power Parity (SPPP) approach is one such approach and involves the following steps:

-Committed Salary: Decide what amount / portion of the current salary (in home currency) will remain in the home country to meet committed expenses such as mortgage commitments, retirement funding, savings etc.

-Home Gross Spendable Salary: Establish what amount / portion of the current salary (in home currency) is spent in maintaining the expatriates current standard of living / lifestyle. What will the expatriate need to spend their salary on in the host country? For example will accommodation be provided or will the expatriate pay rent, will healthcare be provided etc.

-Home Net Spendable Salary: Establish the net spendable salary by deducting the amount of tax, social contributions and any other statutory deductions applicable in the home country to the Home Gross Spendable Salary.

-Host Net Spendable Salary: Use the established amount of Home Net Spendable Salary in home currency, to calculate the amount of Host Net Spendable Salary required in the host country, in order for the expatriate to have the same amount of purchasing power as they have in their home country. The calculation comprises 4 factors:
1) The difference in the cost of living index for the same basket of goods and services between the home and host country applicable for the spendable salary.
2) The difference in hardship that the expatriate and their family are likely to experience.
3) The exchange rate between the home and host country.
4) The Net Spendable Salary

-Host Gross Salary: The Host Net Spendable Salary is “grossed up” by the amount of tax, social contributions and any other statutory deductions applicable in the host country, to establish the host gross salary that will provide the expatriate with the same standard of living as they had in their home country.

The Host Gross Salary is established in local host currency. As a result it is no longer subject to changes in the exchange rate. Over time the salary may be eroded by local inflation which will be reflected in the cost of living indexes. It is recommended that the Host Gross Salary be reviewed on a quarterly basis, to monitor the impact of any change in cost of living and the exchange rate.

Steven Coleman runs the most comprehensive international cost of living website available www.xpatulator.com an internet service that provides free cost of living and hardship information for 276 global locations to registered users. The premium content calculators allow you to customise your own cost of living index by choosing your own basket groups and includes a COLA calculator. Follow Steven on twitter

### How to Calculate a Cost of Living Allowance

A Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) is a salary supplement paid to employees to cover differences in the cost of living, particularly as a result of an international assignment.

The amount of COLA should enable an expatriate to be able to purchase the same basket of goods and services in the host location as they could in their home country. The basis for calculating a COLA is the Cost of Living Index (COLI) which indexes the costs of the same basket of goods and services in different geographic locations. COLA is a simple accurate method of measuring fluctuating salary purchasing power and ensuring parity.

Cost of Living Index
Our cost of Living Indexes measure the cost of 230 products and services across 13 different basket groups in 276 cities across the globe. The data is gathered by a team of research analysts who survey comparable items that are available internationally. A minimum of 3 prices for the same brand/size/volume of product is used to determine the average price for each item in each location. The items are priced on a quarterly basis and tend to rise and fall with inflation. The 13 different basket categories are as follows:
· Alcohol & Tobacco: Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products
Alcohol at Bar
Beer
Cigarettes
Locally Produced Spirit
Whiskey
Wine
· Clothing: Clothing and footwear products
Casual Clothing
Children’s Clothing and footwear
Coats and hats
Evening Wear
Shoe Repairs
Underwear
· Communication
Home Telephone Rental and Call Charges
Internet Connection and service provider fees
Mobile / Cellular Phone Contract and Calls
· Education
CrÃ¨che / Pre-School Fees
High School / College Fees
Primary School Fees
Tertiary Study Fees
· Furniture & Appliances: Furniture, household equipment and household appliances
DVD Player
Fridge Freezer
Iron
Kettle, Toaster, Microwave
Light Bulbs
Television
Vacuum Cleaner
Washing Machine
· Groceries: Food, non-alcoholic beverages and cleaning material
Baby Consumables
Baked Goods
Baking
Canned Foods
Cheese
Cleaning Products
Dairy
Fresh Fruits
Fresh Vegetables
Fruit Juices
Frozen
Meat
Oil & Vinegars
Pet Food
Pre-Prepared Meals
Sauces
Seafood
Snacks
Soft Drinks
Spices & Herbs
· Healthcare: General Healthcare, Medical and Medical Insurance
General Practitioner Consultation rates
Hospital Private Ward Daily Rate
Non-Prescription Medicine
Private Medical Insurance / Medical Aid Contributions
· Household: Housing, water, electricity, household gas, household fuels, local rates and residential taxes
House / Flat Mortgage
House / Flat Rental
Household Electricity Consumption
Household Gas / Fuel Consumption
Household Water Consumption
Local Property Rates / Taxes / Levies
· Miscellaneous: Stationary, Linen and general goods and services
Domestic Help
Dry Cleaning
Linen
Office Supplies
Newspapers and Magazines
Postage Stamps
· Personal Care: Personal Care products and services
Cosmetics
Haircare
Moisturiser / Sun Block
Nappies
Pain Relief Tablets
Toilet Paper
Toothpaste
Soap / Shampoo / Conditioner
· Recreation and Culture
Books
Camera Film
Cinema Ticket
DVD and CD’s
Sports goods
Theatre Ticket
· Restaurants, Meals Out and Hotels
Dinner at Restaurant (non fast food)
Hotel Rates
Take Away Drinks & Snacks (fast Food)
· Transport: Public Transport, Vehicle Costs, Vehicle Fuel, Vehicle Insurance and Vehicle Maintenance
Hire Purchase / Lease of Vehicle
Petrol / Diesel
Public Transport
Service Maintenance
Tyres
Vehicle Insurance
Vehicle Purchase

Each basket category does not count equally and are weighted in the final calculation based on expatriate spending patterns.

In order to calculate an accurate cost of living index for a specific individual the basket items that are not relevant to the individual should be excluded from the calculation. For example if education and housing is provided by the employer these basket categories would be excluded from the cost of living index calculation. This increases the accuracy of the cost of living index and makes it possible for each individual to have their own customized cost of living index based on their specific arrangements rather than using an overall “generic” index which is likely to contains costs that are not relevant to the individual.

The formula for calculating the specific cost of living index for an international assignment is as follows:

Cost of Living Index = Customized Cost of Living Index for Host City / Customized Cost of Living Index for Home City

When moving to a higher cost of living host city, the index will be greater than 1 (positive). When moving to a lower cost of living host city the index will be less than 1 (negative). Where the index is negative it means that in real terms the cost of living in the host city is lower than the home city. This means that if the negative index where to be applied to the employee’s salary, they would actually be paid proportionately less spendable salary in the host city. It is important to note that the majority of organizations do not apply a negative cost of living index because it makes it difficult to persuade an employee to take up an assignment as they tend to see it as a reduction in salary.
Examples of Cost of Living Index Calculations using our data:

Example 1) An Australian employee moving from Perth to London where healthcare and communication will be provided by the employer

More Expensive in London:
Alcohol & Tobacco +4.77%
Clothing +21.85%
Education +31.53%
Furniture & Appliances +16.03%
Groceries +16.35%
Household +50.72%
Miscellaneous +137.47%
Personal Care +11.18%
Recreation & Culture -6.82%
Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels +34.99%
Transport +19.80%

The overall difference in cost of living moving from Perth and London is +28.06%.

In this case the cost of living index is positive and would be applied as it is.

Example 2) A British employee moving from London to Mumbai where the employer will provide housing and education

More Expensive in Mumbai:
Alcohol & Tobacco -37.53%
Clothing -9.58%
Communication -44.92%
Furniture & Appliances -19.31%
Groceries -24.03%
Healthcare -31.24%
Miscellaneous -72.43%
Personal Care -24.94%
Recreation & Culture -35.73%
Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels -33.11%
Transport is -27.99%

The overall difference in cost of living moving from London Mumbai is -30.53%.

In this case the cost of living index is negative and would not be applied.

Net Spendable Salary

Differences in cost of living only impact the portion of the salary that is spendable in the host country. Items in the home country such as retirement funding, medical insurance and other home based costs are not impacted by the cost of living in the host country.

To determine the Net Spendable Salary establish what amount / portion of the current salary (in home currency) is spent in maintaining the employee’s current standard of living / lifestyle. What will the expatriate need to spend their salary on in the host country? For example will accommodation be provided or will the employee pay rent, will healthcare be provided etc. Deduct all items that are either provided in kind or are spendable in the home country. Deduct the hypothetical amount of tax, social contributions and any other statutory deductions applicable in the home country from the Spendable Salary. What is left is the Net Spendable Salary.

Cost of Living Allowance (COLA)
The formula for calculating the cost of living allowance using the above inputs is as follows:

(Net Spendable Salary X Cost of Living Index X Hardship Index X Exchange Rate) less (Net Spendable Salary X Exchange Rate) = COLA

Examples of COLA Calculations using our data

Example 1) An Australian employee with a net spendable salary of AUD\$100,000 moving from Perth to London where healthcare and communication will be provided by the employer

(\$100,000.00 X 1.2806 X 1 X 0.4768) less (\$100,000.00 X 0.4768) = COLA of £13,379.44 (GBP)

Based on all the above factors a person would require a Cost of Living Allowance of £13,379.44 (GBP), in addition to their current salary of 100,000.00 Australian Dollar (AUD) to compensate for relocating from Perth to London. This Cost of Living Allowance compensates for the overall cost of living difference of +28.06% and the relative difference in hardship of 0%.

Example 2) A British employee with a net spendable salary of £18,000 moving from London to Mumbai where the employer will provide housing and education

Note: Because the Cost of Living Index is negative it is not applied.

(£18,000.00 X 1 X 1.3 X 67.2852) less (£18,000.00 X67.2852) = COLA of 363,340.32 Indian Rupee

Based on all the above factors a person would require a Cost of Living Allowance of 363,340.32 (INR ), in addition to their current salary of £18,000.00 British Pound (GBP ) to compensate for relocating from London to Mumbai. This Cost of Living Allowance compensates for the overall cost of living difference of [-30.53%] and the relative difference in hardship of 30%.

COLA Payment
The COLA is paid as a salary supplement (i.e. as an additional allowance) net of tax in the host country. If the COLA is a taxable allowance in the host country it should be grossed up in order that the full amount of calculated COLA is paid net of tax given that the basis of the calculation is Net Spendable Salary. The COLA is often accompanied by other allowances and benefits such as flights home, relocation / settling in allowance, and furnishing allowance.

Exchange Rate Fluctuations
Significant changes in the exchange rate can make a considerable difference in the COLA calculation. In 2008 some of the major global exchange rates changed by as much as 30-40%.

The cost of living index reflects the changes caused by inflation and exchange rates. In the short-term there may be disequilibrium between inflation and the exchange rate (the one pushes the other), however over time the cost of living index provides the most accurate view of the cost of living.

It is important to remind expatriates that when the cost of living difference is negative, and the negative value has not been applied, they have higher purchasing power in the host country than they would at home.

Where a negative cost of living index has not been applied (our recommended approach), and a change in the exchange rate indicates an upward adjustment in COLA may be required, it is recommended that the COLA should not be adjusted upward until the cost of living index becomes positive i.e. the cost of living reflects that there is a “real” increase in cost of living between home and host countries. This may mean that their would be no increase in the COLA as a result of exchange rate fluctuations for some considerable time. During this time the employee’s purchasing power decreases. But it is important to remember that until the cost of living difference becomes positive, the individual will still have a higher purchasing power than they do in their home country.

It is advisable to stipulate a currency protection rule, rather than reacting to every fluctuation in the exchange rate. For example the rule may state that COLA will be reviewed if exchange rates or local inflation move by more than +10% during a year. It is important to keep in mind that the prices of goods and services are unlikely to drop in local currency. This would only occur in a period of deflation (negative inflation). Therefore the currency protection rule would normally make provision for upward adjustments in COLA and not downward adjustments during an employee’s assignment. Downward adjustments to an existing COLA due to exchange rate fluctuations without a corresponding drop in the prices of local goods and services puts immense pressure on an employee’s host currency budget commitments and can lead to the employee experiencing financial difficulty.

Using an independent service provider provides an independent, objective basis for determining an employee’s COLA.

We recommend therefore that a COLA is calculated by applying the specific (customized) cost of living index to the net spendable salary at the beginning of the assignment and monitoring exchange rate fluctuations thereafter in addition to the annual salary review.

Steven Coleman runs the most comprehensive international cost of living website available www.xpatulator.com an internet service that provides free cost of living and hardship information for 276 global locations to registered users. The premium content calculators allow you to customise your own cost of living index by choosing your own basket groups and includes a COLA calculator. Follow Steven on twitter