Living Costs For One Person In NZ v. USA
Continuing in our popular Migrants Tales series – first hand accounts of the migrant experience in New Zealand, taken from locations around the net.
Today’s tale comes from the not- for- profit NZ emigration advice and mutual support site Expatexposed.com, one of few uncensored NZ emigration discussion boards on the internet. The link was sent to us by a reader.
It was written to give emigrants an indication of living expenses for one person in New Zealand, a country considered to be an expensive place in which to live. At the end is a comparison to living costs in the USA, as you will see there is a BIG difference in the amount of disposable income after the most basic of needs have been met.
A Break-down of costs for one person
So, I was just sitting down to work out my budget for the year, and I thought I might share this in case any prospective migrants come across this site. The costs are basically what I pay annually, but the salary isn’t based on my own — I am nowhere near this well-off! I think this is a pretty realistic budget for ONE person for ONE year, living in the Auckland suburbs. This budget would be appropriate for someone coming from North America or Europe and wanting to maintain a lifestyle similar in quality to that of home.
Here are my criteria:
Rental property: 2-bedroom mid-range (almost livable)
Car: 8-10 years old and in GOOD condition
Gross Income 72,000
Income Taxes -16,910
Net Income 55,090
Rent @ $425/week -22,100
Electricity (incl. winter) -1,500
ADSL/Phone Package (40GB/month) -1,260
Car Payments ($15,000 @ 17.25%) -6,504
ONE Trip to EUR/US -4,500
Car Insurance (MUST HAVE) -1,000
Contents Insurance (MUST HAVE) -700
Dental Care (After insurance) -1,000
Medical/Dental/Vision Ins. -1,956
Rental Bond (one-off) -1,700
That leaves $5,670 NEW ZEALAND DOLLARS for your mobile communications, retirement savings, general savings, clothing, shoes, entertainment, dining out, insurance excesses, savings for a home mortgage, vehicle maintenance, fuel for the car, natural gas for the house, pet care, and other incidentals. Of course, one could go without the health insurance and dental insurance and car insurance and contents insurance, and get a cheaper rental, and not take the trip home every year, and not use electricity for heating, etc. But that only makes life more miserable for those of us used to a reasonable standard of living. Wink
Now let’s look at costs in the US. I’ve based this on the same gross salary, but in US DOLLARS. It’s pretty common knowledge that if you earn $50,000 NZ Dollars in NZ, you’ll earn $60,000 in US Dollars for the SAME job in the US. This was essentially my VERY over-indulgent budget in the US, living in a city of 400,000 in a nice part of town. The gross income has been changed to protect the innocent. Wink
Rental property: 2-bedroom, fully livable
Car: 2005 model in GREAT condition
Gross Income $72,000
Income Taxes -9,932 (incl. refund)
Net Income 62,068
Renters’ Insurance -300
Phone/Internet/Cable -800 (package)
Car payments -3,768 ($10k @ 8.9%)
Trip to Europe -2,500
Car Insurance -1,500
Dental Care -800 (with insurance)
Medical/Dent/Vision -1,920 (employer-sponsored)
Bond (One-off) -1,600
That leaves $36,400 UNITED STATES DOLLARS for your mobile communications, retirement savings, general savings, clothing, shoes, entertainment, dining out, insurance excesses, savings for a home mortgage, vehicle maintenance, fuel for the car, natural gas for the house, pet care, and other incidentals.
A difference of $30,730!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m sure New Zealand is great for “lifestyle” … loosely defined. Wink