Many people catch the travel bug — but few can afford to move abroad.
Expat Insider recently released the results of its annual InterNations survey, which looks at factors that motivate expats to move to certain parts of the world, including personal finance.
Overall, Ecuador emerged as the winner, with the lowest cost of living. Other factors played into the ranking too, such as earning potential and financial satisfaction.
With over 14,000 expats from all walks of life participating in the survey, InterNations gained valuable insight into the personal satisfaction of people who choose to live abroad.
Take a look at some of the cheapest countries for expats.
This small South American country on the coast occupies the number one spot with respect to cost of living. There, 88% of respondents rated it positively, with 45% describing the general cost of living as “very good.”
Ecuador also ranks highest in financial satisfaction, with 85% of survey participants saying they’re happy with their financial situation in general, and 94% claiming they earn a sufficient amount of money for daily life. Ecuador’s housing is also the most affordable of the 60 countries included in the study.
Thailand is ranked as the second-cheapest place to live, beaten only by Ecuador.
Seventy-four per cent of survey respondents consider Thailand’s cost of living to be good or excellent, well above the global average of 35%.
Housing is cheap, too: 85% of expats report that they are happy with the affordability of the housing market. While the cost of living is low, expats’ faith in the economy and sense of job security is not as high as it could be.
Even so, in terms of financial satisfaction, Thailand ranks fairly well at number 21 out of 61 countries.
The cost of living in this sovereign island country in Southeast Asia is extremely low, ranking ninth out of 61 for lowest costs of living.
Financial satisfaction is also high, even if earning potential isn’t. About a third of expats living in the Philippines make less than $US25,000 per year, but 84% reported that their income is still higher than the local average, and 55% of respondents said that their disposable income is more than enough to cover daily living expenses.
With an economy that recently surpassed the US in size, China is “a beacon of value in an expensive world.” As a business hub with low living costs, China attracts expats from all over the world.
Nearly half of survey respondents living in China said that the cost of living there is either good or very good — only 35% of expats globally said the same of their host country. 59% of expats in China also agree that their income easily covers everyday expenditures, in contrast to the worldwide average of 45%.
Considering these factors, many enjoy the expat life so much that they hope to stay in their host country indefinitely. Half of all expats surveyed said they planned to stay in their host country for at least three years, with 26% saying they might never leave. For American expats, that number is even higher — over a third of American expats said they were considering staying forever.
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