Potential retirees are constantly asking financial planners about moving when they do actually pack it in. That usually involves either putting down stakes in another city or moving down in space such as from a large house to a smaller apartment, the intention being to make sure the money outlives them.
Now, in the spirit of disclosing not where to move to but rather where not to move to, I turned to my friends at Mercer Human Resource Consulting for a little guidance. They just released a survey of cities in the world and have ranked 144 of them measuring the comparative cost of more than 200 items such as housing, transportation, clothing, house goods, entertainment and, of course, food. Also, you can't forget about including exchange rate fluctuations in the mix. Actually, it is considered the world's most comprehensive cost-of-living survey.
What has come down the pike is rather interesting. For one, Moscow has replaced Tokyo as the world's most expensive city. Naturally, those of you who are now living in Moscow (and still happen to be reading this column--sure, take two and hit to right), already know this. According to Anna Krotova, senior researcher at Mercer in Geneva, Moscow is the costliest city in the world because "steep accommodation costs have contributed to the city's high ranking as the recent property boom has driven up rental prices for expatriates." Seoul is in second place and Tokyo is in third followed by Hong Kong.
This is all based on a survey conducted in March of this year.
Now, I live in New York so where do I come in? Actually, New York City scored some 100 points to put it in 10th position and it remains the most expensive city in North America. I can attest to that. The lunatics running our local city council where I live just voted in a 25 percent property tax increase. Yeah, Not 2.5 percent but a real 25 percent. Nice!
Why the Big Apple's high ranking? According to Mercer, currency appreciation is the main reason although price increases in fuel and certain consumer goods also contribute to the number.
If we stick to the States, what do we find? Right behind New York City is Los Angeles (29th overall), San Francisco (34th), Chicago (38th), Washington, D.C. (83rd). You want the other side of the coin? Look at Winston Salem. It's the cheapest U.S. city surveyed and is ranked 124th.
If you are looking toward Europe, then consider that once you pass Moscow, the second most expensive city is London. After that, you come across Geneva, Copenhagen, and Zurich. Leipzig is Europe's cheapest city.
If you opt to travel north, then realize that Toronto is the most expensive city in Canada and Ottawa the least expensive. Going south, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro are the most expensive cities in Latin America. Cheap cities include Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and Caracas.
I'm saving the cheapest city worldwide for the end of this show.
As far as Central America is concerned, the costliest city is San Juan and San Jose is the least expensive.
Looking Eastward, beside Tokyo and Hong Kong, Beijing and Shanghai will take most of your Yuan and if Down Under, Sydney is still the most expensive city in the region while Auckland and Wellington are relatively inexpensive.
So, that is at least shows you where you'll need some substantial money to live. Okay, where's is the world's least expensive city, according to the survey? Yep, you guessed it. Asuncion in Paraguay.
What do you mean you don't know where Paraguay is?
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