Discover what income you need to be a comfortable expat – at a price


A company is offering tailored reports to explain what salary level people moving abroad require to meet their personal needs

Many expats are tempted to ‘live the dream’ overseas by the promise of a fat salary.

Yet, as research has shown, the reality sometimes fails to match expectations.

The cost of living in some expat hot spots can make a huge dent in earnings, even before extras such as airfares home and socialising.

Now, a British company has launched a service that, they claim, calculates exactly what salary is needed to achieve the desired lifestyle in 140 destinations worldwide.

Kesiena Ogefere, the co-founder and CEO of, explained: “With so many statistics floating around, crunching the numbers can prove tricky.

“With our report, expats do not need to search around for cost of living information. Our salary calculator determines exactly how much they need to earn to maintain and improve their standard of living.”

Miss Ogefere said the reports utilise statistics from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), which is the business information arm of the Economist Group.

Among the costs assessed by the EIU are everyday items such as bread, milk and toiletries, plus utility bills and apartment rental prices.

The reports use this as a basis, and provide additional information such as a personal tax summary for the destination country.

According to Miss Ogefere, the results could prove useful in helping a would-be expat assess whether the salary they have been offered will cover any difference in the cost of living compared with home.

Miss Ogefere, 26, is a human resources professional working for a technology company. Originally from Nigeria, she currently lives in London.

She explained: “The whole idea came about trying to solve a problem at work, where I recruit from all over the world, and I had the same problem when I was moving to the UK.

“Around 90 per cent of the people I interviewed had no idea of the cost of living in the destination they were moving to, and that caused problems with their salary expectations.

“I’ve known someone to move based on a certain salary level and then realise the cost of living was way higher than they thought it would be.

“They ended up making the decision to move home again, which caused a lot of problems not just for the candidate but for the recruiter too.

“I wanted to come up with a product that’s very easy to use.”

She said that while those thinking of moving overseas can find plenty of information on the internet, this can be less than helpful as it is often conflicting and unverified.

Her website was launched earlier this summer with a view to filling the gap in the market and more than 100 reports, which cost US$50, have been produced so far. Most customers have been planning moves to the US, Australia, India and Spain.

Jon Copestake, retail and consumer goods analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said the reports offer a “lighter, briefer and more affordable” version of their own reports.

The EIU products are aimed at the business-to-business market and cost hundreds of dollars.

According to Mr Copestake, the data comes from correspondents who report twice yearly on the cost of 160 different goods and services, from the price of butter to the price of a car.

“This enables us to compare the cost of living in London with Hong Kong and Manchester with New York,” he explained.


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