The Cost of Living: Australia and the US Compared

by BobinOz on December 8, 2010

in Cost of Living - Australia

I would imagine most of us from both Australia and the UK have, on occasions, glanced enviously over to the USA because, well, everything is so cheap there, isn’t it?

Houses are cheaper, petrol is cheaper, electricity is cheaper and so are electrical goods and many other regular household items.

Here in Australia, unlike the UK and the USA, we do not have an Amazon website.

Every time I have needed to buy (needed? No, wanted more like) some kind of little electrical gadget, it has always appeared to be much cheaper over at Amazon in the USA then I can get it for here.

usaBut what if we talk in yakka’s? The yakka, remember, is basically how much the average person can earn in one hour and therefore how long you need to work for to buy stuff. The amount varies for each country and you can read more about the yakka here.

Average annual incomes in America.

Trying to establish the average annual income for a full-time working adult in the USA is not easy. First, I found what should be reasonably accurate figures for median household income from the US government census website. They say its $52,029. (2009)

But as that refers to household income, clearly it implies more than one wage earner in some cases.

Looking around the same source, it appears that the mean income for both sexes (all races) aged 18 to 64 years was $40,845. (2009)

And I found a press release which said that personal income was down in 2010, and although it didn’t give the national average, it did quote the averages for the highest and lowest paid states. They were Connecticut at $54,397 and Mississippi at $30,103. You can read the full article here.

So, we’ll go with $40,845 then. That does appear to be a reasonably accurate figure.

The American Yakka

Therefore the American yakka is worth $40,845 divided by 52 and then divided again by 40. So….

One USA Yakka = $19.63.

So let’s now buy another Apple iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G 64GB. You will recall from last weeks introduction to the yakka, that we could buy it for $1049 in Australia and £714.00 in the UK.

Over at Amazon in America you can buy an Apple iPad with Wi-Fi + 3G 64GB for $898 USD. So let us now convert everything into US dollars.

  • Obviously, in America, your iPad will cost $898 USD.
  • In Australia the same iPad will cost $1027 USD (current conversion rate is one AUD equals 0.9794 USD).
  • In the UK, the iPad will cost $1122 USD (current conversion rate is 1GBP equals 1.5718 USD).

So the iPad is cheapest in America with it costing 14% more to buy in Australia and almost 25% more to buy in the UK. But what if we price it up using yakka’s? How many hours would you have to work to buy your iPad? Let me tell you…..

  • 47.41 UK yakka’s.
  • 45.7 US yakka’s.
  • 31.98 Aussie yakka’s.

So, instead of the iPad being 14% more expensive in Australia, it is now almost 43% dearer in the USA. That is a massive swing. I know this is just one item, but on current average salaries between Australia and the USA, it appears Americans have to work more than 50% longer than Australians to buy their stuff. So even if stuff in the USA is 15, 20 or even 25% cheaper than in Australia, that stuff is still not really cheaper at all.

Even when I started to write this post, I never expected it to turn out like this. I’m really quite shocked! The US, for Americans, is really quite expensive.

No more envious glances to Amazon in the USA for me from now on.

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{ 177 comments… read them below or add one }

George Dissanayake January 21, 2015 at 10:48 pm

Just look at booming economies of once extremely poor Asian countries!
What is the magic behind it…? It is only about manufacturing…the very thing we gave up time ago…

Just take poor Indian where even Honour Killing of woman is justified..
But that Country now manufacturing Nuclear Missiles, Planes (Indian is world 4th Largest Aircraft Manufacture), submarines, Ships, Locomotives, Vehicles, satellites , lot of military weapons, motorbikes, Software and much more. So do you think we can’t do same way? If so why? It is all about wrong mentality we having.

India got 4th place in Aircraft Manufacturing due to Indian government Initialized that project long time ago! Bu what happened in OZ is we had Aircraft manufacturing in 70’s 80s but then governments betrayed that national industry to foreign companies! This is the vision of OZ politicians! So how can any body expect any future of the Country?

Now see Asian Countries one after another become industrialized and become major military powers but due to we don’t have manufacturing in side country we 100% rely upon US for our own protection.

I don’t care if you guys want to maintain what it is now!
But Country will face consequences for what is doing now very high price in the coming decades of this modern technological world!

You all are the obstacle for this Country’s future!
Your all thinking is treacherous to the Country which I can prove in the supreme Court!
I am Scientist, IT guy, Japanese Bikie Guy and Technology professional with highest level World Economy/Political Knowledge!

Don’t bite a hand which extended for help! Do Serve Country but don’t help to destroy it as it is happening since decades…okay
Have guts to self criticised and get correct your faults! Be a Strong!
A country’s true developing path also same!
Truly Worried about narrow minded conservative people in OZ!
I don’t want to participate in this kind of blogs never again…
Instead I will share knowledge with my North American Colleagues and European friends…Here it is 100% like discussing with stone age people…Shit….


BobinOz January 22, 2015 at 6:12 pm

“Typical Slave Laid back thinking”….. “So best thing for OZ is annex to US or UK”… “Every slave thinking, non-tolerant person of the country is a traitor to the Country”… “So we don’t need to even think about Gun Crimes these days Falk.”… “Be an American Citizen and Server that great Country than become traitor to OZ.”…

I think you could write a ‘famous quotes’ book all on your own.

Of course, it’s very difficult for any of us to disagree with your wise words, especially being as you are a “Scientist, IT guy, Japanese Bikie Guy and Technology professional with highest level World Economy/Political Knowledge!

Priceless stuff!

It’s such a pity we are now going to lose you as you have decided to share your knowledge with your North American colleagues and European friends, and leave all us Australians to struggle by with our man-made clubs, cave carvings, collective intolerances and treachery (which you can prove in the Supreme Court).

As you bid farewell to this blog never to return, I just want to leave you with one final post…

Bye bye George.



george dissanayake January 21, 2015 at 10:18 pm

Hi Brett,

Be an American Citizen and Server that great Country than become traitor to OZ.
You can’t glory in World arena by having OZ made Wine, Beef and Timtam Biscuit in your hand by saying ” hey guys these my countries products” in front of North American and European guys mate, they will laugh at you, bad guys even may try to corner you. Our Country is famous as high labour paying non-tolerating country in the world!

This Country’s guys got same Intellectual and R & D capability as North American or European or Japanese guys but here we have put trust on physiology (Labour) not on our Intellectual Capabilities.

So put aside differences and get US Citizenship and fully Integrate to that Country!
At the end we need to server our planet but we don’t need Country or Race barriers…I don’t know mate that is how I live even in this intolerant OZ….

I am interesting to know about your vision on all of these….



Brett Courtenay January 27, 2015 at 7:31 am


You need to look into Australian Technological achievements more closely, we lead the WORLD in a number of Medical and high Technology areas which may surprise you!

To name but a few: Medical Cancer Vaccines and Blood products…world Leaders.

Ramjet & Scram-jet Technology …World Leaders.

Wi-Fi Technology as employed and used by EVERY phone/computer/device on the Planet…we invented it and own it the patents.

Bionic Ears (replacing hearing) World Leader

Heart Transplant Technology and innovation… World Leader (we just discovered a way to increase the supply of Hearts for Transplant availability by almost 40%

World leader in Tractor Beam Research : Recently moved a particle with tractor beam 200% further than any other countries research teams…

Solar energy panel efficiency : World Leaders

George…we are talking the cutting edge of Technological innovation and we Punch far harder and higher than ANY in many areas. Do not be fooled!

Do not mistake Old Manufacturing industries for and the lack of them in Australia as a deficiency…making cars is not high tech nor anything we need to do when others can do it better and more efficiently than us.

Go to Wikipedia and look at the Aussie inventions of the last 100 years (including powered flight where we BEAT the Wright Brothers by at least 6 years.) you will be surprised.

Yes…we could do better and yes we could develop more of our innovations and inventions in Australia rather than other countries as often we do, BUT MAKE NO MISTAKE..we are not backward Yokels who do not use our brains…to think thus would be to deny why we are one of the most developed, richest and egalitarian nations on Earth…which we are and why Bob rightly knows and sees Australia as the place bar NONE where its considered one of the BEST places on Earth to be, live long ,happy and to prosper!

And don’t forget…all this is and from one of the youngest Nations on Earth which started its (white) existence as a Penal Colony for Criminals. Our best is yet to come!

One last thing…the best thing that could happen to the U.S would be if we ANNEXED IT!

But they have yet to meet our very high standard s that would give it a chance that we would ever consider doing so, which we wouldn’t ! Only the Kiwis deserve such!


George Dissanayake January 21, 2015 at 9:47 pm

Hey Brett,
It never meant to insult this good country where I am living frankly but I want to see we also starting Technology Sector Innovative Businesses as North America, Europe and Japan are world leaders in it.

I appreciate OZ agricultural success but again all other developed Countries having highly productive agriculture so we can’t score points over others for that honestly because we need to compare this our country with other developed nations not with developing world

Just take it mining sector, we just sell raw materials for cheap price then foreign countries do R & D and send finished products to us for much higher price. Again these raw materials finish say after 100 years then what happen to our next next generations! They have to sell our land to earn money ha..?

Benz, Ferrari, Jaguar, Audi, BMW, Maserati, Fiat, Peugeot, Citroen, Maclaren, Mini, Opel, Bugatti, Aston Martin, Airbus, Alcatel, Alstom, Nuclear Sunmarines, Fighter jets, European Space Agency, Very advanced Weapon Systems, Siemens, Bosch, Eriksson, Saab, list keep going for ever…. all of these coming from Europe thank to those people use brain (Education, Research -> Development->Manufacturing)….But what we doing here is Mining, Animal Farming (World largest innocent animal slaughtering house), agriculture, Fisheries and Wine, all of these are fall under Labour Industries , they are not Technology Industries which employ intellectuals… one of my OZ friend is telling this term to describe the Country ” Third World Australia” because that is what our actions, thinking and economy vision. Guys this is not an insulting phrase, that is what we are and we need to get rid of this vision and drive country intelligent based system (Economy and vision of the Country). Simply we should get rid of colonial, slave and narrow minded thinking impose by imperial rulers or by ourselves!

OZ had some Technology Industries time ago (Even Holden was OZ then sold to US General Motors, Electrical giant called Clipsal was OZ but sold to French Schneider) but since country don’t have modern world vision we lost all of them.
Now every thing import all around world. We can’t even imagine about being self-sufficient or we have lost our proud as a Lazy, Laid Back, Non-tolerant nation in front of most of other developed Countries.
Just Imagine if OZ was small or medium size Country with Current population then we want be even in developed Countries list because in that case we don’t have enough land for farming, very less raw materials to export, less sea for fisheries…so guys what are talking about here ha…? Is this Country’s direction is right? what would be your children’s children future ha?

We are good in sports, our soldiers are touch fighters, we adhere to standards, Clean Cities, Can’t see much beggars on the road (I don’t know what has done to them lol), Beautiful Country with diversified climate… these are good…but it is bare minimum for developed nation.

Realistically I don’t think OZ nation can overcome thinking barriers which has been effecting nation for more than a Century will be change because leaders of the country itself has Typical Slave Laid back thinking (Since They even can’t think about or having a vision or a plan ) where there is no way them to guide country in right of Technology Based R & D manufacturing power house.

So best thing for OZ is annex to US or UK then OZ become part of one of those respective Countries. Then they will use our natural resources and combine it with their marvellous technology capabilities and make OZ another modern, free and tolerant Country.

Otherwise guys we are wasting this continent without utilizing it for mankind goodness or betternes!

Every slave thinking, non-tolerant person of the country is a traitor to the Country because people of that category collectively hindering true development of the Country, even though it is happening un-intentionally..

I am patriotic person because I see the problems and always want to fix those problems and make Country Technologically innovative, Manufacturing (can have our factories other part of the world), open, Free, less expensive and truly enjoyable for everyone.

Try to think out of box, get rid of colonial mind set, learn how to think truly open and unbiased then people will start to understand what is happening…

Yes US Gun Crime was been very disturbing and anyone innocent can be next victim…but at the moment people need to retain all guns because US people’s next battle will be with “New World Order ” lunatics . So we don’t need to even think about Gun Crimes these days Falk.


Tootsietails January 21, 2015 at 8:28 am

Just a comparison from the US state of California. I am a single person and do not have a spouse/children, so I cannot claim any deductions on my taxes other than myself. I didn’t see anyone listing income on here on here from a “pricier” US state. So my weekly salary is as follows:

Total Pay (Gross): $525.00
Federal Income Tax: $51.71
Social Security: $32.55
Medicare: $7.62
CA Income Tax: $8.03
CA State Disability Ins.: $4.72

Net Pay: $420.37 (TAKE HOME PAY)
So total Taxes=$104.63 per week

That of course is before you go to the store.


You are taxed as follows on all purchased goods, with the exception of food products:
California State: 7.500%
County Tax: 0.125%
Total Tax Rate: 7.625%

You may also see my electricity bill on the bobinoz post regarding electricity.


BobinOz January 21, 2015 at 8:09 pm

Good information again, thanks for sharing.

Cheers, Bob


Jay December 14, 2013 at 9:24 am

Another school shooting incident today in US. That’s what me and Brendan were talking today in the morning.


BobinOz December 28, 2013 at 12:19 am
Jay December 14, 2013 at 5:20 am

Bob, Brendan,

Thank you for the helpful comments. :)

I know that to raise a family Australia is THE best. Reasons: more family time (5 weeks vacation for my nurse wife), 38 hours work week (that itself raises your salary by 5% considering 40 hours work week)again meaning more time spent with family, gun culture ( I totally agree with you Brendan on this), outdoors (not that where we live is bad) etc. etc.

US needs to tackle its huge fiscal deficit and also it’s debt. For that, they have to increase taxes ultimately. Their social security fund is fast depleting too! All this, and combined with so many other factors, will make US more expensive in near future.

Australia really values families and provides assistance if one of the partners stays home and looks after the kids. Or if both the parents work, then reimburses child care to the extent of 50%. Whereas in US, it is only for the poor.

Healthcare is another topic! Hospitals and some physicians office have trained staff on their rolls to fight with insurance companies for reimbursements of medical procedures. Truly a great system! Thousands of people file bankruptcies just because they could not afford medical bills.

There are pros and cons in every country and we have enjoyed living in US but now as Brendan mentioned, we are always afraid for our kids safety after Sandy School shooting incident. Even after one year of that incident, they can’t even agree on universal background checks.

I think as singles, you should come to US, work here, enjoy your life and once you are married and have kids, move to Australia.

The fear of starting from scratch is what bothering us. But then I think we have to overpower the fear to live our lives the way we want to live!


George Dissanayake December 22, 2013 at 9:51 pm

Hey Jay,

I think only problem in USA is gun Culture but how much percentage affect from it? It is tiny I think!

And do you think OZ has good family life? May be in very rural Country side Huh otherwise you are wrong!
Here people divorce rate it so high and don’t respect love and care each other!
I meant general trend but there are very good people enjoying true married Life like in any other Country!
But OZ as bit laid back Country figures should be much higher…but US as much open, Technological and Inventive Country I think there family life is better than here in OZ.

I am living more than 05 years in Melbourne and I can tell you one thing here every thing is expensive than to USA and quality is bit low (due to low quality or second grade Chinese products influx, e:g here we pay higher price than to USA to buy an Addidas jacket with second grade- Brands has 1st and 2nd grade versions)

And other thing here it is very hard to find white collar professional jobs and most people doing blue collar jobs! So there is saying ” Australia is turning professionals in to Labours”

I am expecting true USA situation

Cheers Body


Jay December 23, 2013 at 12:31 am

Hi George,

Thank you for posting your comment.

When did I say that US is not a good country to live in? Every country has pros and cons but it is up to an individual’ s priorities to decide which one is better. You are right – come over here in US and experience it by yourself. There are not just one or two factors but multiple factors which are unique to both the countries and this topic can be discussed indefinitely!! So, you decide.

If you have any specific question, I can answer that.


George Dissanayake December 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Hey Jay,

It is always pros and cons…
More things to do and more fun
More freedom and free life style
Technological marvellous and always innovative by leading world
Professional friendly
Multicultural and Friendly people
Slums, Guns, Dirty Cities/Roads
Good Night Shopping
Diversified Food

Clean, No slums, No Cults, No Beggars, No Guns other than police make sure Bullet is passing through chest or head instead of warning shots!
Less freedom , less free life style and less fun
Less Friendly, Less multicultural
No Night Shopping ( Shops close at 17:00)
Every thing is Expensive other than Air
Less Professional Friendly
But Labour friendly
No public shootings so can make sure you are always coming back home!
No Technological marvels or developments but we like to import them (Lol)!
Beautiful Bush Country sides.
Nice Fruit and Vegetables, Nice Wine!

So which Country is best for you Jay?

Next year I visit USA for sure!


Jay December 24, 2013 at 3:04 pm


US is a great country with plenty of opportunities. I have lived here for more than 6 years now. Their immigration sucks though! US people(generally) know only about illegal immigration that is immigrants from Mexico. That’s why no immigration reform in last two decades. Every one knows that immigration is broken in US but no fixes. Why? Politics! It’s complicated and I don’t want to go there.

I always wanted to come to US. It was my dream! But after living here and experiencing the things around me, I feel like leaving US ASAP. But kinda stuck here now!

Going back six years ago and after knowing US lifestyle, I would choose Aus any day. It suits my life priorities. But then it’s me. It can be different for you.

They say people here live to work and in Aus they work to live. I want to enjoy my life. I wanna see the world. Here you will at most get two weeks vacation. That too, you will not like to take as pressure to work like mules is very high. And in California, you can be fired without any cause. It’s called at-will employment. In Aus, I think you get a minimum of 4 weeks vacations. Gun culture… Etc etc. For my family income, I compared taxes and not much difference between California and Aus. In fact, it was favorable to me to move to Aus. I know Australia is very expensive but I want to have a laid back lifestyle with my family security above all. I felt that from Aus. In the end, how much money do you actually need? Even Alexander left this world empty handed! Alexander couldn’t be saved from serious illness and he wanted to at least reach his home town alive. He wanted to give all his wealth after conquering the world but was told that it was not possible. He told his men to keep his hands out from the casket while laying him to final rest so that the world knows that you go back empty handed no matter how rich were you!

You got one life man. Do good and enjoy it to the fullest!

These are my priorities and sorry for my rambling and long post.


George Dissanayake December 24, 2013 at 8:26 pm

Hi Jay,
You gotta first hand experience living there! Thanking you for sharing it!
I like long essays because you got big knowledge to unfold here for everyone’s goodness! Good on you!

What I understood is there work life is busy and very less holidays! Can’t believe how people cope with that frankly! Is most of people very stress there? Do you have any clue about an IT person’s life there?

Yes you are right two Countries standing on two different ideology !
What I want is to live in Industrialized, free and happy Country!
Problem is OZ don’t have first two! This Country still run on Old British Colonial principals where people Control is the key factor! That is why here police even not allow to demonstrate un-arm peaceful protest! Police see them as a violent illegal act! They still see people as criminals so treat people in very tough undemocratic way! I am very frustrate about this sad situation. Here Politics, Law and Police not based on Freedom and Democracy but it serve colonial requirements only!

I don’t know true freedom in USA unless you told it to me?

Technology wise today we are just a consumer only but OZ and US both created by same European migrants! Our foreign currency drain away to buy overseas manufactured products!

So basically we can’t shout at world area saying “We are from Australia” because we failed right down our name due to not having world famous Industrialized sector! If you look at other developed countries (other than New Zealand) got their own well established industries and brands!
So how can we be proud at all! Can we proud for making wines or for just being a agriculture or animal farming Country? Honestly not, we need to use our brains and Industrialized the Country while keeping agriculture as today!

So basically we are tiny population in a large Continent doing nothing from our brains! That is how we become a Labour Country! How can country progress when it is based on obsolete and wrong principles!

Do you know Americans made their Country world number one with centuries of hard effort! But Australia didn’t take that approach!

I agree OZ is good for Lazy Laid Back Non Inventive Non curious kind of people who like to depend on foreign made products! Even Country can’t protects its boundaries without US support! So that is situation we have put ourselves! Can we proud about it? Definitely no!

So we have to put system up side down to take Country in to right track!
But realistically we can’t see any political party or even people with right mind set! That is why I thought to give a go for USA and see it goes!

Like you said need to live 1 year in US to decide US or OZ!

You are funny! Yes we have one life (Consciousness and body) at the moment but after this life still that Consciousness existing and it create another body for us! Consciousness desire is to experience things (Vision, Listening, Taste, Smell and Touch etc) even at the end of this life so it create (Birth) another body in human or animal or in another world (realm) in totally different dimension. So remember we need to enjoy this life and infinite lives after this! Cheers mate!


moom December 25, 2013 at 9:22 am

George – having lived in both Australia and the US for ten years plus each I think you have a rather distorted view of the countries. If anything there is more freedom of expression etc. in Australia than the US but really there isn’t a lot of difference. And Australia has plenty of scientific research going on. The US also doesn’t manufacture many of the high tech goods though quite a lot are designed there. Australia is suffering at the moment from an overvalued currency. But at other times the AUD has been undervalued. If you are in IT etc. then Australia will feel like a backwater and the US (more specifically California) will feel like the cutting edge. But this isn’t necessarily the case in other fields. I’m an academic. In my field, Australia isn’t really cutting edge either that much but there is less competition to get the good jobs. So there is a trade off for people like me who are quite good. Get a low ranked job in the US or a top ranked one in Australia.


Jay December 25, 2013 at 11:03 am


I am sorry but I don’t understand when you say less freedom in Oz. Also, is the police behavior brutal? Is Oz technoligically backward? I think you need to research more and you need to start loving Oz then your perspective will change. Or else, please substantiate your claims. Sorry!


BobinOz December 28, 2013 at 12:16 am

George, as the others have pointed out, you need to do better research and adjust your twisted view of Australia. You can’t be saying things like “I agree OZ is good for Lazy Laid Back Non Inventive Non curious kind of people who like to depend on foreign made products!” It’s simply insulting.


Brett Courtenay January 19, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Hi George,

You say: ” What I want is to live in Industrialized, free and happy Country!
Problem is OZ don’t have first two! This Country still run on Old British Colonial principals where people Control is the key factor! That is why here police even not allow to demonstrate un-arm peaceful protest! Police see them as a violent illegal act! They still see people as criminals so treat people in very tough undemocratic way! I am very frustrate about this sad situation. Here Politics, Law and Police not based on Freedom and Democracy but it serve colonial requirements only!”

I must protest…we are very much more free than Americans, and our politics and priorities put people before profit every time .

Our police do not see people as criminals and the right to demonstrate is protected and valued and rarely results in even a single arrest. Compare that to policing in the States.

We do not live in fear for our safety or security and most Aussies would never even think to have the thought to want or need a gun to defend against…what? chalk and cheese mate.

We are for the 4th year running the wealthiest people per capita based on Median wealth (U.S 27th) and the 2nd most equal wealth per capita country in the world after Japan. America is the second last in the entire world!) My goodness , I could go on for hours on by almost every facet how Australia is factually, materially, socially, medically, employee, workers rights , benefits, welfare, blah blah blah…who cares if we don’t have a Chevron , Ford or IBM…corporations are nothing to be proud of and treat people and try to lobby advantages and exploit workers to a degree that would be considered criminal here. Sorry, no disrespect…but you are so wrong and I just wish I could spend the time proving to you why, but I can’t.


Brendan December 14, 2013 at 4:52 am


I think Bob’s last point is really important. Sydney is horribly expensive, but if you tough it out for a few years, I’ll think you’ll be happier and will have made a better decision for your family.

I live in north Idaho and absolutely love this area (the wild west!) but I must admit I am starting to get concerned about the gun culture in America. I am not against owning firearms to protect yourself, but the culture itself is so depraved now (with the violent video games, rap music and TV these kids listen to and watch) that you never know when the next tragedy is going to happen.

But beside this consideration (and getting back to cricket!) Bob brought up another good point about the vast differences that people have in regard to a reasonable standard of living. You’ve probably already been looking, but in case you haven’t, make sure you check out the Seek website for your line of work. It is THE BEST website for job searching in Australia. By checking this website daily, you’ll quickly find out what kind of income you could expect for both you and your wife.

I have family reasons for moving to Australia and other personal reasons, but I also want to bring my family up in the best possible surroundings, and I think Bob answered that for you. And just so you know, I live on less than 35k a year! Anyway, good luck and I hope everything works out for you.


P.S. Bob, I just don’t understand how you can be so indifferent to cricket:)


Jay December 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm


We are in central california. I used to work for a small firm and $650 is monthly premium with a deductible of $1500 each member. You can get insurance for $300-400 too but the annual deductible will be like $10k each member.

$75k was just a figure I used for tax comparison! :) And I expect at least that much to earn once we land in Aus next year.

Neither of us are in IT.


BobinOz December 13, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Hi Brendan, Moom, Alexander and especially Jay who has put together some fascinating figures comparing the tax rates between Australia and the USA, in particular California.

The thing about taxes, as we probably all know, is that they need to be complicated so that it’s difficult for us taxpayers to actually work out how much we’re paying in total. As a result of that, it can be especially difficult to compare taxes from country to country.

That said, you’ve done a pretty good comparison here Jay. Whilst I’ve been (as Brendan pointed out) sleeping, most questions have been answered by everyone else, not much more I can add. The only thing I wonder is whether you might be able to earn more than you think here Jay, both you and your wife.

If you visit my post Australian and UK Salaries Compared you will see a couple of links to pages where you can work out how much money you could earn in Australia. It’s also worth looking at my page The Cost of Living in Australia of Everything to find out how much stuff costs here because, as Moom pointed out, some things can be more expensive in Australia.

I suppose the crucial question though is would you be better off here in Sydney than you are currently in California? My suspicion is that at $100,000 total earnings for both of you with two children in Sydney may be a bit of a struggle initially. Much depends on the price of your accommodation. Sydney is one of Australia’s most expensive cities along with, currently, Perth.

At $200,000 a year though, life would be much better, but whether you are earning $100,000 or $200,000, it’s impossible to say how hard or easy you will find it, because everyone budgets in different ways; I have had comments from some people saying they have been getting by just fine $50,000 a year and others claiming absolute poverty on $100k.

I know it’s a big decision Jay, but I’m sure you will make the right one for you and your family in due course. I have never, ever, regretted moving here from the UK and I can see no reason why people moving from the USA should have regrets coming to Australia either.

As far as countries goes, especially when bringing up young children, Australia is a great choice and the lifestyle is something you cannot put a price on.

Cheers, Bob


Alexander December 13, 2013 at 11:53 am

Hey Jay?

A couple of questions
– where exactly are you in California?
– What line of work are you in? IT?

$75 K per year in CA is very modest (to say the least) and $650 monthly that you pay for insurance is way too much. What is your employer?


Jay December 13, 2013 at 11:24 am

We are doing financially ok here (usa) but the lure of a great work life balance, 4 weeks of vacation, no gun culture, and cricket, to name a few, are pulling us toward Australia.

We are thinking of moving to Sydney in July 2014. We are a family of 4 (2 kids, 7 years and 1 yr). I am thinking one of us can get a full time job and can earn 60-70k initially. After a year or so, I am thinking we might get combined income of $100k with one partner working part time. Will life be a struggle with that kind of income if we live in Sydney? After 5 years or so, I project our income to grow to at least $200k.

Anybody with experience?


moom December 13, 2013 at 10:53 am

I’m not teaching in a business school so don’t have knowledge of what qualifications are needed for accounting in Australia. My students are mainly in central government in Australia and developing countries (masters level students).

I don’t see that house prices will collapse here unless there was some dramatic policy change combined with an economic depression. I don’t see that happening. They are more likely to go sideways and lose real but not nominal value. The Australian Dollar is likely to fall going forward.


Jay December 13, 2013 at 10:43 am


Thanks for the link. I read some of your blogs, very educative.

You are an economist and you moved in 2007. At that time Australia was not in red but now they have negative fiscal (deficit) just like USA. The only saving grace is that Australia does not have that big of debt that US has. But the housing bubble in Australia may do the same damage it did in US. What’s your take?

As you are somewhat related to finance field, can you please let me know if a US CPA can get a job in Aus if you get Australian CA? What’s the pay like?

We are doing financially ok here but the lure of a great work life balance, 4 weeks of vacation, no gun culture, and cricket, to name a few, are pulling us toward Aus. Please comment on this as you have seen both the countries by living and working there. Thanks


moom December 13, 2013 at 9:54 am

Here is my blogpost:

We moved from the US. I’m an Australian citizen (my wife is now). My wife got a job here and I followed. I’m an academic. I found it much easier to get a good job here in my field than in the US. But this will depend entirely on your expertise. Software developers for example might find it a lot harder.


Jay December 13, 2013 at 9:42 am


Can you please provide the link to the blog you mentioned?

How do you rate your decision to move to Australia? Did you move from USA? Did you find it hard to find employment in your field? My wife is a Nurse Practitioner but she is willing to sweat it out initially as an RN. I am banker but now I am also a US CPA. I am trying to get Australians CA.

Any input from others will help me a lot regarding employment prospects for both of us.



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