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.

USA Frustrated 300x151 The Cost of Living: Australia and the US ComparedBut 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.

You may also like:

{ 169 comments… read them below or add one }

David Azzopardi December 9, 2010 at 7:50 am

Now that is interesting… wasn’t expecting that at all.

Reply

BobinOz December 10, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Yes, bit of an eye opener isn’t it?

Reply

bearcatasia December 10, 2010 at 9:34 pm

Is that after taxes and social security and insurance

Reply

Neal December 12, 2010 at 2:29 am

Very interesting, not what i would have expected. It would be interesting to see a similar version taking into account taxes, i.e. take home pay

Reply

BobinOz December 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Bearcatasia – no, I’ve ignored taxes and SS. And both you and Neal may be interested to know I did do a post comparing income tax rates between the UK and Australia which you can read by clicking that link.

Reply

Kimberly December 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm

For those who are wondering if you wanted to figure how much of an Americans income is taxes etc, they take about 15% off of our paychecks for Medicare, Taxes (state local and some cities), as well as SS. So the $40,845 with all of that removed would be approx. $34,718, thus, making the US yakka= $16.70.

Reply

BobinOz December 22, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Thanks Kimberly for that. 15%, that’s quite low isn’t it? Does that go up the more you earn?

Reply

bearcatasia December 22, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Hmm I live in Florida, USA no state taxes (most states have state income tax too)
15% would be nice….
Here’s my paycheck breakdown per fortnight…no snickering!
I work for a school district in a semi-administrative position
Gross pay-1443.67
Health Insurance taken before taxes-243.92
Federal Tax-219.62
Social Security-89.50
Medicare-20.93
All said and done-take home pay-865.51
Sad huh??

Reply

BobinOz December 22, 2010 at 10:00 pm

Yes, 15 % would be nice. Kimberly! How do you get away with 15%?

According to my calculator, you have 40% of stoppages there bearcasia, that’s not so good. 15% sounded too good to be true to me, maybe it is too good to be true. And if I read it right, you’re saying Florida has no state taxes whereas some other states do? So your tax could well be lower than most?

OK Kimberly, come back, we all want to know where you live.

Reply

Kimberly March 25, 2013 at 3:46 pm

This, I’m sure, has been answered already but yes the percentage taken does fluctuate depending on your tax bracket. The tax bracket you’re in (the % taken) changes based upon what you make.

P.S. I live in the other Oz, beautiful Kansas City

Also, I figured my numbers again and I keep approx. 88% of what I make.

Reply

Robjay March 25, 2013 at 6:36 pm

This is fantastic for income tax calculations, trusted and easy to use at Australian Yahoo.

http://au.pfinance.yahoo.com/tips-and-tools/calculators/income-tax-calculator/

Reply

MSD December 30, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Hello,
Well, I did some math, taking into consideration US taxing and OZ taxing as well as Social Security and super, the yakka values become:
OZ: 22.63
US: 14.53

and the costs for the IPAD become (approx):
OZ: 45.4 yakka
US: 61.8 yakka
this means the US price is 36% higher as compared to 43% depending on you figures without taxes, but still the point is valid.

So on a side note, I was wondering how much one would expect to spend on daily house needs like food and household items if living in Sydney for example. Would a salary of 75000 per year be good enough to to live comfortably in Sydney ( I know this is subjective but any insight would be appreciated).

Reply

BobinOz December 30, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Hi MSD

Thanks for working out those after-tax figures for us, it seems it’s still a similar story. And still a surprising result.

Now, that’s a big question! Is $75,000 a year enough to live in Sydney? It really depends how many people you need to support. Sydney, along with the Gold Coast, is one of the most expensive places in the country to live. Rents and house prices are very high. So, much depends on what your outlay will be for your accommodation.

If it’s you on your own, I reckon you’ll be good. But if it’s you, the wife and four kids, you’d better start thinking about sending wifey out to work and the kids up the chimneys.

Oh, I’ve just remembered, we don’t have many chimneys.

Reply

Ali January 20, 2011 at 10:30 am

Hey
Ive done a Price Comparison of Ipad prices across Major Economies but not taken into account Taxes in each of those countries

UK PRICE
UK 429 — Base
CAN 698.6
AUS 703
USA 701

CAN PRICE
UK 344
CAN 549 — Base
AUS 552
USA 551

AUS PRICE
UK 392
CAN 625
AUS 629 — Base
USA 627

USA PRICE
UK 312
CAN 496
AUS 499
USA 312 — Base

It does seem American have the cheapest goods but that may change taking taxes into account. As for the 15% tax rate mentioned by someone above I think she forgot to include Federal Taxes

Reply

Ray Pearce January 21, 2011 at 5:06 pm

Hi Guys

Kimberley is right

Bi-weekly Pay of Annual Income of $37,500.00
gross pay $1,442.31
federal income tax $89.84
social security tax $60.58
medicare tax $20.91
state income tax $0.00
city income tax $0.00
deductions $392.31
final pay check $878.67

based on 52 weeks per year

In the United States, your gross income after tax and deductions is the “actual income” you will bring home. If you are an employee, your employer will withhold your tax and deductions from your paycheck. If you are self-employed, you are responsible for submitting

Reply

BobinOz January 22, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Hi Ali

Thanks for those comparisons. I’ve been staring at them a while and can’t make out what they mean. Any chance of an explanation?

But I sure agree with you on the other point, there must be Federal taxes.

Reply

BobinOz January 22, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Hi Ray

I’m a bit confused with your figures too. You say your gross pay is $1442.31 and your final take-home pay is $878.67. By my calculations you have had deductions of $563.64.

That’s a wee tad over 39%. A lot more than 15%.

Reply

Dottieanne January 22, 2011 at 10:39 pm

I live in the U.S. and the tax stuff confuses me…confuses most everyone…we just try to survive on what ‘they’ decide to leave us!
Everything coming out of your check in the U.S. is pretty much pre-set by government tax tables depending on what you made and what bracket you are put in. However you can ‘choose’ to be in a higher federal tax bracket so that you don’t risk having to pay money back at the end of the year and instead get a tax refund. There is the risk of being penalized if you overestimate however as the government doesn’t want to be a psuedo savings account. You can also adjust what comes out for your banked retirement account(s). There are limits here however also on how much you can have taken out yearly for yourself personally, but you can set up other accounts say for your children or college funds to keep even more pre-tax before the government gets their hands on it! All and all it is truly a pain in the …..There is a movement here called ‘Fair Tax’ and the motto is sort of ‘If 10% is good enough for God it should be good enough for the IRS (federal government)!’ Works for me…everyone pays a set amount no matter what you make, whether your rich or poor! Currently there are many people who hardly pay at all or not at all and the rest of us are supporting them.
http://www.pfadvice.com/2007/03/01/dissecting-your-paycheck/
Then there is state income tax if you’re not lucky enough to live in a state without it. (I live in Florida-no state tax)
Then on top of that are you county taxes similar to council rates.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_income_tax
I’m no expert on all of this but I do file at a higher federal rate to get money back at the end of the year instead of owing. Our county rates however have doubled. Tax on our property went from $3000 to $6000 a year because we added a large storage building and a mother-in-law apartment which raised our property value. This in itself is a farse as our property has halved in value in the real estate market because of the economy which is making it horribly difficult to sell our place and make our move to AU. Right now most people have been out of work for some time and they are losing their homes and businesses. Nothing is selling.
In case no one noticed our dollar used to be about $1.50 or so to the AU dollar. For the past few months they’ve been even up and at times the AU was a penny or more higher. Scary stuff.

Reply

Dave January 23, 2011 at 9:16 am

Dont forget how we are then taxed again 7% on everything we buy except food. Also the built in gas tax, the property tax on my house ($200/month), the license fees for our cars etc……

Now I am getting pissed, Aussie pissed and American pissed.

Reply

BobinOz January 23, 2011 at 2:26 pm

I like that, ‘If 10% is good enough for God it should be good enough for the IRS”, although I’d settle for the 15% Kimberley says she pays.

But the reality is when you add in all the taxes, we are probably paying 60% or more. But tax is a complicated subject, we’re not supposed to understand it, because if we did, we’d know exactly how much of a percentage the government were taking from us. They don’t want us to know that, they just want us to keep paying.

I don’t know enough about the Australian tax system to be sure, but my guess is it’s not as bad here stealth tax wise as it clearly is in both the UK and the USA.

Reply

Simon January 24, 2011 at 8:26 am

So what you’re saying Bob is that the Australian government hasn’t caught on yet to stealth taxes like the UK and US goverenments have! Well, they better not catch on until long after I have immigrated!

Talking of stealth taxes I paid £1.34 per litre of unleaded the other day – this has to stop.

Reply

BobinOz January 25, 2011 at 12:32 am

£1.34 per litre. What’s that, about 20p for the petrol and over a quid to the government? Shocking!

PS. Don’t mention stealth taxes in front of any Australian politicians. I think I mentioned it once but got away with it…..

Reply

Sunseeker January 27, 2011 at 6:33 am

Hi Bob,

If I can interject a non-USA/Oz example:

Great minds think alike… I think your “how many hours did you have to work to buy what you bought” is one of the best measures of how “rich” or “poor” you are, depending on where you live.

This is an argument I have over and over again with friends and family in South Africa about us living in the UK (hopefully one of these days to be living in Oz! – Sunseeker needs his sunshine!).

The favourite example is the cost of movie tickets. RSA family are horrified to find us paying £7.20 for a movie ticket, when they only have to pay R42 (£3.80) for the same thing.

“But how long did you have to work to earn that R42″, is always my question. For most of my “average” South African friends, this equates to about 26 minutes of work, based on R200,000 a year (remember that if you took the RSA average salary, those 26 minutes would jump to many hours or even as much as a day – as most of the population are dreadfully poor).

For us in the UK in a similar job/earnings strata (not the national average) it equates to about 13 minutes of work. So effectively, we are getting a 50% discount on South African prices.

So one really does have to work things down to how much time you spent earning that money to figure out whether things are cheap or expensive.

Additionally, there is the issue of leave in the USA and Australia. I believe that average annual paid leave in the USA is less than half of what one would get in OZ/UK. I have heard figures of 2 weeks bandied about by many American friends as an average. That would have fairly significant implications, because of course, one has to divide what you earn by how long you work, not just a general 52 week year X 40 hour week.

In that respect, I think that we in Oz and the UK really fare extremely well. But of course, a lot more of those leave days are sunshine days in Oz!!

I found this kind of helpful: Note that the USA has no statutory minimum number of paid leave days, so employees are very much open to exploitation by employers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_statutory_minimum_employment_leave_by_country

Reply

BobinOz January 28, 2011 at 2:47 pm

That’s a good point about annual leave and a great link, wikipedia never let’s you down does it?

A lot of people say Australia is expensive, but it’s not when you work in hard yakka’s.

Thanks Sunseeker!

Reply

Dave the Yank February 1, 2011 at 1:53 am

Ok folks, So I got the official offer from my prospective employer. $26.50 / hr and he says with conservitive overtime I should be around $80,000 per year. Is this considered a good salary? Would my wife have to get a job right away. We are a family of 4, but my 19 year old will be working also.

I am thinking $400/wk rent, $100/wk groceries. We will need 2 cars, I figure get a loan for 1 good one and pay cash for a beater for me, so what is a normal car payment, I will figure $400/ month. Electricity, water and sewer, garbage pickup, phone service, cell phone, cable tv etc… I dont know. We will be in the Mackay area. Any thoughts from y’all…..

Thanks

Dave

Reply

BobinOz February 2, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Dave,

Firstly, congratulations and great news. Sounds like you are on your way.

I’d say most of your figures look good except for the $100 per week for groceries. I reckon you should allow around $300 a week for that one.

If you look under my cost of living category you will find posts covering the cost of electricity, water and sewage, but of course they will vary depending how much you use. I’ve even got prices for cable TV somewhere and an article about using VoIP for your telephone calls instead of paying fortunes to our wonderful national telephone company.

All in all, I think you’ll be fine with the one job if you do that overtime. But I’d send your wife to work anyway :-)

Reply

Sunseeker February 2, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Dave,

Bob is about spot on. I’ve just been discussing grocery costs per week with my sister in Brisbane… she reckons $380 a week…. but she has 5 kids and a hungry husband, 2 of which are in nappies/diapers (just the kids, not the husband).

The $380 covers everything so far as I know, including the weekly take-out pizza on Friday “family movie” night.

So with fewer kids, you should be in Bob’s ballpark.

Reply

Alexander April 26, 2011 at 10:48 am

There are some problems with your calculations, to name just a few.
– Why would I care about mean income BEFORE tax. You should compare oranges with oranges. As an example take IT market in say Brisbane and Atlanta. Surveys show that you would expect the same compensation range, but houses, gas, food etc are waaay cheaper in Atlanta?
– why compare iPad, compare other products like motorbike, MP3 player or real estate prices – rent and for buying – I can assure you would be surprised.
SanDisk Sansa clip 4 Gb – 80 AUD (35 USD)
Kavasaki Ninja motobike – 7500 AUD ( 4000 USD)
Rent 3 bdr – 1700 AUD ( 1000 USD)
I can go on and on.
You can pay your home loan before taxes in US, in AU there’s negative gearing – bubbling their real estate market.

When AUD/USD exchange rate was around 0.8 Apple products were priced OK in Au. but they were the only products like that in AU. Everything else is god damn expensive – and I do not care that average yakka says.

Reply

BobinOz April 27, 2011 at 2:14 am

Funnily enough Alexander, I think there are a few problems with your calculations too.

For example, I’ve looked at national average salaries for both countries across the board and you want to talk about the IT market in Brisbane and Atlanta? I chose the Apple iPad because it was the fastest selling gadget on the day I wrote the post in the whole wide world, and you choose a Kavasaki Ninja motobike?

You may not care what the hard yakka says, but I think that the amount of time it takes to earn money to pay for stuff is a very good indicator of the cost of living for a country. I’d rather live in a country where it takes me 4 minutes to earn the money to buy a Big Mac (not that I’d eat one) than one where it takes me an half an hour.

That said, what does concern me is the “oranges to oranges” thing. I have spent hours and hours trawling the Internet to try and find out what the average annual salary in the US is before and after tax and it has been an absolute nightmare to pin it down. But what I did find, see the links above, I truly believe are before tax deduction figures for both Australia and America. So, like the like, oranges for oranges.

But if you, or anyone can give me a link to indisputable figures that say I’ve got it wrong, I’ll rewrite the whole post and apologise profusely. And I’ll also thank you for pulling me up on it.

Cheers

Bob

Reply

George Dissanayake December 22, 2013 at 9:37 pm

Hi Bob,

I am living in Melbourne for 05 years now!
I can guaranty to everybody in this blog Items and services in Auz is much expensive than to USA. E.g Food, Vehicles, Cloths/Shoes and Houses, Medicare is free after levy of 1.5% from income but it covers minor illnesses (No Dental cover). And here it is hard to find professional white collar jobs like IT jobs.

I haven’t been in USA so don’t know about job market there!

I think we should speak truth here without being bias to any Country

Best thing may be to live in USA for few months and experience it like I had with Auz.

Cheers
George

Reply

BobinOz December 23, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Yes, I think it’s very important to tell the truth and not be bias about any country. What I am pointing out here in this post is that comparing the cost of living between the USA and Australia isn’t straightforward, there’s much to be taken into consideration. Elsewhere on this website and below in these comments there is a huge conversation about tax in the USA compared with Australia, that needs to be taken into consideration as well.

Nobody is trying to paint any kind of picture about any country that isn’t true, and by inviting comments from everyone everywhere we hope to get to the truth eventually.

The only thing that I can’t understand about your comment is that you say categorically Australia is more expensive than the USA (you guarantee it) but you also say that you haven’t been to the USA?

Cheers, Bob

Reply

George Dissanayake December 23, 2013 at 3:40 pm

Hi Bob,
I am agreeing with because every country has pros and cons so it is context based very sensitive thing! At the end there wan’t be a best country to live!

I knowing about prices of goods and services in USA and OZ because I am on-line buyer researching deeply on prices before buying as well as my personal experience with people who is living or has lived in US.

Same time I can guaranty OZ is the best paying country for blue collar jobs in the World! I have met lot UK and other European guys in OZ and verified that fact. But unfortunately when it comes for professional jobs situation is very bleak depends on Industry. e.g for IT jobs don’t come here unless you are very sure about getting a job! I’m working in IT Industry so I know the reality!

As discussed above I am pretty sure we are spend so much on purchasing unnecessary due to expensive nature of products and services here! Fact is we can’t deny this truth! Today world is one market digitally where you can easily find products costs via electronic media like Internet! I too using that tool extensively to know USA price accurately.

What is mean by good family life here?
Is there any better situation in marriages here? Is there any better in relationships between parents, kids, brothers, Sisters or relatives here than to USA? It is wrong we are no better than USA ! may be USA is better according to my fact finding (Readings and Watching) results.

USA got higher rich and poor gap than to Australia and Australia’s wages for professional jobs are comparatively low when compare to blue collar jobs wages. Here some Australians hesitate do University degrees because Tafe Courses will lead them to get better pay when they start working in their field! Again very minus point here is that we don’t have significant Research and Development Facilities or Sector when Compare to USA. Honestly we can’t even compare with USA in the case of R & D. We basically import most of Technological and Scientific products from all around the world! This is what happened when R & D is neglected! In contrast to our situation here USA got fine R & D and their production lines running virtually in every part of world ( e:g Asia and South America etc)

So it is all context based and your life style , your richness to select to which Country to live!

OZ is very secure to live of Cause , no cults here, no beggars, no slums or under developed areas, no dirty cities ,vast beautiful Country where you can experience virtually every climate in more or less way! Can enjoy many types foods from all around the world! And nice authentic wine/beer…

It all about what an individual want to select where to live in next stage of life!
But in each case we have to face reality associated with each Country!

Cheers

Reply

Julie May 28, 2011 at 12:06 am

I would have to agree with Alexander. We live in Nashville but my husband is from QLD and we used to live in Brisbane and travel to the Sunshine Coast nearly every year, so we compare this fairly regularly. For us, it would be a HUGE change in cost of living. My husband makes a very good salary in Nashville and probably wouldn’t make much more, if at all more, if we moved back to Oz. However, our cost of living is FAR less than what it would be in Brisbane, where we would move (which is still a lot cheaper than say Sydney or Melbourne). Our housing is probably 5x less than what we’d pay over there and we live in a decent size house (4 br/2ba brick home with a big yard).

I wouldn’t say the Ipad is even a great comparison b/c the one thing we’ve noticed that has come down in price in Australia is electronics. Everything else is still a lot more expensive…housing and cars being a huge one. Housing loans in the states are still subsidized in the states by the government. We can get super low fixed loans that you just cannot get in Oz. We recently refinanced with a 4.5% fixed loan for the next 15 years. We could have refinanced with 4.75% for 30 years and had an even lower payment. That is unheard of in Oz. Plus, we don’t have that crazy stamp duty tax when we buy either. This makes buying a home often cheaper than renting in some areas.

And forget buying organic food on a regular basis like I do here in the states. Way too expensive. Toys, clothes and baby supplies are easily still 2-3x more expensive. And books are still crazy prices. You have to order online. http://www.bookdepository.com.uk is a good place.

And petrol. Holy crap. It’s 4x more expensive in Oz. We were just there in March and petrol cost us more than anything.

Plus, in the US, every state is different in terms of sales tax and state income levels. TN for example doesn’t have a state income tax, but we have a high sales tax, compared to other states. There are too many variables. And yes, our federal income tax increases with income level. However, there are ways you can decrease your taxable income too, that not everyone takes advantage of. So many variables.

Reply

Julie May 28, 2011 at 12:19 am

Oh I forgot to comment on the property tax thing. Property tax rates, even within the same state, vary wildly, depending on which county (shire) you live in. If we had a house in one of the counties adjacent to us, for example, our property taxes would be 2-3x higher. Not sure how it works in Australia, but I’m guessing it’s more consistent.

Reply

BobinOz May 30, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Well Julie, for you and your husband this may well all be correct. But everything hinges on “My husband makes a very good salary in Nashville and probably wouldn’t make much more, if at all more…” Probably? We need something more sound than that.

What does he do for a living? Maybe we can research and compare what salary he would really get here compared with back in the US. Because my entire theory is based on earnings and not on directly exchanging currency and converting the cost. That method, I know, makes the US much cheaper than Australia. But it’s not what the hard yakka is all about.

As I say, you might be right for you, but statements like “5x less” and “2-3x more expensive” mean nothing without that information.

Cheers

Bob

Reply

Julie June 2, 2011 at 12:50 pm

I get the concept of the yakka or energy used, essentially, that it takes to earn a dollar. The is the basis of the book Your Money or Your Life. My husband is in IT. He looked online and found a comparable job to his in Brisbane advertised at AU$85-95k, which taking the upper end and adding in typical 7% super (which is usually assumed but not advertised with a salary package), comes to about AU$101k, which is about what he makes in US$ before tax. Considering the AU$ and US$ is nearly on par at the moment, this makes his yakka worth pretty much the same in either country. Around $48.58. However, we can buy a hell of a lot more with his yakka where we are currently living verses in Australia, of pretty much everything. But, if we were living in California or New York, for example, it would probably be more similar to Australia in terms of housing costs and taxes, but then other stuff would still be a lot cheaper.

Reply

Julie June 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

And I just want to add that I LOVED living in Australia. I love visiting every year. It’s still the lucky country in many aspects. I would even argue that the quality of life can be better over there, depending on what you are looking for. However, I am 100% sure (we examine it every year when we go) it would still be FAR more expensive for us to live there verses where we are right now.

Reply

BobinOz June 5, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Thanks Julie for coming back to me with that information, it’s added an interesting addition to the debate. You’ve highlighted the importance of everyone doing this exercise for themselves.

America, like Australia, is a very large country with lots of different states all with different rules and taxes and costs. For you and your husband, you get more for your yakka in Nashville than you’d get here in Australia. But as you say, if you lived in California or New York it would probably be a different story.

Cheers

Bob

Reply

Gordon June 2, 2011 at 11:32 pm

Hi Julie , I don’t have the advantage of having visited the U.S. thus far but I’d just like to question one of your above statements , i.e. petrol being 4 x more expensive here.

Based on 4 litres per U.S. gallon , a U.S. gallon costs here in Oz about $5.80 or $1.45 per litre , are you REALLY still paying about $1.45 per gallon ? I think you might be be a bit out on that.

Income tax is probably higher here but property rates are lower , plus we have the safety net of free medical services ( with private options )

You might be aware that Michael Douglas was CORRECTLY diagnosed as having throat cancer in Canada while given antibiotics in the U.S. , hardly a thumbs up for private health , even for multi millionaires .

I have no doubt that the U.S. has much to offer , it also has the most per capita debt ( 14 trillion or so total and having reached its own debt ceiling ) and is the only country on earth to be on basically a permanent war footing , looking after it’s own interests . Eisenhower warned of the dangers of allowing a military / industrial paradigm years ago , but the fact is , that is what the U.S. is today and has been for some time.

America’s achievements are great , I acknowledge those , as well as the sacrifices of soldiers in war , I salute them.

It remains however , that the U.S. , far from being a power for good , remains a power for self interest.

Google “Project for a New American Century ” ( PNAC )
and the term “military industrial complex” .

It makes for interesting reading.

That is your country Julie.

Reply

Brendan June 3, 2011 at 9:49 am

G’day Bob,

Just wanted to let you know, since I live in the US, the price of petrol is $3.76 a gallon, at least in Idaho. In some states, it’s a lot higher.

Reply

BobinOz June 6, 2011 at 12:09 am

Thanks Brendan,

Petrol prices here in Australia go up and down like a yo-yo, and I mean on a daily basis. See my post on petrol prices.

But I vaguely remembered there were about 4.4 L to a gallon, but I was also aware that an Imperial gallon is different from an American gallon. Why, I don’t know. So I Googled it…..

1 US gallon = 3.785411784 litres.
1 UK (Imperial) gallon = 4.54609188 litres.

Today, where I live, petrol is $1.30 per litre, so a gallon (US) would cost $4.92. So petrol in there is cheaper, but there’s not a huge difference, is there?

Reply

Julian June 6, 2011 at 12:25 am

Hi Bob,

Meanwhile, fuel prices in the UK continue to reach astronomical heights.

Filled up my Astra TDi yesterday:

45 litres (9.9 UK gallons, 11.9 US gallons) and it cost me just over £62 (£1.39 a litre).

Or in American, that would be $8.54 per US gallon….

…For diesel.

Around 70% of that is pure government taxation.

Reply

BobinOz June 6, 2011 at 1:08 pm

I remember back in 2000 I bought a Volvo and it had quite a large petrol tank. First time I filled it up and handed over my credit card, they had to phone for authorisation the bill was so big!

Do they now offer bank loans at petrol stations in the UK?

Reply

Julian June 6, 2011 at 5:45 pm

Not yet, but I’m sure it’s not far off!

My car is so old now that every time I fill it up, I add 30% to it’s value. In all seriousness.

I do know that average household debt (credit cards and unsecured loans EXCLUDING mortgage debt) is around £16,000…. that’s a lot of moollah!

Reply

BobinOz June 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm

Gosh, that seems a lot. Not sure what it is here, but I know it’s quite high at the moment. But whether it’s that high?

I doubt it, but if anyone knows, do post it here.

Reply

Julie June 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Gordon, I never said that the US was the end all be all for a place to live. I am right behind you on the bitching box about the US’s shortcomings…including our healthcare system and mis-guided military involvements. My husband and I are always complaining that we don’t have something like mole scan here.

But, my argument was not about that. I was simply pointing out that for my family, living in the US is far less expensive because of where we live and that you can’t generalize because regions and costs of living are so different, depending where you are.

And yes, I realize now I exaggerated a bit about the petrol. We are paying about US$3.50 a gallon here right now. It was only about US$2.40 a gallon here though when we were in Australia in March, so $6/gallon (it was AU$1.50/liter then) was quite a bit more at that point, especially when the AU$ was even a tad stronger than the US$. And we were driving my father-in-laws gas-guzzling, monster truck Tritan.

All that being said….both countries have their good and bad points. I enjoyed living in Oz, but I also really enjoy living in the US. And my husband (the Aussie) also really likes living here too. Frankly, there is a lot more opportunity for him here.

And, as for the healthcare system…sadly, no system is perfect. I have my fair share of horror stories from Australia as well. And I used to work in the healthcare field…so I’m just not even going to go there.

Julie

Reply

Dave July 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Very interested in is thread. Currently on $110,000 dollars in aus with a petrol card ( I know lucky me)

My American wife wants to move back to San Diego soon and I have a job offer there for only $85,000

So based on taxes in both places and selling my house in aus and buying a slightly bigger house in San Diego i’m thinking I’ll be $1,200 a month worse off in America.

Will I feel my standard of life being much lower there and would my wife have to put the 2 kids in day care and go back to work to keep the same standard I enjoy here in Melbourne.

Reply

BobinOz July 21, 2011 at 1:06 am

Woo, if that’s a word, it’s a close call. My gut tells me you might just be financially better off in America with the figures you’ve quoted. But then I’ve never lived in America, I’m just going by my research, and that gut.

But there’s way more to standard of living than being financially better off. Seems to me you could live comfortably in either country, so the question is, which one do you and your wife and kids prefer to live in?

Only you can answer that. Good luck though, whatever you do.

Anyone else got a view on this?

Reply

Kylie July 27, 2011 at 2:59 am

My hubby and I are Aussies living in Charlotte, North Carolina. I’ve been here four years, my husband 14. My personal experience is that the 40 hour work week is obsolete in the US. My husband is an engineer and I’m a marketing creative. The cultures of the organisations in which we work expect 50-60 hours a week as a bare minimum. And remember, we only have 10 days vacation a year (none of which can be accrued into the following year, at least not with our employers) and there’s only a scattering of public holidays. (Which explains why so few Americans have passports. Who has time to go anywhere?) Because of less personal time, the US lifestyle seems to demand a higher spend on convenience services and products – things like pre-prepared meals, gardening services, using your clothes dryer etc. Add to that the subtle but immense pressure of cultural consumerism which results in bigger cars, bigger houses etc and more stuff to fill them up with. So, yeah, products and services are generally cheaper in the US, but there’s also a stronger impulse to spend. Making things cheaper has the same affect as giving someone a payrise – there’s a tendency to ramp up one’s lifestyle rather than pocket the difference – eg. cheaper petrol = bigger cars. I don’t want to bash the US – I enjoy living here – but I enjoy living here DESPITE the rampant consumerism and lack of work/life balance, not because of it.

Reply

BobinOz July 27, 2011 at 9:29 pm

Hi Kylie

Very interesting and important observations there, after all, you can’t put a price on spare time. The very culture you are talking about, the long working week, is pretty much a part of life in the UK too. But at least many people there get three to four weeks holiday a year.

10 days? What can you do with 10 days?

I don’t think Australia is as bad as either the UK or USA in terms of working hours, although I don’t think many workers get more than a couple weeks holiday a year. Most people seem to still get plenty of leisure time though, don’t you agree?

And you all right, not having enough spare time does lead to rampant consumerism. I was watching a documentary the other day about exactly that. They spoke to a low paid family in the US where both the mother and father were working 60 hours or more per week. It was cheaper for them to eat McDonald’s every night, which they did in the car on the way home from work, after having picked up their daughter.

All of them eating McDonald’s for their main meal in a car on the way home from work. As the wife said, she could buy a burger cheaper than a small portion of broccoli from the supermarket.

Something has got to change.

Cheers

Bob

Reply

sean August 28, 2011 at 8:20 am

This is amazing how ignorant people are for believing this. Fist of all, where the hell did ‘yakka’ come from?? Also, let’s not forget that that ‘average’ income is taking into account many, many minority workers pulling low or minimum wage jobs and raping the benefits system- even though we shove the world’s most expensive education system down their throats. Ok? You just don’t see that kind of thing in Europe or I guess Australia either. Now America does have a materialistic society and we work longer hours than most of the developed world… but not for less money per hour. A $54,000 salary, which I think is what you said, would be a pretty good salary for a COLLEGE GRAD. Stop being ignorant.
Also you’re only mentioning the cash, you need to take into account health and retirement benefits, which really aren’t found in Europe.

Reply

BobinOz August 29, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Haha! That’s funny! “let’s not forget that that ‘average’ income is taking into account many, many minority workers pulling low or minimum wage jobs…..” – so what, they don’t count then?

Maybe you should tell that to the U.S. Census Bureau, that’s where I got my facts from.

I agree with you on one thing though, it is amazing how ignorant (some) people are!

Reply

sean August 30, 2011 at 11:17 am

For your information………
you’re getting into technicalities. The key word is “opportunity”. Which you will find more of in the U.S. than in Europe or Australia. Australia’s not bad actually, I just found it necessary to correct your ridiculous “median” U.S. salary.
Europe sucks.

Reply

BobinOz August 31, 2011 at 9:57 pm

Unemployment:

Australia: Source ABS (Australia Bureau of Statistics) July 2011 – 5.1%
US Bureau of Labor – July 2011 9.2%

Is that too technical?

Europe sucks? You really are a font of knowledge.

Reply

Kelly September 3, 2011 at 4:40 am

This just confirms my decision to move to Australia. Thanks so much!

Reply

Brendan September 3, 2011 at 6:02 am

I’m going too, Kelly! Thanks, Bob.

Reply

BobinOz September 3, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Kelly, Brendan, hope to see you here soon.

Reply

banyan September 5, 2011 at 12:00 am

I am planning to move to USA as my wife is working there. For an engineer, the salary is not much different between AUS and USA but living cost is much cheaper over there. Here we have free medicare, but what is medicare levy and how about waitimg time? So, we need private insurance anyway. If you have full time job in USA, their health insurance is much better than medicare or private health insurance here. If you earn less than 60-70k, it is hard to buy a decent house here. What about the interest rate? I think Australia is better place to stay only if you earn minmum wages.

Reply

BobinOz September 5, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Yes, I suspect if you earn a similar salary in the USA as you get here in Australia, then you’d likely be better off over there. And maybe Australia is a better place to be if you’re on a minimum wage, minimum wages here seem quite high to me, comparitively.

Reply

Dottianne September 5, 2011 at 1:26 am

I have a prime property for sale in Florida, USA for 800,000. Forty acres north florida deepwater riverfront property with private canal a quarter mile long and boat basin (used to be a fish camp). Fantastic old florida live oaks and palms and magnolias, 3/2 house with massive family room and fireplace. 18×24 huge greenhouse with shady porch and water feature. Massive industrial bldg. with concrete floors. Totally private on main highway, will NEVER have neighbors
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4kYVKECXo0

Reply

Dottianne September 5, 2011 at 1:52 am
BobinOz September 5, 2011 at 7:29 pm

Don’t forget to pay me my 3% fee! Haha!

Reply

Dottianne September 5, 2011 at 8:04 pm

That’ll be a lot cheaper than an agent Bob..thanks! Tell you what..free place to hang out with your family any time you visit Tassie again..if we make it : ) !

Reply

BobinOz September 7, 2011 at 6:16 pm

That’ll do, thanks! And I’m sure you will make it one day.

Reply

Dottianne September 5, 2011 at 8:10 pm

Hey Bob,
I have a complaint….can I PLEASE have nicer imoticon???? Geez mine is an angry looking thing! I’m quite pleasant really!

Reply

BobinOz September 7, 2011 at 6:17 pm

Sorry, the computer says no. He’s in charge of all that stuff, out of my hands.

Reply

Thomas September 6, 2011 at 12:37 am

Living cost in Sydney for family of 4.
Too many people have asked this question, let me share this with you, we have been here 22 years, I have 2 kids, 3 & 6. I travel to US 3 to 4 times a month and moving to Canada soon, so I have a very good comparison

Rental/month: 3 bedroom a house in a middle range suburb: $800/week (50 years old house)
Petrol: $1.30 to $1.39/litre which is about 3 times of in US ($0.60/litre converting from gallon)
Grocery: Easily $300 per week just from supermarkets, no alchohol or any fancy meals
Family Meal: Easily over $35 here – no drinks, no such thing as refill in OZ, our large size is your small size in US
Utilities: You have to pay Electricity, Water, Gas, Council Rates
Telephone & Internet: Min. $120/mth (no cable TV, just a fixed line and a slow Internet)
No Property Tax here, and council tax is lower than in US/Canada but you get no service at all
Transportation: Yes, they do exist, costed me $15 just to get to downtown
Parking in Downtown: $8.80 to $25 per HOUR!! in Sydney, or $50+ per day
Clothing / Computers / Books: Anywhere between 2 to 3 times more expensive than USA
Tax: Much higher here, you can move to 47% tax rate very easily
Medicare: Comes off from your tax, service is crap, very long waiting time
Private Insurance: Almost everybody has private insurance, costs between $200 to $300 a month if you want a decent coverage
Mortgage rate: 7.50%+

To sum up: Our living cost compared to when we were in US is around 60% higher in Australia, accomodation is around $1500 difference a month already, if you are buying a house, it is $2,000+ difference a month!

Income: It’s not very high, certainly not as high as those in SF, Seattle, Chicago, NYC or Boston. Min. wage is higher, but so is tax. The moment you start doing overtime, they will tax you into next category, you may get $30 an hour in the weekends, but end up like $20 or less after tax…

Beautiful place, Sydney has nice waterviews, Melbourne has nice buildings, Gold Coast has beaches…but unless you are wealthy, it’s an impossible place to live for ordinary people.

Lots of folks are leaving every year – there were over 120,000 left Australia permanently in 2009, up from 50,000 in 2007, so that stat tells you something already.

Reply

BobinOz September 7, 2011 at 7:12 pm

I’ll put you down as a vote for America being cheaper than Australia then, shall I? And you may be right, for YOU. I think it largely depends on your what your salary would be there compared to what it would be here.

Not sure where you get some of your ‘facts’ from either. For example, according to your own quoted figures, petrol in Australia isn’t three times that of the US is it? It’s nearer two. And according to the Australian Government’s figures, 86,277 people indicated that they left Australia permanently in 2009-10.

They also have a full list of permanent arrival numbers and permanent departure numbers year by year and that says that in 2008–09, 81,018 people left, but 158,021 arrived making a net gain of 77,003.

I got my information from here and here. Where did you get your figure of 120,000 from?

And I would have a word with your local council if I were you. They should at least be emptying your bins!

Reply

Delliete September 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm

I am an Australian living in US, I went back to Australia for 3 years and came back this year due to the sharp difference in living cost. No matter how you compare, cost of living in US is much lower than Australia, and it makes a lot of difference.

1. I am on around $75,000 income – and I manage to save around $2,000 to $3,000 a month in the US
2. I was on $90,000 income in Australia and I ended up with no savings, in fact, I needed to find extra $1000 to $2000 frequently each month to cover costs

Did I spend and live in luxurious life in Australia, not at all – in fact, I did not travel at all while in OZ (Can’t afford it), I was living in a much smaller house, driving a 2nd hand car and ate very modest meals..I think, that is, the general picture of a “typical” Australian family.

$90,000 may seem a lot for some – but for Australia, that is not enough for a family of 4. Tax is much higher, grocery is much higher, utilities are higher, school fees are higher – and of course – housing cost is much-much higher (like 2 to 3 times).

That’s my experience – do not just look at income/salary, look at the living cost – a family on $60,000 in US will do better than a family on $90,000 in Australia because of difference in living cost.

Reply

Jullie H September 9, 2011 at 11:25 pm

one thing you must do in USA – never fall to min. wages here as it will be a hard struggle.

The only better thing Australia has is they have higher unemployment benefits – but do you want to live on unemployment benefits?

I know a few Americans on min. wages here – and amazingly, they have purchased their homes already – of course, they are not fancy homes – but there are affordable homes on min. wages.

One more thing is Brands and things you can find at Wal-Mart in USA are sold at high-end department stores in Australia !!!!!

Austrlia Medicare — really free? service is getting less each year, and waiting time is longer and longer but it is still available.

Things that we have been endured through in Australia is almost non-existent in USA.No petrol tax, many states do not have sales tax, low personal income tax, mortgage interest can be used to offset your personal income tax, no luxury goods tax, no carbon tax, no import tax for many items….etc..etc.

Reply

Dave September 10, 2011 at 7:34 am

My American wife wanted to research moving back to America a few months ago and after doing a budget for here (Melbourne) and San Diego, it is much cheaper in Melbourne. Most forget America has state tax as well as federal tax and that is 9% in california. This puts tax levels pretty much the same until you start earning over 90 grand, and then its not much difference until you are earning over 120 grand.

Also property tax is about 12 times higher in the states. All insurances are about 2-3 times higher ithe states.

In aus by law employers include at least 9% super which many don’t quote when discussing there Aussie wage as it’s a given. In America 401k comes out of your salary.

Also child care is subsidized here in aus and only for the ultra poor in America.

In summary my 130 k a year in Australia is equivalent to 100 k American and with the current economy in America that type of job is very difficult to get.

In summary I’m on 130k

Reply

lynda September 10, 2011 at 10:45 am

Hi Dave, Can you please explain me a little bit more about property tax? how is it 12 times higher in the states? For insurances, I think both countries are pretty much the same. 9% of federal and state tax is the same amount in Australia I think or please correct me. You may be right because you are on 130k, for me I am getting less than 60k and it is impossible to buy a house in Australia but in CA, I can buy a house with the same wages.

Reply

BobinOz September 12, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Delliete, Julie H and lynda, between you, you appear to have swung the vote into favour for America being cheaper than Australia. Dave, you appear to be saying Australia is cheaper. Me, I think I’m getting a headache!

I have to say that I’m not in love with the idea suggested in my post that Australia is cheaper than the USA. In fact, my opening paragraph clearly explains what I thought before starting my research. America has always seemed much, much cheaper to me. In fact, it undoubtedly is.

But I think the big issue is salaries and whether or not Australians, on average, earn more than their equivalent workers in the USA. Because, for example, if Americans do earn substantially less, then although things might be cheaper there, they could seem more expensive to people living there.

I think the comments have proved that the answer is not simple. Tax on this, tax on that, housing tax, carbon tax, state tax, federal tax, health insurance, Medicare, it goes on and on. And I still don’t know the real answer, but I thank everyone for chiming in and I hope you all continue to do so. One day we might get to the bottom of it.

Cheers

Bob

Reply

moom October 9, 2011 at 11:01 pm

Taxes are similar in New York and California (including state and sales taxes etc.) to the level in Australia. Property taxes are very high in many US states and minimal for owner occupiers in Australia. Everyone in Australia gets at least 4 weeks vacation + public holidays plus often the days between Boxing Day and New Year. Average salaries are higher at current exchange rates. The most important difference in costs is in housing. Average prices in major Australian cities are the same as in the most expensive places in the US like San Francisco, Hawaii, NYC etc. If you shop wisely (i.e. Aldi, markets etc.) food is OK in Australia compared to prices on the US coasts. Most other things are more expensive (but today I saw Levis 501s for $45 in Costco here in Canberra). But education and health care are cheaper. Health insurance here costs much less. Uni tuition is much lower for Aussies and paid through HECs.

The current exchange rate overvalues the Australian Dollar compared to the US Dollar. 70-75 cents is closer to purchasing power parity. So, at current rates Oz is expensive though cheap in some areas still.

Reply

BobinOz October 10, 2011 at 11:47 pm

Good to hear your views moom.

Sounds like swings and roundabouts again; houses more expensive here in Australia, health and education cheaper, wages higher. For the rest of it, not much in it.

But again, the strong Aussie dollar makes this country look expensive from the outside, but for those earning Aussie dollars here, exchange-rate makes no difference.

Reply

Sean February 11, 2012 at 1:29 am

Hi guys – Interesting reading here. If anyone from Oz is still watching these comments I’d sincerely appreciate some feedback. I’m in the US and considering an offer from an Australian company (not on Gold Coast). I’m going to give you a few details and any/all feedback will be awesome.
I have a family of seven (5 kids and my wife) with one very large dog and I live in an area of the country that is much less expensive than east or west coasts.

My current monthly take home pay (into my pocket after all taxes, health insurance and other payroll deductions) is $7,100 USD. I am the only income earner in the family. My cost of living breakdown per month is something like this and includes all taxes:

Housing (5 bedroom, 2800 square feet) plus utilities (electric/gas/water): 2500
Vehicles (550), fuel (400), and car insurance (250): 1200
Food and household goods (dog food, cleaning supplies etc): 1200
Cable television and family mobile plan (4 phones): 300
Clothing, shoes, and other basics for seven people: 500 (about $70 each per month)
Other maintenance stuff (lawn equipment, unexpected vehicle repairs, medical bills, vet bills etc): 500
Non-essentials (kid’s athletics, birthdays, Christmas, vacation savings, dining out, movies etc): 900

This doesn’t include things like furniture, appliances, electronics and any other thing we might need or want which all comes out of the non-essential budget. My income may look good on paper to a lot of people but on a per person basis it’s only about $1000/month so I need to meet all of our basics in a relatively frugal manner. I know that there’s more ways to measure quality of a move than income but that’s my primary starting point and needs to be the basis of my decision.

So does anyone have any clue what it would require in AUD to have an equivalent lifestyle? A safe house in a decent community near amenities/shopping/restaurants etc, decent clothing, reliable transportation, healthy diet, and the other basics for an active family of seven.

The position I’m looking at is offering overall compensation before taxes or deductions of 100k/year in AUD.

I have no idea what that leaves me in my pocket each month for my expenses compared to my current $7100 USD per month. And I also have no idea what my monthly expenses would be in Oz compared to in the US.
If anyone has any clues, I would love a response. If the prognosis is bad I don’t need a breakdown – just tell me to run. If it’s equivalent or favorable, I’d love to see a comparison against my current costs and what you think my take home pay will be per month, but a basic thumbs up will be helpful too.

Thanks!

Reply

Kylie February 11, 2012 at 1:43 am

Sean, You’re going to pay $25-27K in taxes. (Google “tax calculator Australia 2012.”) I live in Charlotte NC now, but I was back in Australia visting family at Christmas and I thought that grocery prices weren’t too bad in comparison with the US, especially if you’re happy to meal plan and cook at home. Restaurant meals and clothing are expensive in Australia, and gas, utilities and housing are the big killers. In other words, you’re going to have to be careful with your $100K salary in Australia. Try not to spend any money on clothes, make sure you mainly eat at home, take a packed lunch to work, buy an economic car etc. Money might be tight, but it sounds like you’re used to living on a budget, so the adjustment won’t hurt too much and you’ll probably have one of the biggest adventures of your life! That’s my humble opinion. Others might tell you to run for the hills.

Reply

Brendan February 11, 2012 at 4:43 am

Sean,

Kylie is very kind and has a good point that you probably will have the adventure of your life if you move to Australia. I am Australian and live in Idaho, but I am in the process of moving back to Australia (Bob country in particular) but looking at what you make and what your salary will be in Australia, I would say you’ll be WAY better off staying where you are. Otherwise, get another offer for $150,000 and you’ll be okay. Make sure you look at the ‘seek’ website for the best job prospects. Good luck!

Reply

Sean February 11, 2012 at 5:44 am

Thanks for the quick responses!

The $150k amount sounds like a very safe number. I’ve been doing some other digging and it looks like after taxes I would bring home close $7100/mo AUD at $120k, but there’s some significant risk in that number because it doesn’t factor in the higher cost of food, clothing, activities, etc so $120 may need to be closer to $140 to be accurate.

As much as I would like to take Kylie’s advice and “jump in” for the adventure, I have a feeling that once the thrill of newness wears off my kids will be asking me why we moved all the way to Australia when we can’t even afford to go out of town for a weekend.

Any additional thoughts or feedback is highly appreciated.

Reply

Moom February 11, 2012 at 8:32 am

Look at salary on the basis that taxes and living costs will be similar to San Francisco or NYC areas… unless you are going to a small town or city (eg. Hobart or smaller) somewhere. A 2800 sq ft 5 bed house in nice (but not the most expensive neighborhoods) in Canberra costs around $1 million and about $700k in outlying neighborhoods (Queanbeyan, Dunlop etc.) it will be similar in other major cities. A reasonable exchange rate would be around 70 US cents per Aussie Dollar. Health insurance is one area that is relatively cheap here, university education etc.

Reply

BobinOz February 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm

You’ve been given some pretty sound advice here Sean, I won’t disagree with any of it. And as Brendan said, I’d be looking for closer to $150,000 if you want a similar lifestyle to what you have now.

Good luck!

Reply

Sean February 14, 2012 at 12:17 am

Thanks everyone for the excellent feedback. I’ve had some additional communication with the company and I won’t be accepting an offer. Information from people here has been instrumental in helping me to make a decision so I sincerely appreciate everyone’s input.

Reply

BobinOz February 15, 2012 at 12:31 am

Gosh! We’ve talked you out of moving to Australia, that’s not what this site is about!

Seriously, I can understand your decision, but don’t dismiss Australia yet. Nail that $150,000 a year job and we’ll see you here sometime soon. I’m sure you’ll love it when you get here.

Reply

Brendan February 15, 2012 at 7:45 am

Sorry Bob! I didn’t mean to scare Sean off. Just so you know Sean, I have a family of five and I don’t plan on making more than $60K and I have done all the research I possibly can and I think we’ll be fine. A lot does depend on what lifestyle you lead and what you’re willing to forego for a better one.

Reply

Sean February 15, 2012 at 8:42 am

Thanks again guys but you really didn’t scare me away. It turned out that the employer had solicited for overseas employees (my background is harder to find in Oz) who are interested in relocating to Australia. After we started talking salary and after I first posted on here thay began to ask me when I was planning to arrive in Australia. It turns out that they were fishing for potential candidates and then filtering out those who are unwilling to finance the relocation process, which includes me.
But I’m keeping my eyes open for another opportunity.

Reply

BobinOz February 15, 2012 at 7:32 pm

If it’s meant to be, I’m sure something else will crop up. Now, as everyone is so helpful here, what can I do about my bad back?

Just kidding!

Reply

Lee February 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm

I’m glad I came across this discussion. Cost of living in the US definitely differs greatly depending on where one lives. I am in the San Francisco Bay area, and our total household net income of $133k does not even allow us to have a second child. Of course, this is partly due to the fact that we have no other family here, and that makes life very hard. How would this compare if I got a job paying AUS200K? From what I’m reading, there will also be a 9% addition that’s required legally to be put away towards retirement by the employer? If that is correct, that will bring it to ~AUS$218K. This position will be in Melbourne. Wife will probably take some time to find a job, so we’ll leave that out of the equation for now. Do you all think it is wise to take the plunge to Australia if given the opportunity? Thanks.

Reply

AussieDave February 16, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Lee on that income you will live like royalty in Melbourne.

I am on 110k + fuel card + super and my wife can stay home to look after both kids and we are very comfortable.

However my mate just moved to San Diego and left a job here on 120k for an American job on 90k and he is really struggling there with his wife home with the baby not working.

Reply

Alexander February 17, 2012 at 12:05 am

$200K AUD is a very decent offer and given that you live in SFBA now which is a rather expensive region in USA your quality of life would be better in Melbourne. Good luck!

Reply

BobinOz February 17, 2012 at 12:26 am

Average salary in Australia is about $62,000 a year. $100,000 a year is pretty good. $200,000 a year is yum yum.

I’d get out here and give Australia a go if I were you. You could have three or four kids on that money :-)

Reply

Moom February 17, 2012 at 7:49 am

$200k is great especially if you are coming from SF which is nearer Australian prices and taxes.

Reply

Shaun February 17, 2012 at 1:24 pm

So what I am kind of seeing, since I live near San Francisco as well, I should multiply what I make in USD by 1.5 for what I would want to live in Sydney just as comfortably.

My company may offer me a chance to work in Sydney for a couple years, and they would move me. The rest are my bills. I made 85k last year before taxes, and that’s with overtime pay.

85000USD x 1.5 = 127500AUS
Does this sound like a fair conversion rate?

Reply

Shaun February 17, 2012 at 1:41 pm

or USD to USD I should multiply by 1.26 for cost of living and convert to AUS by multiplying by .92

Then I should earn only 98500AUS which doesn’t seem right compared to the comments above.

Reply

Moom February 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

If you live near SF I think you can use a smaller factor than 1.5. House prices are going to be similar. Fresh fruit and veg will be cheaper. Income taxes the same (including CA state tax). Other stuff can probably be converted currently with a 1.4 or so multiplier.

Reply

Lee February 17, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Thanks for all the replies. I have a few more questions about costs of certain things inMelbourne. Approximately how much would a three bedroom house cost? Is there property tax, or equavalent? Do most people buy private health insurance, or is the public option sufficient? What is the cost of child-care? I wish the online calculators took these things into account. These make up a huge chunk of the expenditures here in CA.

Reply

Moom February 17, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Property taxes on owner occupied property are low in Australia. Here in Canberra they are less than $2000 p.a. on a regular house. $A600k is probably the average for 3 bed houses in Melbourne but obviously will vary on the quality of the neighborhood and the house. Most better off people (30-40% of population) get private health insurance. By US standards it’s not expensive. You can survive without it. It provides better faster service for elective treatment in hospitals etc. I can’t tell you about childcare.

Reply

Brendan February 18, 2012 at 5:14 am

Shaun,

Sydney is another ball game altogether. The cost of housing in Sydney is astronomical, much higher than Melbourne. But if you’re only going to be renting, you should be able to survive well enough in some of the outer suburbs.

Reply

Lee February 18, 2012 at 11:13 am

It’s starting to look like major cosmopolitan cities in both countries are similar, all things considered.

Reply

Linda July 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Hi Lee,

Come to Brisbane – it’s affordable ( and a very livable city too.) So much so it has the highest number of “incoming” southerners looking for a warm change! You 200 K would allow you to live in style here. Cheers and good luck. Linda

Reply

Celeste October 10, 2012 at 7:31 am

Hi Bob,

I know this is an older post, but I just had to chime in. One commenter (Kylie) talks about the prevelance of US companies expecting more than 40 hours per week. As I live in the US (but hope to be in Australia within 1-2 years) I can absolutely say this is so very true.

Not only that, but US employers have this neat little trick when it comes to expecting 40 plus hours per week. They make you a SALARY employee, which makes you ineligible for overtime.

So, if you work exactly 40 hours or 60 hours, you get the same paycheck. I work in higher education, and have for the past 12 years. It’s a rare event to work under 50 hours. They way that they spin it is as a ‘culture of success’ thing.

More of us would not mind so much putting in the extra hours, if we were compensated for it. For my company, it’s a win-win; they get more work from the employees and it doesn’t cost them anything extra….

And trust me when I say the cost of living here is going up pretty fast, but some salaries are not. My company has been in a raise ‘freeze’ for over a year now.

Hope you are enjoying a beautiful day in Australia!
Celeste

Reply

BobinOz October 10, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Hi Celeste

I know what you mean, it was a bit like that in the UK as well, always under pressure to stay late in the office for no extra money.

I suspect some Australian companies might be the same too, but I don’t know for sure, I’m happy to say I’m no longer part of the corporate world. That said, people do really value their spare time here and their weekends, so maybe it’s not as bad here yet.

Perhaps someone else can answer that question?

Reply

Damian January 21, 2013 at 3:56 am

Hi Celeste,

Where in the US do you live? I work for a university in Louisiana, and I feel your pain – my salary hasn’t increased by a single cent in four years due to a freeze. That freeze unfortunately only applies to employee salaries – my wife and I (she works in the same office I do) now pay US$700 a year just to park at work. On campus.

Reply

Celeste January 21, 2013 at 2:22 pm

Hi Damien,
I live in Louisiana too! Isn’t that something? I work for a small college; our enrollment has decreased drastically over the past year. It’s a very real possibility that we may close by the end of the year. So I totally understand about no raise for years :(

Reply

Jesse Hart October 16, 2012 at 3:18 am

I am curious as to why you divided the average annual income by 40 after you divided by 52? Does that relate to inflation?

Reply

BobinOz October 16, 2012 at 7:47 pm

No, nothing to do with inflation, I’m just working out the average hourly pay and I assumed a 40 hour work week.

Reply

Jules October 16, 2012 at 8:00 pm

With regard to Celeste in the US and working hours, I guess this is one of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed contracting type work so much. They pay you for the hours you are doing the job.

So I’ve never minded working the longer hours, because at the end of the day, I just add those to my weekly timesheet and get paid accordingly. Of course, you sacrifice some “security” of a full time permanent job (whatever that is worth nowadays).

Looks like the contract work opportunities in Oz are just as good, if not better, than the situation currently in the UK.

Best, Jules (North East England).

Reply

BobinOz October 17, 2012 at 10:17 pm

No truer word said; contracting or even working for yourself means nobody is going to tell you to stay late for no extra pay. Charge by the hour and get paid for the work you do every time. Best way to do it if you can, there’s no real job security anywhere these days, as you’ve said. Thanks Jules.

Reply

Ray October 18, 2012 at 6:02 am

Jules,
It seems that everyone is now on short term contracts. Teachers, nurses, accountants. Most are only 3 month rolling contracts with many signing away their super. If you do not stay late or do that extra bit, most employer just will not roll your contract. Just recently Companies are laying off hundreds of employees. The Qld Government is laying of 14,000 and only yesterday Ergon, the largest Electrical supplier laid off 500+. BHP has laid of 1,000 and there is more to come.

Many home owners are negative, recently quoted that more than one third of those who bought a house in 2008 now owe more than the house is worth. Queensland is the state worst affected. this I believe is that people of short term contracts cannot borrow money.

PWC report: Sydney is the fourth-worst major city in the world for transport and infrastructure. Sydney is more expensive than much bigger cities like New York, London and Hong Kong in a variety of areas including tax

Recently, I have meet a number of successful businessman who have moved to the USA & to UK. Because it easier to make money mainly because of cost of doing business, here

Reply

BobinOz October 22, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Hi Ray

It’s true to say that a lot of jobs are being lost in Australia, and especially Queensland at the moment. The Queensland issue is slightly different though, we’ve just moved from I think it was 20 years of Labour government and the state is now run by the LNP. They say they’ve inherited huge debts from the Labour government and also identified thousands of jobs which Campbell Newman, the state’s new Premier, thinks aren’t needed. Hence the job cuts.

PWC may not like Sydney’s infrastructure, but the Economist rates Sydney as the seventh most liveable city in the world.

Statistics are a strange thing, a recent survey by UBS called “Prices and Earnings” says Sydney salaries are the fifth highest in the world; it’s also the second highest city in the world for “domestic purchasing power”. This actually means the residents of Sydney are very well off, according to the stats anyway.

You are probably also referring to the Economist Intelligence Unit’s yearly survey on how expensive cities are, and I wrote about that exposing the flaws under the heading a really bad survey.

So, it depends who you read really as to whether you think Sydney is a good or a bad choice when choosing a city to live in. And who you believe.

Cheers

Bob

Reply

Jules October 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Hi Ray,

That’s probably rue of Queensland and especially the public sector, yes. I guess I am coming from the view of the “high end” contract market where hourly rates and being paid for only the hours you work (and conversely, if you work extra hours, you get paid for them) is the norm. Speaking for the UK as well, but looking at the Oz contract job sites, it looks pretty buoyant overall… dare I say even more so than the UK?

I think having teachers and nurses on 3 month contracts is a fairly unusual situation… is this specific to Queensland?

In the UK anyway, I don’t know a single teacher or nurse who is not permanently employed, aside from one person who does supply teaching through an agency because they don’t want a permanent role and really just want some “part time extra cash” because their husband has a good full time job.

Over here, so long as you can provide sets of annual financials to prove your self employed income, you have no problems getting mortgages, even at preferential rates. Any “career contractor” worth their salt has an independent accountant to sort this out for as well as legally milking the tax relief system for all it is worth.

Reply

Ray October 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Hi Jules,

I am not saying not come to Australia and without doubt your prospect here compared to the NE England would be better. In the long term Australia is lucky country due to our mineral wealth.

Australian workers do not have the same rights as UK workers. Since GFC it would be nearly impossible for a contract worker apart from Doctor, Engineers, Lawyer, etc to get a mortgage. We have also seen in the last few months with the Mining slowing Banks are tightening their lending again.

saw this article today which makes interesting reading
http://www.smh.com.au/business/australian-dollar-dearest-of-top-economies-20121022-281jh.html

In if you say the dollar is over valued and controls the cost of imported goods. It is expensive here. The comments make interested reading. people are saying Japan is cheaper

Nevertheless, I have include a few web links so you can get a clear understanding.
Nursing
http://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/article/2012/09/28/363941_news.html

Teaching October 08, 2012

A THIRD of the state’s 13,000 public school teachers move schools after one year or less and fewer than half stay more than four years, figures show.

The high turnover has been blamed on too many teachers remaining on short-term contracts, problems with moving permanent teachers when their tenure ends and few incentives to stay at country schools.

Experts say the instability is pushing teachers out of the public system and can negatively impact on learning. Australian Education Union SA branch president Correna Haythorpe said the Government had not done enough to cut back on short-term contracts.

“When you are locked into contract employment, long-term, it’s very hard to put down your roots – you can’t get home loans,” she said.
http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/more-than-4000-teachers-moving-schools-each-year/story-e6frg6n6-1226490971994

Teaching May 2012

The NSW Teachers Federation claims the Local Schools, Local Decisions reform package will allow principals to replace long-serving permanent teachers with recent graduates who could be hired as casuals or on short-term arrangements.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/younger-cheaper-teachers-to-fill-states-schools-20120508-1yb3n.html#ixzz2A6ucghIf

Income
an independent contractor pays their own tax and GST to the Australian Taxation Office.

Reply

Jackie December 26, 2012 at 7:38 pm

interesting thread – I liked the yakka concept as a way of weighing up the decision to relocate

Just one comment – I currently live in Adelaide and am employed under a contract – generally on a one year renewal cycle, because my job relies on external funding.

I got a mortgage to buy a home about three years ago – I was told that working under a contract is no problem as long as you are past the probationary period in your current job – usually 3-6 months. Think it helps if you are also a graduate or at least have skills in something that can help prove to the bank that it is worth them taking the risk of lending you the money you need

So working under contract is not always a barrier to buying a home in Australia – banks will still loan you money.

:)

Reply

BobinOz January 2, 2013 at 7:41 pm

Yes, I think they would be excluding quite a chunk of their market if they refused to lend to contractors who, very often, are highly skilled and employable people. They are lending you the money, not the people who pay your wages. Thanks for letting us know Jackie.

Reply

RB35 December 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm

The Yakka, well well it my be accurte in some ways, but is merely an abberaton.

The reality is that in Australia the basic MSDN subscription today costs approx $1115 while in the US it costs $699. Please explain why Singapore is cheaper than Australia? given the curent exchange rate. It makes me so angry.

Dont care what the Yakka said plain and simple because Microsoft has very minimal overhead selling the MSDN oline subscription to us in Australia.

You can easily see this example of milking in many areas in partcular software industry but cars, white goods and so on also apply.

The fact is we are being milked. As I said Yakka is an abberaton a best, skewed and derailed by greedy corporations and governments.

Simply check the prices here for US UK Australia and so on
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/buy.aspx

When a brand new skyline GTR costs USD 90k and AUD 170k please explain?
I mean both examples the car is built in Japan right? in both examples it is shipped to a foreign country (FIY shipping to Australia is cheaper than US)

Bottom line is Yakka is a tool that sympahises with corporate and government greed & incompetabce.

Reply

BobinOz January 2, 2013 at 10:24 pm

Dear RB35

The hard yakka may seem like an aberration to you, but for me, well, I’m waiting to be awarded the Nobel Prize for my good work in helping people understand the cost of living in Australia.

The yardstick by which the cost of living between countries is compared isn’t generally done so by using Microsoft subscriptions and a top of the range sports car as a basic measure. Anyway, on the figures you mention both these items would still be way more expensive here in Australia than in the US judging by your figures, so I’m not even sure you understand how the hard yakka works.

By the way, the hard yakka is not “a tool that sympahises with corporate and government greed & incompetabce” and I can assure you, as its inventor, that I have received no financial benefits from any major corporate anywhere in the world.

Any big companies interested though, please do get in touch :-)

Reply

Ray January 11, 2013 at 12:44 pm

You sound like a really nice guy but your grasp of economics is a bit wayward.
The median is a much better measure of a typical person’s income, as it is not distorted upwards (or downwards) by large changes in the tails of the distribution. Remember your first maths lesson when you started high school.

We know that’s a problematic measure of the earnings of the typical person.
Instead, we can look at the median earnings of all full time workers, which is $54,750 per year (Aust) and $39500 (USA). Theses figure are from the relative Government statics complied by a huge team of very qualified people.

Australia USA
Weekly Gross Pay $1052.00 $759.76
Weekly Net Pay $857.00 $600.58
Yakka(Y) . $21.45 $15.00
Ipad3 32GB $790 (37Y) $500 (33Y)
Camry (mid price) $35,000 (1632 Y) $25,000 (1666 Y)

As RB35 pointed out the Yakka sympahises with corporate and government greed & incompetance especially when you start comparing goods. IPAD should be same price in the USA and Australia.

Nevertheless the Largest expensive to a person is the House.

Here are some interest stats AUST USD
Average Mortgage $380,000 $170,000
Average Mortgage repayment $1,800 (after tax) $616 (before tax)
Yakkas 84Y 33Y
Average Interest rate 6.85% 3.34% (15 years 2.63%)

Every survey has Australia in top percentile of the most expensives places to live.

Hopefully this information will help people looking to come to Australia.

Reply

BobinOz January 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Hi Ray

No, funnily enough I do not remember my first maths lesson when I started high school, but I do remember my first English lesson; “Remember your first maths lesson when you started high school” should end with a question mark not a full stop.

Well, you started it :-)

As for your information, I’m not sure it will be that helpful to people looking to come to Australia, you haven’t really explained where you get your figures from. But I will take your comment as your vote saying you believe the USA is cheaper than in Australia and if you read all the other comments in this thread, you’ll see opinion is quite divided on this subject.

All you’ve really said with your stats, as far as I can see, is that a mid priced Camry is more expensive here in Australia than in the US and that the Aussie mortgage rate is higher.

As for your Ipad3 32GB, the only statistic of yours I did check, I easily found one available here in Australia (from buymac.com.au) for $569 and the Amazon USA price was $574. So your stats on that one seem wildly inaccurate, for me that throws doubt over all of your other statistics.

As for medians, means and averages, you can see what I think about that in my post Hard Yakka and the Cost of Living in Australia.

Many thanks

Bob

Reply

Daniel January 17, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Interesting blog, good comments all around.
The only observation I have regarding Yakka calculation is that it cannot be applied broadly to all types of people and families (and some people on the thread have taken it personally).

I live in Sydney. The fact is Australia has higher average salaries and less lower income earners then US. However this is offset by higher living expenses and lower purchase power (Ie. you can buy less for your money comparing to the States).

My personal observation in regards to the Australian higher living expenses and specifically higher priced items, only one explanation, corporate greed. I understand there is money to be made and every business needs to look at their bottom line, however we are seeing 20-95% premiums across the board. And this is not just for Tech items but also clothing, cars, petrol etc. See comparison here http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=United+States&country2=Australia.

Even after all the taxes are added, transportation, local operational costs etc, most prices are hiked to whatever level the corporations can take it. And this is the problem. Local market appears to be sustaining higher costs and there is obviously enough people willing to pay for those items so nothing ever changes.

I am on over 150k salary in Tech industry and have a 900k mortage, only 3 of us in the family. I love Australia, however I see living expenses (including high interest rates and high income taxes) as a real issue. This is why we are looking at moving to US (Seattle) and so far I am convinced that US is better all round. US is far from perfect and I will have to get used to things like reduced holidays and longer work hours. But then we could always come back to Australia if we miss warm weather and Labour party :)
Daniel

Reply

Brendan January 18, 2013 at 3:42 am

Daniel,

I am an Aussie who has been living in the U.S. now for 16 years and have been living in the Pacific Northwest for 6 years. Seattle is a beautiful place to live, but you better be ready for a lot of rain. I suppose if you’re in the tech field you won’t have to worry about the weather so much. Anyway, yes I think you’ll find the cost of living in Seattle quite friendly compared to Sydney. Good luck.

Bob, It has been a while since I’ve come back to the website. My wife and I visited Oz from mid-May to mid-June last year and we have decided to stay in the States. During the trip, we found out we were expecting another baby and so I think my wife’s impressions of Australia were thrown off a little by her morning sickness and the difficulty of travelling with small children. Anyway, thanks again for all the good info.
Cheers,

Brendan

Reply

moom January 18, 2013 at 8:22 am

Daniel – there is no evidence that companies here make a higher rate of return or profit than in the US. The main factor is that the Australian Dollar is very overvalued in terms of its purchasing power. Something like 70 US cents to 1 Australian Dollar would give equal purchasing power. At that rate a lot of services like health and education would be a lot cheaper here in Aus but most manufactured goods would still be more expensive but not dramatically. Scale of the market etc is smaller here. Taxes on petrol etc. are higher and in general taxes are higher – the US has a huge deficit, the Australian government spends about the same share of GDP but collects more tax.

Reply

Robjay January 18, 2013 at 11:53 am

Here is another example of corporate greed and highest taxes.

I am on a high income here in Australia earning 150k and am in the market for a high performance prestige car – for example RS5 – we all know that this is an amazing performance vehicle. Let me just say this example below illustrates how most large value goods are priced here in Australia.

http://www.audi.ca/ca/p_4991427/home/models/RS5.html
So accordingly the Californian brand new RS5 starting price is $77,000 USD

http://forms.audi.com.au/PriceCalculator.aspx?v=72&s=WA&u=a5/rs_5_coupe.html
Now lets look at Australia! – starting price $137,000 AUD (*note this is before any taxes)

My fundamental problem is that both cars are made in the same factory in Europe, both are shipped similar distances to their destination.

Then why is the Australian car priced twice as much? (surely not because of the Right hand drive conversion?)

This is such an obvious con job I will refuse to and I hope others in my position also take a stand and refuse to give into this con job.

Save your money, invest and retire outside of Australia.

Reply

moom January 18, 2013 at 12:43 pm

BTW that’s the price in Canada. The Australian price does include GST and customs duty. I agree that it is higher. Canada is nearer but transport probably doesn’t add a huge amount to the price. RS5 costs from $US95k in the UK for RHD. The starting from price in Japan is 12.26 million (also RHD and also far from Europe). That’s AUD130k.

Reply

Robjay January 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Thanks for that, its in Canada after all. Well the walkaway price nothing more to pay in Australia is 177k after all fees taxes etc…

Correct me if I am wrong CA prices are very attractive! AUD = 1.04 CAD. I could not see any additional fees and charges / taxes.. I checked the payment estimator and well I could not see what taxes/charges are applicable to this base price.

Reply

Ray January 18, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Bob ..

You grasp of English Grammar is as fundamentally flawed as your understanding of the economic theory, Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) or what you define as the Yakka.

“Remember your first maths lesson when you started high school” is a rhetorical question. A question asked merely for effect with no answer expected. Therefore does not require a question mark…my giddy aunt .. did you get any A level! Is another Rhetorical question

Not to be overly pedantic but a quick scan of the Apple stores… Iphone 5 Aust $799 USD $199

The issue I have is when the Yakka is when it is critically examined it fails at the first hurdle. The cost of goods and labour unit cost are intertwined (Inflation) but to follow the Yakka to its logical end. This would mean that prices would differ on a State by State, Town by Town without any input from monetary policy and Globalisation which is clearly incorrect.

Reply

BobinOz January 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm

Ray

With your first comment you insulted my grasp of maths. In my reply, I made a small joke of it, including smiley face. It was my light-hearted way of saying now we are equal, let’s leave it at that. But you couldn’t, could you?

With your second comment here, you have insulted my understanding of grammar and then you start going on about prices of iPhone 5, when we were talking about Ipad3 32GB.

If you take a look at virtually all the comments in this thread, you’ll see people genuinely trying to help each other, you only seem interested in trying to convince me of your superior intelligence.

I have no interest in debating with you, if you don’t like the yakka, that’s entirely up to you. If you intend replying again (I’d rather you didn’t) then do be sure to read my comment policy before doing so as you have already broken it twice.

Bob

Reply

Raewyn January 20, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Hi Bob,
I have been looking at your website, and find it very interesting.
My family and I are looking at moving to the US within the next 5 years. I notice that you have people leaving comments that live in Australia and the US. I am hoping to get a response from someone who lives in the US now or perhaps yourself if you can help.

Does anyone have any information or websites that they know of that helps with finding a job, a home to rent, elementary schools, weather report comparisons etc. I have already tried Craigs list and a few comparison website. We would like to live where there is either very little or no snow. we have often wondered about Texas and Florida. If anyone had any information I would very much like to have some feedback.

Many thanks
Raewyn

Reply

Damian January 21, 2013 at 3:40 am

Hi Raewyn,

There are a lot of good sites to help you find a job – monster.com is a good place to start. Also, depending on what you do for a living, there are a number of speciality sites as well that list jobs for certain professions (for example, jobs at universities are listed on higheredjobs.com). Realtor.com and Trulia.com are good places to look for housing, and you could also check out forrentbyowner.com too.

As for where to live, I’ve lived in the States for 14 years now (I’m a Kiwi originally) and one thing I’ve noticed is that the lifestyle is drastically different depending on where you live. Besides lack of snow, what else are you looking for from a lifestyle standpoint?

Reply

moom January 20, 2013 at 3:42 pm

You can’t just move to the US you either need a firm to sponsor you for an H1B or go to study or a relative sponsor you for reunion (this takes many years). Well, there is the “green card lottery” and investor immigrant categories etc. So, I would start with trying to find the way in first rather than bothering too much about where to live.

Reply

Erik January 20, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Hi Bob,

I’ve been reading your site for quite some time now and love it – thanks for all your hard work or should I say hard yakkas!

After years of planning we are now in the final stages of moving to Brisbane and expect to arrive sometime around May. Cost of living is something that interests me a lot and I think the hard yakka is a great way of looking at things. It helps people to look at this from a different perspective – at least it would if they tried :)

One thing I personally value a lot, apart from my take-home salary of course is time-off. Having just 10 days of leave per year like many people get in the US would simply not do it for me. I’d rather suffer higher living costs. Then again, there are plenty (?) of US firms that offer a 9-80 schedule i.e. work 80 hours in 9 days and then take a Friday off every two weeks. Based on some comments I wonder how many people actually get that extra Friday off?

The company I will be joining in Brisbane offers 1 Friday per month off on top of a very generous leave allowance so I’m looking forward to that.

Sure life will be expensive, housing, utilities and especially petrol – coming from the middle east where we pay AUD 0.30 per liter for petrol :)

Orginally Dutch I know that if I were to return to Holland I would earn a lot less there than I will do in Australia and guess what, tax would be higher too (up to 52% once you arn more than about EUR 56k whereas in Australia it’s something like 45% once you hit AUD 180k). People often only compare top tax rates, but it’s important to remember at what income level they kick in. No sunshine in Holland and housing is expensive too (and tiny, forget having a pool in your garden!)

I guess it’s all down to people’s own perspectives and circumstances. for us, we are looking forward to our move! Now all we need is a budget airline operating between Brisbane and Europe as we do like the culture “Old Europe” has to offer!

Reply

BobinOz January 25, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Hi Erik

Thanks for your compliments and I do hope you get to love Brisbane and Australia as much as I do. Interesting to hear of your comparisons between costs in Holland and Australia, that’s not something I’d be able to do easily. So it’s always good to hear from someone who has looked into it and done some maths.

No chance of a budget airline to Europe though, but plenty of culture to explore in Asia and lots to see here in Australia too.

Cheers

Bob

Reply

Kylie January 21, 2013 at 12:36 am

Hi Folks – I’m an Aussie who’s been living in the US for 5.5 years now. If you want to come and work over here, don’t overlook the E3 visa (http://canberra.usembassy.gov/e3visa.html). It’s a special visa category for Aussies who have a four year degree (or equiv) and experience in a list of desired employment areas. The E3 doesn’t lead to residency, but it can be renewed indefiintely and the quota has never been exceeded. Now… Like the H1B, the E3 demands employer sponsorship, and that can be tricky. If you manage to prove your work skills in an interview you then have to raise the tricky question of visa sponsorship. That turns a lot of employers off. Instead, I partnered with a company called CXC Global (http://www.cxcglobalusa.com/about-cxc-usa.html). I had to find my own job, but CXC sponsored my visa and sub-contracted me to my US employer. This had a number of benefits, the best being that I changed US employers three times without having to transfer my visa. CXC took a cut of my pay, but I thought it a small price to pay for the flexibility and their support. They have an immigration lawyer on staff, a health insurance package for expats etc. I had a very positive experience with them and it gives you another way of approaching things. My contact at CXC was Adam Coleman (adam.coleman@cxcusa.com). I’m now have a green card because my hubby (an Aussie who got here 16 years ago) started on an H1B, progressed to a green card and then citizenship. As for the cost of living, the US is WAY cheaper than Australia. We live in Charlotte, North Carolina, where our four-bedroom home in a historical district cost ius $360K during the housing crisis. Everything is cheaper here… Including life. The divide between the haves and the have-nots is much greater here. We spent three hours at an emergency room one night a few weeks ago and left without seeing a doctor. The ER was heaving with uninsured families who have no other option to get their kids’ colds and runny noses seen to. If you have any doubts about socio-economic inequality in the US, a trip to the ER will cure you of your misgivings. As will a ride on public transport or a fast drive through a low income housing development. We look forward to moving back to Australia in the coming years. We don’t want to send our son to school over here (the local public school system has a dreadful reputation and private schooling is the same cost as in Australia) and we have a very poor work-life balance. We can cope with the long work hours, but the 10 days/year vacation policy makes it too hard to get home to see our family and friends in Oz. In fact, it makes it hard to see much of anything, including each other! But it’s a great experience living in the United States of Advertising. I spend much of my time scratching my head and wondering how the place runs when it’s so ideologically divided on nearly every topic! (BTW, Ray, an iPhone 5 is only $199 if you buy it network-locked on a two-year contract.) Best of luck to everyone – life should be a continual adventure! :-)

Reply

BobinOz January 25, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Hi Kylie

Some great information there for those looking to move from Australia to the US, and it’s always good to hear from someone who has actually done that and what they think.

From your point of view, the US definitely sounds cheaper, but from your other comments I know I am more than happy to stay here in Australia :-)

Thanks again for taking the time to share this information with us.

Cheers

Bob

Reply

MN March 24, 2013 at 6:16 am

Bob,
I’ve just been reading some of the items on the website & it’s been very interesting (& obviously – informative). I’d like to thank you for posting these & appreciate the time you’d have to spend (Yakka ;-) ).
Most of the items you’ve discussed are manufactured, shipped, marketed – and the prices are subject to a lot of factors (including government policies, tariffs, etc). I wonder if you could indicate a post or an article on “Cost of houses / properties in Australia based on the Yakkas” – and possibly a comparison to USA (& India, if that’s even remotely possible – I’m from India, ergo).
.
Here’s what I gathered based on my experience (I purchased a house in India). It costs around INR 3,000,000 to get a 700 square-feet “unit” (in an apartment complex) in the suburbs (truly – out of city limits kinda location). Thanks to living in the USA (& my job here) – I could pay off the INR 2,000,000 loan in 5 years (1 USD = 50+ INR – so making 70,000+ USD a year “before-taxes” really helps).
.
If I purchase a similar property here (suburban / rural region – at least 2 hrs drive from a city) in the US – it will cost me around $ 250,000. And with my income I can pay it out fully in 5 to 7 years (not including my wife’s income which is almost equal to mine).
.
I’d be delighted to read your opinion on converting this entire set of equations into Yakkas – and understanding how Australia will play out. I plan to migrate (with my wife) by 2014 / 2015 to Australia – and any info you can share will be very helpful.
.
MN

Reply

David March 24, 2013 at 7:11 am

$250k would be expensive for a 700 square foot apartment in a semi-rural area in the US, no? You can buy a house for that in most places outside of California. You might get an apartment for that here on the South Coast of NSW 2 hours from Canberra and further from Sydney. Average wage is $70k per year. But would be lower in a location like that. House price wise Australia is a lot like California and so are taxes.

Reply

MN March 24, 2013 at 3:01 pm

David,
Thank you for the response.
I guess I was trying to figure out how many years would it take to pay-off a small 2-bed apartment (or house) in a semi-urban location in Australia. If average yearly wage is $70,000 – it should take between 5 to 7 years to pay off a loan on a $250,000 property (assuming HUGE savings each month to repay – and no other major expenses).
And, as a matter of fact: I’ve been working at L.A. for past 3 years – and I based my estimate (among other things) on a co-worker that recently purchased a property valued at $ 250,000 (more than 2 hrs commute from work-location). So – California was on my mind when I made that observation – guilty as charged.
.
And once again – thank you for responding. Appreciate that.
MN

Reply

David March 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm

As $70k is the average wage it might be difficult to save really large amounts on it. The currency is overvalued compared to the US Dollar just like the Rupee is undervalued. Commuting that kind of time is nuts. At least that would be the thinking in Australia. The main reason to go outside of the city where I live is to get more land for a more reasonable price rather than lower the total price. In my neighbourhood near the city centre a 2 bed apartment is $450-550k + You don’t have to go that far to get to $350k. $250k will just buy two beds in the metro area:

http://www.allhomes.com.au/ah/nsw/sale-residential/7-4-mowatt-street-queanbeyan-east-queanbeyan-region/1316843634111

Reply

BobinOz March 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

I’ve written quite a few posts about house prices MN, and I’ve got a page on the subject. Take a look at my page Cost of Buying or Renting a House in Australia and also check out the links at the foot of that page under the heading “More useful links…”

Cheers

Bob

Reply

Lea June 29, 2013 at 4:15 pm

Whatever you have to do……calculate, breakdown or over analyze to make yourself THINK you are not being ripped of in Australia. I agree with Julie.

Reply

Lea June 29, 2013 at 4:20 pm

Some wages may be lower in America but so is the cost of living. It is all relevant. You can also get a 3% (FIXED INTEREST RATE) loan for 30 years.

Reply

Karl November 18, 2013 at 1:49 pm

This discussion was both fascinating and entertaining to read. I can see arguments for living in the US and AUS.
I visited AUS March-April 2013 and found the cost of goods incredibly expensive! My family of 5 actually ate at McDonalds a few times just to save some money on food. I did not bother buying any clothing, except a few t-shirts that said Australia, because everything was easily 20% higher than what I would pay in the US, especially when factoring the exchange rates.
The argument about corporate profit is irrelevant. For some reason corporations all over the world, for good or bad, are in the business of making money. This will never change.
I think that everything is more expensive in AUS, compared to the US, because it is basically a quasi-socialist country. Meaning the lower wage earners, and every one for that matter, are guaranteed a higher wage, vacations, “free” health care, and retirement. This all has to be paid for somehow.
You have to remember that corporations are always going to try to maintain their profit margin so anytime increased costs are imposed on them, like a mandatory higher minimum wage, higher corporate taxes, vacations for employees, etc., these costs are always going to be passed on to the consumer through higher cost of goods.
Additionally, all of these free benefits are going to be paid by the populous through higher taxes.
I am not saying that the US is better than AUS it is just different and should be noted. It would seem that Aussies are comfortable paying more for things in exchange for financial security and lifestyle.
Contrastingly American’s increasingly expect high incomes, “free stuff”, low taxes, and cheap goods.
As so many have noted, there is no way to accurately compare cost of living in the US to AUS. There are too many variables. As has been mentioned, living on the East or West coast is substantially more expensive than living in the midwestern US.
Example, I built a 5,500 square foot house on 5 acres which is worth $850k US in a nice medium midwestern city in 2008. For the same amount of money I could maybe buy a 800sf studio apartment in NYC.
Currently the US is experiencing its own major issues such as an unsustainable national debt with no plan to fix it, immigration, class and race conflicts, and a dysfunctional two political party “lead” by a president who is is hell bent on his own agenda.
The US future is anything but secure, but I digress.
I personally have not decided where I am going to live yet, but I did like the Australian weather and found the people very friendly.

Reply

BobinOz November 18, 2013 at 7:27 pm

You are absolutely right Karl, there really is no way to accurately compare the cost of living in the US to Australia or between any countries really. Looking at the sticker price on goods certainly will tell you little.

I think the only way for anyone to find out if a country is better or worse for them is to move there and live there for a few years to see how it goes. Then ask the question “Am I better off here, or was I better off before I moved?”

Each country is a package and there’s more to it than just the cost of things, salaries play a huge part as does the general lifestyle.

Reply

Jay December 13, 2013 at 4:32 am

Hi Bob,

I want to congratulate you for the wonderful job you are doing. I recently found your blog and now It has become ritual for me to visit your website everyday.

We moved from India to USA and we have been living in USA since 2007. We are a family of four with latest addition being my son born in February this year. We are in the queue for the US green card but because we come from India and the demand is so high from India (and also China) that we may be looking another 4-5 years for our approval.

That’s what made me think for other alternatives. And we decided on Australia for the obvious reasons – great weather, quality of life, work life balance etc.

While comparing USA with Australia in one of your blogs, many comments have left me still wondering whether to move to Australia or not. First of all, it is really difficult to compare between the two and decide which is the best. It all depends on the individual’s perspective. No doubt, Australia looks very expensive specially housing, clothing, cars. But then healthcare is plus and so is 4 weeks vacation.

People always comment that taxes are really high in Australia. My view is that it depends. I have searched the net extensively on this topic (my wife really got annoyed). Now, no one has ever said that taxes are lower in Australia.

My research shows that for couples making less than $100k, the tax implication is not much when compared to US. I will do the math and report my findings in a bit as I need to go now.

Thanks,
Jay

Reply

Jay December 13, 2013 at 4:56 am

First of all, we live in California and hence we also pay state tax. I will come to that later. But first let’s have a look at the federal taxes. Please see the tax rate schedule below: (for discussion sake, I am just going to focus on married couples – here in USA you can also file as singles but that benefits only if both spouses make more than $250k each or more).

Married Filing Jointly or Qualifying Widow(er) Filing Status

[Tax Rate Schedule Y-1, Internal Revenue Code section 1(a)]
10% on taxable income from $0 to $17,850, plus
15% on taxable income over $17,850 to $72,500, plus
25% on taxable income over $72,500 to $146,400, plus
28% on taxable income over $146,400 to $223,050, plus
33% on taxable income over $223,050 to $398,350, plus
35% on taxable income over $398,350 to $450,000, plus
39.6% on taxable income over $450,000

(Please see this website for more information
http://www.bankrate.com/finance/taxes/tax-brackets.aspx

Now let’s have a look at Australian tax rate:

Taxable income Tax on this income
0-$18,200
Nil
$18,201-$37,000
19c for each $1 over $18,200
$37,001-$80,000
$3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $37,000
$80,001-$180,000
$17,547 plus 37c for each $1 over $80,000
$180,001 and over
$54,547 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000
(Sorry for the formatting)

Now, everyone looks at these figures and Australia taxes are WAY too high. But that is for people earning WAY too high. Yes, taxes will be higher in Australia for people who earn way too much, and are singles (no kids).

Now that you guys have seen both the tables and are convinced that taxes are higher in Australia, I will give my own example with figures to show that in some cases taxes may be lower in Australia. I will do that in my next post.

Reply

Jay December 13, 2013 at 5:55 am

Bob,

I am trying to put my financial situation in front of you and other knowledgable people. The purpose is to clearly understand the Australian system before we take the final plunge. Please point it to me if I have missed something or ignored something from the calculations.

I hope I am not annoying someone by posting long and multiple posts on taxation comparison. It’s a vast field and there are so many nuances involved. I am not touching all the aspects but trying to dissect main items. Also, please remember this applies only to me and this is particularly true for someone coming from California where income tax rates can go upto 12.3%!

Hope I can get some valuable information from this exercise.

Reply

Jay December 13, 2013 at 6:29 am

Ok, now let’s go to the figures. They say numbers don’t lie!

Say, for example, we (me and my wife) together earning $75k here in California. For a family of four, we get standard deduction of $12,200, exemptions of $15,600 bringing our taxable income to $47,200. On this income, the federal tax comes out to approx $6200. Then as we have two kids (<15 years), we get child credit of $2000.
Net federal tax : $4200 approx
California tax: $1800 approx
Total $6000 income tax

Plus payroll taxes (social security, Medicare, California disability) : $6500 approx

Net annual pay $62500

We also pay health insurance premium of $650 per month. Total annual expense $7800. We are a healthy family but there is annual deductible of $1500 per person and out of pocket expense of $6000(not sure though!). But the thing is that, we have to meet deductible and out of pocket limits before insurance kicks in. This means that minimum in health insurance is $7800 a year even if we don't fall sick. Annual health check up is free, though. We pay for medicines plus copays. For our calculation, lets just keep it simple at $8,000.

Net salary (after federal, state and health insurance premium): $54,500.

Now, I looked at Australian taxation system and the net salary comes out at $58,000 (after income tax and health insurance premium which is medicare I think). Then, employer also deposit $7,000 in your superannuation fund account. My wife will work as a nurse and I think most hospitals provide you the option of salary sacrifice. This option can save us a maximum $5,000 (slightly less). Then, if that is the total income we have in Australia, I think government provides you support with Family A and B assistance. I think we will be eligible for at least 7,000. Please let me know if this is true. We are not coming for this free $7,000 but for the sake of calculation, let's include this also.

Total Australian net income becomes: $58,000+7000+5000+7,000=77,000 (7,000 will go into superannuation but still that will be our savings).

Australia: $77,000
USA(in California) $54,500

I will also provide some other scenarios where combined income is more than $100k and we will see the net effect.

Meanwhile, please feel free to post mortem my analysis and let me know if I have missed something or my whole calculation basis is wrong. Thanks! :)

Reply

Jay December 13, 2013 at 6:41 am

Bob,

Please chime in and let me know your views on my calculation of Australian taxes.

Thanks

Reply

Brendan December 13, 2013 at 7:32 am

Jay,

Since Bob is probably still fast asleep in Australia right now, I would like to thank you for putting together a really interesting analysis. I am an Aussie living in America who also have 4 children and am looking to moving back to Australia. Your research really puts things in perspective.

The only thing you need to know about the family support, though, is that you would have to wait until you are approved as permanent residents for the benfits to kick in. But when they do, there are far more things the Australian government offers to help families than just Family A and B Assistance. Make sure you look up Centrelink, which will tell you about all the programs available.

Thanks again Jay,

Brendan

Reply

Jay December 13, 2013 at 8:11 am

Brendan,

We are getting the assessments done for 189 visa. We are working towards landing in Australia as PRs. The calculations above we’re meant for immigrants who are PRs or Aus. Citizens. Thanks for bringing that up, though. Non PRs have different tax rates as well as they also pay school fees. On top of that, no government support.

As you are originally from Australia and now that you have lived in USA too, how do you compare living in these two great countries? Please elaborate as this thing is killing me.

For me, the calculations above clearly show that Australia makes financial sense for our family. Suppose if one spouse is working full time and getting somewhere $100k and the other spouse is working part time and say getting $25k in Australia; the net income for former comes out at $74k and for the later approx $24k. Now for my wife, who will be working in a hospital setting, we can save $5k by sacrificing salary. Add superannuation and the net figure comes at $114k! For the same amount the net figure in california comes out at $92k approx for my family!!

So, $84k in California (less $8k for health insurance premium for my family) and $114k in Australia for the same gross salary of $125k. I get to pocket $30,000 more in Australia. :) ( this time I am not taking into consideration the government assistance programs).

So, why do people keep saying that taxes are higher in Australia. Mind you, the health insurance premium I am quoting here is the basic and the better insurance I want, the more I pay in premium. Also, if and when we get sick we pay more in deductibles, copays, out of pocket. I know that in Australia we may pay 1% extra in Medicare if our income exceeds a certain level.

Brendan, Bob

Can you please comment. Thanks!

Reply

moom December 13, 2013 at 9:02 am

You are correct – comparing Australia with California or New York State taxes are very similar. People look at the headline federal tax rate and forget about the state taxes and the social security tax. When you take both these into account the schedules are quite similar. I blogged about that once and compared how the rates really vary with income. Also as you point out you can get free health care in Australia (well there are large copays) though you are incentivised to get private cover as well when you get to $160k plus a year in household income. But for us (couple) the private cover is $250 a month.

The differences are more on the cost of living and salary levels at the current exchange rate. When we first arrived in Australia in 2007 we earned the equivalent of about $80k and just got by on that as a couple. For a family it would be a struggle if you live in a major city. Our household income is now over $250k. Of course, that is very comfortable but when we go to look at the kind of houses we would like to buy we then feel poor still. The bank allows us to buy a $850k house maximum. Of course, there are plenty of houses here for $600k or so but to be in good condition they are further out of the city and a longer commute. On $80k or something a $600k house is unattainable…

Reply

Jay December 13, 2013 at 9:42 am

Moom,

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.

Thanks

Reply

moom December 13, 2013 at 9:54 am

Here is my blogpost:

http://moominhouse.blogspot.com.au/2007/06/australia-part-i.html

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.

Reply

Jay December 13, 2013 at 10:43 am

Moom,

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

Reply

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.

Reply

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?

Reply

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?

Reply

Jay December 13, 2013 at 12:35 pm

Alexander,

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.

Reply

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

Reply

Brendan December 14, 2013 at 4:52 am

Jay,

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.

Brendan

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

Reply

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!

Reply

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
George

Reply

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.

Reply

George Dissanayake December 23, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Hey Jay,

It is always pros and cons…
USA
Cheaper
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

OZ
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!

Reply

Jay December 24, 2013 at 3:04 pm

George,

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.

Reply

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!

Reply

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.

Reply

Jay December 25, 2013 at 11:03 am

George,

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!

Reply

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.

Reply

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.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/colorado-school-shooting-leaves-students-wounded-dead/t/story?id=21211883&ref=http%3A%2F%2Fnews.google.com%2F

Reply

BobinOz December 28, 2013 at 12:19 am

Leave a Comment

If your comment doesn't get answered, find out why.....
FAQs and Comment Policy.

Current ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post: