How to expat?
Expat rankings shuffle since last year
"...Out of the 50m expats spread across the globe, Bahrain was ranked as the most favourable nation to work and raise a family, vastly outranking its Persian Gulf neighbours, most of which ranked in the bottom 10 of countries surveyed. Greece came in dead last due to the strain on its long suffering economy and Australia, which came in at number seven on the list a year earlier, dropped all the way to 34. "
"To compile the data, InterNations surveyed 12,519 expats, representing 166 nationalities and living in 188 countries around the world"
Greece low ranking
"The networking group conducted a survey asking expats to rate and provide information on what it’s like to live and work in 65 countries that are considered key destinations for expats. Scores were calculated on 43 factors, including quality of life, personal finances, cost of living, education, and healthcare, to get an overall ranking.
The survey had nearly 13,000 respondents, representing 166 nationalities, and Greece ranked at the bottom."
The CostArticle at the UK Express:
Are these the cheapest countries for expat living?
- South Africa
"While money shouldn’t be the only factor used to decide where you expatriate to, it is a necessary consideration for many."
"Expat retirees enjoy a life reminiscent of an earlier time "
Article on expat living (and expectations) from Market Watch
"...many Americans and Canadians have not only moved abroad partly to search for a life reminiscent of an earlier time, but quite a few tell me that they’ve found it — and in some very unlikely places, including Mexico, Panama, Belize and Nicaragua. "
Less government involvement
The family is supreme
Elders are respected
"The dark side of expat life in France (and where to turn for help)
...This isn’t a fluffy feel-good post on how life in France is OMGAMAZING 24/7. Nowhere is perfect day in and day out and that’s the truth. This is a post about mental health. I don’t think it does the expat community any favors by sweeping this extremely important topic under the rug and pretending it doesn’t exist. So let’s talk."
Article at Ouiinfrance.com
Book review at the NY Times:
A British Expat in Norway Gets Beyond the Scandinavian Stereotypes Scandinavians - In Search of the Soul of the North
"...Ferguson, who immigrated to Norway from England some 30 years ago and is the author of biographies of Henrik Ibsen and Knut Hamsun, is a sensitive guide through these Nordic pasts. He combines the expat’s delight in the quirks the native might take for granted with his deep knowledge of the region — enough knowledge to write his own play, included in the book, that has Ibsen succumbing to some of the same social pressures he so scandalously railed against. Gradually, the quirks and the knowledge cohere into an argument that makes sense of all that melancholy: In small, homogeneous nations governed by a rigid social conformity, it takes a particularly extreme temperament to stand out. “Considerable personal courage and ethical conviction are required,” he writes, “if such voices are to survive disapproval long enough for people to start listening to what they have to say.”
"Retirees flock to Latin America to live an upper-class lifestyle on $1,500 a month"
Article at the Charlotte Observer
“The internet has changed everything,” said Dan Prescher, a senior editor at International Living who recently moved from Ecuador to Mexico to be closer to his family in the United States. “Now you can talk to ex-pats who are living the life in real time. It has lowered the research bar for those who are thinking about it.”
...If there is a real driving force for retirees, it’s healthcare. Although the Trump administration has said it will leave Medicare untouched, its desire to scrap the Affordable Care Act amid rising premiums has created anxiety among seniors, said Prescher with International Living.
“Look at what retirees [in the U.S.] are facing,” he said. “They have a fixed income, maybe their investments haven’t been doing that well and now nobody knows what public healthcare will look like in the United States.”
“In the face of that … if you can live in a place where you can cut your cost of living in half while getting access to high quality healthcare, you have to think seriously about it,” he added."
Interview with John Manuel, born in Bath, UK, now living on Rhodes.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture? What the Greeks eat for breakfast. Olives, Feta, those horrible little crispy bread-type biscuits, Ham!?
9. What is a myth about your adopted country? That all Greeks are lazy. A lot of them may not be dead keen on paying their taxes, but they work harder than most of the rest of Europe.
JapanGrowing Old in Japan - an Expat Guide - Metropolis Japan
"Written over the course of one Hokkaido winter, Penn’s book is based on years of research and experience in putting her own family’s things in order. In The Expat’s Guide to Growing Old in Japan, Penn brings her skills as a writer and researcher residing in Japan for 44 years to bear. Readers will find not only valuable information that is well-organized, but will find an amicable guide offering tips on how and what to prepare for visits to various offices and organizations. Perhaps most importantly, she advises readers to practice a kind of pleasant persistence as they “ask and ask again” throughout this leg of their journey.
For such a dense, complicated and emotional topic, The Expat’s Guide to Growing Old in Japan is a surprisingly readable and slim volume complete with touches of light humor and cultural insight. Readers are advised to put on their “invisible Sherlock Holmes cap and investigate” assisted living facilities. In the health care section they learn what pinpin korori (healthy until you fall over dead) is and the many reasons it is the preferred way of moving on to the next realm. "
Expats and Children
"The InterNations organization, which represents expats throughout the world, has released results of its recent survey of perceptions of the countries most welcoming to expats with children."
- Costa Rica
See the entire list of ten countries here - The Yucatan Times
Expats in UAE
"When David and Sarah Taylor and their son Nathan (then 13) moved to Abu Dhabi in August 2015, it was the first time they had been away from their hometown of Swansea in South Wales, for more than a couple of weeks.
"When we left the United Kingdom, we were excited – we couldn’t wait," says Sarah. "My husband started work the day after we arrived, and Nathan and I were just left in the apartment, very isolated. I didn’t have my driving licence yet...my son stopped eating anything for two weeks. There were tears every day. We had expected this fairy tale, and the reality was the complete opposite."
After two weeks, Sarah took Nathan to see a doctor and broke down, asking for help. Nathan was referred to a counsellor, and when he started school, things slowly started to improve."
Greek housing market woes makes residency cheaper
Article at NeoKosmos on the continued troubles in the Greek economy and specifically the housing market, and how this presents residency opportunities and increased buying power for house hunters:
"Despite difficult ongoing economic conditions, Greece's visa-for-investment program is helping draw interest from investors: mainly from the eastern Mediterranean region, Russia, and China. Greek government officials are considering broadening the program to investors spending capital on all asset classes above €250,000, not just real estate.
...Apartment prices in the centres of Athens and Thessaloniki are proving to be more resilient than the broader market, helped by a strong tourism industry and demand for short-term rentals stemming from platforms such as Airbnb."
Expat Women - working and living in Luxembourg.
Artcle at Delano about the challenges for living in Luxembourg with brief opinions shared by 10 different female profressionals:
"Dr Catherine Larue, CEO of the Luxembourg Institute of Health, has previously worked in industry and developed numerous patents and published extensively on cardio-metabolic biomedical research. Catherine emphasised that working in Luxembourg had certain advantages: the proximity between deciders and actors, and the fact that Luxembourg is a wealthy country and can invest significantly in health technologies and research, and that the people are welcoming. She was also positively surprised by the fact that women can become CEOs or members of the boards of directors here. Catherine noted two downsides: her husband works in Lille at the moment, so she is quite far from her family. But she said that they always meet up in Paris!"
United States debt rising
"The new projections show steeper 30-year debt growth than last year's long-term forecast by the non-partisan budget analysis agency, and could make it harder for some members of Congress to support a tax reform plan that is partly financed with higher deficits.
Last year, the CBO estimated U.S. public debt would grow to 141 percent of gross domestic product by 2046, while the record was 106 percent of GDP in 1946....
....The new forecasts assume that the Affordable Care Act, the healthcare law known as Obamacare that House Republicans failed to replace last week, stays in place for the long term.
"...as the past 8 years have shown, only debt cures more debt, so expect nothing to change."
Additional graphic information, though a bit on the cartoony side: www.usdebtclock.org
Shifting from NYC to Panama
Forbes with the insights of a American professional pulling out of the around-the-clock NYC work schedule into a rural environment with a challenge to make an independent business succeed:
"...New York was everything I imagined it would be, and more. It was non-stop adrenaline: the city hustle, the constant moving from one meeting to the next, the late nights in the office followed by work dinners or going out with friends. It was thrilling and rewarding, but this came at a high cost. My career always took precedence, and I realized I am just not wired that way. I felt I was losing my balance. My days were long and expectations were intense. I had little time for myself and felt constantly tied to my phone or my laptop...
.....Living in a rural village reminded me on a daily basis of the ease and efficiency that I was missing out on in the city. Getting things done here takes much longer. My biggest challenge was learning to be patient and go with the flow: slowly but surely, I pulled myself from my material attachments and expectations of how things "should" be, and the pay-off for this shift in my mindset has been so emotionally rewarding.
I also didn’t expect how much I would miss the collaboration of an office environment. As a solopreneur, I had to work hard to self-motivate every day to make this business successful. The only way to get through the transition was to continuously practice gratitude for where I was."
Counting the cost for an Expat lifestyle
"Dreaming about living in another country is easy, but creating a budget to make it happen is hard."
The Four Ways To Be An Expat
Article at Expat Yourself
For everyone who moved to a different country, there are just four ways how they got there: as a student, from their government, as an private employee or they just pack their bags and left.
Netherlands Dutch Expat Help
"Our relocation plan, Dutch LIFE, is designed to give you the most relevant information in a logical way."
"Do your homework: When applying for a loan, it is safe to say the bank will want to look at the purpose of the loan and how much you want to borrow. So make sure you have an amount in mind that is in line with the asset or purpose for the loan. You will also need to supply your regular income and have proof of your outgoing expenditure so they can see if you can afford the repayments. Do not borrow to pay off debt: Most foreign banks will not offer you a personal loan to help you pay off your existing debt. In today’s tough economic climate, it is viewed as throwing good money after bad."
List of helpful articles on going to Britain as an expat:
Hong Kong becomes world's costliest city for expats
Article at Japan Today:
"Hong Kong has overtaken Angola’s capital to become the costliest city in the world for expats, Mercer’s annual survey said Wednesday.
After topping the Cost of Living report for three consecutive years, Luanda was pipped by the Asian city in 2016, owing to a stronger Hong Kong dollar.
The survey by the Mercer consulting group compares the cost of over 200 items in over 200 cities, including housing, food, transport and entertainment."
The most popular countries for Brits looking to work abroad
Article at the UK Telegraph:
"The US is the top destination for British workers looking for a fresh challenge internationally, attracting 37pc of jobseekers' clicks across the top 10 destination countries. "
The Telegrpah article also covers short-term work situations, and Germany placed number one on their list for that designation.
Who is holding U.S. Debt?
Article at Bloomberg about their FOA effort to get the true numbers on U.S. debt - U.S. Discloses Saudi Holdings of Treasuries for First Time
"Yet the disclosure may bring more questions than answers, because Saudi Arabia’s foreign reserves amount to $587 billion, and central banks typically put about two-thirds of their coffers in dollars, according to International Monetary Fund data. Some nations accumulate Treasuries in offshore financial centers, meaning the holdings show up under the data of other countries. For example, Belgium, which held $143 billion of U.S. government debt as of February, is home to Chinese custodial accounts, analysts say."
U. S. Treasury Department debt date - March 2016
- Saudi Arabia 116.8
- United Arab Emirates 62.5
- Kuwait 31.2
- Oman 15.9
- Iraq 13.4
- Qatar 3.7
- Nigeria 3.1
- Bahrain 1.2
- Algeria 0.7
Source: U.S. Treasury Department. Data as of March.
Seden expat opportunities
Article at the Swedish English language TheLocal - 'Foreigners like to whine about Sweden, don't they?'
“This is the right size of city, the right lifestyle and the right everything for me. I really wanted to stay here. At first I was staying for the job, but after Spotify I interviewed for jobs all over the world – but there was nowhere that felt as right as Stockholm."
“It’s a great place to be based, with lots of tools and networking opportunities.”
"Sweden gives you freedom that you don’t get in other places. You have freedom of movement, of speech, and freedom of time. They have long parental leave, long vacations – compared to six days a year in Mexico! Sweden lets you choose what to do with your time."
Bahrain expat workers
"Employers in Bahrain will have to pay an extra $800 (BD300) for every expat worker that exceeds their regular quota in addition to the regular two-year $530 (BD200) tax and monthly fees for each foreign employee."
New Zealand takes top spot for quality of life abroad for women
Article at newswire titled "Global expat survey: New Zealand takes top spot, Canada ranks 7th when it comes to quality of life amongst women living abroad" heavy emphasis on comparing Canda to other countries in terms of benefit to women.
"Painting a picture of expat life across a broad range of criteria, the annual Expat Explorer survey is an insightful and comprehensive resource for all current and prospective expats. Not only can expats find out how the country they live in performs compared to other destinations, but they can also share the real life experiences of their peers. "
The article is referencing HSBC Expat Survey effort here.
Want to earn $250,000? Try being an expat in Asia
March 2016: Article at the Financial Times:
"If you are looking to ride a career helicopter into the rarefied echelons of those who earn more than $250,000 a year – then consider becoming an expat working in Asia.
...If you’re hoping for a blissful retirement then Canada takes the crown. with three times more expat retirees than the global expat average (31 per cent compared with 11 per cent globally). A whopping 70 per cent of expats in Canada and the US said that both countries offer them an easy time settling in and a great quality of life."
Expat Voters — Will They Start To Matter In 2016?
March 2016 - Article at Worldcrunch:
"...we are witnessing the rise of Expat Man and Expat Woman. The laws have changed to make overseas voting easier and efforts such as Vote from Abroad have helped inform voters and facilitate registration. The Democratic and Republican parties have woken up to the fact that, according to the State Department, 7.6 million Americans live outside the territorial limits of the U.S.; by population, equivalent to the 13th American state.
... Though it is undersized (and voter turnout generally even lower than domestic turnout), the vote potential of Expat Man no longer draws dismissive sniggers. Delayed overseas ballots helped give the 2000 election to George W. Bush (an event that Democrats Abroad says led to a tripling in registrations). Voting from abroad also arguably affected other close election contests, including a 2009 New York Congressional race that gave a narrow victory to Democrat Scott Murphy and the 2008 Senate race in Minnesota in which a Republican incumbent, Norm Coleman, was defeated by a wafer-slim margin by Democratic challenger Al Franken."
Upon re-entry back home after expat life, brace yourself for turbulence
March 2016: Article at Japan Times:
"As I stood there, I felt as if I was seeing my culture for the first time, as someone disconnected from my very own birthplace. Two children and a father sat on the cold, dirty floor eating a gigantic cup of vanilla ice cream. Police officers stood at the corners, armed with guns, ready to snuff out any disturbances. And, of course, diversity: After almost a year and a half living in a city that was 99 percent Japanese, I’d forgotten how ethnically mixed New York had always been.
....After initially resisting certain aspects of Japanese culture (“I couldn’t speak keigo — polite Japanese — for a long time,” said one female student in her early 20s), most of those surveyed hinted at feeling a newfound confidence from having lived overseas. Their perspectives had widened and they could now view their native culture though a wider lens than their peers. "
In Search of That Expat ‘Aha!’ Moment
Feb 2016: Wall Street Journal article:
"My own expat “Aha!” moment came while I was living in the Lake Zurich region of Switzerland in 2011. I had taken up the local pastime of hiking and after mastering a couple of lower foothills with my little dog, Willy Wonka, I decided we should try some higher summits. So one fall day we followed the path of Mark Twain, up to the top of the famous Mount Rigi Kulm. As we reached about halfway, I stopped and looked out across the Lauerzersee (Lake Lauerz), quickly spotting the massive Grosser Mythen (big myth) mountain in the far distance, a peak Willy and I had reached the week before. And as I stood there I thought, even though I was a newcomer to this foreign land, I now had the ability to look out into the vast Alpine mountains, recognize familiar locales, and even point out a few great peaks that Willy Wonka and I had conquered, all on our own. It was in that moment I felt an immediate rush of self-fulfillment and contentment, and knew I was just where I was meant to be. Aha!"
Ranking for well-being puts Hawaii and Alaska first
Jan 28, 2016: Article at Reuters
"If you want to improve your sense of well-being, leave the Lower 48.
A new report ranking all 50 states based on residents' sense of well-being puts Hawaii at No. 1, followed by Alaska, which held the top spot last year.
Hawaii has been No. 1 in the poll five times since 2008."
The top expat destination of 2015 may surprise you
January 26, 2016: Article at Business Insider:
"Research pulled together by Expat Insider 2015 — which surveyed 14,000 respondents from 195 countries — has created this map to show you the ranking of countries according to expats.
...In fact, there are now as many as 53 million expats in the world, with an estimated growth of up to 56.8 million by 2017, according to international market research and consulting company Finaccord."
Google Most Searched Travel Destinations of 2015
Article at Expatriatehealthcare:
The recent statistics reveal exactly where Brits have been researching during 2015, and reveals some intriguing data about how our travel habits have been affected by world events.
Typically, for example, Paris is the single most searched destination among Brits, long considered the “ultimate” destination for a city break or a romantic getaway. This year, however, it seems that Paris has been completely wiped off the top 10.
... Whatever the case, with Paris dropping out of the top ten, a new winner has been revealed; New York. Following closely along behind New York City comes the USA as a whole.
Low living costs draw expats to Vietnam
October 19, 2015: Article at vietnamnet.vn
"According to the latest Expat Explorer Survey, Vietnam ranks 25th on the list of 39 places that are good for expats to work and live, behind some Asian destinations such as India, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan. Singapore takes the top spot in the eighth Expat Explorer country league table, with expatriates praising the opportunities for career development, appealing salaries and an excellent quality of life.
Meanwhile, Switzerland comes first as the best expat destination for career success and financial well-being. Some 77% of expats feel confident about the local economy, and 53% say it is a good place for career progress. While Vietnam takes the 21st position in economics, it comes 5th in the ability of savings. The majority of expats say they have an easier life in Vietnam as they spend less money on accommodation/housing (62%), transportation (73%), clothing (68%), household goods (62%), utility (70%) and bills (77%) compared to when they were living in their home countries."
The Top 20 Cities Americans Are Ditching
Bloomberg article about 20 cities which are steadily losing populace due to various conditions:
"Interestingly, these are also the cities with some of the highest net inflows of people from outside the country. That gives many of these cities a steadily growing population, despite the net exodus of people moving within the U.S.
So what's going on here? Michael Stoll, a professor of public policy and urban planning at the University of California Los Angeles, has an idea. Soaring home prices are pushing local residents out and scaring away potential new ones from other parts of the country, he said. (Everyone knows how unaffordable the Manhattan area has become.)
And as Americans leave, people from abroad move in to these bustling cities to fill the vacant low-skilled jobs. They are able to do so by living in what Stoll calls "creative housing arrangements" in which they pack six to eight individuals, or two to four families, into one apartment or home. It's an arrangement that most Americans just aren't willing to pursue, and even many immigrants decide it's not for them as time goes by, he said."
The Top Expat Locations
Article at Internations asked 14,000 respondents from 195 countries and overseas territories. The ranking has 64 locations as destinations for expats. The top ten ranking is:
- New Zealand
Is this the best place in the world to be an expat?
Article at BBC
"Singapore may hold the dubious title of “most expensive city in the world,” but it remains the most popular place for expats to live and work, according to an annual survey of expats released by HSBC. Expats praised the city-state for its appealing salaries, career development opportunities and quality of life. And despite the eye-watering cost of living day-to-day in Singapore (including transport costs three-times that of New York), more than a quarter of its expats who responded to the 2015 Expat Explorer survey said they earned more than $200,000 per annum (compared to just 13% of expats globally)."
The Top 20 Cities Americans Are Ditching
July 2015 article at Bloomberg
"New York City, Los Angeles, Honolulu: They're all places you would think would be popular destinations for Americans. So it might come as a surprise that these are among the cities U.S. residents are fleeing in droves. The map below shows the 20 metropolitan areas that lost the greatest share of local people to other parts of the country between July 2013 and July 2014, according to a Bloomberg News analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.
...Interestingly, these are also the cities with some of the highest net inflows of people from outside the country."
The 3 best and worst countries to be an American expat
Article at CBS News
- Saudi Arabia
"Greece, on the other hand, is a surprise. Although expat life in Greece can be excellent, with a culture that emphasizes joie de vivre and some of the world's most beautiful landscapes both inland and coastal, none of that was enough to overcome the country's current economic struggles. Greece took last place in jobs and careers overall, last place in job security and last place in personal finance, making it an excellent destination perhaps for retirees or the self-employed, but a clear loser for anyone who's looking for work."
Recalling a Tokyo Expat Adventure
Article at The Wall Street Journal
"My wife suggested that I sell tofu from a wooden cart on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. That was her plan for my successful re-entry into the U.S. I confess to actually considering it: the homemade tofu in Japan was astonishingly delicious and the people on the Upper West Side do like their nourishment to be organic. I pictured myself wearing a yukata (Japanese robe) and Birkenstocks – a nod to both cultures.
Let me back up and explain: In 1997, when my wife’s law firm asked her to relocate to Tokyo for three years to run its litigation department, we almost immediately decided to uproot our family from its cozy Upper East Side existence – our daughters were six and eight at the time — and make the move to a city to which I had never been."
20 globe-trotting readers share travel tips
Article at Santa Cruz Sentinel on how to conquer some of the difficulties inherent to certain places. Article discusses these places:
Greece, England, Azores, Italy, stonia - and others.
Current account balance compares a country's net trade in goods and services, plus net earnings, and net transfer payments to and from the rest of the world during the period specified. These figures are calculated on an exchange rate basis. Source: CIA Factbook
POSITIVE BALANCE "Top Ten"
8 of the Quietest Places on Earth
Care2 website has a slide show of quiet locations. Their ranking:
- The Science Lab - controlled environment, Minnesota, United States
- Sinharaja Forest Reserve, Sri Lanka
- Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska, United State
- The Kalahari Desert, Southern Africa
- Kronostky Nature Reserve, Russia
- The Hoh Valley, Washington, United States
- Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
- Samboja Lestari, Borneo
A related story about finding "zero decibels" in New Zealand:
"The last place on Earth without human noise" - BBC Online Article
"...A special kind of noisiness accosts passengers waiting for New York City subways. Down there, sound levels regularly exceed 100 decibels – enough to damage a person’s hearing over time. It was on one such platform that George Foy, a journalist and New York University creative writing professor, suddenly found himself losing it one day, when four trains pulled in at once. “I kind of went momentarily crazy,” he says. He hunched over and stuck his fingers in his ears, desperately trying to block out the cacophony. “I started wondering why the hell I was putting up with this,” he says.
It was then that his obsession to find the quietest place on Earth began. “I thought, ‘If this is the craziness of noise, what is the opposite? What is absolute silence, and does it exist?’”
Foy took it upon himself to seek out the world’s quietest place, detailed in his recent book, Zero Decibels. He joins many others, ranging from health professionals to ecologists to hobbyists, who have attempted to seek out the quietest corners in the world."
Where Are the Hardest Places to Live in the U.S.?
Time Magazine effort to measure counties by a criterium of education, earning power, obesity, etc., produced the following lists for "doing worse" and "doing better" across the United States:
The 10 lowest ranking counties in the country:
- Breathitt (Appalachia) Kentucky
- Clay (Appalachia) Kentucky
- Jackson (Appalachia) Kentucky
- Lee (Appalachia) Kentucky
- Leslie (Appalachia) Kentucky
- Magoffin (Appalachia) Kentucky
- Humphreys County, Mississippi
- East Carroll Parish, Louisiana
- Jefferson County, Georgia
- Lee County, Arkansas
The "easiest" places to live in the United States according to Time Magazine (and this is where the critrium for placement on the list shows its flawed construction: traffic congestion and commute times are particularly awful in the top-ranking Washington DC suburbs. But the Time list doesn't account for that condition - - or many other factors.
"The top 10 counties in the United States are in the suburbs of Washington (especially on the Virginia side of the Potomac River), but the top ranking of all goes to Los Alamos County, N.M., home of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which does much of the scientific work underpinning the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The lab directly employs one out of every five county residents and has a budget of $2.1 billion; only a fraction of that is spent within the county, but that’s still an enormous economic engine for a county of just 18,000 people. "
The list does include an interchange of factors in order to produce better results to describe the conditions of an area, such as this logic put into constructing the list:
"We used disability — the percentage of the population collecting federal disability benefits but not also collecting Social Security retirement benefits — as a proxy for the number of working-age people who don’t have jobs but are not counted as unemployed. Appalachian Kentucky scores especially badly on this count; in four counties in the region, more than 10 percent of the total population is on disability, a phenomenon seen nowhere else except nearby McDowell County, W.Va. "
This is a very flawed effort, though interesting and not without any value. But it ignores too much to be taking as a valid measurement for "better" or "worse".
Norway ranked #1 for country prosperity
Website thelocal.com has a ranking of national prosperity by country.
- New Zealand
- United States
"The Nordic nation retained its number one spot from last year, as the top-ranking most prosperous country. New Zealand moved to third place, up two spots from 2013, while Russia slipped to Europe's worst performing country in 68th place.
The study revealed 90 percent of Norwegians believe their country is a good place for immigrants to live, while 94.9 percent said they felt they could rely on their fellow citizens in a time of need."
The article itself has rankings for the top twenty most prosperous.
2014 Best Places for Expats
Expat Insider online list
- Hong Kong
Best 6 Countries to Retire As an Expat in 2013
Article at Viva Tropical
- Costa Rica
Norway ranked as best place to grow old. Afghanistan ranked as worst.
Washington Post article on ranking best places to age:
"More than 800 million people worldwide are said to be approaching the “golden years.” And a new report gauging their social and economic well-being across 96 countries ranked Norway as the best place to age.
The report placed the United States at No. 8.
“We have a world which is ageing fast,” HelpAge International chief executive officer Toby Porter said. “For too long, older people have been excluded from international and national development planning.”
It’s more expensive to live in D.C. than New York, study says
Washington Post article on the city in American that's rapidly growing into the most wealthy, and then obviously the most expensive:
"The Washington region ranks as the most expensive place to live in the country, ahead of the pricey markets of New York and San Francisco, according to a government study.
The surprising statistic comes from a Bureau of Labor Statistics report that shows that — on average — Washingtonians spend more on housing and related expenses (utilities, furnishings and equipment) than New Yorkers and San Franciscans."
United States moves down to 12 in economic freedom rating
"A new report of "economic freedom" around the world finds the US ranked 12th among 152 countries, tied with the United Kingdom, and lower than neighbor Canada or Australia. The index, published by the Cato Institute and Canada's Fraser Institute, has been published since 1996. As recently as 2000, the US ranked 2nd in the world, in terms of boasting a free economy. The US's declining ranking will lower future economic growth.
The index, built on decades of research by Nobel laureates and dozens of leading scholars, measures 5 broad factors that impact the economy: 1. Size of government; 2. Legal structure and security of property rights; 3. Access to sound money; 4. Freedom to trade internationally and; 5. Regulation of Credit, Labor and Business. Countries where citizens are freer to engage in business and trade and property and legal rights are protected by the rule of law will score higher on the index. According to economic research, though, these countries will also do better economically and create and generate more wealth. The 10 freest economies in the world are: Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Mauritius, United Arab Emirates, Canada, Australia, Jordan, and Chile and Finland tied for 10th."
10 Most Stressful Cities
CNN Money magazine on low stress urban areas. From their list:
- New York City
- Los Angeles
- Riverside - San Bernardino
- New Orleans
10 Least Stressed Out Cities
CNN Money magazine on low stress urban areas. From their list:
- Salt Lake City
- Rochester, NY
- Raleigh, NC
- Richmond, VA
27 Reasons We Should All Be Moving To Japan - Buzzffeed
Humorous photo essay of 27 reasons Japan is inviting and interesting (and odd)
Ten things to know before moving to SpainInteresting article at Expatica with long comment section below article with many fine details.
When dealing with any facet of Spanish bureaucracy, remember The Law of Falta Uno: that however many documents and photocopies you take along there will always be ONE missing. Always double check that you have every piece of paper that you think you might need (and possibly even a few more that you don't).
Be patient. Be assertive. Take plenty of reading material. Rope in a friendly mentor who speaks the lingo, and check any papers you are given with a fine tooth comb for names, dates, accounts numbers and more BEFORE you leave the desk or ventanilla (window). Any undiscovered glitch may set you back years. Oh, and don't forget the rabbit’s foot.
Do not forget to tip the butanero – the man (and it will be a man) who throws those two-ton orange gas-bottles on his shoulder and climbs four flights of stairs when the lift is broken to deliver what may well be your main source of heating and fuel.
If it is your birthday, don't stand around grinning, waiting for someone to buy you a drink, or bounce jauntily into work expecting to be showered with goodies. Not only do the Spanish drive on the wrong side of the road, they've also got the whole birthday thing completely wrong.'
 World's Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities
- Melbourne, Australia
- Auckland, New Zealand
- Victoria, Canada
- Charleston, USA
- Dublin, Ireland
List of 20 places ranked by The Independent UK
 World's Friendliest and Unfriendliest Cities
- Salzburg, Austria
- Budapest, Hungary
- Seville, Spain
- Savannah, Georgia, USA
- Cape Town, South Africa
List of 21 places ranked at Conde Nast Traveler online
The 6 Most Gang Infested Cities in America
While gangs are by no means exclusive to America, far from it, when one hears of violence in a major city the typical reaction “it’s probably gang related” echoes across the populace. Compared to many other first world nations, America has a higher proliferation of gang members, and gang violence, and while social conditions that create gangs, and help recruit gang members, such as poverty, failing education systems, and systemic racism all play a major role in exacerbating gang culture, it’s also easy to forget that for a country with a population of over 307 million people, the amount of those members of society involved in gangs is a mere 0.004 percent.
Top 3 ranked cities (out of 6)
- Chicago, Illinois
- Los Angeles, California
- Detroit, Michigan
The 10 Most Corrupt Countries in the World
"Corruption and economic turmoil often go hand-in-hand. In western nations like the United States, and in many European countries, we often see corruption come to light as the result of whistleblowers or journalistic efforts. But in many other areas of the world, corruption plays a major role in fostering staggering poverty and broken economic systems."
- North Korea
- South Sudan
Mainland China Now in Top 10 for Expat Costs
"The survey, which was conducted in March, covers 211 cities on five continents and measures the comparative cost of 200 items, ranging from clothing to transportation to entertainment. In the study’s release, Nathalie Constantin-Metral, the Mercer principal who compiled the survey, attributed Chinese cities’ jumps to the rise in the value of the Chinese yuan.
Other Asian cities, such as Tokyo, Seoul and Osaka, fell in the survey, along with many Australian cities, where the local currency has depreciated against the U.S. dollar. The most expensive cities were Luanda, Angola, which ranked No. 1 for the second year in a row, and N’Djamena, Chad, which increased two positions to number two. Hong Kong, Singapore and Zurich rounded out the top five."
USA Passport Adult First Time Applicants (Age 16+)
All first time applicants must apply in person at a Passport Agency, an authorized Passport Application Acceptance Facility, or a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
*The passport execution fee is charged to passport applicants applying on Form DS-11 to recover the costs of executing the passport application, such as administering the oath, verifying the applicant's identity, and transmitting the applications. The execution fee must be paid at the time of application execution.
Top 15 Working destinations for expats - Business Insider
HSBC London and Business Insider rank the 15 best business and employment moves for expats:
- Cayman Islands
- United Arab Emirates
- Hong Kong
- United States
- New Zealand
- South Africa
"Expat Mail" - using a centralized, universal mail box
There are a number of services that allow mobile professionals to centralize their mail, a system easily adopted to the needs of expats.
The use of scanning technology has made it possible for a person to read their physical mail without being physically near it: a mail service does this, sending the scanned mail to an email address, or by setting up an a la carte service that shows scans of the outside of each piece of mail, and the account holder selects what they want opened and scanned for reading (this is so time and scanning isn't wasted on junk mail, for example).
Other services provide a simple forwarding service: the mail collects at a mail box, and they package and forward it once a month.
Some services offer a combination of the digital scanning service and the forwarding service.
Some of these services here:
Tips on moving to, and working in, Europe
A simple, straightforward article with a simple title: "Things I Wish I had Known before Moving to Europe to Work," by Christine Maynard at Experience.com
Some of the items covered in the article:
1. Understand the Immigration, tax and banking laws in Europe.
"Some places don't require Americans to have an additional visa to remain longer than the usual 90 day travel visa. Whether or not you need additional passport stamps, most countries will require you to register with the police."
2. You cannot apply for a job: an employer must apply for you to be able to legally work.
3. Get the details correct
"I had my original application returned because the bank accidentally left the word "department" off the cashier's check, so they really are strict about these things."
4. Banking in Europe will contain fees and regulations that will be different from what a person has experienced in America. Find a good bank - this article has tips on working that out.
5. Housing - try to plan ahead:
"Some cities such as Paris, Dublin, and London are crowded in general; prepare yourself to compromise on size, location, or price because it isn't likely that you'll find everything that you're looking for in the same place."
6. Public transportation is a given in most places in Europe, and there's some advantages to having an American licese, if only for awhile:
"According to EU regulations, a US driver's license only qualifies as a provisional, or learning, license for up to 1 year during which time you are expected to complete all written and practical driving tests required by the country in which you are residing. This can take ages in some countries because new testing regulations have created a backlog of people waiting weeks or months to be tested."
Fatca Deadline changed:
On April 2, 2014, the IRS announced that the FATCAi-compliant deadline has changed from July 1, 2014 to June 3, 2014 for registering with the IRS.
The old deadline was April 25, 2014.
More FATCA info
Buying property in Greece - Crete, Corfu and the Peloponnese
More on the Greece Page
The World's Fastest Growing Militaries
Article at Defense One
"The United States may be cutting its military spending, but 23 nations have doubled their defense spending over the past decade, according to a report released by a leading arms observation group on Monday.
Afghanistan tops the list of nations with the sharpest increase in defense spending over the past decade, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said.
...China, Russia and Saudi Arabia have also invested heavily in their militaries since 2003. Those three nations immediately trail the U.S. in overall military spending for 2013."
The 6 Least (and Most) Peaceful Countries
"Recently, The Institute for Economics and Peace released the sixth edition of their annual Global Peace Index. The report examines 158 third-world, developing and developed nations around the world based on 23 separate indicators that, combined, measure the relative level of internal and external conflict in a country."
- New Zealand
- Democratic Republic of the Congo