When it comes to identifying the richest places in the world, it is important to consider a nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as well as its Purchasing Power Parity (PPP). GDP consists of the total market value of all the goods and services produced by a country within a specific period of time, while PPP compares the living standards of different nations by taking their inflation rates and cost of living into account. Based on these factors, given below are the ten most affluent places to move to in 2016.Qatar
With more than 2 million residents (most of whom are foreigners), Qatar is ranked as the richest country in the world. Expats interested in boosting their living standards should definitely consider moving to this nation, as it has the highest GDP per capita in the world, US $145,894.18. The oil exploration industry is well-developed and is one of the main economic drivers. Banking and tourism are other industrial areas that generate a considerable amount of revenue.
More than 75% of the expats residing in this oil-rich country state that they have a high disposable income. Almost 25% of the participants have been able to invest in property and over 50% have saved more money since moving to Qatar. Apart from enabling people to save more, Qatar also offers expats a more comfortable life. Most people living here can afford luxuries such as big cars and domestic help.
Most of the expats spend a major portion of their salaries on expenses such as rent, school fees and grocery bills. Interestingly, more than 65% of the younger expats are given an accommodation allowance when making their initial move. Fortunately, they do not pay any taxes locally, regardless of their income bracket.
The Sultanate of Oman isn’t just one of the richest Arabian countries anymore; according to surveys conducted recently, it is regarded as the second most affluent place across the globe. Its GDP per capita has been steadily growing for the last 50 years or so. The main economy drivers in this nation include oil and gas, accounting for more than 50% of the GDP. Tourism, construction and chemicals are other major contributors towards Oman’s revenue.
Over 75% of the expats who have moved to this country end up saving a significant amount of money. Around 72% of expats have a higher disposable income and more than 25% of them have invested in property since moving.
The cost of living in Oman may vary from one city to another. Rent, utilities, traveling, and school fees are the biggest expenses for both locals and foreigners. Fortunately, most of the expats moving to Oman on an employment contract are offered accommodation or a cash allowance to be spent on rent. Many of them are also given a car or a traveling allowance. Another major advantage of living in this country is that the residents do not pay any taxes locally, regardless of their income bracket.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and China
The third spot for the richest places across the globe is jointly shared by three Asian countries: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and China.
Even though Saudi Arabia is the largest Arab economy, its GDP per capita is lower than Qatar and Oman. This country has an oil-based economy as it possesses around 18% of the world’s petroleum reserves. For several years now, it has been the world’s largest petroleum exporter and has played a vital role in OPEC. A majority of Saudi Arabia’s revenue comes from the petroleum sector. There is a high amount of government control over most of the other industrial and commercial activities that take place within this country. Residents of this oil-dependent economy enjoy a high standard of living at relatively low costs, while earning tax-free salaries. The main expenses incurred by the residents include housing and education.
Socializing in this country comes at a high premium. It is a well-known fact that expats from Europe, US and Asia-Pacific rarely move to this country because of the major cultural differences; however, it may be a good expat destination for nationals from other gulf countries who are looking to save money and at the same time, lead a better life. Around 85% of the expats believe that their disposable household income allows them to lead a comfortable life and about 56% find housing in this nation quite affordable. Approximately 68% of the international workers feel richer than they did back home.
Bahrain is one of the fastest-growing economies in the Arab world; it is likely to become a worldwide powerful financial center within the next few years. Like in the case of most other gulf countries, petroleum is the most exported product, accounting for 11% of the GDP and 70% of the revenues. The country has an open economy and the authorities have invested heavily in the tourism and banking sectors. Manama, the capital, is home to numerous financial structures. The high demand for consumer goods that aren’t available in the region has turned Bahrain into an advocate of free trade. The Bahraini Dinar is the world’s second most valued currency unit and the World Bank recognizes Bahrain as a high income economy.
The residents of Bahrain, including foreigners, enjoy a moderate standard of living at low costs, mainly because of the lack of taxation. Expats spend a major portion of their incomes on housing, utilities (especially air conditioning), private transportation and education. Many foreigners from Western regions ensure that these expenses are borne by their employers when negotiating their contracts. Nevertheless, a majority of the international workers end up saving more in Bahrain compared to their home countries, and therefore feel richer.
The Republic of China can undisputedly be regarded as the world’s fastest growing economy. This nation’s growth rates have been averaging 10% for the last 30 years. Because of its political and historical setup, China’s public sector contributes far more to the national economy than its private sector. Since the economic reforms were introduced in 1978, this country has become the universal hub for manufacturing and exports of various products. Being a large trading nation, China plays an important role in international trade. This country has weathered the global economic crisis better than most developed nations. Foreigners from all over the world are therefore readily relocating to China, in spite of the significant cultural differences they may experience. Many companies lure expats to China with the promise of a luxurious life and lucrative packages. Several expats get their employers to pay for the major expenses like housing, schooling and traveling. Since the cost of living in this country is lower than in Europe and North America, expats from these regions end up saving a lot of money, in spite of leading a fairly comfortable lifestyle.
Switzerland, Singapore & The United Arab Emirates
The only European country to make it into the list of the most affluent places in the world was Switzerland. This is hardly surprising as the country has one of the most stable economies worldwide, with an estimated per capita GDP of US $57,000, in spite of the economic readjustment caused by the Swiss Central Bank’s decision to have the Swiss Franc strengthen against the Euro. Banking, financial institutions, the service sector, and manufacturing are the main drivers of the country’s economy. Switzerland also has access to a large amount of capital for investment purposes, since the world’s richest people and organizations hold Swiss Bank accounts. Robust finances, a vibrant service sector and independence in economy ensure high living standards across the nation.
However, it is important to note that the Swiss lifestyle comes at a premium; cities like Zurich and Geneva are among the costliest places to live in. Fortunately, most of the locals aren’t too bothered by the expenses, which are offset by the country’s high salaries. A majority of the expats also claim that the cost of living is worth it, keeping infrastructure, cleanliness and quality of life in mind. Many of them negotiate with their employers for better packages, which include housing, schooling, transport costs and certain licenses. Around 65% of foreigners claim to have higher disposable incomes in Switzerland compared to their home countries.
The Republic of Singapore, an island country in South East Asia made up of 63 small islands, is regarded as one of most well-off nations in this continent. This self-governing city-state has an overall population of around 5.5 million and a majority of the residents are expats. Singapore is regarded as one of the leading centers for commerce in the world. The main foundations of the country’s wealth come from the service sector for finance. The island’s liberal economic ground promotes growth and innovation. Singapore also has a vast export industry for chemicals. This country is therefore ideal for expats, who are interested in a fast-paced life with ample career opportunities. However, Singapore is also one of the most expensive places in the world because of high housing, healthcare and education costs. Of course, most companies offer competitive salaries and the residents reduce their expenses by opting for public housing and schooling. More than half the European and North American expats have higher disposable incomes while earning and living in Singapore.
The UAE, a prosperous nation, is home to developed emirates such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi. It has the second-largest economy in the Arab world and a fairly high GDP. This tiny country has around 10% of the world’s oil supply reserves and ranks 5th globally in terms of natural gas reserves. As is the case with most other Middle Eastern countries, oil is the mainstay of the UAE’s economy and accounts for about 30% of its GDP. However, in the last few decades, this country has managed to successfully commence the process of its economic diversification. Non-oil-related trade has now become a trillion dollar business across the UAE. Moreover, the government has made an effort to improve the country’s ability to attract foreign direct investment. The quality of life in the UAE is very good; since the residents do not pay any local taxes, the cost of living is quite low, especially compared to Western countries. More than 60% of expats therefore claim to have better disposable incomes than they did at home.
Because of its extensive oil and natural gas reserves, Brunei has amassed an extraordinary amount of wealth, making it one of the richest nations in the world. Oil and gas reserves contribute to more than 70% of the country’s economy and around 90% of its export revenue. The Sultanate is now encouraging more investments in various industries and has started observing high administration standards in both private and public sectors. The government’s move towards economic diversification is aimed at strengthening the country’s capital markets. While the living standards and earning power in the country are relatively high, the cost of living is on the lower side in terms of education, communication and food. This gives expats a chance to save more, in spite of leading a good, comfortable life.
Situated along the southern coast of China is one of the world’s leading financial centers. Hong Kong can be regarded as the gateway to China’s economy, but at the same time it has its own robust framework of financial services. According to the Index of Economic Freedom, this country has the highest degree of economic freedom around the world. Its sound banking system and huge foreign exchange reserves have a further positive impact on the economy. The earning capacity of the residents in Hong Kong – especially skilled expatriates – is very high, therefore increasing their disposable income.
While they don’t feature in the list of the ten most affluent countries worldwide, some of the other richest nations include Luxembourg, Norway, the United States, Australia, Canada, Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden, Iceland, Taiwan, Germany, Kuwait, Denmark, Belgium, Japan and the United Kingdom. However, not all expats moving to these nations earn high incomes and are able to save or invest more.