A British expat living in Moscow tells why
In recent years, expats around the world have seen their numbers grow in places like Russia, Brazil, China and India - and it’s no surprise. According to the recent HSBC Expat Explorer survey, Russia leads the pack as the world’s most financially favorable place to live for the second year in a row. As a long-time expat – a British national currently in Moscow – I can tell you that the survey is spot on.
Moscow, the capital of Russia, is home to 12 million people, making it not only the largest metropolis in Europe but also the seventh largest city in the world. Of the expats here, more than a third of them are earning over $250,000 and more than three-quarters are reporting more disposable income since moving.
What does this mean in terms of day-to-day life? Overall, my wife and I have found that utilities, public transportation, and basic food staples are cheaper in Russia than in the UK. On the other hand, entertainment can be more costly, especially bars and restaurants. Imported goods can cost us quite a bit more, up to ten times more than what you’d pay in the UK for the same item. However, the pros well outweigh the cons. We enjoy a very favorable work/life balance, are able to either spend more on holidays or choose to save more if we wish.
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For me, it has meant that since relocating, I have been able to more effectively save and invest. Having visited extensively or lived in more than ten countries around the world, it has been a passion of mine to support the expatriate community by making the relocation process easier and more successful. Since moving to Russia we've been able to do just that, by developing and launching Expat Info Desk (www.expatinfodesk.com), a comprehensive and rapidly growing online information resource for expats worldwide.
Expat Info Desk has truly been a labor of love. The idea grew from our own experiences, as my wife and I struggled to find reliable information to make our own relocations to various cities around the world easier and less costly. One of the biggest concerns, as we moved from location to location, was always – where should we live? This seems to be the universal question for expats, arranging accommodation, followed by schools for children, tax provisions and visas, remain the most searched sections in our guides.
Setting up a business as an expat – rather than being relocated by a corporation – provides a unique set of challenges, particularly if you have shareholders living in one country while the business is registered in another. Building banking relationships and wading through the necessary accounting and tax requirements can be a long and arduous process. What we have learned from this experience, and what we counsel others to do, is to make sure you start by finding a good accountant. A knowledgeable accountant can smooth the process by connecting you with the right partners from the start.
Despite the challenges of expat life, the bottom line is that I enjoy a better lifestyle and a higher disposable income than I could likely attain elsewhere and with a personal and professional network which consists of both expats and locals, I can say with no uncertainty, this Brit is very content as an expat in Moscow.
About the author
George Eves is founder of Expatinfodesk.com, a comprehensive and unique online resource for expats and anyone considering international relocation. You can also check out Expat Info Desk on Twitter at: @ExpatInfoDesk or on Facebook.