Cost of living, Australia and the United States, a comparison

Guest post comparing the cost of living

Some international travellers fall in love with a particular country’s beauty and people and after they return home, realize that they would like to relocate there. While some relocate to spend their retirement years in a new country, others want to change their permanent residence in mid-career. Such moves require serious consideration and careful calculation because the cost of living in either case may not be comparable to the cost of living in ones native country. Those who are unprepared may find themselves in a less than desirable position.

Retirees and mid-career professionals share things in common regarding their basic needs for living in Australia, and each should analyse their potential new country’s cost of living before deciding to migrate.

First, one should consider the general financial environment. How much money can one take to Australia? How much can one earn or have access to in order to cover ones daily expenses? An unfavourable exchange rate has a significant impact on how much ones money can buy. It may even result in significant cut backs to ones lifestyle in order to afford living in the new country. One should take care ti assess the costs for daily living, including housing, groceries, medical care, education and transportation.

How Does the Australian Cost of Living Compare to the National Average in the United States?

In the United States, the median price for a house in the Northeast is listed at $225,800 and a house in the Midwest costs an average of $120,500. Southern states report a median price of $138,100, while houses in the West average a price tag of $195,300.

By comparison, the lowest median house price listed in Australia is in Hobart, which is one of Australia’s capitals, and comes in at a staggering $330,000. Other capitals list their median house prices anywhere from $390,000 – $507,000. Canberra is the most expensive. Comparing the most affordable prices reveals that Australia’s housing prices are anything but cheap. As a matter of fact, they are up to triple of what a comparable house in the U.S. will cost.

Let’s take a look at the cost of food. It is estimated that each adult in the U.S. spends an average of $170 – $200 per month on food, or $740 per month for a family of four with children. The average monthly cost in Australia for the same sized family is $1,200 per month, which is considerably higher than in the United States.

Medical care in the U.S. averages close to $13,000 per year per family. By comparison, healthcare in Australia costs an average of $3,024 per year. This does not include additional expenses for ancillaries (Medibank Private Extras), hospital coverage (AHM), and the Medical Gap.

Educational costs depend upon the type of institution, the level of education one pursues and whether the institution is private or public.

Australia is known for the great distances one has to travel on a regular basis. Transportation is essential and drivers are expected to pay a road tax (an annual license), in addition to insurance premiums. A gallon of petrol costs about $5.60. Average fuel, auto insurance and annual license costs depend upon the make and model of the car and ones driving habits, similar to what a driver faces in the United States, except for the annual license.

As the examples above show, it is important to compare the cost of living in ones own country to that of Australia before deciding to migrate. Calculating ones needs ahead of time will prevent unpleasant surprises later.

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