Cost of Living

Have you ever wondered what is the cost of living in different cities in the world? There is a good site to evaluate it called Numbeo, which is the world’s largest cost of living database and compares it around the world with structured data and indices. Numbeo’s main characteristics:

  • provides many free information about consumer prices
  • allows a person to estimate their own expenses
  • uses the wisdom of the crowd to get the most reliable data
  • provides a system for various systematic research on our big dataset

Among other features, the database shows the following:

Cost of Living Index (Excl. Rent) is a relative indicator of consumer goods prices, including groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities. Cost of Living Index does not include accommodation expenses such as rent or mortgage. If a city has a Cost of Living Index of 120, it means Numbeo has estimated it is 20% more expensive than New York (excluding rent).

Rent Index is an estimation of prices of renting apartments in the city compared to New York City. If Rent index is 80, Numbeo has estimated that price of rents in that city is on average 20% less than the price in New York.

Groceries Index is an estimation of grocery prices in the city compared to New York City. To calculate this section, Numbeo uses weights of items in the “Markets” section for each city.

Restaurants Index is a comparison of prices of meals and drinks in restaurants and bars compared to NYC.

Cost of Living Plus Rent Index is an estimation of consumer goods prices including rent comparing to New York City.

Local Purchasing Power shows relative purchasing power in buying goods and services in a given city for the average net salary in that city. If domestic purchasing power is 40, this means that the inhabitants of that city with an average salary can afford to buy on an average 60% less goods and services than New York City residents with an average salary.

Important! These indices are relative to New York City (NYC). Which means that for New York City, each index should be 100(%). If another city has, for example, rent index of 120, it means that on an average in that city rents are 20% more expensive than in New York City. If a city has rent index of 70, that means on average rent in that city is 30% less expensive than in New York City.

UBS Global Real Estate Bubble Index

This index analyses residential property prices in 25 major cities around the world. In the 2020 edition, the major points are the housing markets of some of the cities on the list, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and its potential long-term adverse effects on urban housing.

The bubble risk is elevated in Toronto, Hong Kong, Paris and Amsterdam. Zurich is a new addition to the bubble risk zone. Among all evaluated cities, Munich and Frankfurt were evaluated with the greatest bubble risk. Find out why reading the analysis in English here or in German here.

How will you measure your life?

Hey, this is a hard question! How will you measure your life? If you want to find hints to the answers of the following questions:

First, how can I be sure that I’ll be happy in my career?

Second, how can I be sure that my relationships with my spouse and my family become an enduring source of happiness?

Third, how can I make sure I live a life of integrity? Though the last question sounds lighthearted, it’s not. 

Find out why by reading the full article.

Cultural differences you need to be aware of before you emigrate – part two

Columnist: Lucas Migray

If you would like to read the part one of this series, please go ahead and click here.

Today we would like to take another look at the topic of culture, namely we will look again at some cultural differences that play a major role in success in another cultural area, this time, according to studies by the Dutch cultural scientist and social psychologist, Geert Hofstede. Since it is a very long topic, we will only look at two subitems today.

4. Power Distance Index

The Power Distance Index measures attitudes toward inequality and respect for authority. Power distance is thus “the extent to which the less powerful members of a country’s institutions or organizations expect and accept that power is unequally distributed. ((Hofstede (1991), p. 38).

The power distance index values for some countries (after G. Hofstede (2006), p. 56):

Malaysia         104

Serbia             86

China              80

India                77

Croatia             73

Switzerland     70

(French part)

Poland            68

Turkey            66

Greece            60

South Korea   60

Spain              57

Japan              54

Germany         35

UK                   35

Switzerland     26

(German part)

Austria            11

The greater the number, the greater the power distance between a superior and a normal employee. Let us now take a look at the main differences between companies with low (g) and high (G) power distance:

g – Inequality among people should be as small as possible; G – Inequality among people is expected and desired

g – Tendency towards decentralization; G – Tendency towards centralization

g – Employees expect to be involved in decisions; G – Employees expect to receive instructions

g – The ideal superior is the resourceful democrat; G – The ideal superior is the benevolent autocrat or kind father

g – Privileges and status symbols meet with disapproval; G – Privileges and status symbols for managers are expected and popular

Source:

Hofstede: Local Action, Global Thinking, 1997, p. 46

5. Individualism Index

Individualism describes societies in which the bonds between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to provide for himself and his immediate family.

Its counterpart, collectivism, describes societies in which the individual is integrated from birth into strong, closed groups of us that protect him throughout his life and demand unconditional loyalty in return. A high IDV stands for a strong individualism. (See Hofstede (2017)).

Individualism index for some countries, according to Hofstede:

USA                91

UK                   89

Italy                 76

France            71

Switzerland     69

(German part)

Germany         67

Poland            60

Austria            55

Spain              51

India               48

Turkey            37

Greece            35

Portugal          27

China              20

South Korea   18

Indonesia        14

Colombia        13

Guatemala      6

These are the main differences between collectivist (K) and individualist (I) societies:

K – People are born into extended families or other we-groups that continue to protect them and in return receive loyalty; I – every person grows up to care exclusively for himself and his direct (core) family

K – Identity is rooted in the social network to which one belongs; I – Identity is founded in the individual

K – Relationship has priority over task; I – Task has priority over relationship

K – Collective interests dominate over individual interests; I – Individual interests dominate over collective interests.

K – Children learn to think in terms of the “we”; I – Children learn to think in terms of the “I”.

It helps one to know whether a society is collectivist or individualistic, and also whether there is a large or small power distance. Above all, it helps you to be able to adjust to it and thus to adapt to the way of thinking of this society and to integrate better and faster.

Success Brings Happiness? No. Happiness Brings Success

Do you want to know more about Shawn Achor’s view on long term job success?

According to him, success on a long term at work depends on:

  • Optimism (the belief that your behaviour matters in the midst of challenge)
  • Your social connections (whether or not you have depth and breadth in your social relationships)
  • The way you perceive stress (see problems as challenges, not threats)

If you would like to read more and watch a video on his ideas, click here.

Good advice versus bad advice

“The most significant advice I have gotten and always like to pass forward is that people should find mentors to learn from. When you find a passion and develop goals, you are best supported by learning with others. If your goal is difficult, it will continue to be difficult, but your path will be clearer and you will have access to more resources when you are surrounded by experts.

The bad advice that people should ignore is when someone says that what you are trying to do is impossible. I have been told many times in my journey that what I was trying to do was impossible – and I did it. It may sound cliché, but I have learned that with grit, hard work and the right people beside you, nothing is impossible.”

Taciana Pereira, Chief Scientif Officer, Allevi, in an interview to 3D Heals

Cultural aspects that you need to be aware of before you emigrate – part one

Columnist: Lucas Migray

The world is shaped by different cultures, and in a globalized world like ours, you need to have certain intercultural skills to work successfully abroad.

There are many studies that have tried to classify cultures. Today we take a look at some cultural dimensions according to an American anthropologist, Edward T. Hall.

1. Time orientation

According to Hall there are two types of time orientation:

The first one, where time is considered a finite good that must be used sparingly and efficiently, is called monochron (M); the second, where time is considered unlimited, is called polychron (P).

In countries where time is regarded as monochronic, things are done differently than in countries where it is regarded as polychronic.

Whereas in countries with a monochronic time orientation deadlines and plans are kept and delays and cancellations lead to trouble, in countries with a polychronic time orientation time is seen as infinitely available and as something to be used by people and to which people do not have to adapt.

Moreover, in M countries one thing is done at a time, and in P countries several things are done at once, because people remain flexible in the face of change.

Examples of M-countries: Germany, Austria, (German) Switzerland.

Examples of P-countries: Italy, Greece, Spain.

2. Context orientation

According to Hall, there are two types of context orientation: high context (HC) and low context (LC). This describes how to deal with something or how to behave in a situation.

In high-context societies, such as China, Japan, France, Spain or Turkey, things are not called by name. The relationship between the speaker and the listener is in the foreground, i.e. it comes before the main subject, and there is always room for interpretation.

In contrast, in low-context societies, e.g. in Germany, the USA, Canada and Scandinavian countries, everything is called by name and precise information is given. Furthermore, the factual topic comes before the relationship, and “meant is what was said”.

3. Spatial orientation

Depending on the culture, the spatial orientation differs. That is, how close you get to a stranger.

While people in the centre and north of Europe are more distant to strangers, people in southern Europe are much more open and come much closer to each other.

In conclusion, it really helps a lot if you check what kind of country you are going to – before you emigrate. It may be the case that the cultural differences between your home country and your new country are not that huge, but the other way around is also possible.

Being aware of the cultural aspects of your destination country not only makes life easier for you, it also helps you to get along and integrate more easily into that society.

Skills needed in a post pandemic world

  1. Data literacy: be able to evaluate data and extract value out of it.
  2. Critical thinking: be able to find valuable and trustworthy information.
  3. Technology savvy: keep track to new technologies to be able to use them as needed.
  4. Adaptability and flexibility: always be ready to learn and change things if necessary.
  5. Creativity: be ready to dream new scenarios and make them happy.
  6. Emotional intelligence: ability to be aware of our emotions and how they influence our life. Also be able to be empathetic and understand someone else’s emotions.
  7. Cultural intelligence and diversity: think local, be global. Be ready to understand and work with people from different backgrounds.
  8. Leadership skills: ability to lead other people but also to lead yourself. A growing ability is also to be able to lead
  9. Judgment and complex decision making: understand the big picture and make decisions, understanding the impact of your actions.
  10. Collaboration: interpersonal communication skills to work well with different people.

It will help if you find ways how to motivate yourself, finding reasons why you do – or don’t do – something. Once you know where to go, you will need to coordinate yourself and learn how to use time at its best – look for good alternatives how to manage stress and manage your time and learn to prioritise. Keep curious and excited about change!

Be always ready to go on!

A transition may be he w or involuntary, but the will to go on should always be voluntary! A voluntary transition is when we start a new project, a new career or decide to quit a relationship. An involuntary transition is when we are forced to look for a new job as we get unemployed, or even the moment we are in at the moment, where the coronavirus seem to put darkness all over the place.

Here are 5 ideas how to make the best out of it:

  1. Evaluate the phases of a transition and be aware of which part could make it more difficult for you. Every transition starts with a) saying goodbye then goes to b) getting to the middle and finishes with c) the new phase. If you are aware of where you need to put more effort, you can get there!
  2. Check your emotions and your beliefs. If you believe you can make it, you will, but if you don’t believe it, you will not. Check how you feel and what you can do to improve good emotions, positive thoughts, visualizations and vibrations.
  3. Check your routine and dreams – implement a routine that allows you to look for what you strive, but also to give time to yourself to dream, be kind to yourself and recover from time to time. Your body and your soul will say thank you and you will keep the energy level which is necessary for the transition!
  4. Always remember to be creative – look around and identify what you love to do and maybe just forgot about it. Always find time to make more of what makes you happy!
  5. Be ready to add a new chapter to your life! – you are the one who can make it! If not you, who else? Be conscious on your portion of responsibility and… do it! Later on, as you look back and see your own transformation, you will be proud to be the one who fought to become a better version of yourself!