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Old 09-28-2011, 12:53 PM
 
Location: East Coast of the United States
27,496 posts, read 28,576,267 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerouac2 View Post
Look at houses if you want to compare monetary value -- in Europe, they are built to last 200 or 300 years (my building was built in 1799). In the United States, most residences are ready to collapse after 30 or 40 years and they are built that way on purpose.
No, that is incorrect. You'll find lots of homes in the U.S. that are 100+ years old and intact, especially in east coast cities. The U.S. is just a younger country, so most homes are not that old.
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Old 09-28-2011, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Louisiana and Pennsylvania
3,011 posts, read 6,299,538 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tiger Beer View Post
That equally describes almost everywhere I've lived outside of the U.S.

In the U.S., that costs A LOT OF MONEY....significant amount. One of the big catches with the U.S. is that it takes a lot to maintain that car, that car insurance, those parking fees, on and on. Plus constantly pumping gas into it.

Where I live in Japan, same as you describe. Getting a car is the last thing on my mind. I can quickly walk there than the hassle of going to the car and looking for parking, etc. Not only that, but it's extremely safe...and I'm living like normal Japanese - just regular folk, no one with big expense accounts around where I live, but all the many nearby amenities of a neighborhood in the U.S., that would assumed to be very expensive because of it by U.S. standards.
Where we were in Europe recently (Genoa, Italy, Corsica, BC Spain and Cannes) Most people had a scooter and/or a very small car such as a Smart or Mini. While ideally this would be very economical, in practical terms here in the states where I live, it's not feasible. Most people in my area have either a huge SUV or large car. I see a smart every now and then and Minis are becoming more and more common. However, I would never own a small car such as a Smart here in the states. I dread the thought of getting in a wreck with a huge vehicle or semi.

I was stationed for military service in Japan years ago and from what I observed and remember, owning a car there was super expensive. I know a few of my buddies who had vehicles were always complaining about their cars and the expenses. In reality, Japan is one of the few places I've been where going without a car is doable.

Now if my wife and I had to live or stay in Europe for an extended period, I would definitely get a Smart, a scooter or simply go car-free.

So yeah..havng a car here or anywhere for that matter can be a money pit.
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Old 09-28-2011, 01:14 PM
 
Location: Houston
441 posts, read 1,326,065 times
Reputation: 468
I am from Europe and last 10 years I worked in South America, Mexico and now I am in Texas.

I learned, no matter where you are, if you seek similar quality of life, you are going to pay about the same and you can save same percentage of salary.

Or in other words, as an employee you will be given just enough to live like an upper middle class, but you can never save enough to gain independence or to jump one class higher.

Yes, you can get super cheap junk food in US and live in bumpkinsville for 500$, but talk to me again after your medical bills, car insurance, legal expenses and your kids college bills show up. After you pay for all of this or if you decide to eat normal food, having some social life and live in the area with similar people, you will have exactly same purchasing power as if you worked in Dubai, Sao Paulo or Munich...
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Old 09-28-2011, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,579 posts, read 86,861,454 times
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If you're already an American, and have lived in the USA, it is a very cheap country to live in, for a several reasons. First, you know how to game the system, you know what perks are available, you know what people expect when bargaining. And second, the USA is one of the few countries in the world where you can live for years without ever buying anything new, since there are so many thrift shops, yard sales, and simply people throwing things away in the trash that are perfectly useful. You could never find that kind of stuff in a country that supposedly has a "low cost of living". Third, you are less likely to be ripped off by people who know that you are an American and know the system, whereas in a country that you are unfamiliar with, you will be ripped off often and won't even know it. And fourth, you will be able to establish deeper relationships with people you can network with, in order to find ways to live cheap.
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Old 09-29-2011, 10:03 AM
 
Location: Louisiana and Pennsylvania
3,011 posts, read 6,299,538 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtur88 View Post
If you're already an American, and have lived in the USA, it is a very cheap country to live in, for a several reasons. First, you know how to game the system, you know what perks are available, you know what people expect when bargaining. And second, the USA is one of the few countries in the world where you can live for years without ever buying anything new, since there are so many thrift shops, yard sales, and simply people throwing things away in the trash that are perfectly useful. You could never find that kind of stuff in a country that supposedly has a "low cost of living". Third, you are less likely to be ripped off by people who know that you are an American and know the system, whereas in a country that you are unfamiliar with, you will be ripped off often and won't even know it. And fourth, you will be able to establish deeper relationships with people you can network with, in order to find ways to live cheap.
that may be true, JT, but how many people shop at thrift stores, garage sales, etc. Here, the social pressure is to buy new, even if it's beyond one's means.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:05 AM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,579 posts, read 86,861,454 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil3 View Post
that may be true, JT, but how many people shop at thrift stores, garage sales, etc. Here, the social pressure is to buy new, even if it's beyond one's means.
I said people CAN live very cheaply in the USA, not that the DO.
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:11 AM
 
Location: Paris, France
321 posts, read 959,819 times
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Keeping up with the Joneses is exhausting (and expensive).
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Old 09-29-2011, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Fishers, IN
6,485 posts, read 12,519,252 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigCityDreamer View Post
No, that is incorrect. You'll find lots of homes in the U.S. that are 100+ years old and intact, especially in east coast cities. The U.S. is just a younger country, so most homes are not that old.
And there are many more that are between 40 and 100 years old that are doing just fine. Those that have fallen into disrepair have done so due to owner neglect and not poor construction.
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:13 PM
 
Location: Tricity, PL
61,551 posts, read 86,781,300 times
Reputation: 131438
I always laugh when someone try to justify huge sport utility vehicles under the guise of safety. There are now so many of the behemoths on the road, it feels like the only way to be safe in a crash is to make sure you're driving one too.
We are a society that favors instant gratification over hard work. Easy credit contributes to that. If people would have to pay cash for everything they buy, many if not most would't not have much to show off.
That's the main reason why I do not like to compare lifestyles in different countries.
Because someone bought a big Mcmansion and SUV doesn't mean that he "owns " it. In other countries people live in much smaller houses and drive little cars, but they are paid off, and not owned by the bank. So, don't belittle those and say that their life quality is poor, and oh man! we Americans have everything plentiful, we own big houses, live in luxury.
Luxury treatments like spas, massages, dining in expensive restaurants, wearing designer clothes, electronics, exotic travel etc. - most Americans charge their credit cards, and many struggle with payments. Some declare bankruptcy and lose everything. What kind of show off is that??
In other countries people SAVE money and buy only that what they can pay for. Maybe not all the time - a bigger purchases like house or car gets some sort of financing, but most people do not want to eat today, and make monthly payments for it later, or buy furniture and make payments for the next 10 years. At that time the furniture is used and abused, out of style and most people are thinking to get rid of it, but they still have to make payments.
Weekly maid services, private contractors and landscapers are clearly not necessities, yet they have become quite common. All just to show off our success and have what other people have.
Many of the people driving around the suburbs in their giant SUVs while talking on their new cell phones are deeply in debt. If you ask them how they are doing, they will tell you that they are just barely getting by. Now what quality of life is that?!
The big homes, expensive toys and other goodies seem nice, but in reality they are unnecessary from a practical perspective, and will only make you happy for a very short period of time before the next "must-have" item rolls around. Frankly, living your life to impress others is NOT a way to live.
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Old 09-29-2011, 12:22 PM
 
Location: The Triad
34,090 posts, read 82,828,478 times
Reputation: 43660
Quote:
Originally Posted by meet4 View Post
I learned, no matter where you are, if you seek similar quality of life, you are going to pay about the same and you can save same percentage of salary.

Or in other words, as an employee you will be given just enough to live like an upper middle class, but you can never save enough to gain independence or to jump one class higher.
It's almost as if someone took the time to plan it that way!

Quote:
After you pay for all of this or if you decide to eat normal food, having some social life and live in the area with similar people, you will have exactly same purchasing power as if you worked in Dubai, Sao Paulo or Munich...
Across the rather broad range of American cities the only consistent difference between the actually comparable ones is in real estate cost.
Sometimes it is significant but still not that much.

You have to "go downmarket" to find lower costs.
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