Pack your bags, there’s good reason to move to the most expensive countries to live in

most expensive countries to live in
Living in the most expensive countries to live in has many advantages. Source: AFP

It’s a common dream to indulge in the high life and experience some of the most expensive countries to live in. 

Whether amidst towering skyscrapers with glittering skylines or landscapes with natural beauty, many factors make up why some countries are among the most expensive to live your life out.

most expensive countries to live in

Monaco is the most expensive country to live in. Source: AFP

  • High housing costs: Where demand for housing exceeds supply, high prices for rent and property become a significant portion of your expenses.

    Monaco is a prime example, where a luxurious lifestyle goes hand-in-hand with the exceptionally high cost of living.

  • Increased utility bills: In countries where energy prices are high or have limited natural resources, utility bills can take a chunk out of your monthly budget.

    As of June 2023, Ireland had the highest household electricity prices worldwide, as Irish households were charged around US$0.52 per kilowatt-hour.

  • Higher grocery and retail prices: Import costs, high demand for quality goods, and high standards of living can all increase prices at grocery stores and retail outlets.

    Switzerland consistently ranks the highest on this list.

  • Increased transportation spending: Whether owning a car, paying for public transportation, or even taking taxis or rideshare services, transportation expenses can quickly add up.

    Singapore is the most expensive country to own a car, though they do make it up with having one of the best public transport systems around the world.

Here are the top 10 most expensive countries to live in for 2024:

No. Country Monthly cost of living (US$)
1. Monaco US$3,743
2. Cayman Islands US$2,844
3. Switzerland  US$2,497
4. Ireland US$2,316
5. Liechtenstein US$2,306
6. Iceland US$2,207
7. Singapore  US$2,169
8. Luxembourg US$2,163
9. Norway US$2,074
10. United States US$1,951

Cons of moving to the most expensive countries to live in

1. High cost of living

As mentioned, the biggest drawback of moving to one of the most expensive countries to live in is the exorbitant cost of living. 

Everything from housing to groceries, transportation and entertainment is much more expensive than in other countries. 

This can put a strain on many individuals and families, especially those with lower incomes. In the US, a report states that 69% of Americans in urban areas are living paycheck to paycheck. 

most expensive countries to live in

The most expensive countries to live in come with high costs of living. Source: AFP.


2. Income inequality

While expensive countries may boast high average incomes, they also have high income inequality. 

This means that while some people enjoy extremely high salaries and luxurious lifestyles, others struggle to make ends meet. 

The wealth gap can increase social tensions and create a disparity in access to resources and opportunities. 

most expensive countries to live in

To support yourself while living in the most expensive countries, you may need to work long hours or take on multiple jobs. Source: AFP.

3. Financial pressure

The high cost of living can increase financial pressure. You may need to work longer hours or take on multiple jobs to cover your expenses.

However, this can lead to higher stress levels and less time to relax, which will affect your overall well-being.  

Saving for retirement or emergencies will also be a challenge in these countries. 

However, while there are a few disadvantages to moving to one of the most expensive countries to live in, it does not outweigh the benefits. 

8 best reasons you should move to the most expensive countries to live in 

1. Career opportunities

Many of the world’s most expensive countries to live in have strong job markets and opportunities for career advancement, especially in industries like finance, technology, and healthcare.

Countries like the US, Switzerland and Luxembourg are known for offering some of the highest average salaries globally.

According to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the average annual wage in Switzerland is higher than the global average.

Silicon Valley in the US is a renowned hub of innovation and entrepreneurship. It attracts talent from around the world due to its startup ecosystems, access to venture capital, and supportive regulatory environments. Silicon Valley consistently ranks among the top destinations for tech professionals as it offers many opportunities for career growth and innovation.

Singapore, on the other hand, is known as the global financial hub. It offers many banking, finance and consulting opportunities. The city-state’s strategic location, pro-business policies, and infrastructure make it a great destination for finance professionals seeking to advance their careers.

most expensive countries to live in

The most expensive countries are home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world. Source: AFP

2. Quality education

Expensive countries often allocate resources to their education systems, allowing them to build top-tier educational institutions for all ages and educational levels. Countries like Switzerland, Singapore and Norway consistently rank among the top in global education indices.

They also boast prestigious universities and colleges known for their academic excellence and research contributions. For example, the US has a number of Ivy League institutions like Harvard University and Columbia University.

Attending school in a highly developed environment opens the door to global opportunities. Graduates from prestigious institutions in expensive countries often have better prospects in the job market because of the reputation and quality of education associated with the institution.

most expensive countries to live in

In the most expensive countries, you will find excellent healthcare systems. Source: AFP.

3. Better healthcare

The most expensive countries to live in often have advanced healthcare systems with modern facilities, cutting-edge medical technologies and highly skilled healthcare professionals.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Switzerland ranks among the top countries for healthcare quality. Its healthcare system offers comprehensive coverage, with citizens enjoying access to advanced medical treatments and technologies.

These countries offer universal healthcare coverage, ensuring that residents have access to essential medical services without financial burden. In Canada, the UK, and Australia, there are publicly funded healthcare systems that provide comprehensive coverage to all citizens and residents.

Countries like these also have many medical advancements and adopt cutting-edge technologies in healthcare. The US invests in research and development, leading to medical treatments, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.

4. Safety and security

Moving to one of the most expensive countries to live in often comes with the benefit of safety and security.

According to the Global Peace Index, Iceland, Denmark, and Japan are among the safest in the world and have the lowest crime rates.

These countries usually have strict laws and regulations enforced to ensure the safety of their residents. They prioritise the safety of public spaces, including parks, streets, and public transport. Well-lit streets, surveillance cameras, and law enforcement create a sense of security among residents.

5. Cultural diversity

Expensive countries boast many cultural scenes, with museums, theatres and galleries. Here, you will also find natural landscapes, outdoor recreational activities and many restaurants serving different cuisines. 

Countries like France, Italy, and Japan have centuries-old traditions in art, cuisine, and architecture. In France, you can visit world-renowned museums like the Louvre or indulge in gourmet dining experiences in Paris. Italy has historical sites such as the Colosseum in Rome and the Renaissance art of Florence.

You can catch Broadway shows, West End productions, or traditional Kabuki performances in cities like New York, London and Tokyo. Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival attracts thousands of music enthusiasts annually, while Germany’s Oktoberfest is famous for its beer, food, and lively atmosphere.

These events provide opportunities to immerse yourself in local traditions and connect with people from different backgrounds.

6. Increased networking opportunities

As you find yourself in one of the most expensive countries to live in, you’ll find many opportunities for networking and making connections. 

Expensive countries are hubs for many industries, including finance, technology, entertainment and fashion. 

According to the Global Startup Ecosystem Report, cities like San Francisco, New York, and London consistently rank among the top global startup ecosystems, offering many networking opportunities for entrepreneurs and investors. San Francisco’s Silicon Valley is home to thousands of startups and tech giants like Google and Facebook.

7. Sustainable environment

More often than not, the most expensive countries to live in invest in environmental protection and sustainability initiatives, resulting in cleaner air, water, and better living conditions.

Singapore, despite the high costs, is a great example of how investing in environmental sustainability can lead to a high quality of life.

According to WHO, air pollution contributes to millions of premature deaths yearly. Singapore’s strict regulations and investments in green spaces and public transportation have resulted in the country boasting one of the world’s lowest air pollution levels. They have an average annual PM2.5 concentration, well below the WHO guideline of 10 micrograms per cubic meter.

most expensive countries to live in

Japan is the most technologically advanced country, followed by the US and South Korea. Source: AFP.

8. Technological advancements

Expensive countries are at the forefront of technological innovation with access to cutting-edge technologies and digital infrastructure.

According to the Global Innovation Index, Japan and South Korea consistently rank among the top innovative countries worldwide, leading the world in technological innovation. From efficient public transportation systems to smart homes with AI-powered devices that streamline tasks and improve convenience.

Access to state-of-the-art technology can also lead to better healthcare outcomes. Countries like Switzerland and Germany are renowned for their advanced healthcare systems, which use technology for early diagnosis and personalised treatment plans. Switzerland has one of the highest densities of MRI machines per capita globally, ensuring quick and accurate medical imaging.