Should You Stay or Should You Go?
They say the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. When you’re looking for a different way of life, moving to the Gulf is particularly tempting. The culture is different, the weather is warm and the financial incentives are great.
Qatar presents you with lots of opportunities. Employment in the oil and gas industries or the banking sector is a preferred option of Qatari nationals. The fact that these sectors pay 80% more than the market average is probably something to do with it. As a result, the Qatari private sector is lacking experienced nationals in the retail, hospitality and engineering sectors. A lot of expats rent, due to their lower levels of income, but if you can take advantage of this demand in the market then a mortgage for a first time buyer in Qatar is a real option if you’re moving here.
There are several other incentives to approach your bank manager for a mortgage in Qatar. For one, there is no property tax in Qatar, and you do not have to pay income tax. Another benefit is the fact that water and electricity are subsidised, and petrol is relatively cheap, keeping major living costs low and making home finance much easier.
This is quite a contrast to life in the US. A study has revealed that residents of the 25 largest cities in the US spend 59% of their income on basic shelter and transportation. You were probably expecting New York to be at the top of the list but you’d be wrong. The title actually goes to Miami, where the study found 72% of household income is spent on housing and transportation. In the last decade, housing and transportation costs have risen by 44%, whereas in the same period income has only increased by 25%.
Given some of the financial benefits in Qatar, you may be thinking of moving there to work, especially in the construction sector, which is booming, or in your later years to enjoy warm weather and retirement. If you prefer to stay in the US, on the other hand, you may want to retire in Columbia, South Carolina. A 2012 study has found that mortgage holders of 60 and over paid a median of $1,117 per month. Those who were lucky enough to have already paid off their mortgage paid just $350 in living costs. Those who were renting paid a median of around $712 per month. Bus fare was just 75 cents for over 65 year olds and they can also get free tuition at the University of South Carolina.
So should you head somewhere like Qatar, with its perks, warm weather and opportunities, or enjoy the benefits of retirement in later years in the US? Decisions, decisions!