— CNNMoney (@CNNMoney) July 12, 2014
“Cost of living” can be a relative term, as I’ve discovered in my time in Peru (see “Investment Insights from a Peruvian Beach“). Yes, in Lima I could hypothetically live on a small fraction of what I pay here in Dallas, but there is a difference between living and living well. Living in one of Lima’s chic neighorhoods, with all the assorted lifestyle trappings, would actually be more expensive than my current living expenses in Dallas.
Still, I was shocked by CNN’s recent listing of most expensive cities for an American to live. The usual suspects made the list: Hong Kong, Singapore, Zurich, etc.
But the two most expensive cities on the list were Luanda, Angola and N’Djamena, Chad.
Angola? …and Chad??
In Luanda a club sandwich and Coke will run you nearly $20, and a two-bedroom apartment will set you back $6600 per month. And this in a country with a GDP per capita of just $6,300. And even this is skewed by oil wealth; most Angolans survive on far less.
So…what’s the story here?
It’s really quite simple. While locals live modestly, you can’t reasonably live like a local. In order to live in Angola safely, you need security and have to import items you might normally take for granted.
Check out the slideshow if you found this as interesting as I did: 10 Most Expensive Cities.