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Sat Jul 23 17:07:33 SAST 2016

Life really is cheap in SA

Nivashni Nair | 23 February, 2016 06:24
'This resulted in a local purchasing power that's significantly higher than what New Yorkers face, which is the most favourable factor that puts South Africa at No1.' File photo
Image by: SIPHIWE SIBEKO / Reuters

You may be struggling to make ends meet, but you are living in the cheapest country in the world.

That's according to a GOBankingRates study, which ranked 112 nations by comparing local purchasing power to the cost of consumer goods and services in New York City.

Sourced from the online database Numbeo.com, the living indices found that rent, groceries, goods and services are, respectively, 80%, 71% and 65.8% cheaper in South Africa.

GO-BankingRates stated: "It's also the world's largest producer of platinum, gold and chromium, which goes far to enrich the country and its economy.

"This resulted in a local purchasing power that's significantly higher than what New Yorkers face, which is the most favourable factor that puts South Africa at No1."

The other cheapest countries to live in are India, Kosovo, Saudi Arabia, Kazakhstan, Zambia, Oman, Paraguay, Czech Republic and Macedonia, according to the study.

Economist Dawie Roodt said the rand was "hugely undervalued".

He said: "It's because people don't trust us. They don't trust our government and our economic growth. So we are paying a premium essentially, making it very attractive to foreigners like New Yorkers to come to South Africa, have a boob job, go on safari and still have some change in their pockets."

He said "people are looking for the cheapest and nicest countries to live in", especially after retirement.

Having lived in the US for 30 years, Durban councillor Rick Crouch - the owner of a private investigations company with its head office in Los Angeles - said a more sensible study would have compared South African cities to US counterparts such as Boise, Idaho; Bakersfield, California; or Blythe, California.

Said Crouch: "Most people that work in New York City do not live there. They live in one of the other boroughs or across the river in New Jersey.

"It is simply too expensive to live [there].

"The salary of a senior IT administrator in New York City is approximately between $61240 (R937 584) and $114151 (R1.7-million) per annum.

"Compare that to that same position in South Africa, where the salary is between R148080 and R460736 per annum. The average McDonalds cashier in New York City earns $8.31 per hour, which is R293128 per annum."

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