The Most Frequently Asked Question: Saving Money

What is the financial benefit of working in the Middle East?

Some individuals compare their gross salary in the USA/Canada with the gross salary in the Middle East. They fail to consider that in the Middle East the income is tax-free, and your housing and healthcare are provided. Here (in the US/Canada), you pay income taxes, pay for housing, for car insurance, gas for your car and for your utilities. And this is not to mention the availability and high cost of entertainment in North America.

You are from the US/Canada, are single, have no children, and are interested in saving money. And assuming you earn US$40,000, or US$60,000, or US$80,000 per year.

A Comparison of Saving Potential in the USA/Canada, Versus in Saudi Arabia:

A) In the USA/Canada your yearly budget would look something like this:

Item US$40,000 US$60,000 US$80,000
Approx. Tax Rate 25% -$10,000 -$15,000 -$24,000
Rent/Mortgage @$800/m -$9,600 -$9,600 -$9,600
Auto Costs (ins. $2,000/y + gas $200/m) -$4,400 -$4,400 -$4,400
Utilities (phone, cable, heat, electric, water) -$2,400 -$2,400 -$2,400
Left for food, clothes, savings, entertainment, etc. $13,600 $28,600 $36,900

B) In the Middle East your yearly budget would look something like this:

Item US$40,000 US$60,000 US$80,000
Approx. Tax Rate (n/a) -$0 -$0 -$0
Rent/Mortgage (n/a) -$0 -$0 -$0
Transport Costs (approx. $100/m taxis) -$1,200 -$1,200 -$1,200
Utilities (cable and internet) @ $100/month -$1,200 -$1,200 -$1,200
Left for food, clothes, travel, savings, shopping $37,600 $57,600 $77,600

NOTE: If the Canadian dollar is weaker than the US dollar, Canadians (upon exchanging their money) will earn more; if the Canadian dollar is stronger than the US dollar, they earn less.

Now, I am fully aware that some people spend everything they earn (no matter how much they earn) and in the Middle East, just as in North America, this is easy to do. You can buy wonderful gold jewelry, and beautiful carpets at comparatively bargain prices and you can travel to Dubai every weekend. But if you want to save money, the Middle East is the place to do it. Moreover you can do it and still play golf, go to plays, dive in the Red Sea, play hockey, and mingle with people from throughout the world.

-- Helen Ziegler

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