While Cyprus is a subject which often attracts much criticism, praise and everything in between more often than not these topics are sidetracked with regards to politics and the North-South divide. However, there is an interesting post on the expat forum headed “Credit crunch in Cyprus?” which has opened up a number of debates which are attracting more and more interest.
Initially this thread was started by a lady beautician who has the chance to go to Cyprus initially to gain experience and then move on to management of new premises in a holiday Cyprus resort. She will be earning around €1000 per month although she will have her accommodation and flights paid for by her employer, something which needs to be taken into consideration.
In summary, the initial question on the thread is whether €1000 a month would be enough to survive in Cyprus in a shared apartment. There would appear to be some debate as to whether the credit crunch has really hit home in Cyprus, whether we have seen the worst or is it just beginning.
The Cyprus economy
In general a number of people on the thread appear to view Cyprus as a fairly expensive country in which to live. The recent decision to join the euro would appear to have pegged the cost of living in Cyprus at a “relatively high” level. Whether this is the case overall remains to be seen as there are pricing differences, both higher and lower, when compared to countries such as the UK.
However, one subject on which everyone seems to agree is the fact that accommodation in Cyprus is fairly cheap given the amount of development work and building work which is ongoing. Interestingly the vast majority of the debate on the forum appears to centre round the salaries afforded to certain professions and certain individuals who either live on the island or are looking to live there.
As the lady in question is being paid in Euros there would appear to be very little risk on the currency side although many expats appear to be suffering. The substantial fall in the value of the UK pound against the vast majority of currencies around the world has affected both those with UK savings and those with UK pensions. In some ways this has also led to a number of properties being put up for sale and a softening of the property market in Cyprus.
Getting by month to month
When moving to a foreign land it can be easy to just assume that prices will remain fairly static for various services and produce when in fact there can be significant differences. Many people forget that Cyprus is an island which depends heavily upon imported goods to fill the shelves in the shops. While that is not to say that all goods in Cyprus are more expensive than places such as the UK there is no doubt that fuel and electricity for example are substantially more expensive on the island.
However, when looking at how much it would cost you month by month to live in Cyprus you can only do so much homework before you arrive there. Once there, as you would if you moving anywhere in your home country, it is vital that you take care over the first few months to see exactly how far your salary will go and what you can and cannot afford. On the surface, €1000 a month should be more than enough, especially when adding in prepaid accommodation, but it all depends upon what kind of lifestyle you wish to lead in your overseas adventure. Spending like crazy in your first few weeks overseas could have serious implications for your financial well-being as with the best will in the world, no employment position is 100% guaranteed.
Once you have managed to get a grip of the utility costs in Cyprus, everyday travel costs and the general cost of goods and services then you can start to plan ahead for the future. However, to move overseas with no idea about the cost of living is suicidal and fraught with danger.
Doing your homework
As we mention time and time again, when moving overseas it is vital to do as much homework as possible to limit the number of shocks and surprises when you finally make the move. However, the cost of day-to-day living is something which is difficult to estimate for any one person because we are all different, we have different eating habits, we have different social lives and no two people are the same. Perhaps more than any other costs, the cost of day-to-day living is something which you can only really estimate until you are actually there.
Subsequently, the thread has also opened up the debate about working overseas, which countries are easy to gain access to and which are more difficult. On the whole many people believe the more specialised and in-demand job or profession you are involved in, the more chance of gaining access to foreign lands. However, there is also the EU directive to take into account which allows all individuals from EU countries to move freely within the EU whether this be for work or pleasure.
All in all there are many issues to consider when looking at working overseas full-time although with the best will in the world there will always be certain elements which are variable and difficult to forecast exactly.
This thread has opened up the debate about the cost of living overseas, with Cyprus the focal point in this particular instance, and the various factors that you need to consider. It has also highlighted the fact that the demand and popularity of different employment professions overseas can impact substantially on rates of pay.
As you would expect from such an open question, there have been a number of interesting and informative responses with regard to the issue of living in Cyprus which many people may not have been aware of. Assuming that costs vary very little from country to country can often be a very dangerous strategy and one which itself can be fraught with danger and problems. Moving overseas is hard enough as it is without being under prepared!