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Currency and translation problems...

 
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Another thread someone mentioned getting paid $90K a year for doing their job..

I was thinking gee that sounds like a lot - but then a realised that they were talking US$90 (not AU$ as my brain asutomatically thinks) - So I did a quick mental conversion and realised that in fact US$90K is an *obscene* amount to get paid (> 200% of a good "Senior Developer" wage here in sunny Qld)...

..but then of course I'm not taking into account the cost of living in the area that the US$90K was quoted (area in fact wasnt specified). and I have no data to help me with that comparison.

Given that all these cost of living factors are not clearly defined I think we need to better express money in terms we can all understand. I remember reading somewhere about the "Big Mac index" which compares cost of living by the amount of local currency required to purchase a McD's burger - but perhaps there are other indexes of other globally known consumer items that would be useful measures:

Salary Standard Unit "Toyota Corolla":
IT Support: about 1.5 Toyota Corollas a year?
Junior Developer: approx 2-3 Toyota Corollas a year?
Senior Developer: 3 - 4 Corollas


Exchange rate of course would from place to place which makes the difference indexes very interesting:

Australia: 1 Corolla = 7000 BigMacs (btw: I'm guessing these)
UK: 1 Corolla = 10,000 BigMacs?

What about the exchange rate of Corollas->2Bedroom Apartments?
Brisbane: 12?
London: 20?

Do you think that any of these indicese are likely to be a more reasonable way to compare monetary amounts than these arbitrary currency units we currently use?
 
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Originally posted by Adrian Wallace:

..but then of course I'm not taking into account the cost of living in the area that the US$90K was quoted (area in fact wasnt specified). and I have no data to help me with that comparison.
.......
Australia: 1 Corolla = 7000 BigMacs (btw: I'm guessing these)
UK: 1 Corolla = 10,000 BigMacs?

What about the exchange rate of Corollas->2Bedroom Apartments?
Brisbane: 12?
London: 20?

Do you think that any of these indicese are likely to be a more reasonable way to compare monetary amounts than these arbitrary currency units we currently use?



An other factor that could be worth taking into consideration is the "quality of life" that a particular area has. The purpose of money is to persuade people to work by giving them the ability to gain something they want.

When comparing wages between location A and location B, we may find that a person working in place A earns enough to buy 20K big macs a month, live in nice apartment and own a good car. A person working in place B only earns enough for 5 big macs a year, has a small apartment and can't afford a car. At first glance person A appears to be richer, but what about if we look closer and see that person A is unhappy because they live in the middle of a huge suburban estate with no local cinemas, shops etc, while person B is having great fun living in the heart of a city.

While a person in location A is richer in terms of the materials they can accumulate, a person in location B may be richer in terms of the percentage of the time that they are happy while living on their wage.

Another factor is the effort to gain ratio. If a person earns a lot of money, but has to work 7 days a week to do so, perhaps they are less well off then a person who earns less but has enough time to relax and enjoy their earnings. An example of this is a comparison between Italy and the USA. The average American is most likely richer, and owns more stuff, then the average Italian, but the average Italian has much more annual leave to relax. Which one is better off?
 
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The world�s best country, "quality of life� index for 111 countries Ireland was top.

As for the Uk; "Britain, by contrast, mixes high income per head with high levels of social and family breakdown; it comes bottom among the 15 countries of the pre-enlargement European Union."

PS - the USA is not the richest country in the world (by GDP), Luxembourg is
 
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another factor you need to consider is: when people say they make $90k per year, they may only make $45k a year. salary is privacy, isn't it? :roll:
 
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Dave, you have a point but your comparison is wrong.
The person in the heart of the city has no funds to go to the cinema or those nice restaurants. His girlfriend left him because he can't doesn't give her a Cartier watch after once again his money runs out before he can pay the rent and he's evicted from his apartment.
Last night he was mugged walking home from work (he'd normally take his bike but that was stolen last week and he can't afford a new one) and now his boss is angry with him for loosing the company laptop and threatens to either fire him or charge it to his salary.

The person in the suburb twice a week takes the missus to a nice restaurant in the next village in their year old lease car. Meanwhile the friendly neighbours take care of the kids (and on other nights they return the favour).
Saturdays they take the kids to the movies in the city, taking the matinee to avoid the crowds and to allow mother to do some shopping for new clothes.
The megamarket is nearby and has the same food as the small stores in the city at prices that are 20-30% lower and if you want they can deliver at very reasonable prices.
 
Dave Lenton
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Originally posted by Jeroen Wenting:
Dave, you have a point but your comparison is wrong.
The person in the heart of the city has no funds to go to the cinema or those nice restaurants. His girlfriend left him because he can't doesn't give her a Cartier watch after once again his money runs out before he can pay the rent and he's evicted from his apartment.
Last night he was mugged walking home from work (he'd normally take his bike but that was stolen last week and he can't afford a new one) and now his boss is angry with him for loosing the company laptop and threatens to either fire him or charge it to his salary.

The person in the suburb twice a week takes the missus to a nice restaurant in the next village in their year old lease car. Meanwhile the friendly neighbours take care of the kids (and on other nights they return the favour).
Saturdays they take the kids to the movies in the city, taking the matinee to avoid the crowds and to allow mother to do some shopping for new clothes.
The megamarket is nearby and has the same food as the small stores in the city at prices that are 20-30% lower and if you want they can deliver at very reasonable prices.



I guess that the difference in our points of view highlight the fact that different people like living in different environments. Whether you prefer to live in the city, the suburbs, or the country, perhaps a good measure of wealth is your ability to live in the area that you prefer.

This weekend I had a great trip away to the Isle of Wight for a long weekend. While there I had a look in an estate agent's window, and saw that I could just about afford to buy a place on the island (in comparison to London, where I live, where there is no chance of me being able to afford a place). With this in mind, I wondered about what it would be like to live on the island. Despite having a great relaxing weekend, I came to the conclusion that while the island is good for a holiday, I'd hate to live there. I struggled to find places to eat, the shops never seemed to be open, there's very little in the way of entertainment, public transport was awful, you need a car to get anywhere, and there are almost no IT jobs. I'm most certainly a city person! On the other hand, there are people who prefer the country/suburbs.

The trouble with wealth indicators is that they don't really take into account how much people would like to be in, or out, of their current environment - if I lived in the country side I would most likely have a bigger house with more stuff, but I would probably be less happy then living in the city with less stuff.
 
Jeroen Wenting
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Not really. I describe people living in different areas doing similar everyday activities.
Substitute a fishing trip for the cinema if you want.

What remains is that the innercity person is struggling to get by where the person in the suburbs on the same income has money to spare despite having pretty much the same lifestyle.

The country is indeed different, it needs a different lifestyle which isn't for everyone. I for one would love to leave the cities behind but that's where the jobs are (as you discovered).
Personally I don't mind getting all my shopping done on a single day, that's what I do now as well (and I live in a city, albeit one that's pretty suburban all over by design).
I lived in the country until the age of 19 when I went to study in a city and have ever since longed to get back to the country but it's not been possible for me in part because over here there's so little countryside left that housing there attracts extreme prices.
Example: my parents purchased a house in a village a few years ago for some �350.000, selling their previous (smaller) home outside the village for over half a million. Neither house is particularly large, in fact the one they sold (and had lived in since shortly after I was born, so for about 30 years at the time) was really too small for a family of 4 by modern standards.
A similar sized house in the city I live would go for maybe �250.000 but would admittedly not be free standing.
 
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One in seven Londoners is paid wages which are below the poverty threshold, according to a study.. This may be party political, but it would not surprise me, as I did find London too expensive.
 
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