Best Places to Live as a White Collar vs. Blue Collar Expat

White Collar

United States

For the executive who has a high paying job and no debt, the United States is a sensational place to live. The key this once again is no debt. Since the United States has a very high cost of living, the executive who would likely be based in powerhouses such as Boston, Washington D.C., Chicago or New York has to have a salary of $200,000 per year to really live well. If they have this kind of capital, then these cities are absolutely divine to enjoy with sensational restaurants, theater, and international travel opportunities due to airports that offer a great deal. Thus, if the white collar executive plays their cards right and has the proper amount of resources, they can have a very high quality of life in the United States.

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has a similar argument as the United States regarding the white collar executive. The key is the executive’s salary in comparison to the cost of living of the city. If the executive wants to live in London, then it is highly recommended to have a very high salary also exceeding $200,000 to live there well without worry. Of course, individuals get by with less, but referring to the notion of enjoying a city as London to its full potential, one has to be realistic and assess what these cities truly cost in real estate and entertainment expenses in order to make a judgment call on what is necessary to live a good quality of life there with one’s family.


Singapore is one of the most expensive countries in the world to live in. That being said, Singapore offers a very high quality of life to both the foreign and domestic expat who is trying to make a life there. In Singapore, it is recommended to have a salary of $150,000 per year or higher because Singapore has less income tax then the United States and the United Kingdom. This has a major impact on the salary and quality of life that an expatriate could prospectively enjoy in Singapore. If the white collar executive has this, they can get a nice apartment, dine out well, and travel throughout Asia.

Blue Collar

South Korea

South Korea has one of the highest paying markets for teachers. When I lived in South Korea, I was able to pay a $20,000 student loan off in one year. The point here is that the salary for teachers is very high for those who have a BA degree at roughly $2,000 per month. What makes this a divine opportunity is that the government pays your rent, benefits, airfare, and provides pension. For this reason, South Korea is a wonderful place to make a lot of money fast and ultimately, get ahead.


Recently, China is paying a lot more to foreigners. This is why I am moving to China next year. China offers one month paid vacation, benefits, high salary, and accommodation paid for for professors with Masters degrees. This paired with the substantially lower cost of living than most Western countries and South Korea, makes China a very interesting way to save a lot of money fast while also picking up a target language that could be useful one day.

United Arab Emirates

After China, I had considered setting my sights on the United Arab Emirates because from colleagues, I had heard that teachers receive two months paid vacation, lodging, benefits, and a tax free salary due to the United States oil treaties with the country. For those looking to invest in real estate in the long term while seeing the world, the United Arab Emirates also provides the global traveler with the opportunity to brush up on their Arabic while living well and making a great deal of money at a very young age.

Whether one is a blue collar or white collar worker, it is important to remember that there are more and more opportunities out there in our globalizing world. Due to the friends I have all over the world, I have seen many different career paths both in traditional and non-traditional jobs. What is remarkable is to see where everyone ends up because now, there is truly no limits given how mobile we all are these days.

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