Posted July 2013
Salary negotiations are inevitable in any sort of job interview. It got me thinking, what am I valued at today? As it seems my best bet at finding IT related work still seems to be in the US, it seems necessary to compare the basic living standard in Finland with that of the US. Many of the numbers I’ll be throwing around may not be entire accurate, but still close enough to be meaningful. First we start with the salary of a part-time unskilled laborer which can easily reach near 12000 Euros (16000 dollars) a year. Now, you must remember that many of the benefits one would pay for in the US are a given in Finland. The best Health care coverage I could find in the US costs 3000 Euros per year and still leaves you paying a bill at the Hospital. Universities in the US in similar rankings as the University of Helsinki tend to charge around 34000 Euros per year for tuition. My own rent comes out to 150 Euros a month (including heat, water, electricity, and a 50 Mbit internet connection), and I budget 150 euros monthly for food and transportation (bike). So, in reference to the US, some quick math spits out a value of 46,000 Euros (61,000 dollars a year) with around 8400 Euros (11,000 dollars) of disposable income for a student doing unskilled labor. Now, depending on where you live, it is important to take into account that a lot of what are considered luxuries in Finland are necessities in the US. A car, gas, maintenance, and insurance all adds up. A search on Edmunds.com shows that taking all these factors into account it costs about 5000 euros a year.
And that is still leaving out the built-in pension and who knows what other benefits. Also take into account that the income tax I pay here is actually lower then what I use to pay in the states (Although that may change when I am rich).
So, a foreign student living in Finland doing unskilled labor would need to receive well over 70,000 dollars a year in the US if he/she wanted to live a similar lifestyle. That’s without taking into account the higher rent or utilities in the US, so lets make it 85,000 dollars (64000 euros) a year.
What part-time unskilled worker makes 85k in the US?