Living in Germany as normal person or rich in 3rd world country

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I'm a freelance 3D artist and graphic designer living in Egypt,
My net income is around 50k-70k Euro with 0% taxes (since freelancers in Egypt not required to pay taxes), My salary varies depend on how hard i work since i work with multiple clients remotely but most of my income comes from a specific German company which offers me to come and work from there office in Munich and they will pay me almost the same salary around 3k euro (maybe i can negotiate for 25% increase) but i will have to pay around 40% taxes and the living cost in Germany and in Munich in particular is very high which is about 10-20 times more expensive. So while i earn net salary 50-70k euro per year the average salaries in Egypt is around 1500 Euro per year which means i get 30-45 times the average salary in Egypt which means that i'm probably among the top 1% rich person in Egypt.


you can check the prices in my city compared to Munich in that page below 

https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_cities.jsp?country1=Egypt&country2=Germany&city1=Alexandria&city2=Munich

 

That was the good side about Egypt but on the other side i visited Germany and i found the average life quality in Germany is much better... the streets is much cleaner.. the transportation is much more comfortable and organised and timely and the health care and education is much better and if i got the German passport in the future i will have the freedom to travel almost anywhere without visa and i will have an access to work on any EU country and the chance to be more social by communicating with others instead of spending my life working from my home but not sure if that worth wasting over 90% from my salary as taxes and living cost difference and to stay away from my parents or not.

Looking forward to hear your opinions, Thanks

 

 

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I've never lived in a 3rd world country but I don't think I'd want to trade a comfortable life here where it's like you said, clean, good roads, good health care, relatively safe etc. for being rich where I don't have those things.  However, if you are not sure, you could give it a try.  See how you like it.  If you don't, you could go back, right?

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Another thing to consider is your children, if you have any in the future.  Will they have better, life, health, and opportunities in Germany or Egypt?

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2 hours ago, Wise Gorilla said:

That was the good side about Egypt but on the other side i visited Germany and i found the average life quality in Germany is much better...

 

But you are not "average".   You are the 1%, as you said.   I work in some developing nations and many associates there in that league often live very well, thank you.    I don't hear many of them intending to leave and these are probably more precarious states than Egypt,   They take their massive local income and they invest it to live the top notch life there: they buy large houses in emerging middle class areas, put kids in private schools and then in foreign unviersities, access the best healthcare, travel abroad, join the best societies.

 

So that is my take.  If you are in the 1% of such a nation, make 100% sure you live like that.  Get that payback.   That quite possibly is better - miles better - than being the average German IT salaryman.  I can say I know some of the "1%" of such nations and - yes - much better life than that.

 

It is easy for those of us from the outside to form judgements.   To me, it's not the state of the roads or healthcare that's an isssue for that group.  It's matters like corruption (a barrier for even "hard working high earners" to enter high society) and general precariousness, I know my friends could possibly lose everything fast.   We currently read reports of heightened civil unrest in north Africa, of course, and the bomb attack in Egpyt on Friday, which was followed by the state killing of 40 "militants".   It's that making you ask, isn't it?   Safety, a sustainable life.

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31 minutes ago, swimmer said:

I work in some developing nations and many associates there in that league often live very well, thank you.

I'm wondering which country do you refer to if you dont mind asking.

 

32 minutes ago, swimmer said:

If you are in the 1% of such a nation, make 100% sure you live like that.  Get that payback.   That quite possibly is better - miles better - than being the average German IT salaryman.  I can say I know some of the "1%" of such nations and - yes - much better life than that.

However i'm currently not doing so since i'm currently single and work is taking almost all of my time till the point that money for me started to feel like a score you build up in a video game without actual purpose but i see your point and i will try to do that if i decided to stay in Egypt, maybe i try to establish a company and hire people to work with me instead of doing all work myself.

 

35 minutes ago, swimmer said:

It's matters like corruption (a barrier for even "hard working high earners" to enter high society) and general precariousness

I agree with you that corruption and safety is the things that i should care about more than health, roads etc.. but i didnt mention them because i know live in a safe neighbourhood and however i think that this bombing was a very unfortunate event but its also a rare event and the chances that such thing to happen for me is like 1 in a million or even less... i think that gangs in US or Europe can be more dangerous than such terrorist event. and about the corruption  since i dont directly engage with the government in anything since i just work as a freelancer from my bedroom so corruption didn't affect me negatively however i agree that corruption  is a major issue in Egypt.

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30 minutes ago, Wise Gorilla said:

i just work as a freelancer from my bedroom so corruption didn't affect me negatively however i agree that corruption  is a major issue in Egypt.

 

That's exactly the point.    Why, as a "top 1%" earner who does not even pay tax in Egypt, are you a freelancer in a bedroom?   Why no reward for that massive income?  Where does it go?    Your question was "Better to be rich in a poor country?", but freelancing in a bedroom is poor in a poor country.  Rich in a poor country is what I described above.

 

Corruption very very much does affect the "top 1%" worker .   It is both direct (unable to get the most desirable jobs, unable to live in the best districts because the corrupt price you out) and indirect (poor social systems from their tax avoidance, bribes paid and state looting and such). 

 

When I see those 1% associates in their lovely houses with their beautiful highl educated kids, I know they have life risks, but I know for sure that, I will never find them tapping out messages asking about freelance visas in a place they have possibly never even visited.   At most, they might want to know how to get a free University education for their kids here.   That I do get asked - they all seem to know about that.

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Just now, swimmer said:

Where does it go?

Yes i'm a freelancer on my bedroom :)  ... And Just build up my earning in my bank like a video game score (Maybe because i'm introvert or single!) :( ... i just dont have the time to do anything because of my work and if i had the time i dont know what to do .. so i end up just watching some movies and play some videogames etc... will appreciate if you gave me some advices in that matter.

 

 

 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, swimmer said:

freelancing in a bedroom is poor in a poor country

What do you suggest me to do.. or what will you do if you was in my place?

Do you refer to make my own graphic design company for example and expand my business?

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Can you give it a try, and if it doesnt work out a way you like it go back?

 

But the big question is: what do YOU want? This is a question strangers wont answer for you, nor your mum, nor your best mate...

Do you want the comfort to be in the 1% income-wise, or do you want the good that comes with being in Germany, one of the most developed, sfest, richest, country ever?

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1 hour ago, Wise Gorilla said:

Just build up my earning in my bank like a video game score

 

I felt like this in the US - worst aspect being you never feel like it can be "enough" as there is the persistent feeling that it's not soooo hard to lose everything quickly (due to a health problem, accident unemployment, etc).  Man that gets old - I totally understand that.

 

But as Gambatte already pointed out, it's about you and what you want.  You say that if you didn't work so much you would have no idea what to do with yourself.  That is a big problem, but thankfully it's something that you can start working through right now if you so desire.  Get out of the house, just wander around until something interesting catches your eye, join a club, take a class in a subject you know nothing about, etc etc etc. 

 

I would suggest you get some of own desires worked out before you pick up and move to a new country as you know the saying:  wherever you go, there you are.  The only exception I can think of to that thinking would be if you have spent time here in Germany and feel some deep affinity for the culture and day to day life.  If you don't have that, I'd be more cautious as it's not clear (to me) why you'd want to go through all that just to continue staying in with video games and movies (nothing wrong with that, you just don't need to move to achieve it).

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29 minutes ago, lisa13 said:

The only exception I can think of to that thinking would be if you have spent time here in Germany and feel some deep affinity for the culture and day to day life.  If you don't have that, I'd be more cautious as it's not clear (to me) why you'd want to go through all that just to continue staying in with video games and movies (nothing wrong with that, you just don't need to move to achieve it).

Well i visited Munich 3 times the longest time was for 1 month for work... i think you will call me crazy if i told you that i found it boring almost everything close at 8 and almost everything close on Sunday compared to Egypt where places normally close at 1-3 AM and some other places that open 24 hours... maybe i felt like that because of home thickness. but at the same time i felt that my life itself was more exciting when i was in Munich.. maybe because i had to go out everyday to go to work and travel to new countries every weekend which i never do when i stay in Egypt... i guess my current wrong lifestyle in Egypt is the reason that makes it hard for me to decide .

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Well, ask yourself where would you want to be in 5 years with respect to country, career and family. Ask yourself what things are absolutely necessary, and what are the negotiables. 

 

For example, If you stay in Egypt, you will have your family and friends. You are able to save up a good portion of your income. You have the freelancing professional freedom. 

 

If you come to Germany, you will not have such fancy life. But you will have a better day-today standards. You could work up a career path. Moving through Europe will be much easier. If you have children, their education and health care will be significantly better, and so on. 

 

So, I would ask myself where I want to be from a personal, professional and social side, and if moving to Germany will help me move forward to what I want.

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Another issue to think about is the climate. Wise Gorilla--do you like cold weather many months a year?

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2 minutes ago, john g. said:

Another issue to think about is the climate. Wise Gorilla--do you like cold weather many months a year?

Thats one of the top things i love about Germany, i like cold weather and hate hot weather :) 

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Ok, Germany wins!!!:D

I am the other way around. I´m English, lived in Hamburg for 25 years and now in Greece. I like..no..I LOVE warm weather and blue skies about 300 days a year!!!

But I´m no longer the young person that you obviously are! 

How´s your German? Are you willing to go through the mill and learn the language well? It can be frustrating and don´t make the mistake of thinking life is only about getting through with English as a lingua franca..even in Germany. Top language comfort is essential in a person´s life. Otherwise..alienation and depression can come along and spoil the party...

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11 minutes ago, Wise Gorilla said:

Thats one of the top things i love about Germany, i like cold weather and hate hot weather :) 

 

Well, if you spend almost all the time in your apartment working anyway and you pay no tax, I am sure you can afford a/c ;)

 

Most Germans don't have a/c but it only goes above 30C a few days every summer.

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I believe (also witnessed first hand) that day to day living standards in Germany is very much exaggerated in the eyes of the citizens of third world countries. Germany as a state is super super rich, but the living standards of the ordinary people on the street does not reflect that. We can perhaps say that the poorest of Germany does much much better than the poorest of the third world countries, but as a top earner in a third world country, coming to Germany and living an average person's life can dissapoint you. 

 

If you are okay with living abroad several years, i would advise living in Sweden, Finland, France, Netherlands, Cyprus and a number of Eastern European countries, which allow applying for citizenship after 5 years, and then go back once you got the citizenship. Then yourself and your kids can also have better future prospects while living in a high standard in the home country.

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You would have to figure out if you'd actually be working freelance or as an employee because the tax filings and paperwork are very different between the 2 classifications.  If you're working almost exclusively for 1 company, you might be considered an employee, and you'll need to setup the paperwork for the correct classification in the beginning.  Then you'll need to figure out which German work visa you will apply for.  The type of visa is also very different between freelance and employed work.  Also, if you're a 3D artist, you need to figure out if your type of activity is considered artistic or technical, and if it is artistic then you might need to join the KSK as an artist and pay into their social security and health insurance, which is also expensive.  If you're freelance but not an artist, then you might be able to choose whether or not you want to pay into social security, and you might have a choice of cheap private health insurance.  I think I read somewhere that if you are a high income artist above a certain threshold, you might be able to get private health insurance instead of paying for the KSK public insurance.  Also, if you really are classified as freelance, the income level you mentioned will require you to register and charge for sales tax to your clients.  The sales tax isn't too complicated to handle after you learn how it works, but it becomes more complicated if you are doing freelance work for B2C clients who live in other EU countries because of the cross border VAT problem for digital goods and services.  B2B cross border is simpler. But the benefit of registering for sales tax is that you can get a refund for the German sales tax you are billed, through your monthly/quarterly sales tax reports.  You will also need to find the rules about how to correctly invoice your clients (the required information that has to be displayed on every invoice).  If you have a website that advertises your services and you live in Germany, you will need to make sure it displays all the information required by German law, and it especially needs a privacy policy that shows all the stuff that the new GDPR rules require. Also, your worldwide income is taxable in Germany, so if you still get income from Egypt, you have to pay German tax on it.

 

The main problem is trying to figure out all the requirements and doing the paperwork.  If you pay no taxes and have almost no paperwork for how you are operating right now, then I myself would prefer the much simpler life compared to being stuck with paperwork. But if you really want to experiment with trying to live in a different country and you are willing to do the paperwork, then you could consider the move.

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You're in a peculiar situation. 

 

I actually am also a 3D artist more on arch viz and product design. Nothing serious but am wanting to start a company and get clients (harder to get clients than I thought) as you know. 

 

I live in the US and am originally from the Balkans. If I had a reasonably successful freelance business I'd move with my family to Germany. 

 

I've been there many times and like it, plus got family there as well. 

 

However, doesn't hurt to try a new country in your case, especially since you're single. 

 

In the end, it's all up to you. 

 

I am curious, what type of 3d art do you do and do you have a website? You can pm me your website. I just like admiring others work.

 

All the best in whatever you decide. 

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I wouldn't do it. 

 

#1) You don't pay taxes! In Germany as a single person, you will pay ~45% income tax. And don't forget 19% VAT. Everything will be more expensive in Germany. Except maybe for electronics and autos (i.e. things Egypt has to import and pay hefty tariffs).

#2) You'd have an above average salary by German standards, but it will not afford you too much.

#3) Your quality of life will go up in few respects (safety on the streets, perhaps better access to the good quality healthcare) and down in many others (you will not afford a maid, nanny, taxi, etc,  high cost of living, no customer service, socially it's difficult here, e.g. reserved and/or grumpy locals , etc).

 

With your salary, I would just move to Zamalek district, frankly (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zamalek). How is the dating life in Egypt? Maybe it's too serious? like you have to marry in six months? If you need some lady action I guess you could just travel to Germany and visit the brothels. :D But seriously, Zamalek population is 420k people and has everything you want.

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