A couple of years ago I ran some numbers to compare income and tax levels in the US versus the scandinavian countries. Since the scandinavian countries top out most world-wide statistics on quality of life and because they have a public health care system.

What I found might surprise you.

In order to have roughly the same amount of buying power after taxes, insurance, living costs etc. Americans living in urban parts of the US need to make at least twice the amount of money scandinavians need.

Also note that this is "if all goes well". If you develop a health issue in the US, you are at the mercy of your insurance company and then the comparison breaks down completely. If you are very lucky you can get back to work and just have a slight increase in the cost of living due to higher premiums. If you are really unlucky you end up uninsurable and your health problem persists or returns and you find yourself in a downward spiral heading for poverty.

At which point you are screwed bigtime.

In scandinavia the state takes care of you. But if you want, you can still supplement what you are given by the state with a private option. You won't get any tax rebates, but then again, while the taxes might seem high, the total cost of living is a lot lower because you do not have to pay exorbitant insurance premiums.

Of course the quality of living in Scandinavia is vastly higher than in the US. Ask any US expat in either Norway, Sweden or Denmark.

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