The Legatum Institute, a London-based think tank, release their global Prosperity Index annually. The survey ranks the most prosperous countries in the world. Many assume prosperity is used in reference to the financial standing of a country and, while this is included, the Legatum Institute considers more factors in its ranking.
Ranking in 3rd place in their most recent study (out of 149 countries) was Finland. This puts Finland in the top 2%, with its rankings for Governance (1st), Education (3rd) and Natural Environment (3rd) helping the country secure a top spot. Finland’s lowest ranking was 15th, for Safety and Security.
Whilst Finland is undeniably beautiful and a perfect country for an outdoor lifestyle, what is the true cost of living in one of the Nordic countries?
Since the global financial crisis, Finland’s economy struggled, and the country struggled to recover compare to other European counterparts. However, in 2017, it was reported that Finland has seen six consecutive quarters of economic growth and was outperforming the likes of Germany and Sweden.
Although not fully recovered, Finland’s economy is much more stable. The country has a highly industrialised, largely free-market economy with a high per capita GDP. Trade is important in Finland, with exports accounting for over 33% of GDP in recent years.
Before the 1st January 2002, the official currency of Finland was he markka. This was replaced was replace by the euro. Is euro is subdivided into 100 cents.
The euro is available in the following denominations:
Notes: €200, €100, €50, €20, €10, €5
Coins: 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1 and €2
Expat accommodation in Finland
Expats are welcoming to buy property in Finland and have the exact same right as the Finns. The only restriction is they cannot purchase property in the Land archipelago without being granted permission.
However, for most expats, the norm is to rent in Finland. However, most lets are obtained through private landlords and rents can be high. These can be found advertised in local newspapers, estate agents and internet property search sites.
Although property can be expensive, rules in Finland state that the rent cannot be increased on any property for the duration of the tenancy. Furthermore, landlords are required to give their tenants 3 months’ notice for tenancies under a year, and 6 months’ notice for tenancies for over a year.
Expat healthcare in Finland
Finland’s public healthcare services are excellent and funded by taxes and supplemented by a health insurance system. Expats who are residing in Finland for over 4 months will need to contribute to the national insurance system for access to free medical care and subsidised medicines, travel, dental care and private health care.
However, most expats in Finland tend to invest in a comprehensive health insurance policy to ensure they are completely protected.
Expat education in Finland
In Finland children must undergo a compulsory 9 years of education – this applies to expat children too. Education is free in Finland and many students go on to complete higher education courses and university degrees, which are highly regarded in the country.
Jobs in Finland for expats
Getting a job in Finland is notoriously difficult. Most expats living and working in the country were relocated from another country to Finland by an employer. Many people who loose their jobs or move to Finland without work find it challenging to secure a new role.
However, it is not impossible. Many employers seek highly skilled and educated expats who are proficient in Finnish. Some expats take this opportunity to start up their own business.
Comparison to UK
The world’s largest database, Numbeo, has a vast selection of user contributed data in regard to Finland.
The tables below provide an over view of the differences in costs between Finland and the UK. Please note that all Costa Rican prices have been converted into British pounds.
|Groceries||UK Price (£)||Finnish Price (£)||Cheaper Country?|
|White bread (500g)||£0.95||£1.53||UK|
|Local Cheese (1kg)||£6.04||£5.17||Finland|
|Transport||UK Price (£)||Finnish Price (£)||Cheaper Country?|
|Utilities (Monthly)||UK Price (£)||Finnish Price (£)||Cheaper Country?|
|Electricity/Heating/Water for 85m2 apartment||£150.49||£103.03||Finland|
|1 minute of PAYG talk time||£0.07||£0.06||Finland|
|Internet (10 Mbps, unlimited data, cable/ADSL)||£24.39||£19.80||Finland|
|Clothing||UK Price (£)||Finnish Price (£)||Cheaper Country?|
|Jeans (Levi or similar)||£56.61||£73.66||UK|
|Dress (chain store)||£29.07||£28.07||Finland|
|Nike running shoe||£55.00||£73.72||UK|
|Leather business shoes||£76.64||£100.86||UK|
|Eating Out||UK Price (£)||Finnish Price (£)||Cheaper Country?|
|Fast food meal||£5.00||£6.60||UK|
|3 course, mid-range, 2 people||£55.00||£52.96||Finland|