We have it pretty good in Richmond, and if you doubt it, here's a good reason not to: It doesn't cost as much to live here as it does many places including some that will surprise you.
Just for the sake of argument (and to keep the math simple), let's say you make $100,000 a year working in Richmond, and you like the lifestyle that paycheck buys you. Now let's say that your boss offers you a job in Chapel Hill at the same salary. Would you be better off in Chapel Hill? No way! You'd have to make $117,554 annually to maintain the lifestyle you can afford in Richmond for $100,000.
Raleigh, however, wouldn't be quite so bad. You'd only be in the hole to the tune of about $2,871 a year. In Charleston, S.C., the deficit would be about $3,800 per annum. But if you decided to move to Hilton Head Island, the bite would be a big one: You'd have to earn $143,365 to live the way you do here. By golly, Los Angeles would be cheaper: It would only take $136,732 to live there the way you do here.
If you'd like to live where all that garbage in Virginia's landfills comes from, New York City, make sure you have a job that pays $268,311 a year. But you can get by with a little less in the City by the Bay: You'd only need to make $161,663 in San Francisco.
What about Europe? In Paris, it'll cost you $172,789, and in Brussels, $157,509. You might think your paycheck would stretch a little further in someplace like Port au Prince. Wrong. Living there like you live in Richmond would cost you $114,018.
There are places where the cost of living is, however, less than in Richmond. In New Delhi, for instance, you could take a pay cut down to $89,333. Katmandu would only cost you $85,807 a year, and if you can find Honiara on a map, you could live there for just $90,509.
We found all the aforementioned comparisons by way of "The Salary Calculator," a Web site maintained by Homefair, a consortium of real estate and moving companies. You can choose among hundreds of cities nationally and internationally. Enter the amount you make in one city, and the calculator will tell you how much you'd have to make to live the same way in another city. It even takes into consideration whether you prefer to own or rent, and you can enter salaries in any one of a number of currencies.
It's fascinating Web fun. Check it out by pointing your browser to www.homefair.com/calc/salcalc.html