Local Salary - bad idea?

#1
Hi,

I'm an American who's been offered an opportunity to relocate to Buenos Aires. Unfortunately, the company only offers expat assignments to senior executives.

So, as a middle manager, my choices consist of (1) going to Buenos Aires on an Argentinian salary or (2) not going at all.

Thought I'd tap the wisdom on these boards to learn more about a few aspects:

- Any insight (based on experience) on the % of pay cut I can expect, moving to BA from somewhere in California?

- Is it possible for an American to live comfortably on an Argentinian salary?

- Estimated salary in Argentina for a middle manager in operations (leading projects, outsourcing, call center, etc.)?

- What is the tax situation (income tax, etc.) in Argentina like? Is it favorable to Americans?

- Here's the kicker - I'm considering going back to grad school in the US after a few years in BA. Extremely terrified of heading back to the US after a few years, with only pennies once I convert my savings into dollars. Anyone in this boat? Any thoughts?

- I can't find any salary estimators that work for Argentina. Suggestions?

Thanks,
e
 
#2
Mid-range lawyers and engineers earn about ARG$ 12,000 - 14,000 per month. You can live very nicely on that. Right now the dollar is lagging badly behind inflation, so it might be good to be paid in pesos.

Good luck.
 

Popper

Active Member
#3
I made about 15% here compared to what I made in the states before I moved down. If I hadn't saved money it would have been really hard to live off of my Argentina salary. That being said, if you can find a salary along the lines of what SaraSara mentioned, you'd be living the high life.
 
#4
I'm definitely not a lawyer or engineer, so I won't hold my breath for that type of pay.

Working in middle management in operations, it sounds like I can bank on $10K a month or less??? Yikes.
 
#5
Its difficult to give advice on the cost of living, because it varies massively according to needs. Cars are expensive, imported branded goods are expensive, flights are expensive, electricals, furniture, food etc. They don't pile it high and sell it cheap here, and plenty of things are twice the price you pay in the US.

But... if you are prepared to learn how to live like a local and make some adjustments you could live well. You can eat out in great restaurants, live in a beautiful apartment in a nice part of town, enjoy the cultural side of the city, go out to nice bars, clubs etc. Depends what you are looking for, and whats important to you.
 
#6
The salaries I quoted are more than enough for a family of four, with a house, a car, household help, and yearly vacations. A single guy would probably have a good life on half that.
 
#7
Regarding your questions:
1) I would guess you would be looking at a 85% pay cut or more.
2) For middle management, I would guesstimate about 10.000 pesos a month (or about 2500 USD)
3) Taxes are substantially higher here than in the US. You would be at a 31% tax rate. (see here for info but double-check that info: http://www.globalpropertyguide.com/Latin-America/Argentina/Living-There)
4) As far as living well - that's a tough one and really, everyone has a different idea of what that means so I won't begin to attempt to answer that. But some things to consider:

-- Will your company act as guarantor for an apt? If not, you will have to rent a short-term, furnished apt and the costs for that average about $800 USD a month. That's 33% of your salary right there. If your company will act as a guarantor, you can rent an unfurnished apt for less but then will have to pay to furnish it.

-- Do you have credit card debt or other bills in the US? Remember, you'll still have to pay those off in dollars while earning in pesos.

-- Will the long-term career benefits of having an int'l assignment outweigh the short-term lifestyle adjustments?

-- Will the company pay for flights home? Average flight to the US is about 1500 USD right now - that's almost a month of salary.

My entirely unsolicited 2 cents - if you come here thinking you will save money, I think you will be disappointed. BsAs is expensive. Period. Living on local wages is *certainly* doable but in terms of being easy - it really depends where you are in your life, what your expectations of a "nice life" are, etc.
 
#8
SaraSara said:
The salaries I quoted are more than enough for a family of four, with a house, a car, household help, and yearly vacations. A single guy would probably have a good life on half that.
Depends who you are and what your expectations are Sara. If you are renting a short-term apt (alone) and paying in dollars, if you have bills in the US (many do), if you have health insurance, if you're going to pay local taxes, etc, that "great salary" might not go very far for a single person, let alone a family.
 
#9
SaraSara said:
Mid-range lawyers and engineers earn about ARG$ 12,000 - 14,000 per month. You can live very nicely on that. Right now the dollar is lagging badly behind inflation, so it might be good to be paid in pesos.

Good luck.
Am I the only one who thinks this estimate is astronomical for ¨mid-range¨???? Most engineers I´ve talked to (albeit young ones in their late 20s or 30s) don´t make more than $5000 pesos per month, which is considered a good salary. I also heard that lawyers don´t make TOO much money here, nothing like in the US where almost all lawyers are rolling in it, only the very successful lawyers make really good money here...

Maybe I´m just really out of touch with reality, but the Clarin had an article recently saying that 80% of Argentinians made less than $2000 pesos per month (about US$500), so I can´t imagine how the 20% who make more than $2000 make it to $12,000 - $14,000!

I think if you were offered $10,000 a month you would live extremely well here, considering the vast majority of Argentines don´t even dream of making that much. Then again you should enquire as to what your salary really WILL be before making any decisions - perhaps they will pay you more, since you are foreign! ;)
 
#10
Good point, citygirl. Those figures are right for locals - some of my relatives live quite comfortably on less than what I quoted, but expenses may be higher for foreigners. Health insurance for people under forty is not high - about US$90 per month at the excellent Hospital Italiano.

Katharine: about salaries: marketing people with a college degree and at least five year's experience make between AR$7,000-8,500. However, the vast majority of Argentines have only the compulsory elementary school education, and make the salaries quoted by Clarin. Qualified plumbers, electricians, and truck drivers make a lot more than that.
 
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