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"You can have a good life as a banker on €100k in Frankfurt"

If you work in financial services in New York or London, it's not always easy to budget. Even bankers on $200k complain that they have nothing left at the end of each month. In Frankfurt, however, it's a different matter. We spoke to Frankfurt bankers earning €100k ($111k); they said they were doing fine.

"Yes, it's difficult to get along on a salary of €100k if you live in the Westend, drive a Porsche and go regularly t the Westend Essen nightclub, but if you live in the cheaper parts of the city and settle for cider and a meatball you can easily live on €100k in Frankfurt," says one local banker. "You can even live on €70k here," he adds, although below €50k becomes more difficult. 

Spouses of local bankers agree. The wife of one mid-level banker in Frankfurt says that although prices have risen significantly, "you can have a good life on €100k in Frankfurt."

It helps that rents are far cheaper than New York in London. A standard 64 square-metre apartment costs €1.2k per month in a modest residential area outside Frankfurt's centre. You'll pay the same for a furnished two room flat of 40 square metres in Niederrad, where bankers transplanted by Brexit typically reside. 

The downside to Frankfurt is the taxation. When social security contributions and income tax are combined, deductions to gross pay are significantly higher than in London. An individual with a family on a salary of €100k can expect just over €63k after tax in Frankfurt. In London, anyone earning the equivalent amount in sterling - £89k - will take home £59k or €66k.  Taxes are higher in Frankfurt for single people - if you're an unattached Frankfurt banker, your net pay will be reduced further still, to €54k.

There are other upsides though. Heinz Hilger the head of Standard Chartered in Frankfurt says it's quite easy to attract overseas bankers to his office. "People are most surprised by the short commute times in Frankfurt. It leaves more time for the family," he says. 

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AUTHORFlorian Hamann German & Swiss Editor
  • Si
    13 September 2019

    You forgot the most important factor when determining the taxation for a couple: the difference of taxation between the 2 spouses.
    There's a joint taxation in Germany and France.
    Taxation in the UK is always individual.
    If one spouse earns 100K and the other one 0, you will be FAR more taxed in the UK than in Germany.
    If both spouses earn 50K, you will be slightly more taxed in Germany than in the UK (that's the scenario you chose in the article).
    Obviously the scenario 1 is much more frequent than scenario 2 for an expat family in Frankfurt. So in most cases your taxation will be far lower in Germany or France, than in the UK, for an expat family.

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