This post will convince you to move to Sweden, even if you fear high taxes, hate the cold and dark, detest Abba and herring, and tremble with the thought of “Swedish socialism“.
10 reasons why you should move to Sweden.
1. Swedish benefits are the best in the world.
Five weeks paid vacation to start. More if you’re older or work for the government.
480 days of paid parental leave = Happy Kids = Good society
Parents get a total of 480 parental days for each child. For most of those days you’ll earn 80% of a salary of up to roughly $45,000 per year, which in Sweden is very good money. Parents have time to bond with their children — one reason why Sweden was recently ranked the best place in the world to grow up.
Cheap daycare, unlimited sick days and free healthcare, need I go on?
2. High taxes aren’t high if you are getting your money’s worth.
I don’t think taxes are too high in Sweden. Yes, if you are a billionaire, like IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, then you are going to pay a lot of taxes, which is why he moved to Switzerland in 1976.
Even Americans agree the progressive tax system in Sweden is just. A recent poll shows Americans prefer the Swedish system, they just don’t know it.
My income tax is 30%, which is normal by Swedish standards.
Sweden does have a 25% value added tax or consumption tax. That’s high, which is why Swedes go shopping like crazy when they are in the US.
But look at how much I get.
There is universal healthcare in Sweden. You don’t pay anything unless you have to go to the doctor. In that case, you pay a small amount per visit. Last year, I went to see a back surgeon and I paid around $40. For a normal visit to a clinic if you get sick, you’ll pay around $20. For kids under 18, you pay nothing. That’s right, nothing!
Daycare is heavily subsidized. It costs about $120 a month, but you get a monthly child benefit from the government which covers those costs. So basically daycare is free.
And, oh yeah, University is free.
Overall, I am happy with the taxes I pay in Sweden because I get a lot back. I’d rather skip paying the middle man for the essential services, which in the US tends to be huge corporations like insurance and pharmaceutical companies. No thanks, leave them out, I’d rather pay direct to the government.
Want more details on all the Swedish benefits? Check out Sweden.se, an invaluable website that describes all the Swedish benefits in detail.
3. It is cold and dark and then sunny and perfect
Honestly, I didn’t like the cold and dark when I moved here, and I’m not sure I like it now. But the extreme weather doesn’t slow Swedes down at all.
They’re out and about all winter long. They cross-country and downhill ski, ice skate, play hockey, take walks, run, sled, drink coffee, and even put their babies outside to sleep in their carriages. I was amazed the first time I saw it, but it’s true. They say it’s good for them. My kids do it too.
The summer is incredible.
The sun rises before you wake up and sets after you go to bed. If you work until 5 pm, you’ll have 5-6 hours of sun after work. That’s quality time for swimming, kayaking, walking, or picknicking — practically a professional sport here.
Celebrations like Midsummer’s Eve and the August Crayfish party (Even Will Ferrell loves crayfish parties…and Swedish sex habits) are the perfect way to salute the sun.
4. The people are beautiful and they dress well.
OK, this statement is subjective, but I’ve yet to hear anyone challenge it. Do you dare?
5. Sweden is a great place for women
If it’s good for women, it’s good for everyone. This Marie Claire article, reports that women thrive in Sweden, citing a 2005 report from the World Economic Forum that named Sweden the “most advanced country” for women.
6. Get green
If one of the most comprehensive public transportation systems in the world sound good to you, move to Sweden. Trains and buses go everywhere, from the big cities to small skiing villages like Åre in the Swedish mountains.
Take my family as an example. We are a family of four, with two children, and we don’t have a car, even though we live in a suburb. Can you do that where you live?
Stockholm was named Europe’s first Green Capital in 2010. Among the reasons cited by the European Union are the city’s successful 25% cut in emissions since 1990, large number of green areas, and the city’s ambitious goal to be independent of fossil fuels by 2050.
All throughout Sweden the air is clean, there is tons of nature and the water is perfect for drinking and swimming.
7. Transparent politics
Sweden always ranks among the top countries in the world in transparency with low levels of corruption. Yes, politicians are still politicians, but in Sweden they are less shady.
8. Strong, independent media
This is the main factor ensuring reason #7 remains on the list. I’ve seen TV shows, both investigative reporting and documentaries, on Swedish public TV that never in a million years would be shown on American public or network TV — maybe not even on cable.
The Swedish media does its job. Journalists cover the important stories, know they should and aren’t afraid to. This, in turn, creates an educated population and a transparent government.
9. You are in Europe
Close to all the other European countries. That means weekend trips, skiing in the Alps, drinking Pinot Noir and savoring fresh mozzarella in Italy, touring the museums of Paris, and anything else you can think of.
10. Will Ferrell is practically a Swede
He is married to one and comes to Sweden for a good part of the summer. Watch the film.
Did I miss any?
Updated: May 15, 2015