The very first impression of the Principality of Monaco is that it is breathtaking without a doubt. It is an incredibly small country, the second smallest country worldwide (after the Vatican City) and its population is around 37,900 people. Nonetheless, the Principality has capitalised well on its own potential.
Monaco is an independent sovereign state, ruled by the Grimaldi family since 1297. As glamorous as it is from the outside, it can be just as difficult from the inside. Yet, one can find a real multi-cultural environment made up of many nations, which makes the whole place very interesting and lively.
Access to Monaco is very easy by air, road or train. The airport in Nice is a 20-40 minute drive, depending on traffic or an 8 minute helicopter ride. It is also very rarely closed because of lack of adverse weather conditions. Italy is within a 30 minute drive and there are ski resorts within a range of 1.5 to 2.5 hours of driving (or 20 minutes by helicopter).
Many people say that it is about luxury and wealth as well. However, I discovered another side of Monaco as well, which is the very friendly Mediterranean side of the Principality where you can find lovely small streets on the Rock or can discover the view of endless orange trees standing in a row besides the main roads or the small chapels.
Living in a zero debt, green and wealthy country is quite a privilege. The cultural and artistic influence of the Principality of Monaco is worthy of the greatest European capitals.
It is good to know that Monaco is part of the European Monetary Zone, the European Union’s Schengen, but it is entirely independent from the European Union. Therefore the laws that apply in the EU, will not necessarily apply in the Principality of Monaco.
The standard of living in the Principality is excellent, the life expectancy is 89.5 years, the lengthiest in the world. Monaco has first class medical facilities in all aspects of medicine.
Also an interesting fact is that the Principality of Monaco is voted to be one of the happiest places to live on earth. An air of positivity, peace and luxury shines throughout the country and its culture each day.
The whole environment is such as to make a positive day for you. Monaco offers almost 300 sunny days during the year with an annual average temperature of 16,6 °C. The temperature rarely goes lower than 10 °C in winter.
The Principality of Monaco is one of the most secure places in Europe with the world highest police to population ratio. Even the celebrities who are frequent visitors in Monaco are able to walk through without their bodyguards.
The country has a very good reputation when it comes to education. Furthermore, because of the general safety, most children take the bus to school unaccompanied.
The fiscal climate is of course very favourable, with no local income (including dividends) or capital gains tax. For example zero percent inheritance tax applies for first level inheritance. Although commercial entities in Monaco are subject to corporate tax, there are fairly substantial allowances for directors/shareholders’ remuneration before tax.
Having said all this, Monaco is not perfect. It has its challenges when it comes to topics such as “finding a home”, tourism and traffic or air quality.
We can say that the Principality of Monaco is one of the most densely populated independent country in the world. It also has a consequently competitive housing market with the average property only changing hands every 37 years.
As an interesting contrast, Monaco has the most expensive real-estate market in the world, yet given the lack of space, apartments are generally much smaller than elsewhere.
The Principality of Monaco can be quite noisy during the daytime with heavy traffic during the tourist season, roadworks and new building works. Due to this, during the height of the tourist season air quality can be poor by Monaco standards.
Finally let’s talk about money. It is a known fact that 1 in 3 people are millionaires in Monaco (estimated 40% of the population), and 1 in 52 are considered as ultra-high-net-worth, which means their total asset exceeds the 20 million Euro (17,5 million GBP or 21,6 million USD or 21 million CHF).
When we reverse these statistics, we can also observe that approximately 60% of the Principality is composed by regular people. Most people enjoy a high level of living quality, but not everyone is a millionaire in Monaco. Despite its luxurious environment, the average monthly net earnings hardly go over the estimated average of 4,200 Euro (3,680 GBP or 4,540 USD or 4,450 CHF).