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KL has the lowest cost of living within ASEAN? What’s the biggest cost of living usually?

We know the minimum wage is RM1,200 in major towns. However, do you know that the average cost of living in KL is RM3,262 per month? if we put both numbers together, that could only mean that many people working in KL now is actually spending more than what they earn every month. RM2,062 deficit every month if we use the average cost of living minus the minimum wage. In a year, this person would need to find extra RM24,744 as the monthly salary is just not enough. Before everyone questions the accuracy of the average cost of living estimation, let’s just read what the data from iPrice says. This is the full and comprehensive article by iPrice.

Article in The cost of living for a single person in Kuala Lumpur (KL) is estimated at about RM3,262. This is the cheapest among its South-East Asian peers, according to data by iPrice Group Sdn Bhd.

According to Numbeo’s database, KL ranked second-highest in monthly average net salary of RM4,259, right behind Singaporeans, who are estimated to earn RM10,195 a month.

“Hence, the quality of life in KL is relatively better, especially after comparing it to other South-East Asian cities, such as Manila where its residents are estimated to earn only RM1,609 monthly. The cost of living in Manila even tops other South-East Asian cities such as KL by 33%, Vietnam (28%) and Jakarta (24%),” iPrice said in a recent statement.

There are a lot more details in the article including even the average salaries and expenses of others in South East Asia. Do read it here: Article in

It’s an average number

When it’s an average number, it does say that there are those who earn higher and there are those who earn lower. This is not a median number where majority are earning around the same number. However, the study has also pointed out that the biggest portion of expenses would always be for that roof over our head. This is why without property, it’s usually poverty and this is also why property is a hedge against inflation.

There’s no need to think if it will happen. Just read the articles about those without homes in many advanced nations and understand that if it happens there, it will happen here.

Typical number to have a roof over our head?

We could rent an apartment / condo for RM1,000 or RM1,600 or even RM2,500 depending on how much we could afford. Most of the time, we will spend roughly 30% or higher of our salary on accommodation. Imagine earning RM3,000 and spending RM1,000 for accommodation or earning RM5,000 and spending RM1,600 on accommodation. How to break or reduce this typical average? Quite easy, stay where it’s cheaper and take the public transportation. In every major city in the world, rental varies tremendously for cheaper vs more popular and expensive areas.

Just remember to keep doing these 4 things

After we start working, stay focused and keep growing in our roles and responsibilities and thus our monthly salaries too. Manage our expenses (else no point in earning ever higher salaries) well so that when we grow our salary, we grow our ability to invest these extra money. Read, learn, attend free talks (where the speaker has nothing to sell you). Protect what we have with sufficient insurance cover and we should be just fine in the future.

Saying is easy, doing is way harder but if we look at the numbers, majority of the ones who moved to KL are still in KL. If it’s not working, the population growth should actually be negative instead. Happy understanding.

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.


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