Tel Aviv is ranked the 9th most expensive city in the world, reported by the Economic Intelligence Unit, making her a challenging place to live comfortably, save money and afford many of life’s luxurious pleasures. Despite the financial obstacles which exist on a daily basis, there is an inherent and indescribable value that lives within the nonstop city, making her worth every shekel of costly restaurants, exorbitant rent, and extortionately priced imported items.
Being an import to this city myself, I often get asked why I live in Tel Aviv. How do I so easily risk a more comfortable financial freedom for living in the most expensive city in the world, and, is she worth it? My response is always yes. No matter how outrageous the rent may be, the quality of life in Tel Aviv and Israel offer an elevated sense of wealth which has nothing to do with money, and everything to do with value.
In regard to quality of life, the same EIU report ranks Tel Aviv as 76th on the list, out of 140 cities. They judge by factors like a good job market, stable economy, political stability, and personal safety, which certainly matter to the systemic societal definition of quality of life. However, there is also a collective intrinsic feeling that can never be understood without a firsthand visit to Tel Aviv. She can’t be explained; she simply needs to be felt.
Tel Aviv isn’t just a stunning city with amazing nightlife, food, culture, and people, neighboring a glorious beach. She is a creative innovation center for all things under her Mediterranean sun. From startups to sexuality, Tel Aviv is an open and opportunistic space to grow, seek and find thousands of experiences and ideas that make individual hearts feel alive. Tel Aviv is a city of people daring to meet themselves, empowered with self-expression and worth, where conflict must be confronted at every corner and humans are forced to feel it all, for the good, bad and everything in between.
Tel Aviv might be expensive, but she shares her value in droves. A highly activated art, music, health and community scene are the flourishing blood cells pumping through the city veins, driven by an enigmatic energy that no one can quite place their finger on, yet inspires the masses to move forward with hopeful drive to survive and succeed in such a high paced, high-priced city.
Perhaps success is the key word. To some, success means wealth. To some, wealth means money. To me, wealth is defined by meaningful experiences, dynamic opportunities, and space for healthy, holistic personal growth. According to my definition, Tel Aviv is the wealthiest city in the world.