The Million-Dollar Question: Why Is Monaco So Rich?

Monte-Carlo, Monaco
"Why is Monaco so rich?" was the question that kept running through my mind as we explored this tiny nation. Hopefully this blog will answer that question.

When I think of Monaco, I think of luxurious cars, incredible vistas, casinos and of course, wealth. Ultimately, this picturesque, tiny coastal nation can only be fully enjoyed by the wealthy so what were we doing there? Pretending to be one of the millionaires I guess, there’s no law against it right?

Monte-Carlo Casino, Monaco

The Greek Mister was delighted to find out that Monaco, which he enjoyed the most out of all the places we visited during our trip, was initially inhabited by the Greeks. He said proudly after learning this fact that he’s almost a Monocoian. He was excited to drive through the famous Circuit de Monaco used in the Formula One Grand Prix, most specifically through the iconic hairpin for its tight turn.

Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Its strategic location made Monaco one of the most contested places of many nations – according to its early history, the mountain-dwelling Ligures emigrated here from Genoa. Then it was under the Greeks who gave it its name. The Romans ruled it after the Gallic Wars until the collapse of the Roman Empire then Odoacer of Italy took over. The Grimaldis who hailed from Genoa seized Monaco in the 12th century and started their dynasty here. Apart from the brief French occupation, the Grimaldis ruled Monaco for most of those years since then until the present day.

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Prince Rainier III who married the American actress Grace Kelly, can be credited for bringing economic prosperity in Monaco. His wife also played an important role of promoting the arts and bringing glamour in this nation.

So why is Monaco so rich? It’s a haven for millionaires because of its tax-free and no income tax status. It is believed that 1 in 3 people living in Monaco are millionaires, some residents were believed to base themselves in Monaco and commute to London for work. How true it is, I’ve no idea but if you’ve got your own jet then I don’t see a problem with it. :p

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

There is a VAT in Monaco though which is 19.6%, the value-added tax is a measly amount of money for the rich so they don’t mind spending it and make Monaco even richer. Tourism also generates a huge portion of its revenue and of course, don’t forget the casinos. It has also become a major banking center and wealth management which adds up to the nation’s income. The state also retains the monopoly of a few industries such as telephone network, tobacco and postal services just to name a few.

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

As per this BBC article, Monaco is running out of space for millionaires. The demand is high but the supply is scarce. Just to give you an idea, real estate in Monaco is averaging between EUR53,000 to EUR100,000 per square metre. And I am sat here in our tiny apartment wondering how people can afford to pay this ridiculous amount of money. I don’t think winning the lottery will cut it for me to live in Monaco.

Monte-Carlo, Monaco
Monte-Carlo, Monaco

The Greek Mister and myself enjoyed walking around this tiny nation, if you are going to do a tour of Monaco on your own- make sure that you also visit the Prince’s Palace of Monaco which is a 25-min walk away from Monte-Carlo Casino. We drove there from the casino though because we’re lazy and we’re pretending to be Monocoians who probably can’t be bothered walking around their fabulous country.

Monte-Carlo, Monaco

Just like the whole place itself, the view is also worth a million dollars. Yachts, fancy buildings with the mountain as a backdrop made me want to clink our champagne glasses and toast on the fact that as poor as we are, we’re able to visit an amazing place like Monaco. If only we had champagne glasses then. :p

Monaco is a mere 30-minute drive from Nice and is usually combined with a visit to the beautiful village of Eze. It’s an absolute must to go see one of the richest countries in the world.

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  • Tanja/The Red Phone Box travels February 5, 2019 at 19:44

    If I were a millionaire I wouldn’t live in Monaco:) it seems so empty and like there’s nothing much to do there apart from gambling at a casino:) it’s nice as a day trip! I think London or Moscow or Dubai have more to offer to stinky rich but hey, how would I know? I’m not a millionaire:)))

    • Pinay Flying High February 6, 2019 at 06:52

      Why not Monaco? You have the whole of the Provencal Region as your playground as well as some parts of Italy. London is also a good choice though, never been to Moscow so have no opinion on that but Dubai? Absolutely no way. Lol. Unless you like man-made beaches and swanky restaurants and hotels being used as a playground of the nouveau riche. :p

  • Panos January 18, 2019 at 07:08

    Absolutely wonderful article for Monaco, interesting and useful. Thank you for sharing!

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    Welcome to my blog! My name is Noemi, a Filipina who caught the travel bug at an early age and has never been cured. I blog about travel, food and my extraordinary mundane life in London with the Greek Mister.

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