ERE In Germany
This article is work in progress ;-)
There are quite a few exceptions to the things described here (i.e. you can opt-out of the obligatory health insurance under certain conditions). It's impossible to name all of those exceptions, so this page will be a guide that generally works.
Job and Income The accumulation of money seems to take longer than in the US, but will be easier than in many less-rich countries. You will also profit from at least 24 vacation days (many companies will give you 30 days). Sick days do not count towards your vacation days and companies are not allowed to limit them.
Germany is a high-tax country and a lot of your gross income will automatically be deducted from your paycheck. Before you accept a job in Germany, you should use a Brutto-Netto-Rechner (i.e. []). If your are not married, choose tax class ("Steuerklasse") 1. Unless you are married and your spouse does not work (tex class 3), this will be your best estimate (your net income can vary depending on how much your spouse works, how many kids you have etc.) Your net income will be after deducting quite a few obligatory items, including health insurance, unemployment insurance and pension payments.
In addition to your income you may receive other benefits. Everyone living in Germany with a residence permit (or being an EU-citizen) will receive approximately 190 Euro "Kindergeld" per child.
You can compare your income using [].
Education University is (mostly) free. If your parents can't support you, you will get an interest-free loan ("Bafög") which you will have to pay back only in part (somtimes only in half), if you do well.
You will generally have to pay (way) less than 1.000€ per year and will often gain free access to public transportation. For example, if you study in Nordrhein-Westfalen, you will be able to travel the whole state for free using trains and busses with the "NRW-Ticket".
Note: All of this depends on the federal state - also, some may make non-citizens of the EU pay for the degree.
Generally, there are two institutions of higher-education. The Universität (more rigorous and scientific) and the Fachhochschule (oriented more towards applicability). Only around half of the german population will go to either of them. In Germany, there is the "Duale Ausbildungssystem" in which you will learn a specific craft in three years. Half of the time will be spend in a school ("Berufsschule") and half of the time will be spend in a company, on the job. An "Ausbildung" is highly regarded in Germany and people will generally make good money. You should prefer a sought-after Ausbildung to some niche university education.
Health Insurance If you work a job that is subject to social insurance contributions (any employment that pays more than 450€/month), health insurance will be paid for you and your family. This makes semi-retirement with a part-time job very handy.
more to come....