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Chicago or Singapore for 27yrs old single HK girl? Pls Help!

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smarty9999
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Chicago or Singapore for 27yrs old single HK girl? Pls Help!

Postby smarty9999 » Mon, 14 Sep 2009 3:53 am

Hi all, I need some advice on whether I should relocate to singapore. I am close to getting an offer to work in singapore, although i don't have the exact figures yet, I know it should be something at or above 105000 SGD (70,000 USD)annually,(8759 SGD per month). I currently don't have a job since i just graduated from grad school, and I have another offer in chicago with similar salary.

I have the following concerns about moving to singapore:

1. Will my salary allow me to live comfortably in singapore? I would like to have some savings too.

2. I am 27 yrs old single female (originally from HK, speaks cantonese). Is it easy to make friends from HK? Of course i want to make friends with local people as well, but I would like to find ppl whom i can speak cantonese with.

3. I have looked at some rental websites, and it seems like they recommend those "luxurious" condos for expats that costs about 2800-3500 SGD per month for a 1 bedroom apt. Even though I am from NYC, it still seems a little expensive to me. At the same time, I see that I can go to some roommate website and find rooms for rent for about 700-1200 SGD per month. I am mostly looking for safe, quiet(but not too far from work which is in raffles place), clean apartments to live in. Any advice on which type I should go for? Are those condos overpriced or are they worth the big bucks?

4. Is there any condos that has high ratings with reasonable prices?

5. Are there any areas that's most suitable for a single girl to live in with reasonable prices?

6. Is the subway the best way to get around the city? I am wondering whether i should pick a place close to subway station.

7. Just in general..whether you think I should choose singapore over chicago?

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Postby littlegreenman » Mon, 14 Sep 2009 7:02 am

smarty9999 wrote:Hi all, I need some advice on whether I should relocate to singapore. I am close to getting an offer to work in singapore, although i don't have the exact figures yet, I know it should be something at or above 105000 SGD (70,000 USD)annually,(8759 SGD per month). I currently don't have a job since i just graduated from grad school, and I have another offer in chicago with similar salary.

That seems like a good salary for someone fresh out of grad school. I would say your choice boils down to where you want to live, Asia or the US. I can't seen anything wrong with your Singapore offer.

I have the following concerns about moving to singapore:

1. Will my salary allow me to live comfortably in singapore? I would like to have some savings too.

Yes! Unless you are used to buying 10 new LV hand bags every month you will have quite a bit left over. You will have to keep in mind that in Singapore you will roughly be paying an average tax rate of maybe 7% see IRAS for details http://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page04.aspx?id=1190. (Of course you will have to keep in mind that if you are a US person for tax purposes IRS in the states wants its share but that depends on your US status)

2. I am 27 yrs old single female (originally from HK, speaks cantonese). Is it easy to make friends from HK? Of course i want to make friends with local people as well, but I would like to find ppl whom i can speak cantonese with.

In the end it depends on how sociable you are. In general you have the biggest scope of getting friends if you stick to English. The local Chinese usually speak mandarin (at least the younger generation under 50) but there are still quite a few cantonese speakers around.

3. I have looked at some rental websites, and it seems like they recommend those "luxurious" condos for expats that costs about 2800-3500 SGD per month for a 1 bedroom apt. Even though I am from NYC, it still seems a little expensive to me. At the same time, I see that I can go to some roommate website and find rooms for rent for about 700-1200 SGD per month. I am mostly looking for safe, quiet(but not too far from work which is in raffles place), clean apartments to live in. Any advice on which type I should go for? Are those condos overpriced or are they worth the big bucks?

Many foreigners stay in HDBs, ie. not condos but the majority of foreigners who can afford it choose to do so. It is a nice thing to come home from work and head to your pool or gym. The question is though how many bedrooms you want and which area you want to live in. There are some nice condos in the north east where you can find a one bedroom apartment (+living room, kitchen, bathroom) for 1300 a month already. Kovan Melody or Compass Heights come to mind. You get the convenience of having a shopping mall and mrt station (subway) right next door and you need roughly 20 mins to the city.

4. Is there any condos that has high ratings with reasonable prices?

Different people have different tastes. Some would only want to stay in the city, some only want to be near the east coast at the beach and others just want an affordable condo as describe above. It depends on what exactly you are looking for.

5. Are there any areas that's most suitable for a single girl to live in with reasonable prices?

This should be your last consideration. Singapore is VERY VERY VERY safe. Period. The probability that you get struck by a meteor is higher than you getting mugged. You don't necessarily want to live in Geylang but in general all areas are fine and you can be sure that if you life in a condo the area is perfectly safe. As mentioned though, Singapore is super duper safe, Switzerland, the UK, HK, US, even Canada don't get anywhere near as safe

6. Is the subway the best way to get around the city? I am wondering whether i should pick a place close to subway station.

I would take a place near the mrt (subway) for convenience and actually did so all my years in Compass Height (it was great just taking the lift down into the shopping mall and then get on the train there). It depends on where you want to stay again though. You might want to keep in mind though that transport in Singapore is still dirt cheap compared to the US or western Europe. The website www.gothere.sg will help you get an idea about transport times and costs. As a rough guideline, a half hour taxi ride costs you about USD 15, so not much in other words.

7. Just in general..whether you think I should choose singapore over chicago?

A tough one. Chicago is nice. Singapore is nice. Both have its pros and cons. If you have been in the US for a while you might want to try Singapore or if you haven't lived in Asia that much. If you want to stay in a western country a bit longer then Chicago is where you want to be (I agree Chicago is lovely as well). In general though Singapore is a very nice place, very orderly, convenient and clean and I dare to say a lot has changed over the past few years and Singapore has a lot to offer. Plus the younger generation is actually quite open and positive and it is easy to make good friends.


Whichever you choose, good luck! Do not hesitate should you have more questions.

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Re: Chicago or Singapore for 27yrs old single HK girl? Pls H

Postby louy » Mon, 14 Sep 2009 11:48 am

smarty9999 wrote:
2. I am 27 yrs old single female (originally from HK, speaks cantonese). Is it easy to make friends from HK? Of course i want to make friends with local people as well, but I would like to find ppl whom i can speak cantonese with.



I will let the others comment on all the other points, as I have limited exprience with those topics.

With regards to Cantonese, I have found loads of Cantonese speakers here. Most people in my office know Cantonese. Even if they do not speak it, they understand it.

I frequently hear multi-language conversations in this office. Some one will be talking in Cantonese, the person will reply in English, and another person will respond in Mandarin. It is always funny to hear.

Plus HK is so close by and cheap to get to. We have been in Singapore for just one year so far, but have been to HK 5 times. Just remember, when you are back in HK, they do not understand Singlish there.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Mon, 14 Sep 2009 12:00 pm

Singapore: No snow.
Chicago: Lots and lots of snow.

Singapore: No winter.
Chicago: Freeze your ass off winter with bitter winds off the lake.

Singapore: Very reasonable personal income tax.
Chicago: Might higher US income tax rates, plus state income tax.

Singapore: Low crime rate.
Chicago: Much higher crime rate, corruption, gangs.

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Postby smarty9999 » Tue, 15 Sep 2009 5:28 am

Thanks for all your responses! They are very helpful. I think I will take a look at those condos and decide whether I want to pay the rent.
Since safety is not an issue, I will probably look for places near the bars or night places so that I can go out more often...

I know singapore is warmer than chicago, but I also heard from some ppl that it's really humid and hot. And that those summer months are almost unbearable...I guess I will just stay indoor during those months..

Do you know anybody who is a foreigner and actually buys a house in singapore? I was thinking if I were to pay high rent, I might as well use those money to pay a mortgage to and get house..and then sell it when I leave the country..any advice on that?

any advice will be greatly appreciated. :D

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Postby Strong Eagle » Tue, 15 Sep 2009 7:25 am

Yes, it is humid... but not unbearable.

Just one other thing: It will probably be much easier to get a work permit in Singapore than in the US. Sounds like you would be coming in on the H1B visa program... instantly filled every year.

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Postby jpatokal » Tue, 15 Sep 2009 2:47 pm

smarty9999 wrote:Do you know anybody who is a foreigner and actually buys a house in singapore? I was thinking if I were to pay high rent, I might as well use those money to pay a mortgage to and get house..and then sell it when I leave the country..any advice on that?

Not too many expats here buy: property markets here are a rollercoaster, if you time it wrong you may find it hard to dispose of your property at a sensible price. Also, despite your good salary, you may find it hard to get a mortgage since you're young, presumably unmarried and only holding an EP.
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Postby irvine » Wed, 16 Sep 2009 10:32 am

How about making a trip to Singapore for a few days to look around... and get a look and feel of the place?

To compare and contrast:

Similarities - Commercial hub, availability of good arts, music, performances, museums, clubs, good mix of people & cuisines

Differences
- Weather (Singapore can be hot and humid at times, but if your job is mostly office based, it's fine. And, there are a lot of shopping centers around, comes with free AC.)

- Recreation (Singapore is an island, hence it tends to get crowded in public or even private events and places. However, it is relatively easy to travel to various countries in Asia for vacation; In Chicago, there're different things to do in each season, and there's all the nice road trips you could go in US.)

- Work culture (This one depends on what type of industry you're in. I find Singaporeans generally are quite hardworking, i.e. work till late.)

- Being closer to home (Whichever city applies for you)

- Local culture (This is good experience to have in life in general)

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Postby littlegreenman » Wed, 16 Sep 2009 3:58 pm

irvine wrote:- Work culture (This one depends on what type of industry you're in. I find Singaporeans generally are quite hardworking, i.e. work till late.)


To a certain extend this is a myth though. I have been working from 7.30 to 9pm here in London every day without lunch breaks for the last two years until I have started doing my postgraduate studies recently. I do not see how working hours could be worse in Singapore unless they are planning to put you on life support to keep you working beyond 13 hour days.

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Postby local2009 » Wed, 16 Sep 2009 4:15 pm

From a local's perspective, your salary will allow you to live comfortably.

Food: one plate of rice or noodle can be as low as S$2.50, ok Raffles place may cost S$3, S$3.50. With a drink, perhaps $5 for lunch. Unless you prefer to eat at the restuarant every meal, food is Singapore is very affordable. $1000/mth will allow you to eat pretty well.

Transportation: Since you will be working in Raffles area, there is no need to own a car.... JUST choose to stay near a subway station and you will be all right. To and fro home to office should not cost you more than $5 per day. $500/mth would be more than enough.

Housing, price can range from $500/rm, to $2,500 or more depending on what you want. You can fix a budget and then decide from there the location and the type of housing (Condo, HDB etc).

By normal standard, you will surely be able to save monthly.

Cheers

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Postby Asian_Geekette » Wed, 16 Sep 2009 4:16 pm

smarty9999 wrote:Since safety is not an issue, I will probably look for places near the bars or night places so that I can go out more often...

In that case, consider checking out places around Robertson Quay and Orchard Road.

smarty9999 wrote:Do you know anybody who is a foreigner and actually buys a house in singapore? I was thinking if I were to pay high rent, I might as well use those money to pay a mortgage to and get house..and then sell it when I leave the country..any advice on that?

any advice will be greatly appreciated. :D


Even if you're a foreigner, you can buy a condo unit here. As what jpatokal wrote, if you plan to sell it off later, you may have some difficulties. Or once you decide to leave Singapore, you can just rent it out if you can not sell it.

Before you accept any offer, (if you can) visit Singapore first and get a feel for the place. :)
My business is not to remake myself, but make the absolute best out of what God made. -Robert Browning

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Postby asianbull » Thu, 17 Sep 2009 3:16 pm

Hi

At that pay, you will definitely be more "well off" in singapore vs Chicago. Pls do not forget to factor in personal taxes. SG would be def. lower than US.

Apart from apartment rental, which you have a wide choice of few hundred if you co-share a room to a small private condominium for a couple Ks. I would say to set aside SGD1500 do have something comfy.

Food is really reasonable so depending on your lifestyle, u shld still be able to save some.


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