Singapore Expats Forum

Is it worth it financially and emotionally

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

EEL
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Is it worth it financially and emotionally

Postby EEL » Wed, 04 Jul 2007 1:43 pm

We are toying with the idea of moving to Singapore to live and work for a couple of years. Before we start looking into visas, applying for jobs, looking at schools etc etc, I would be interested in finding out the experiences and thoughts of expats.

We have been to Singapore several times and really liked it. However we have only been on holiday and I know that is a different kettle of fish to living and working in a place. I would be interested to find out how people find living in Singapore (particularly people with children as we have a 5 year old).

The other thing is the financial side. If we were young and just starting out, it wouldn't really matter so much - but our situation is such at the moment that we really don't want to go somewhere where our finances will suffer. Is it possible to save money whilst living and working in Singapore? We are not the type of family to go out alot and certainly wouldn't be looking to rent somewhere very flash and expensive.

Any thoughts or comments will be very gratefully received.

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jpatokal
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Postby jpatokal » Wed, 04 Jul 2007 11:37 pm

Your questions are rather broad to say the least... but yes, most expats love Sing and you can save considerable amounts of money if you want to and can budget accordingly.
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Hedgie
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Postby Hedgie » Wed, 04 Jul 2007 11:56 pm

Agree with jpa, some more information would make it easier to answer. I was very worried about moving to Singapore. I had visited a number of times for business but would just have meetings all day and never really got a sense of the city. Now that I'm here I love it. It's a really beautiful city and you can get virtually anything here that you can get in the States. The only thing I miss are some of the local New York things, like good bagels and a good deli. But the city has a great business and social climate. The quality of life here is very very high. As far as money goes from what I can tell Singapore is an easy place to blow money but also an easy place to spend very modestly. Flashy things seem to be hugely important to many people here, even moreso than they are in the States. If you don't buy into the bling bling nonsense you shouldn't have any problem spending modestly.

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Postby Evan_SIN » Thu, 05 Jul 2007 1:01 am

Love Singapore, but the houseing prices are crazy !
General living can be cheap, from AU the prices of most things from toilet paper to fruit and vegagtables and better, cheap eatingf at the harkers but alcohol and eating out in fancy places will be expensive.

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Bonbon
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Postby Bonbon » Thu, 05 Jul 2007 9:19 am

Cost of living here compares to Aus I would say is much lower (if you stick with moderate style of living.

Bare in mind of the tax saving, back in Australasia, Europe and US you will be paying high tax(es), here..personal tax highest is probably what 10%? and that is if you're earning what more than $200k? $300k? ...??

Every half year I go back home (NZ) for a visit, and everytime it seems to me prices have gone up....i guess more or less the same to Aus's pricing....

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prkravi
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Really Depends

Postby prkravi » Thu, 05 Jul 2007 3:02 pm

Depends on how much you earn really.
The parameter to compare starts there..

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Postby blueibmer » Thu, 05 Jul 2007 5:19 pm

Hi, just came across this post in another website, just a word of caution on how other expats view Singapore, but personally, i'm liking it here in SG (only working here for ~3weeks)...


Finally Leaving Singapore
by Patricia Tan


It's late afternoon; I've been packing all day. My living room's littered with cardboard boxes to be picked up tomorrow by an international Moving Company. I'm tired and sweaty, and my back aches from lifting heavy piles of books. But there's a smile on my face that won't go away: my husband and I are finally leaving Singapore.

I'm a thirty year old Australian and have been living in Singapore for eight years. Love brought me here: my partner is Singaporean. We met at a university in my home town, Perth, Western Australia. After we graduated, I followed him to Singapore.

It was exciting at first. Having never lived anywhere else besides the small, quiet city of Perth, Singapore struck me as a cosmopolitan metropolis, a financial hub, a bustling shipping port. It seemed like my future here would be bright and happy.

Now I can't wait to leave. I despise Singapore and have wanted to leave for years. Packing up all of our personal belongings and moving back to Australia feels like a dream come true.

Shoes are next on my packing checklist. It horrifies me to discover that my favorite pair of leather boots is covered in mildew. This follows an earlier discovery of mildew on clothes in the back of my wardrobe. The small fortune we have spent on dehumidifiers has not helped at all. Frustrated, I wipe the sweat from my brow and more beads of sweat appear almost immediately. Curse the constant hot and humid weather here! It'll be wonderful to experience four seasons again, to feel chilly winter winds and curl up beneath a warm blanket. The perennial tropical climate in Singapore is definitely not for me.

To calm down, I look at the view outside my living room window. It's raining heavily, like it has been every afternoon for the past two weeks. It's monsoon season. There are large waterlogged fields of grass on my right. On my left looming block of residential flats nearly identical to my own. They remind me of pigeon holes in an office mailing room. It's probably only a matter of time until the grass fields are developed into more flats. Living space is a premium on this tiny island with over four million people.

Singapore's crowded environment has never suited me. There are high rise buildings, people and cars everywhere. The lack of wide open space is stifling. Homesickness overwhelms me, making me long for a drive through the countryside just outside of Perth.

The high density living here has also created an unspoken class system. More than 80% of the population, including my partner and me, live in "HDB flats" built by a government organization called the Housing Development Board. Those who can afford a bit more live in private condominiums. Those who are even more affluent live in houses, which most Singaporeans refer to as "landed property". Moving from an HDB flat to a private condominium or landed property is called "upgrading" rather than simply "moving". When speaking to Singaporeans who live in more "upgraded" abodes, I sometimes feel like they are looking down on me. Such as when my ex-boss--a pampered girl in her mid-30's who still lives with her parents in their large luxurious house--said to me, "I don't mean to sound spoilt, but I cannot imagine living in an HDB flat."

Upgrading, earning more money, and gaining more material possessions are top priorities here.

It also seems important to keep track of the financial status of others. No one wants to lose or get left behind. 'Kiasu' (Hokkien for "scared to lose") is a term I often hear Singaporeans use when describing their fellow Singaporeans. Asking people, even strangers, nosey questions about their income or how much they paid for their home, car and other assets is a common occurrence (something that I find inappropriate and cannot get used to).

Singaporeans are not exactly known for their tact. In general, they come across as rude and obnoxious. Pushing, shoving, asking inappropriate personal questions, making personal remarks (they seem particularly fond of criticizing a person's appearance directly to their face), not bothering to say things like "excuse me" or "thank you", cutting queues, spitting on the floor, yelling and scolding at the drop of a hat, changing lanes on the road without signaling, and not holding the elevator door open are common behaviors. It is no surprise that the Singapore government has been running a "courtesy campaign" for years in an attempt to encourage manners.

I can't wait to leave this tiny, overcrowded, hot and humid island full of rude, materialistic people!

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Postby renter » Fri, 06 Jul 2007 5:00 pm

Most in the article is true.

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Postby Matney » Fri, 06 Jul 2007 5:29 pm

I will add to the discussion that living in Singapore for two and half years has been a great experience for my children. They have seen that there is different way of living, that not all people are as well off as we seem to be. They have met some great children from all sorts of countries. They would not have had that experience living in their home country. I hope that just this experience helps them later on in life.

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Bonbon
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Postby Bonbon » Fri, 06 Jul 2007 6:12 pm

An interesting article, thanks for sharing.

Agree. But like any thing/choice in life. There is always the + and the - . Think this girl focused on the - . there are lots of +(s) as well!

Pros Cons, you need to weigh them yourself...

But once you've made your decision, I think embrace the opportunity (not everyone has the guts to take on the unknown, to step out the comfort zone).

If it really doesnt work in the end, at least you could look back to say, oh well I've done it....

your kid is still young, kids can survive anywhere anyway. It's more about how flexible , how *can do* you are!!

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Postby renter » Sat, 07 Jul 2007 5:29 pm

You are right to say pros and cons are everywhere. But you gotta see what are the pros and cons. Some cons are minor, while some others are fundamental.

Just make sure that the kids don't develop the "myopia" by living on a small island for too long. Even adults fall for that after being here for too long, if you know which myopia I am talking about. There are things in a big country that a small country will never get, no matter how developed it is.

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jpatokal
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Postby jpatokal » Sat, 07 Jul 2007 11:27 pm

renter wrote:Just make sure that the kids don't develop the "myopia" by living on a small island for too long. Even adults fall for that after being here for too long, if you know which myopia I am talking about. There are things in a big country that a small country will never get, no matter how developed it is.

Maybe I've been here too long, but I have no idea what you're talking about. How about an example?
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Postby blueibmer » Mon, 09 Jul 2007 2:24 pm

only been here a couple of weeks, but have to stay for as long as i cud, only after the pay which is x4 of my pay in the philippines. the thought of goin here took less than a month of almost sleepless nights weighing the pros and cons. from the article, the lady must've not been ready to come out of her comfort zone, she just jumpd into the unknown for her guy. i also jumped into the unknown, rolled the dice into the roulette, put my cards on the table or whatever you call it; but i also weighed my odds over and over, and it keeps coming up on my favor in the long run (5-20 yrs from now) if i keep playing my cards right.
for now, i took the jump, but i honestly do not know what to feel yet. i still haven't got my first salary since it's only been 2weeks of work. for my room, i'm only grateful to have my own or share it, ive seen worse conditions back home. pollution and crime rate here is very relatively lower than my mother land. cats here are so much fatter. you also have that funny feeling that someone, somewhere, there some camera looking at what you're doing, which reminds me of the TRUMAN SHOW or Big Brother. ive also experienced bad things here, like not having enough cash to go home (only go out of the house with limited allowance to prevent oversepnding) so i had to walk for 4 hours and worse, got lost coz i didn't carry a map!


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