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Transfer to SG from Silicon Valley?

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Transfer to SG from Silicon Valley?

Postby lss » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 8:33 am

Hello Everyone,

Newbie on this forum. Nice to meet you.

I currently work in Silicon Valley as an engineer, and my company (one of the biggest tech companies) just offered me to transfer to the SG office for SGD 13k/month (including housing). It is a bit of a raw deal for me since I need to take a 10%-15% paycut :shock: but at the same time the after tax numbers kind of work out given the 3x% tax that I am paying.

I do expect to pay slightly more in housing, but rent isn't cheap in the valley either.

I am single, no kids, us citizen, so a small part of my income will be subject to US tax.

From the math that I can do here, it seems my disposable income (after tax, rent, and transportation) is roughly the same. I multiplied my housing expense by 150%, and assume other stuffs will be generally the same.

Leaving aside $ for a sec, I am quite interested in the transfer as it will allow me an opportunity to explore SE Asia, and I heard the male:female ratio is a lot more manageable than SV :D but I don't want to get screwed to move there.

Should I take it?

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 9:35 am

Been there, done that. Yes, take it. When I first went to Singapore a few years ago my numbers were similar to yours (overall comp not counting stock, and about the same loss). I was able to save a lot more every month over there than I am here.

What you think you're losing will be more than made up by lower taxes. I don't know what you pay in the bay, but the housing costs are actually about the same now if you're renting here. I'm at ~$2900USD/month in San Jose and could easily get something comparable in Singapore for the same or less.

Eating out in Singapore for quick meals (what you're liking to eat as a single person) is much cheaper, and comparable for nicer dinners with friends.

If you have any specific questions, feel free to ask. I was here (Bay) for 7 years, then Singapore for 3, back here again since spring, but headed back to SG shortly. On this forum you need five posts to send a PM. I'm quite curious who you work for if you're interested in sharing, as I work for a company that could be yours and know a lot of Bay<-->SG transplants at many of the big ones. (Google, Apple, FB, Visa, HP, etc)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 9:40 am

NO. Never take the pay cut. If you do, when you transfer back you will come back for the same rate that you are here for or back at your pre-sojourn US salary. Not good as you also lose your local seniority in the US. However, if you are young enough, and are doing it for the "Asian" experience and are single, why not.

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 9:48 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:NO. Never take the pay cut. If you do, when you transfer back you will come back for the same rate that you are here for or back at your pre-sojourn US salary. Not good as you also lose your local seniority in the US. However, if you are young enough, and are doing it for the "Asian" experience and are single, why not.


IME the experience for where the OP is at in his career is worth it. Lifestyle too, given what he (correctly) states about the heterosexual dating scene in the bay area. Worst case, he will just be jaded about taxes and American women when/if he returns.

I can be a case study on everything above, happy to chat about it over a beer. :)

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 10:35 am

Hi ISS and welcome to the forum.
You’ll find many other such recent discussions in a similar vein: ‘Is this offered package enough?’. Do some digging around as they will help guide you.
There are various competing forces here. Your employer might not have a clear grasp on costs here. And/or they might be low-balling you in the hope they can get you cheap (this happened to me once when with my trusting ‘Wow Asia, cool!’ rose-tinted spectacles on I simply accepted the offer on the table).
What I will say (suggest/IMHO) is not to take a cut to come here. Why should you, after all it’s you taking a leap into the unknown coming here, and assuming all the parallel stress, uncertainty and risks. You can almost guarantee you’ll be putting in more hours, and perhaps ‘on-call’ out of hours for conf-calls etc back home too. I think a lot of people would be expecting additional remuneration to compensate for that, rather than accepting a cut.
I suspect if you consider the offer ‘a raw deal’ now, your opinion of it is never going to improve. In two minds before you even get here doesn’t bode very well. I completely understand that there are expats who seek to move here for 2ndary reasons; to be nearer family, or because they’ve always dreamt of a stint in this part of the world, that to them is a kind of intangible additional benefit-in-kind of value. Do you have any such compensatory factors or is this simply them offering you a transfer because you are the best man for the job?
Income taxes are lower here but then beer is way more expensive, as are other things including the cost of living (in general terms) for a westerner. Be careful of back-filling cherry-picked stats ‘to make the package work ok’.
In an ideal world an offered package should enthuse you. That is how your employer would want you to feel right, enthused to go and take on the job, rather than somewhat jaundiced from the outset that the package is nickel and diming you.
--- Those are just some random thoughts. If I were you I’d be wary of getting low-balled, intentionally or otherwise, and curious how they came up with their numbers. Perhaps just ask them what the basis of the package figure is, that granularity will help you consider their costings/assumptions.

Don’t get me wrong. You could certainly move here and have a great lifestyle on that salary. I’m just cautioning against under-selling yourself, and hence it merits deeper thought.

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Postby brian_singapore » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 10:49 am

It really depends on what your priorities are. If you want to get out and have adventures in SE Asia (or the world in general) then I'd go for it.

If the overall pay reduction is enough to keep you thinking about it during your stay here, then I'd think twice.

I personally would have jumped at the opportunity at your age. And 13k will give a single guy a very nice standard of living here (which honestly, is probably more important then the dollar value). SV is probably one of the few places with a comparable or higher cost of living then Singapore. Living here with a family of 4, my current view is that while my standard of living is different from back home, my overall standard of living is higher here. What I don't pay in taxes generally subsidizes the higher costs of rent and transportation and I feel like I'm coming out in the same ballpark or a little bit ahead.

If you do come, make sure you post at least 1 more time a year from now and let us all know your views on how it turned out.

Can't comment on the dating scene, been married for a very long time.

Edit: In the interest of balance on standard of living, I should point out that our overall compensation here is the same or marginally more then back home. So slightly different situation from taking a pay cut. But the cost of living back home was a lot less then SV.

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 11:17 am

brian_singapore wrote:SV is probably one of the few places with a comparable or higher cost of living then Singapore.


I'd like to see a current 'COLA' table. My relatives visit from Scandinavia and think the $20 beers here are cheap :o :lol:

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Postby brian_singapore » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 11:19 am

When friends back home ask me what the cost of living here is like, I tell them 'Three things are really expensive: Rent, Cars and Beer. Pick 2.'.

:D

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Postby JR8 » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 11:44 am

brian_singapore wrote:When friends back home ask me what the cost of living here is like, I tell them 'Three things are really expensive: Rent, Cars and Beer. Pick 2.'.

:D


Good one :lol:

p.s. mebbe oso add local ladies into that mix somewhere

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 12:27 pm

JR8 wrote:
brian_singapore wrote:SV is probably one of the few places with a comparable or higher cost of living then Singapore.


I'd like to see a current 'COLA' table. My relatives visit from Scandinavia and think the $20 beers here are cheap :o :lol:


Quite expensive.

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/co ... =Singapore

San Francisco vs Singapore, which isn't quite "Silicon Valley" but quite a few people make the commute. If they drive themselves, that's ~130km round trip a day. Public transportation if it exists will be at $10-15 USD and take at least 90 minutes each way.

There are closer areas and cheaper areas to live in SV, but any area someone would actually *want* to live will be very cost comparable (at least for rent) to San Francisco above.

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Postby Wd40 » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 12:54 pm

This further validates my comment in the other thread that now with Singapore property cycle(both rents and house prices) going in the opposite direction to those in other major cities, cost of living here is now lower. Hence higher disposable income. We are in a sweet spot atleast for the next 2 years. Thanks for this thread, OP :)

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 1:06 pm

Actually, it's not such a sweet spot. You might find yourself out of a job in 3 or 6 months. Nothing is stable here at the moment. Rents coming down are about the only thing that is becoming more bearable.

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Postby Wd40 » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 1:16 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Actually, it's not such a sweet spot. You might find yourself out of a job in 3 or 6 months. Nothing is stable here at the moment. Rents coming down are about the only thing that is becoming more bearable.


I agree. All this is provided you have a stable job and don't have problems with getting a new EP/getting your EP renewed.

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Postby GSM8 » Sat, 04 Oct 2014 1:29 pm

OP, adding to everything else on this thread, of recent that 10-15% reduction from Bay area pay seems to have become the norm unless you are filling a specific niche position in Singapore that they haven't been able to find anyone else for. That's what I experienced when I moved here last Jan. ZZM would definitely have the best perspective overall, but in my experience I am saving more in Singapore than I expected to (of course I can't drive a nice car like I got to in SJ, but then again, I am not missing it much).

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Postby thismyvoice » Sun, 05 Oct 2014 9:06 pm

brian_singapore wrote:When friends back home ask me what the cost of living here is like, I tell them 'Three things are really expensive: Rent, Cars and Beer. Pick 2.'.

:D


You forget cigarette. :D


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