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initial information needed

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xmj
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initial information needed

Postby xmj » Tue, 25 Nov 2014 5:47 am

Hi to all from Germany.

I am in my mid-30's, female and just starting the discussion with my company about moving to Singapore beginning of 2015.

Our office is around Kallang; job is about developing APAC sales region ( lot of int'l travel activities )

Relocating within Asia is not new to me as I spent a couple of years in China - but I feel unprepared for all negotiations concerning Singapore yet.

I appreciate your comments, advises on b.m. questions:


housing allowance:
I look for a 2 bed-rooms app., new building, compo incl. gym & pool,
next MRT, max 30 min. to office (Kallang) / airport

[*]I heard rent on standard level is min 2.500 SGD / month.
[*]is that sufficient or is a 3.000 / 3.500 SGD more reasonable?
[*]how are rents handled in Singapore (i.e. including tax, gas, water)?


locations suggested
I look for a 2 bed-rooms app., new building, compo incl. gym & pool,
next MRT, max 30 min. to office (Kallang) and to airport
[*]which locations / compos would you recommend (at first choice)?


cost of living
[*]what is the cost of living factor compared to Germany?
[*]what is the 'expat bonus' for moving from Europe to Singapore? (balancing relocation, cultural shock etc)
[*]which 'variables' ( exchange rate / inflation rate etc) should be fixed in the contract?

Salary package
+15 years working experience in Europe & Asia
Job: developing APAC sales region, start-up team (copy-paste from HQ)
[*] are any 'initial kick-of bonus' annual 'mbo bonus' 'annual salary increasing rates' usual ?
[*]at which level the package starts to be suitable?
[*]and what would be a very good package?



taxation
I read about 182 days rules, 8-15% tax + double taxation agreement with Germany is in place.
[*]how is taxation handled?
[*]are usually tax service providers (for home country + Singapore) included acc. to your experience?

insurances
[*]are global health insurances working in Singapore well - any additional needed (e.g. teeth, emergency)?
[*]pension insurance - are expats automatically paying into Singapore's pensions funds - how are the domestic pensions steered? Do you have recommentions?
[*]any special household + legal etc insurances needed ?

mobility
[*]flight packages:
What is your experience & recommendation: economy or business? 2x / year?
I will be frequent flyer to APAC, but need of course flights to Germany.

[*]taxi allowances or car?
As my German package includes a company car I would require a car - but I know about the high vehicle expenses.
So to get a feeling for the value of a car in Singapore, please share your opinion:
[*]what is the value of a car (e.g. Golf class) vs. monthly taxi allowances?
or:
[*]what is the value of a car (e.g. Golf class) as upgrade on a the salary?
and:
[*]would you recommend somebody, travelling a lot through APAC to insist in a car - or are car rentals (e.g. for private trips to MAY, grocery shopping on rainy days ..) more reasonable?

education & development
how are you handling the personal development (trainings, assessments) in Singapore?


I know these are quite a lot of questions; and most probably a lot of newbies to Singapore are asking quite the same.

As I am sure you are quite familar with these questions I really appreciate your comments (even if I forgot some issues, pls feel free to advise).

Thanks a lot!!

PS: will fly-in for look & see on Thursday.

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taxico
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Re: initial information needed

Postby taxico » Tue, 25 Nov 2014 8:33 pm

xmj wrote:next MRT, max 30 min. to office (Kallang) / airport

[*]how are rents handled in Singapore (i.e. including tax, gas, water)?

[*]taxi allowances or car?
As my German package includes a company car I would require a car - but I know about the high vehicle expenses.
So to get a feeling for the value of a car in Singapore, please share your opinion:
[*]what is the value of a car (e.g. Golf class) vs. monthly taxi allowances?
or:
[*]what is the value of a car (e.g. Golf class) as upgrade on a the salary?
and:
[*]would you recommend somebody, travelling a lot through APAC to insist in a car - or are car rentals (e.g. for private trips to MAY, grocery shopping on rainy days ..) more reasonable?


rent is paid monthly in advance. there is a rental/security deposit, supposedly refundable (your mileage may vary). the deposit is 1 month for a one year contract. 2 months for a 2 year contract.

utilities are usually paid by the tenant and charged according to how much is used. power/water is quick and easy to get going. there is a small deposit required.

singapore's small, about 45 minutes from west to east by car. the main (changi) airport's in the east.

---------------

a brand new 1.4 vw golf (with a 10 year on-road "license") is about 130,000 SG$ (> 80,000 EUR). there are other costs involved with keeping the car on the road.

i would assume a tank of gas is about 80-100 SG$. taxi goes by the meter, as does gas use. if you travel farther, you pay more. i stay in the south, a normal 20 minute taxi ride to the airport is about $18-$20. there are additional charges if you travel by taxi during "peak" hours or late at night/early in the morning.

taxis can be booked at about $50/hour if you need them that way.

an average/cheap car's costs about 1000 SG$/month. add on at least a few hundred bucks a month for maintenance/gas/insurance/taxes/parking/"tolls". it is entirely possible to spend as much on taxis ($50 x 28 days = $1,400).

car rental starts from about $65/day. there are STILL costs associated (parking, gas, "tolls"). car sharing schemes... i would not go there.

the cheapest monthly car rental i know of is about $700/month (long term rental). you won't get a nice awesome car, but just something that moves.
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

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Re: initial information needed

Postby beppi » Wed, 26 Nov 2014 6:06 pm

I'm also German and lived in Singapore for 12 years.

xmj wrote:housing allowance:
I look for a 2 bed-rooms app., new building, compo incl. gym & pool,
next MRT, max 30 min. to office (Kallang) / airport
[*]I heard rent on standard level is min 2.500 SGD / month.
[*]is that sufficient or is a 3.000 / 3.500 SGD more reasonable?
[*]how are rents handled in Singapore (i.e. including tax, gas, water)?

For what you have in mind, S$3500/month might be the lower limit.

xmj wrote:locations suggested
I look for a 2 bed-rooms app., new building, compo incl. gym & pool,
next MRT, max 30 min. to office (Kallang) and to airport
[*]which locations / compos would you recommend (at first choice)?

Singapore is small enough that location doesn't matter much.

xmj wrote:cost of living
[*]what is the cost of living factor compared to Germany?
[*]what is the 'expat bonus' for moving from Europe to Singapore? (balancing relocation, cultural shock etc)
[*]which 'variables' ( exchange rate / inflation rate etc) should be fixed in the contract?

For cost of living comparisons check numbeo.com.
Everything else is up to your negotiations.

xmj wrote:Salary package
+15 years working experience in Europe & Asia
Job: developing APAC sales region, start-up team (copy-paste from HQ)
[*] are any 'initial kick-of bonus' annual 'mbo bonus' 'annual salary increasing rates' usual ?
[*]at which level the package starts to be suitable?
[*]and what would be a very good package?

There are no standards for Expat packages and everything is up to your negotiations and how urgently the company wants you there.
In my personal opinion, keeping the same pre-tax salary as in German (with the much lower local taxes and deductions) is already a bargain!

xmj wrote:taxation
I read about 182 days rules, 8-15% tax + double taxation agreement with Germany is in place.
[*]how is taxation handled?
[*]are usually tax service providers (for home country + Singapore) included acc. to your experience?

Taxation in Singapore is very low and tax is collected in the year after you earned the taxable income. The system is so easy and straightforward that you don't need a tax service provider!

xmj wrote:insurances
[*]are global health insurances working in Singapore well - any additional needed (e.g. teeth, emergency)?
[*]pension insurance - are expats automatically paying into Singapore's pensions funds - how are the domestic pensions steered? Do you have recommentions?
[*]any special household + legal etc insurances needed ?

Most Singapore employers include (local, and often limited - read the fineprint!) health cover in their package. Anything above that is up to you.
You won't be required to contribute to any pension fund or similar (unless you become PR).
Very few people in Singapore have any other insurance.

xmj wrote:mobility
[*]flight packages:
What is your experience & recommendation: economy or business? 2x / year?
I will be frequent flyer to APAC, but need of course flights to Germany.

This is up to your negotiations.

xmj wrote:[*]taxi allowances or car?
As my German package includes a company car I would require a car - but I know about the high vehicle expenses.
So to get a feeling for the value of a car in Singapore, please share your opinion:
[*]what is the value of a car (e.g. Golf class) vs. monthly taxi allowances?
or:
[*]what is the value of a car (e.g. Golf class) as upgrade on a the salary?
and:
[*]would you recommend somebody, travelling a lot through APAC to insist in a car - or are car rentals (e.g. for private trips to MAY, grocery shopping on rainy days ..) more reasonable?

Given the cost (and hazzle) of having a car, compared to the efficiency and much lower cost of taxis and public transport, I'd definitely choose the latter.

xmj wrote:education & development
how are you handling the personal development (trainings, assessments) in Singapore?

Not sure what you mean, but most larger companies arrange applicable trainings, and there are also providers where you can arrange things privately.

xmj
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Re: initial information needed

Postby xmj » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:48 am

Thanks Taxico.

That is a good overview for the monthly values!

Mostly my colleagues are picking me up or gringing me to the hotel ... but I remember days, standing 20 minutes on the road waiting for an empty taxi.

That is something I already hated in China: especially on rainy days no taxis available.
Is that a problem in here -and if ses, how to solve?
Means are you having a standwrd taxi driver for the way to the office?


Thanks Beppi.

What do you mean with hazzles having a car? Cleaning & looking for parkings?

Yes, you are right, at the end it is about my negotation skills :-)
I have just no feeling for the expenses and whether I forget something (because I have of course my China experiences in mind).

At leasr I am happy to be here now, even inly for 1 day: it is better to smell the local air and talking about relocating than sitting in frosty Germany and thinking about with the limited horizon.

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zzm9980
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Re: initial information needed

Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 5:04 am

xmj wrote:That is something I already hated in China: especially on rainy days no taxis available.
Is that a problem in here -and if ses, how to solve?


It is indeed a problem in Singapore also. Comparable to Shanghai. Same solution as Shanghai also: luck or ’关系‘

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Re: initial information needed

Postby nakatago » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 5:49 am

xmj wrote:At leasr I am happy to be here now, even inly for 1 day: it is better to smell the local air and talking about relocating than sitting in frosty Germany and thinking about with the limited horizon.



Awww.....that's nice. We hope that you'll continue to be part of our little Singapore expats community for many, many, many years to come.

:cool:





:wink:

xmj
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Re: initial information needed

Postby xmj » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:57 am

zzm9980 wrote:
xmj wrote:That is something I already hated in China: especially on rainy days no taxis available.
Is that a problem in here -and if ses, how to solve?


It is indeed a problem in Singapore also. Comparable to Shanghai. Same solution as Shanghai also: luck or ’关系‘


Ok.

xmj
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Re: initial information needed

Postby xmj » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:59 am

nakatago wrote:
xmj wrote:At leasr I am happy to be here now, even inly for 1 day: it is better to smell the local air and talking about relocating than sitting in frosty Germany and thinking about with the limited horizon.



Awww.....that's nice. We hope that you'll continue to be part of our little Singapore expats community for many, many, many years to come.

:cool:





:wink:



:-) Thanks. Decision will be before x-mas.

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Re: initial information needed

Postby JR8 » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 12:47 pm

Mein Gott , was für ein episches Liste!
Welcome to the forum, I’ll have a go at some of your questions :)

xmj wrote:housing allowance: I look for a 2 bed-rooms app., new building, compo incl. gym & pool, next MRT, max 30 min. to office (Kallang) / airport.


First I’d suggest deciding on what area might work best for you...
‘GUIDE: Where should I/we consider living?’
viewtopic.php?t=101985
I won’t pre-empt how you might reply to that by making any suggestions at this point.

xmj wrote:[*]I heard rent on standard level is min 2.500 SGD / month.
[*]is that sufficient or is a 3.000 / 3.500 SGD more reasonable?
[*]how are rents handled in Singapore (i.e. including tax, gas, water)?


Sounds like you’re looking for a condo, so it’s unlikely you’d find anything meeting your requirements almost anywhere in the country for $2.5k. But rather than trying to do this process in reverse, and since you have no fixed budget yet, fill in the questionnaire and lets see if we can decide upon ‘reasonable needs’ and hence budget...

xmj wrote:... [*]which locations / compos would you recommend (at first choice)?

As above.

xmj wrote:cost of living
[*]what is the cost of living factor compared to Germany?
[*]what is the 'expat bonus' for moving from Europe to Singapore? (balancing relocation, cultural shock etc)
[*]which 'variables' ( exchange rate / inflation rate etc) should be fixed in the contract?


A link to a COLA [Numbeo] database has been provided above by another poster.

xmj wrote:Salary package
+15 years working experience in Europe & Asia
Job: developing APAC sales region, start-up team (copy-paste from HQ)
[*] are any 'initial kick-of bonus' annual 'mbo bonus' 'annual salary increasing rates' usual ?
[*]at which level the package starts to be suitable?
[*]and what would be a very good package?


I’m not sure what some of these are. IME it seems to run more along the US/UK model. I.e Basic Salary + variable bonus + benefits. You don’t get a raise beyond inflation unless you take on greater responsibilities.
When a company is hiring, the budget for the basic salary has already often been fixed, or fixed within a set range as part of a departmental, > division, > total corporate budget for the year ahead. So there’s not usually huge flexibility with that number. Variable bonus is just that, perhaps you will have KPIs to meet, or they will give you some idea how any bonus might be calculated. Lastly benefits, this seems to be where there can be room to negotiate.
I should also say that there is a difference between doing an ‘internal corporate transfer’ and negotiating for a position in a new company. The former tends to more of a fixed package on the table kind of situation. The latter offers more latitude to negotiate.


xmj wrote:taxation
I read about 182 days rules, 8-15% tax + double taxation agreement with Germany is in place.
[*]how is taxation handled?
[*]are usually tax service providers (for home country + Singapore) included acc. to your experience?


I don’t recall there being witholding taxes on salary here. AFAIR you get paid gross and are responsible for your own tax return and payment each year end. But I’m sure this is covered in one or other Help topics here.
Having accountants to do your returns is one ‘benefit’ you can definitely request. It is a huge benefit to you, and because they will probably use their accountants/auditors to do the work, the cost to the company is not very much. Indeed when I was in employment here Deloitte+Touche did my returns for me [both here, and for back home], and they did it gratis/as a courtesy/for goodwill for the company. The thinking is: If you are expected to be working your nuts off (and you will be) you don't have time to learn about the entire tax-code of a foreign country.

xmj wrote:insurances
[*]are global health insurances working in Singapore well - any additional needed (e.g. teeth, emergency)?
[*]pension insurance - are expats automatically paying into Singapore's pensions funds - how are the domestic pensions steered? Do you have recommentions?
[*]any special household + legal etc insurances needed ?


You need health insurance as medical costs here are high. [I posted just this week about how I’ve already paid about $500 to not yet resolve a simple ear infection].
Nope. You won’t be paying into any local pension. If you are currently under a German corporate scheme, you might explore whether contributions to that can continue during your time here. IME it is far better to keep an established scheme going, than pausing it and having pension ‘fragments’ scattered elsewhere around the world. For locals they pay into ‘CPF’, but this this won’t apply to you, and ... that’s about it.
I’ve never had any household or legal or other such ‘domestic’ insurance here. And it’s not a thing you see discussed either, QED?

xmj wrote:mobility
[*]flight packages:
What is your experience & recommendation: economy or business? 2x / year?
I will be frequent flyer to APAC, but need of course flights to Germany.


Most people I know don’t visit home more than once a year (some less often, and some hardly at all). So I wouldn’t plan for more than once a year. Depending on where you are based it might turn out to be one hell of a journey. Frankfurt and Munich are not so bad as the flights are direct, but god forbid you have to start by making a domestic connection on LH (the joys of a missed connection and having to overnight in some hotel in a business park on the fringes of FRA). [A trick is to pay LH prices but fly on SQ planes, under the codeshare, but that’s one for another discussion].


xmj wrote:[*]taxi allowances or car?
As my German package includes a company car I would require a car - but I know about the high vehicle expenses.
So to get a feeling for the value of a car in Singapore, please share your opinion:


‘Taxi allowance’ – I’ve never heard of such a thing. If you want a taxi you pay for it yourself.
Just because you have a car in Germany does not entitle you to one in your package here. Furthermore you do not need a car here. If they offer you one fine, but be aware that they are $$$ and it might be considered a ‘taxable benefit’. Everything to do with cars is super expensive. It’s like owning a Bentley or Maserati in Europe, absolutely everything from filling the tank to parking to insurance to a simple oil change is going to cost you BIG-time!


xmj wrote:[*]would you recommend somebody, travelling a lot through APAC to insist in a car - or are car rentals (e.g. for private trips to MAY, grocery shopping on rainy days ..) more reasonable?


If you get a car it will cost a fortune and you’ll hardly use it (beyond your commute). After several years here we have just recently bought our first car, a hatchback with 2 or so years left on it’s COE (10 year road license). So I’ve seen how the project changes from visions of travel far and wide to something a little narrower. That said you can get to places that would be something of a challenge by taxi. But I’d suggest that at least initially your focus is likely to be on Downtown, home, work, and perhaps the territory in between each of those.
Furthermore you should note that the public transport here is superb and cheap!

xmj wrote:education & development - how are you handling the personal development (trainings, assessments) in Singapore?

I don’t remember any of that at a corporate level here. ‘Staff development’ is not something I encountered in Asia. If you wish to study in your own time, then I don’t see a problem, that is more the attitude IME.

Good luck, hope the weather here isn’t proving too much of a shock to the system!!
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard

xmj
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Re: initial information needed

Postby xmj » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 9:00 pm

Let's start with the questionnaire :???:

Priorities:
- your budget (approx range)
>> 2500 SGD +

- your workplace/s (don't name names, just approx neighbourhood)
>> Allang

- the size and/or type of property that you are seeking (#bedrooms, on-site facilities etc)
>> 1- 2 bedroom(s) (mandatory only 1 bedroom, the 2nd one nice to have for friend's visiting)
> min. 50 sqm
> bathroom with both tube + shower preferred
> Gym & pool on site
> loving high floors (e.g. stayed in 32nd in the past) - but not mandatory

- will you have a car here?
>> not sure - so let's start with a NO.

- proximity to transport required. MRT-subway/buses/the airport/Malay border post (if so, which one).
>> near working place (are condos available around PICL building?), near MRT

- will you have any accompanying children needing to attend school? If so, age/s?
>> no, just myself.


Nice to have:
- will you need to be able to say walk to the local shops, a library, your doctor, a market, and so on?
>> in a dream world: walking distance to some nice bars, coffeeshops, supermarkets - and maybe a park (something green)


- access to any specific sport, social, and recreation facilities?
>> dream world: Gym & pool on site (not dedicated to the appartment - just to the condo.)

- are you considering bringing any pets. If so what kind, and will they require outdoor access and/or exercise?
>> no, as any pet would suffer from my onoging travel activities :(

- are you considering bringing any parents/in-laws etc? Do they have specific needs (for example difficulty climbing stairs?)
>> n.a.

Your current home and commute:
- are you already a city dweller? i.e. Are you used to city-centre hustle and bustle, or would you hope for a bit more peace and quiet?
>> both: for Germany I prefer the country side (as it is rural nature) - for metro cities like Singapore or Shanghai center is fine (as you can enjoy everything at short distances)

- what is the size and type (apartment, house+garden etc) of your current home?
>> both: house with garden next to the sea - appartment with balcony next to work.. around 150 sqm in totla (only the appartment to relocate)

- what are any current commute times like?
>> home to home: 3.5 -6hours
>> appartment to work: 10 minutes

.... so if office & appartment could be in walking distance, that might solve all questions about cars :roll:

xmj
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Re: initial information needed

Postby xmj » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 9:21 pm

JR8 wrote:Mein Gott , was für ein episches Liste!
Welcome to the forum, I’ll have a go at some of your questions :)
:-) thanks JR8
yes, lot of questions - I am trying to squeeze my mind in order to get a better understanding of Singapore, as otherwise I stick with China experiences



xmj wrote:housing allowance: I look for a 2 bed-rooms app., new building, compo incl. gym & pool, next MRT, max 30 min. to office (Kallang) / airport.


First I’d suggest deciding on what area might work best for you...
‘GUIDE: Where should I/we consider living?’
viewtopic.php?t=101985
I won’t pre-empt how you might reply to that by making any suggestions at this point.

I have just posted my answers.
In fact: I have seen so many appartments in China, and some in India ... suppose I really need to have a look around to get a feeling for the local standard.


xmj wrote:[*]I heard rent on standard level is min 2.500 SGD / month.
[*]is that sufficient or is a 3.000 / 3.500 SGD more reasonable?
[*]how are rents handled in Singapore (i.e. including tax, gas, water)?


Sounds like you’re looking for a condo, yes, in china it was named compound, so I was mixing the wording :wink: so it’s unlikely you’d find anything meeting your requirements almost anywhere in the country for $2.5k. But rather than trying to do this process in reverse, and since you have no fixed budget yet, fill in the questionnaire and lets see if we can decide upon ‘reasonable needs’ and hence budget...
I really guess the gym & pool thing is important - as I really need to move after work & travel

xmj wrote:Salary package
+15 years working experience in Europe & Asia
Job: developing APAC sales region, start-up team (copy-paste from HQ)
[*] are any 'initial kick-of bonus' annual 'mbo bonus' 'annual salary increasing rates' usual ?
[*]at which level the package starts to be suitable?
[*]and what would be a very good package?


I’m not sure what some of these are. IME it seems to run more along the US/UK model. I.e Basic Salary + variable bonus + benefits. You don’t get a raise beyond inflation unless you take on greater responsibilities.
When a company is hiring, the budget for the basic salary has already often been fixed, or fixed within a set range as part of a departmental, > division, > total corporate budget for the year ahead. So there’s not usually huge flexibility with that number. Variable bonus is just that, perhaps you will have KPIs to meet, or they will give you some idea how any bonus might be calculated. Lastly benefits, this seems to be where there can be room to negotiate.
I should also say that there is a difference between doing an ‘internal corporate transfer’ and negotiating for a position in a new company. The former tends to more of a fixed package on the table kind of situation. The latter offers more latitude to negotiate.
it is the corporate transfer so I guess I need to wait for their first offer

xmj wrote:taxation
I read about 182 days rules, 8-15% tax + double taxation agreement with Germany is in place.
[*]how is taxation handled?
[*]are usually tax service providers (for home country + Singapore) included acc. to your experience?


I don’t recall there being witholding taxes on salary here. AFAIR you get paid gross and are responsible for your own tax return and payment each year end. But I’m sure this is covered in one or other Help topics here.
Having accountants to do your returns is one ‘benefit’ you can definitely request. It is a huge benefit to you, and because they will probably use their accountants/auditors to do the work, the cost to the company is not very much. Indeed when I was in employment here Deloitte+Touche did my returns for me [both here, and for back home], and they did it gratis/as a courtesy/for goodwill for the company. The thinking is: If you are expected to be working your nuts off (and you will be) you don't have time to learn about the entire tax-code of a foreign country.

good to know, thanks.
I had those services from PWC with my old company in China and it was very helpful, too


xmj wrote:insurances
[*]are global health insurances working in Singapore well - any additional needed (e.g. teeth, emergency)?
[*]pension insurance - are expats automatically paying into Singapore's pensions funds - how are the domestic pensions steered? Do you have recommentions?
[*]any special household + legal etc insurances needed ?


You need health insurance as medical costs here are high. [I posted just this week about how I’ve already paid about $500 to not yet resolve a simple ear infection].

gute Besserung! - I think I could switch my German health insurance back to a global one; but will check-out the local one first

Nope. You won’t be paying into any local pension. If you are currently under a German corporate scheme, you might explore whether contributions to that can continue during your time here. IME it is far better to keep an established scheme going, than pausing it and having pension ‘fragments’ scattered elsewhere around the world. For locals they pay into ‘CPF’, but this this won’t apply to you, and ... that’s about it.
I’ve never had any household or legal or other such ‘domestic’ insurance here. And it’s not a thing you see discussed either, QED?

xmj wrote:mobility
[*]flight packages:
What is your experience & recommendation: economy or business? 2x / year?
I will be frequent flyer to APAC, but need of course flights to Germany.


Most people I know don’t visit home more than once a year (some less often, and some hardly at all). So I wouldn’t plan for more than once a year. Depending on where you are based it might turn out to be one hell of a journey. Frankfurt and Munich are not so bad as the flights are direct, but god forbid you have to start by making a domestic connection on LH (the joys of a missed connection and having to overnight in some hotel in a business park on the fringes of FRA). [A trick is to pay LH prices but fly on SQ planes, under the codeshare, but that’s one for another discussion].

well, as I keep my small house next to the sea (created as home base despite all those relocations) I will need to fly home at least once (in order not forget my roots) - but you are right, travelling within Asia for annual leave is always a pleasure
xmj wrote:[*]taxi allowances or car?
As my German package includes a company car I would require a car - but I know about the high vehicle expenses.
So to get a feeling for the value of a car in Singapore, please share your opinion:


‘Taxi allowance’ – I’ve never heard of such a thing. If you want a taxi you pay for it yourself.
It was common in China packages -for those not getting a car with a driver. So I supposed it to be applicable here too.
Just because you have a car in Germany does not entitle you to one in your package here. Furthermore you do not need a car here. If they offer you one fine, but be aware that they are $$$ and it might be considered a ‘taxable benefit’. Everything to do with cars is super expensive. It’s like owning a Bentley or Maserati in Europe, absolutely everything from filling the tank to parking to insurance to a simple oil change is going to cost you BIG-time!
it is so amazing, as most of my expat colleagues and managers here have company cars - I was not considering it as so high end & expensive. ... te advise with 'taxable income' sounds not that nice

xmj wrote:[*]would you recommend somebody, travelling a lot through APAC to insist in a car - or are car rentals (e.g. for private trips to MAY, grocery shopping on rainy days ..) more reasonable?


If you get a car it will cost a fortune and you’ll hardly use it (beyond your commute). After several years here we have just recently bought our first car, a hatchback with 2 or so years left on it’s COE (10 year road license). So I’ve seen how the project changes from visions of travel far and wide to something a little narrower. That said you can get to places that would be something of a challenge by taxi. But I’d suggest that at least initially your focus is likely to be on Downtown, home, work, and perhaps the territory in between each of those.
Furthermore you should note that the public transport here is superb and cheap!

maybe I should start 'building up guanxi' to you, as recommanded byZZM9980 for the rainy days?! 8-)

Thanks for the advise with the change of trip distances. a UK colleague mentioned today that he is not even leaving Singapore as in MAY the Singapore name plate is seen as invitation for creating problems? is that true?!


xmj wrote:education & development - how are you handling the personal development (trainings, assessments) in Singapore?

I don’t remember any of that at a corporate level here. ‘Staff development’ is not something I encountered in Asia. If you wish to study in your own time, then I don’t see a problem, that is more the attitude IME.
yes, that was exactly my problem during my stay in China ... no additional training and at the end complaints that I have not worked on my professional progress.
I want to avoid that mistake with the current company ... and want to stay in the loop of ongoing trainings


Good luck, hope the weather here isn’t proving too much of a shock to the system!!
Thanks!
The weather is perfect :-) I have been to BOM last week, some days in frosty Germany and now heading over to SYD.

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Re: initial information needed

Postby xmj » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 9:38 pm

PS: guess I need to learn more about these districts listed in the condo list

Can you suggest a map linked twith names to all districts (in google map seems not be be applicable -or I am just too tired)

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Re: initial information needed

Postby beppi » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 9:42 pm

xmj wrote:PS: guess I need to learn more about these districts listed in the condo list

Can you suggest a map linked twith names to all districts (in google map seems not be be applicable -or I am just too tired)

The "district" system was officially abolished before I moved to Singapore in 1996.
It only survives in the heads of property agents (who are inert to any reasonable change).

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Re: initial information needed

Postby taxico » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 9:57 pm

xmj wrote:Mostly my colleagues are picking me up or gringing me to the hotel ... but I remember days, standing 20 minutes on the road waiting for an empty taxi.

That is something I already hated in China: especially on rainy days no taxis available.
Is that a problem in here -and if ses, how to solve?
Means are you having a standwrd taxi driver for the way to the office?

What do you mean with hazzles having a car? Cleaning & looking for parkings?


there are informal taxi operator networks in singapore, especially limousine cabs, and you need not pay by the meter if you're a regular but it's almost always at a premium compared to the metered cost of a normal cab.

you call/text/IM in advance and let the driver(s) know your schedule and there'll be a cab there when you need one. that's the idea, anyway.

rain, in the tropics, can't always be predicted, but full time limo cabbies are pretty reiable because regular customers allow them to make a good income compared to driving a metered cab and zipping around looking for a fare.

there are a bunch of taxi apps in singapore, along with a government made on that will be released next year (already announced). you may get lucky using an app...

hassles of car ownership:

parking. you waste an inordinate amount of time (and money) parking your car. most of the parking spots are in multi-storey structures and it takes up precious time getting in/out and on your way. worse if there are many other motorists getting in, trying to park, or getting out. poking out parking coupons also take time.

maintenance. a car requires regular maintenance (oil, belt, tire change, etc). some places will pick up and drop off your car, but at a price. if you don't maintain your car, there is also a price to pay.

accidents (omfg). this will take up more time than you'd like, especially if you're dealing with a singaporean driver. you will wish you'd taken a cab. or died in the accident. okay, just kidding. i think. i recommend typing and printing out your statement before going down to the accident reporting site. writing it by hand is equally tedious, but you get more details when you recount the accident away from the comfort of a dank, musty, old office with chairs/tables that are as lousy as the attitude of the customer "service" representative.

time lost in traffic "jams." (omfg #2) time you will never get back. some times (okay, many times), jams occur for no reason other than a major slow down in speed because of rubber necking near an accident site or rain (!) or before toll collection points (ERP gantries) at various times of the day. of course, i must not forget, fast lane road hoggers doing 70kmph.

actually... it seems like the inconvenience i've listed (for the first time) mostly take up time. hmmm...

i will stop here now. i might convince myself to stop driving, otherwise. (p/s: your solution is a company car AND a driver)
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

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Re: initial information needed

Postby JR8 » Fri, 28 Nov 2014 10:22 pm

beppi wrote:
xmj wrote:PS: guess I need to learn more about these districts listed in the condo list

Can you suggest a map linked twith names to all districts (in google map seems not be be applicable -or I am just too tired)

The "district" system was officially abolished before I moved to Singapore in 1996.
It only survives in the heads of property agents (who are inert to any reasonable change).


I think the old system still also co-exists with the new one.

So you'll still quite commonly hear people refer to District 9, 10, 11, 12, and so on. Certainly I immediately know where they are and 'what they represent' socially. 'Wah dat uncre, he think he so distrik 10 hor' :)

There is a postcode converter out there (Google it), it might be on the Singpost site... I don't recall.

Look forward to replying to your other points when time allows due consideration tomorrow. TTYL!
Last edited by JR8 on Sun, 30 Nov 2014 11:28 am, edited 1 time in total.
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