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Moving from USA to Singapore - Looking for advice.

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blakestetson
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Moving from USA to Singapore - Looking for advice.

Post by blakestetson » Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:39 pm

Hi everyone,
First, I apologize if this exact question has been asked elsewhere, I did a bit of searching but must say that I didn't have much luck finding a situation similar enough to mine. There's a lot of information out there on these topics and I really appreciate that there's a helpful community out there like you ladies and gents. :D

Basic details of our situation:
My wife and I have been offered jobs teaching in Singapore. We will bring our two boys (1 year old and 3 years old).
The salaries offered are around 70.000SGD each plus a monthly 3.400SGD housing allowance and some other extras.
We live a pretty humble life with not much going out to eat. We'd like to live in a nice quiet area outside the city center.

Advice request number 1 - Child care.
Our original plan was to send our 3 year old to the preschool we'll be working at, and have a live-in maid take care of our 1 year old and help out around the house while we're at work (M-F 8a-5p).

We're a little bit concerned by many things we've read online about troubles with maids. I don't like the idea of hiring/firing multiple helpers and installing a CCTV system in our house. I want a qualified individual that we can welcome into our family and maintain a professional relationship with. Is this unreasonable? Please be honest. What would you do? Are there other/better options to be considered?

Another option for this would be for my wife to stay home for a two more years until the 1 year old goes to preschool, but she really wants to go back to work.

Advice request number 2 - Taxes.
If any expats from United States could comment on the amount of taxes they pay to the Singapore government and/or the United States government, that would be appreciated.

Advice request number 3 - Quality of healthcare.
How satisfied are most expats with the quality of healthcare in Singapore? No one in our family suffers from any critical health issues, but with small children, this is a big concern.

Thank you so much for reading my post and any advice you have regarding these questions would be greatly appreciated. We're bubbling with excitement for our impending move, but are worried about the above questions.

Sincerely,
Blake.

 



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maneo
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Re: Moving from USA to Singapore - Looking for advice.

Post by maneo » Wed, 15 Apr 2015 11:34 pm

blakestetson wrote:Hi everyone,
First, I apologize if this exact question has been asked elsewhere, I did a bit of searching but must say that I didn't have much luck finding a situation similar enough to mine. There's a lot of information out there on these topics and I really appreciate that there's a helpful community out there like you ladies and gents. :D

Basic details of our situation:
My wife and I have been offered jobs teaching in Singapore. We will bring our two boys (1 year old and 3 years old).
The salaries offered are around 70.000SGD each plus a monthly 3.400SGD housing allowance and some other extras.
We live a pretty humble life with not much going out to eat. We'd like to live in a nice quiet area outside the city center.

Advice request number 1 - Child care.
Our original plan was to send our 3 year old to the preschool we'll be working at, and have a live-in maid take care of our 1 year old and help out around the house while we're at work (M-F 8a-5p).

We're a little bit concerned by many things we've read online about troubles with maids. I don't like the idea of hiring/firing multiple helpers and installing a CCTV system in our house. I want a qualified individual that we can welcome into our family and maintain a professional relationship with. Is this unreasonable? Please be honest. What would you do? Are there other/better options to be considered?

Another option for this would be for my wife to stay home for a two more years until the 1 year old goes to preschool, but she really wants to go back to work.
We hired a live-in maid.
We found ours through a posting at the American Club and interviewed the maid ourselves.
She was older and experienced, and it was clear from our face-to-face interview that she was sincere, compatible and, most importantly, loved kids and dogs.
She stayed with us for 7 years (until we left).
Recommend you don't outsource the selection process.
blakestetson wrote:Advice request number 2 - Taxes.
If any expats from United States could comment on the amount of taxes they pay to the Singapore government and/or the United States government, that would be appreciated.
For Singapore taxes, you file your tax returns individually (no joint option for 2 income families).
IRAS provides a tax calculation spreadsheet that you can use to estimate your individual tax liabilities:

http://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/taxcalculators.aspx

Like their tax forms, it's easy to use.

For US taxes, you could qualify for a Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE) after you've lived here 330 full days in a continuous 12 month period (physical presence test). If you come mid year, you may need to request an extension to file (beyond the automatic extension) to qualify.

The FEIE allows you to exclude the tax on all your Singapore earned income, since your salaries will be less than the US$100.8K limit for this year (2015).
However, you will have to pay US tax on any US income (earned in the US or for time worked in the US) and any passive income (interest, dividends, rents, royalties, etc.).

The IRS provides quite a bit of info online to help you.
Start with the following:

http://www.irs.gov/uac/Publication-54,- ... s-Abroad-1

http://www.irs.gov/Individuals/Internat ... ens-Abroad

blakestetson
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Re: Moving from USA to Singapore - Looking for advice.

Post by blakestetson » Thu, 16 Apr 2015 4:26 am

Thanks Maneo! It's nice to hear something positive about live-in maids. I guess when people post on the internet it's usually not particularly positive.

I think the best case scenario would be to get a recommendation from a colleague, would you agree?

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maneo
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Re: Moving from USA to Singapore - Looking for advice.

Post by maneo » Fri, 17 Apr 2015 2:29 pm

Yes, you should get recommendations, though you need not limit yourself to colleagues.
You could also find good "domestic helpers" wherever there are expat bulletin boards.

Expats that are leaving try to place good maids into good homes.
A good maid becomes a part of the family, and they don't want to see that person end up in a tough situation just because they have to leave.

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