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Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby alavaya » Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:39 pm

I think rather than spent $3000 on renting a condo better you rent HDB which only cost you 2000-2500 for 2 bedroom. So you can add up your saving.


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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby JR8 » Fri, 29 Apr 2016 10:50 pm

Maybe it doesn't translate to Asians, I don't know. But in the West living in the likes of an HDB tower-block is what very poor people do.
It's nothing to aspire to, and zero reason to move half way around the world. And I think given the challenges that work on a new continent will bring, it's worth paying for somewhere you'll be happy to get back to at night.
SG is going to be alien enough as it is without shaving costs like that.

[I've lived/relo'd 3* to SG now, and there is absolutely NO WAY I'd live in an HDB].
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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby BBCWatcher » Fri, 29 Apr 2016 11:55 pm

JR8 wrote:But in the West living in the likes of an HDB tower-block is what very poor people do.

I wouldn't agree with that. HDB doesn't have many good comparisons outside Singapore. There are some over-the-top, elegantly equipped and furnished HDB units appearing in home design magazines and such.

The sensible thing to do is to shop around, including both HDB and private units in your search. The business and governmental arrangement in how the building was originally constructed isn't something prospective renters need to worry about. Besides, over 80% of Singapore's resident population lives in HDB units, and Singapore is not a poor country. If you artificially exclude HDB units completely from your search you're right away eliminating most of Singapore's housing stock from your consideration. That seems...odd.

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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby JR8 » Sat, 30 Apr 2016 1:09 am

No it's not odd, at all. It's moving from 'a landed home' (a perverse expression, until you move to Singapore) to living in a rabbit hutch. Which is what SG often requires.

By the way 'BBCWatcher' I'd love to hear your bio.... since you're shy on that eh
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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby BBCWatcher » Sat, 30 Apr 2016 2:02 pm

I don't understand your point. Generally the same rental rate will result in more HDB square footage than non-HDB square footage.

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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Sat, 30 Apr 2016 6:27 pm

I've lived in an HDB for the last 17 years. I have absolutely no problem with my rabbit hutch in the sky, I have nice small park out front and a nice parking lot on the other side. I'm within walking distance of a nice pool (public) and accompanying track at 1.5km away. I have a shopping complex nearby. good bus and MRT connection to anywhere on the island and I didn't have to pay silly inflated prices that condo dwellers/owners pay for rents/mortgage payments. In fact, paid it off in 14 years. I wouldn't live in a condo unless is was at least as big (sq/ft) with 4 BR like my unit has an and the same price ratio / sq foot (and it had similar amenities close by be it public transport or shopping. A number of you already know what I have in the US. I don't like my HDB or a condo truth be known. But a condo in Singapore makes no sense what-so-ever.

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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby JR8 » Sat, 30 Apr 2016 11:33 pm

I think HDBs can vary a lot. Most of the earlier ones I experienced (older owners) were older and dated themselves. Things like bathroom off the kitchen. The soil-pipe from the unit above being surface mounted down the bathroom wall. Surface mounted plumbing. And because people walking along the external corridor would look in, then there was a sheet of obscured perspex across the open windows to stop that. In one such example the citizens of the area had voted for 'the wrong party' so the exteriors of the buildings were getting shabby too. So those 2-3 cases were what informed my view. Pretty run-down, cramped, underlit.
Then a couple of years back I went to lunch with some friends of my wife and the difference was amazing. They had a new HDB and the first thing that struck was the size, it was huge, bigger than any flat I've ever lived in... *huge*, maybe 2000ft-2500ft?
I also know someone in an HDB near a sports complex, which for me would add the typical 'condo facilities' HDBs can lack. So when we were flat-hunting last time I know we tried to tie together the new HDB element, together with the local facilities. So it's not as if I ruled out renting an HDB, it just didn't come together that way that time.

Something else that might come into play; where do these newer HDBs get built? It seems to be on the periphery (Punggol etc). But IME expats usually have a desire to live closer into town, unless they've triangulated on the likes of Woodlands for proximity to the American School. Perhaps it's how native you want to go (predicting which can be hard, esp for a new arrival). I've described before wondering in the big mall by Yishun MRT and a local child of maybe 2.5-3 stopping dead in her tracks, pointing at me, and bursting into tears :) It was amusing but also alienating, and Yishun is what I mentally consider a pretty 'Zone 2-3 [of 5] kind of neighbourhood.

So I think age of an HDB can matter a lot, since it's perhaps very limited the extent to which surface plumbing etc be 'modernised'/made a bit more discreet, whilst it is occupied. And age of HDBs is not something you often see described in listings IME.
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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby Hatem » Mon, 02 May 2016 8:51 pm

Hello Everyone,
Sorry for the late replies but I had some troubles over the weekend, so no time to post anything.

The offer has arrived and I have accepted it.
It is exactly 100K (bonus excluded), so I think it is acceptable and in the ballpark I was looking at.
E-Pass documents will be submitted in a couple of weeks: I am French and they told me it would take approximately a month to get them accepted.

I am still thinking if I should get a condo or a master room.
If I go a little bit outside the CBD I could see nice condos for 2500/2800, while a nice Master Bedroom costs around 2K, so I am not sure the latter makes much sense.

I would not go in an HDB unless I can find anything extremely nice and with good facilities.

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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby JR8 » Mon, 02 May 2016 10:23 pm

For a benchmark see if you can find what the 'typical' housing expense is within your salary/overral expenses. You will find rough %s suggested. Maybe 25-30% in Europe; maybe in places like SG or NYC where rent is high but other costs can be reasonable the %proportion for rent is higher but the overall proposition still fully viable?
Also run your current budget through numbeo, your home town now, vs SG. It should give you a decent +/-% budget on all the major line items (housing, ent, holidays, groceries, utils, commuting, etc etc). That way might help you 'reverse' back into deciding on a viable housing budget. Once you have the latter then you can define whole condo, condo flatshare, and ditto for HDB, and help triangulate how near/far-away from your workplace you might wish to start hunting.

p.s. Well done so far. I don't wish to pre-empt things in any way but it sounds like you're making very good progress. Get the EP, and the rest will naturally fall into place afterwards.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard


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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby Hatem » Mon, 02 May 2016 10:50 pm

Yes, I have been - And that's where I realized that to keep pretty much the same standard of living, my salary should have fell within that range.
I am used to pay approximately the 29/30% of my BASE salary for renting my flat and paying the utilities, but the place where I am living right now is definitely cheaper as far as rent is concern.

So I am willing to go up to 35-37% (basically staying below 3300) and it should do I suppose..

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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby JR8 » Mon, 02 May 2016 10:57 pm

Agreed - never mentally bank the promise of discretionary pay/bonuses etc.
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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby Lcct333 » Tue, 03 May 2016 12:52 pm

I was in the same position as you last year - arrived in Singapore as a 26 year old earning just over 100k per year. I think it's more than enough. I am not particularly careful with money, but still comfortable have a 2 bedroom inner-city condo, and manage to save a few thousand per month. Fortunately, I've been promoted, so the savings figure is much higher now.

No offence to those who opt to do this, but there is absolutely no way I would stay in a HDB. I would definitely recommend against that.

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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby Hatem » Tue, 03 May 2016 3:50 pm

Thanks a lot for the replies.

@Lcct333: May I ask you how much you approximately pay for rent and utilities?
Moreover, may I also ask you where do you come from?
This is because I have been speaking with many different people, and I tend to get very different replies:

1. European/Aussies/Americans with expat package will say my salary is low to keep a certain lifestyle - They have been so lucky that they got disconnected from reality I would say.
2. Indians tells me that on a 100K a year you can save around 50 a year easily - This is IMPOSSIBLE for a western European, at least from my side.

In reality, I think that for the age and for the role, the offer I was given is really decent.
I gave a look at Numbeo and it seems that the lifestyle I am looking for should take approximately 5400SGD/monthly or something like that.
We will see!

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Re: Expenses Breakdown and Salary Suggestion - Company transfer but no expat package

Postby JR8 » Tue, 03 May 2016 4:27 pm

Ah, but there is a gulf between 1 and 2 in spending patterns.

If you wish to generalise broadly 2) might feel a far greater need to save a high proportion of their income. At an extreme they will tolerate conditions few westerners might wish to, to save every single dollar possible. I think they have a stronger savings culture, and for many a few years saving wisely in SG can set them and their wider family up for life back home. Add to that that culturally India is much closer to SG than 'the west', so for them to live like locals is simpler and cheaper.

1) Brings tastes and habits from back home that most wish to maintain to some extent whilst in SG. These are often things that are not typical for your average SGn. Things such as... living alone, maintaining the kind of F+B diet you had back home, which since it's mostly air-freighted in and/or re: alcohol is punitively taxed is going to be expensive. Coupled with more of a free-wheeling 'enjoy the present/save tomorrow' mindset, and less likelihood of sending funds home to support a wider family... and there's your gulf.

This correlates with the topic of 'where to live/what can I afford?' And specifically why it helps if a person asking that can disclose their current arrangements. Needs and expectations can vary a lot depending on their background culture.
'Do it or do not do it: You will regret both' - Kierkegaard


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