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Advice on Location and Salary

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Eboard10
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Advice on Location and Salary

Postby Eboard10 » Mon, 21 Nov 2016 6:59 pm

I am going through the final stages of an interview for a job in Singapore and have been asked by HR to provide a salary range in line with my expected "standard of living" in the city. As I'm not familiar with the rental landscape, I was hoping to get some advice on which areas to look at. I am ideally looking for a lively area close to coffee shops, restaurants and markets.

Current expected salary range, circa SGD80,000 - 90,000 (could be negotiated higher)

Requirements:
- your budget approx. up to SG$2,200-SG$2,800
- your workplace/s – Between One-North and Buona Vista stations (circle line)
- the size and/or type of property that you are seeking (#bedrooms, on-site facilities etc) – 1 bedroom
- will you have a car here? No car
- proximity to transport required - ideally within 10-15 minutes of MRT

Nice to have:
- access to any specific sport, social, and recreation facilities? Ideally within walking distance of coffee shops, markets and restaurants
- are you considering bringing any pets. If so what kind, and will they require outdoor access and/or exercise? No pets
- are you considering bringing any parents/in-laws etc? Do they have specific needs (for example difficulty climbing stairs?) No parents
- additional - preferably in a building with modern appliances

Is the rental budget in line with the salary range I added? If not, what would a more realistic budget look like?

Thanks!

brian_singapore
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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby brian_singapore » Tue, 22 Nov 2016 10:25 am

You should be fine with the above budget. Most MRT stations have a mall attached which will provide a lot of the services your looking for. The local property websites will give you an indication of how far a building is from an MRT station. You can even enter the MRT station name and specify how far from that location you are looking to find a place (i.e. 1 km) etc.

Jurong East is one of the major hubs (not far from Buano Vista) and would provide easy linkages to places like Holland Village.

However, if you can negotiate higher, why wouldn't you?

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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby rarkins » Tue, 22 Nov 2016 1:37 pm

Assuming that you meant both One-North and Buona Vista stations are accessible from your workplace, you would have quite a few options within your price range within a comfortable commute, even considering MRT only. You can check out some of these examples to get an idea for what your "standard of living" in them would be like:

Circle Line: Parc Imperial, Viva Vista, The Ford @ Holland, Loft@Holland, 10 Shelford, Nineteen Shelford Road
East-West Line: Alexis, Skysuites @ Anson, Lumiere

Just be aware though: some one-bedroom apartments might be much smaller than you are accustomed to, depending where you're coming from. The term "shoebox apartment" is literally used to describe some in the category so let that be a warning to check square footage.

As for your salary negotiation, the wording used by the HR sounds like they're asking you to lowball yourself. Assuming you are not at risk of losing the job instantly merely by providing an initial figure that's too high, why not tell them that you are expecting $10k per month based on what you saw recommended on the Internet?

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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby Eboard10 » Tue, 22 Nov 2016 4:57 pm

Thanks for the location advice rarkins and brian. It loos like things are centred around stations and condos in Singapore so I will have a good look at the ones you listed.

In terms of salary, I initially gave $80K as a figure which is basically the equivalent of my current salary in Luxembourg (Europe) but she told me to have a good look at rental prices and get back to me with a salary that would match my expectations when factoring in the higher cost of living (that was kind of her tbh). I think I will try to push fro $108K ($9K per month) and see how she responds.

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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby MikeJones » Tue, 22 Nov 2016 6:37 pm

Certainly go for more money if you can :) One thing to factor in though is the tax rates, not sure what Luxembourg income tax is like but usually Singapore taxes are much lower than Europe. In my case in the UK I was paying around 30%, here my salary is roughly equivalent (or was pre Brexit) and my tax rate is around 7%. So while cost of living is higher here, especially accommodation, you do have a lot more of your salary to spend.

Mike

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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby bgd » Wed, 23 Nov 2016 10:46 am

Rentals are lower than they were. In fact in my experience they have been dropping for 10 years. Not low enough of course, but better than they once were.

If you remove accommodation, cars and alcohol, living costs are actually pretty reasonable. If you live a fully western lifestyle it is expensive. If you are flexible and adventurous, Sg can be a reasonably cheap option.

But of course ask for as much as you can. :-)

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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby Eboard10 » Fri, 25 Nov 2016 4:50 pm

MikeJones wrote:Certainly go for more money if you can :) One thing to factor in though is the tax rates, not sure what Luxembourg income tax is like but usually Singapore taxes are much lower than Europe. In my case in the UK I was paying around 30%, here my salary is roughly equivalent (or was pre Brexit) and my tax rate is around 7%. So while cost of living is higher here, especially accommodation, you do have a lot more of your salary to spend.

Mike


But you also pay 20% CPF, right? That would bring the total payable rate to ~27%, or is CPF optional?

In Luxembourg I pay 32% between income tax and social security charges so the difference isn't huge.

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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby MikeJones » Fri, 25 Nov 2016 4:54 pm

CPF is only payable by citizens and PR holders so you won't be paying that unless you get PR.


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brian_singapore
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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby brian_singapore » Fri, 25 Nov 2016 5:11 pm

MikeJones wrote:CPF is only payable by citizens and PR holders so you won't be paying that unless you get PR.


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Some companies will give you a monthly salary increment to cover the CPF your not receiving... one more avenue for negotiation. The CPF percentages are 17% employee and 20% employer on the first $6000 / mth.

I don't know how common this is as I only have direct first hand knowledge of 1 MNC that does this (my employer doesn't).

Brian

Eboard10
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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby Eboard10 » Fri, 25 Nov 2016 5:30 pm

MikeJones wrote:CPF is only payable by citizens and PR holders so you won't be paying that unless you get PR.



Ok, but if you're not a PR holder then you pay 15% income tax rate, correct?

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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby MikeJones » Fri, 25 Nov 2016 5:40 pm

No, the 15% rate is only if you are non tax resident i.e. In the country less than 6 months, you may have to pay that rate the first year depending on when you arrive.


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Eboard10
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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby Eboard10 » Fri, 25 Nov 2016 7:27 pm

MikeJones wrote:No, the 15% rate is only if you are non tax resident i.e. In the country less than 6 months, you may have to pay that rate the first year depending on when you arrive.


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Ok thanks for clarifying, I was a bit confused with that.

So as an expat working there full-time for more than 6 months in the year, I would pay the normal progressive tax rate and not need to contribute to CPF. My perceived net amount just went up by a bit :)

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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 25 Nov 2016 9:19 pm

Eboard10 wrote:
MikeJones wrote:No, the 15% rate is only if you are non tax resident i.e. In the country less than 6 months, you may have to pay that rate the first year depending on when you arrive.


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Ok thanks for clarifying, I was a bit confused with that.

So as an expat working there full-time for more than 6 months in the year, I would pay the normal progressive tax rate and not need to contribute to CPF. My perceived net amount just went up by a bit :)


As noted, the 15% is for either non-resident or short term of less than 183 day in the year. However, to minor corrections to understanding of MikeJones answer which, generally speaking, is okay. a) it's not necessary to work in the country for 6 months, but to be 'in' (physically present) the country for more than 183 days. This will get you resident graduated tax rates. And b) if you are here less than 183 days (e.g., liable for non-resident rates) but are given an EP (Employment Pass) that is valid for at least 12 months, normally IRAS will just use the graduated resident rates, knowing you will meet the qualifications in the following year (most are given for 24 or 36 months - vast majority are 24 months). If they DO whack you for 15% after you are here for 183 days, you can amend your previous return to get back the excess taxes paid. They are pretty cool about it.

When you leave you are required to file a tax clearance with IRAS (IR-21). There are three dates required for the form Last day of work, Date of Arrival and date commenced work. The date of Arrival is found usually stamped in your passport. It is this date that starts the count toward the 183 days.

https://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/Indivi ... Residents/
Foreigner who has stayed / worked in Singapore (excludes director of a company) for 183 days or more in the previous year. i.e. the year before the YA.

Eboard10
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Re: Advice on Location and Salary

Postby Eboard10 » Sat, 26 Nov 2016 12:16 am

Thank you, very helpful!


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