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ADVICE NEEDED - Relocate from USA or not.

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Arizona5
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ADVICE NEEDED - Relocate from USA or not.

Postby Arizona5 » Wed, 18 Oct 2017 1:11 pm

Hi All:

I've been a quiet lurker here for a long time. I've been coming to/from Singapore for 10+ years, spending 10+ weeks/year in Singapore since 2011. This year I am 4-months into a 6-month stay. Long story short, I've recently been offered a "permanent" position in Singapore and need to make a decision really fast. I am an academic and I am holding an offer at one of the top two Singapore universities. That said, I am currently an academic in the USA with a good salary and facilities at respectable US institution. Having been in/out of Singapore for years, I do know the basics. Super expensive housing and cars, oppressive heat year round, and a feeling of claustrophobia. On the other hand, there is a LOT I like about Singapore. I was simply not prepared for a permanent offer and now I have very little time to decide. The offer here is higher pay, but adjust for cost of living, it is probably a lower amount in my savings each month. The biggest issue is my family. I have two 6-year olds and an 11-year old. The 6-year old will be fine, but my 11-year old is a "typical American". I will be blunt, he is a wonderful, fun, young boy - but loves to play Xbox and other video games. So far, we are having a hard time finding him friends and I don't know if other kid his age play Xbox here since it seems everyone we meet through the University has barely heard of Xbox.... I know this is silly, as he also likes to swim, hike, and do other things, but he is petrified that he will not make friends. Any suggestions on how we could connect him with other kids his age with similar interests (iPads, Xbox, swimming, etc.)? We checked out the American Club, but on an off day and not many/any kids his age around. If you have kids that want to play Xbox, please PM me!!!

Also, I am worried because we have only EPs. I feel like we should have PR status to make this move. Is this crazy? If we go with PR, does that mean our son "must" do national service? Is there a way out of that for him? I am happy to meet with a lawyer if folks here have suggestions, but there is very little time left. Also, is it even possible for us to be dual-citizens? I read a thread here about a son of an expat that was a dual-citizen, but I am guessing that was from birth.

Lastly, I was shocked that there was very little retirement $$$. I think $17k/year. In the US, I get a far larger contribution to my retirement. Again, I think coming to Singapore is a net decrease in my take-home pay, but, it is far safer than the USA and we are thinking to send our kids to an American School (good idea?). My new employer will pay nearly 1/2 of the cost for each child....

I realize this is probably hard for anyone to answer, but if you've been in this situation, especially from the USA, please PM me. I would be happy to buy you a beer/coffee, etc.to chat. That said, I am in China for the next week, but wife also would love to meet other women from the USA or at least with similar experiences.

Thank you for reading our story. Looking forward to thoughts

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taxico
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Re: ADVICE NEEDED - Relocate from USA or not.

Postby taxico » Fri, 20 Oct 2017 8:17 pm

Arizona5 wrote:Hi All:

I've been a quiet lurker here for a long time. I've been coming to/from Singapore for 10+ years, spending 10+ weeks/year in Singapore since 2011. This year I am 4-months into a 6-month stay. Long story short, I've recently been offered a "permanent" position in Singapore and need to make a decision really fast. I am an academic and I am holding an offer at one of the top two Singapore universities. That said, I am currently an academic in the USA with a good salary and facilities at respectable US institution. Having been in/out of Singapore for years, I do know the basics. Super expensive housing and cars, oppressive heat year round, and a feeling of claustrophobia. On the other hand, there is a LOT I like about Singapore. I was simply not prepared for a permanent offer and now I have very little time to decide. The offer here is higher pay, but adjust for cost of living, it is probably a lower amount in my savings each month. The biggest issue is my family. I have two 6-year olds and an 11-year old. The 6-year old will be fine, but my 11-year old is a "typical American". I will be blunt, he is a wonderful, fun, young boy - but loves to play Xbox and other video games. So far, we are having a hard time finding him friends and I don't know if other kid his age play Xbox here since it seems everyone we meet through the University has barely heard of Xbox.... I know this is silly, as he also likes to swim, hike, and do other things, but he is petrified that he will not make friends. Any suggestions on how we could connect him with other kids his age with similar interests (iPads, Xbox, swimming, etc.)? We checked out the American Club, but on an off day and not many/any kids his age around. If you have kids that want to play Xbox, please PM me!!!

Also, I am worried because we have only EPs. I feel like we should have PR status to make this move. Is this crazy? If we go with PR, does that mean our son "must" do national service? Is there a way out of that for him? I am happy to meet with a lawyer if folks here have suggestions, but there is very little time left. Also, is it even possible for us to be dual-citizens? I read a thread here about a son of an expat that was a dual-citizen, but I am guessing that was from birth.

Lastly, I was shocked that there was very little retirement $$$. I think $17k/year. In the US, I get a far larger contribution to my retirement. Again, I think coming to Singapore is a net decrease in my take-home pay, but, it is far safer than the USA and we are thinking to send our kids to an American School (good idea?). My new employer will pay nearly 1/2 of the cost for each child....

I realize this is probably hard for anyone to answer, but if you've been in this situation, especially from the USA, please PM me. I would be happy to buy you a beer/coffee, etc.to chat. That said, I am in China for the next week, but wife also would love to meet other women from the USA or at least with similar experiences.

Thank you for reading our story. Looking forward to thoughts


doesn't read like you should.

don't do it.
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

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PNGMK
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Re: ADVICE NEEDED - Relocate from USA or not.

Postby PNGMK » Fri, 20 Oct 2017 8:35 pm

have you taken into account:

1. Lower income taxes in Singapore and the EIE for US Tax Payers?
2. SRS contributions as a form of retirement saving (reduces Singapore tax)
3. Cost of schooling your kids ($30,000 pa at SAS)
4. Being outcast as an academic pariah for collaborating with a university that is completely illiberal and probably falsifies to some extent some of it's data?

My son has friends who play XBOX.
IANAL. IANACPA. IANA Teacher.
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International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
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Pay me $5k for 100% success filling in PR form!

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taxico
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Re: ADVICE NEEDED - Relocate from USA or not.

Postby taxico » Fri, 20 Oct 2017 8:57 pm

i've re-arranged your message.

Arizona5 wrote:I've been coming to/from Singapore for 10+ years, spending 10+ weeks/year in Singapore since 2011. This year I am 4-months into a 6-month stay.

Having been in/out of Singapore for years, I do know the basics. Super expensive housing and cars, oppressive heat year round, and a feeling of claustrophobia.

On the other hand, there is a LOT I like about Singapore.


like what do you like about singapore? other than safety and (maybe) CPF.

Arizona5 wrote:I am an academic and I am holding an offer at one of the top two Singapore universities. That said, I am currently an academic in the USA with a good salary and facilities at respectable US institution.

Long story short, I've recently been offered a "permanent" position in Singapore and need to make a decision really fast.

I was simply not prepared for a permanent offer and now I have very little time to decide.

The offer here is higher pay, but adjust for cost of living, it is probably a lower amount in my savings each month.

..I was shocked that there was very little retirement $$$. I think $17k/year. In the US, I get a far larger contribution to my retirement. Again, I think coming to Singapore is a net decrease in my take-home pay, but, it is far safer than the USA and we are thinking to send our kids to an American School (good idea?).

My new employer will pay nearly 1/2 of the cost for each child....


imo, there's no "real" academia in singapore. this coming from a twice enrolled post-grad student at NUS and NTU (MPH & PHD)... i did attend class beyond the first semester.

what was the salary offered to you? how much do you save now? (personal/401k/IRA/etc)

going to SAS will be pricey. and how long will their fees be subsidized?

what sort of accommodation do you want to be in?

Arizona5 wrote:The biggest issue is my family. I have two 6-year olds and an 11-year old. The 6-year old will be fine, but my 11-year old is a "typical American".

I will be blunt, he is a wonderful, fun, young boy - but loves to play Xbox and other video games.

So far, we are having a hard time finding him friends and I don't know if other kid his age play Xbox here since it seems everyone we meet through the University has barely heard of Xbox.... I know this is silly, as he also likes to swim, hike, and do other things, but he is petrified that he will not make friends.

Any suggestions on how we could connect him with other kids his age with similar interests (iPads, Xbox, swimming, etc.)?

We checked out the American Club, but on an off day and not many/any kids his age around. If you have kids that want to play Xbox, please PM me!!!


there really isn't much hiking locally, but there are lots of public pools, and he'll make friends with kids who live in condos (most condos have a decent pool).

american club membership... hmmm... you're better off living in a big condo with lots of other kids. just my personal opinion.

i'm not sure what sort of students you've been interacting with, but xboxes and playstations are common here - maybe not owned by ALL 11 year old boys, but certainly with those older know about it, and used by many students in universities. <- again, my observation here.

your boy will make friends as much as his environment allows him to. if you keep him behind the gates of your a B&W bungalow with nothing but a gaming console and a tv, probably not much friends to make outside of school.

my experience was... a white kid at aged >12 will find it more difficult to befriend locals.

having said that... it's probably not as hard as you'd imagine. "you've an ipad! i've an iphone! let's be friends!"

Arizona5 wrote:Also, I am worried because we have only EPs. I feel like we should have PR status to make this move. Is this crazy? If we go with PR, does that mean our son "must" do national service? Is there a way out of that for him?

I am happy to meet with a lawyer if folks here have suggestions, but there is very little time left. Also, is it even possible for us to be dual-citizens? I read a thread here about a son of an expat that was a dual-citizen, but I am guessing that was from birth.


yeah. you're probably just a little bit crazy.

dual citizenship allowed up until 21 years of age - a choice must be made before/by then.

if you take up residency in future and include your boy(s), they will probably have to serve NS (due to their current age and the years that will be needed to gain PR).

you can keep him non-PR, but, to keep it short: It may or may not work out like you originally planned.

your best bet is to talk about your plans here with the other more experienced members rather than with an "immigration attorney" ...

good luck.
Aut viam ad caelum inveniam aut faciam

SarahMW
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Re: ADVICE NEEDED - Relocate from USA or not.

Postby SarahMW » Fri, 20 Oct 2017 11:18 pm

Most expats I know are EP and are not particularly concerned about PR. Those that are now PR after many years here still have their children at International Schools.

I have ten year old who plays soccer with other kids in our condo, none of whom are Singaporean as they spend most of their time studying. Of course he'd prefer to spend his entire day playing online, but that what parents are for!

There are other considerations. Would your spouse be happy to move? Is it a contract or permanent offer? What lifestyle do you imagine your family living? Would you have intellectual freedom? How long do you think you'd live in Singapore and what impact will that have upon your spouse's career and your children's education? Would your family be open to other cultures and beliefs?

Good luck with your decision.

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