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Would you?

Discuss about getting a well paid job or career advancement. Ask about salaries, expat packages, CPF & taxes for expatriate.

jyeo012
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Would you?

Postby jyeo012 » Thu, 12 Jul 2018 4:34 pm

Hi all,

I’ve got a scenario I would like some help with. My husband has then opportunity to apply for a job in the Singapore branch of his current workplace here in NZ. We don’t have any details about it, but can probably make a guess. Currently we have a very comfortable life, earning about $170k a year combined.

Moving to Singapore would mean a step up career wise but we’d be taking a hit financially.
- Salary maybe around 120k as down to one income. (wife could maybe pick up some freelance work but it’d be mostly to alleviate boredom.) we’d also still be paying NZ tax.

- housing allowance - we’ll get something, but not much. Say, conservatively, 1000 a month. We will need to top up ourselves, probably.

- no kids, but two little dogs.

Are we crazy for even considering this? It’d be an adventure, but not a financially lucrative one! Seeking all opinions!



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PNGMK
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Re: Would you?

Postby PNGMK » Thu, 12 Jul 2018 7:37 pm

No. Doesn't work for me. The only reason to move overseas in your scenario is to make a lot more money, not a substance wage which is what 10k a month is for an expat couple.
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Re: Would you?

Postby PNGMK » Thu, 12 Jul 2018 7:38 pm

Subsistence
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Re: Would you?

Postby Strong Eagle » Thu, 12 Jul 2018 9:10 pm

Singapore is an exciting place to live and work, and you need to do two things.

a) An apples to apples comparison of your salaries, housing costs, transportation costs, holidays, and incidentals. If you can't at least break even, then are you willing to take a lowered standard of living in order to live in Singapore? As PNKMK pointed out, $10K per month is the lower end of a wage that permits living in a semi-D or nice condo project.

b) What's going to happen, career and salary wise, when you go back? Are you going to be able to return to the salary levels you currently hold? More than one person on these boards has failed to maintain salary parity, at the least, because of lower wages accepted in Singapore.

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Re: Would you?

Postby MikeJones » Fri, 13 Jul 2018 12:16 am

I think the killer there is "we’d also still be paying NZ tax". That salary decrease would be about break even for take home pay if you were paying Singapore taxes, on NZ tax rates it makes no sense at all.

As SE says you need to do a thorough comparison of your costs, I expect some will be higher in Singapore (rent and food) and some lower (transportation) depending on where you are living in NZ and your choices as to where to live and transportation options in Singapore. Personally I'm on a little less than what you are talking about and doing OK but that is just for me with no dependents or pets, and not living in any of the expat heavy (and therefore more pricey) areas.

Mike

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Re: Would you?

Postby jyeo012 » Fri, 13 Jul 2018 2:41 am

PNGMK wrote:No. Doesn't work for me. The only reason to move overseas in your scenario is to make a lot more money, not a substance wage which is what 10k a month is for an expat couple.


Thank you. That was my first thought too - people don’t uproot themselves to make less money! But the idea of something new is tempting, at least before the kids come along!


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Re: Would you?

Postby jyeo012 » Fri, 13 Jul 2018 2:47 am

Strong Eagle wrote:Singapore is an exciting place to live and work, and you need to do two things.

a) An apples to apples comparison of your salaries, housing costs, transportation costs, holidays, and incidentals. If you can't at least break even, then are you willing to take a lowered standard of living in order to live in Singapore? As PNKMK pointed out, $10K per month is the lower end of a wage that permits living in a semi-D or nice condo project.

b) What's going to happen, career and salary wise, when you go back? Are you going to be able to return to the salary levels you currently hold? More than one person on these boards has failed to maintain salary parity, at the least, because of lower wages accepted in Singapore.


Thank you. B is probably the sticking point here. Husband would probably not have an issue getting a higher paid job if we were to go back (we wouldn’t go back otherwise unless we had to for some reason) but wife would probably struggle in her very niche industry.

To be honest, we live pretty simply. We don’t party, only drink socially once in a while, don’t need expensive restaurants (food courts are fine). Our one vice is a nice holiday once a year. We are pretty boring! Haha

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Re: Would you?

Postby jyeo012 » Fri, 13 Jul 2018 2:51 am

MikeJones wrote:I think the killer there is "we’d also still be paying NZ tax". That salary decrease would be about break even for take home pay if you were paying Singapore taxes, on NZ tax rates it makes no sense at all.

As SE says you need to do a thorough comparison of your costs, I expect some will be higher in Singapore (rent and food) and some lower (transportation) depending on where you are living in NZ and your choices as to where to live and transportation options in Singapore. Personally I'm on a little less than what you are talking about and doing OK but that is just for me with no dependents or pets, and not living in any of the expat heavy (and therefore more pricey) areas.

Mike


Thanks, Mike. The decision would definitely be much easier if we didn’t still have to pay NZ tax. Cost wise - we live in Auckland, have a mortgage (roughly 3k a month), but we would rent the house out and that should cover most of it. Transportation maybe around 350 a month combined. Currently it takes us an hour door to door each way.

All the signs (and rational thought) are saying ‘stay where you are!’ Haha


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Re: Would you?

Postby PNGMK » Fri, 13 Jul 2018 8:03 am

Why would you have to pay NZ tax? Wouldn't you be none resident tax wise?
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Re: Would you?

Postby jyeo012 » Fri, 13 Jul 2018 9:09 am

PNGMK wrote:Why would you have to pay NZ tax? Wouldn't you be none resident tax wise?


This is what I found -

Tax residency

If you're overseas for less than 325 days in a 12-month period then you're likely to be a New Zealand resident for tax purposes.

You're likely to be a non-resident for tax purposes if:

you're overseas for more than 325 days in a 12-month period and:
you don't have a permanent place of abode in New Zealand.

A person other than a company who has a "permanent place of abode" in New Zealand is a New Zealand tax resident, regardless of how long they've been out of New Zealand.



Considering we still have a house here and this is our home, looks like we are tax residents



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Re: Would you?

Postby bgd » Fri, 13 Jul 2018 9:36 am

Talk to a tax accountant. If your place is rented then it is not available to you and "may" not be caught under the permanent place of abode. I believe the IRD lost a case on this years back, but things could have changed since.

If you live simply and like travel then you will find Sg a good place to live. The one great feature of Sg is that it is easy travel to many destinations, even for weekends.

Financially it may not make sense but if you treat it as funded OE then that may change things. It can be tough on the trailing spouse though, the novelty of living here can quickly wear off unless she can keep herself interested in life.

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Re: Would you?

Postby PNGMK » Fri, 13 Jul 2018 12:48 pm

jyeo012 wrote:
PNGMK wrote:Why would you have to pay NZ tax? Wouldn't you be none resident tax wise?


This is what I found -

Tax residency

If you're overseas for less than 325 days in a 12-month period then you're likely to be a New Zealand resident for tax purposes.

You're likely to be a non-resident for tax purposes if:

you're overseas for more than 325 days in a 12-month period and:
you don't have a permanent place of abode in New Zealand.

A person other than a company who has a "permanent place of abode" in New Zealand is a New Zealand tax resident, regardless of how long they've been out of New Zealand.



Considering we still have a house here and this is our home, looks like we are tax residents



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Nah. Rent it out and it's not your abode, it's an investment property. Working in Singapore at a lower tax rate and no NZ tax makes this workable.
IANAL. IANACPA. IANA Teacher.
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MikeJones
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Re: Would you?

Postby MikeJones » Fri, 13 Jul 2018 12:58 pm

I'd also think as you'd likely be tax resident in Singapore you'd have to pay Singapore taxes on your income here so the double taxation arrangements should kick in so you'd only have to pay NZ taxes on the rental income on your NZ property.

As PNGMK says if that's the case then the salary you're talking about is workable in Singapore, you'd not be living like kings but could certainly be comfortable. Public transport is cheap and mostly reliable, and even taxis aren't that expensive for the occasions where you might need them. Don't even consider a car as they are ridiculously expensive here and in most cases you don't really need one.

Mike


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