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Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

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H. Upmann
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Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by H. Upmann » Sat, 04 Jan 2020 3:47 am

Hello to the Forum,
I am a 44 year old guy that lives in a European country with high taxation and a government that is more concerned with climate change and handing out free gifts to the third world than fixing our countrys own critical problems that will make it highly questionable if we can keep our competitive edge and thus our wealth and - relative - social peace. To cut a long story short, my outlook for the future of Europe is very dark and I am seriously considering to move to a more promising place with a more sensible government.

Through business travel in Asia I had the chance to visit some old friends in Singapore and really fell in love with the place. The only two things that keep me worried are:
  • will I be able to afford it, e.g. keep my living standard or at least do not have to lower it too much?
    will I be ok with the climate in the long term (for the short visits I had it did not bother me, but I could imagine that it will get on my nerves to have the same temperature all year long, also I am a big Skiing fan)
Of course the money question is the more deciding one.
I do know that it is very hard to get a decent job without a strong network or a company that could provide a transfer. Despite of this, I used the few contacts I had and have since then step by step built my network and I think I could find something in the medium term. However this will not be an extremely high paying C-Level position, more around 120-150k. Still would not be a problem if there wasnt an even bigger obstacle: I have three kids. I know that the most expensive things you can have in Sing are cars, rent and ... kids. And I have three of them. And a wife, that will not easily find a job.

I know that under normal circumstances, with this set up, it would be close to impossible to have a good life in Singapore. However, I am invested in several businesses and it could be the case that I will be able to sell my shares at a very high price. I will then be brutally taxed (above 50%) but there will still be a considerable amount of money left to invest. So with Singapore not having a capital gains tax, I thought in this scenario, a move to Singapore would maybe be possible, even with the bad starting position we have.

To give you an idea what I mean by living standards: I would like to live in a terraced house with a small garden and pool, maybe in the Bedok area and need to send three kids to International Schools. Other than that I dont think I need a lot of luxury. Dont need a car, will not go out often, maybe a vacation twice a year.

What do you think of this idea? Is it completely nuts? Is it even possible (assuming I will find an employer) or have I overlooked an important part? Looking forward to all your comments and advice (or trash me because I dont praise Europe;-), as said, at the moment it is only a mind game, and I am trying to figure out, what I have to consider to bring this idea closer to reality. Thanks in advance!

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by tiktok » Sat, 04 Jan 2020 4:27 pm

I think cashflow will be very tight. International Schools start around 20k/year. Rent for a house like you mention will be around 5k/month. That's 120k/year already.

However there are many advantages here than Europe and it would be an enriching experience for your kids. It's possible if you can lower your expectations about housing and schools.
I not troll/wacko/spammer.
Me no expat. Me foreigner.

bro75
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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by bro75 » Sun, 05 Jan 2020 12:36 am

The salary range you mentioned 120K-150K (annual I assume) is not enough for the lifestyle you are thinking of in Singapore.

The main costs would be housing and schools. If you can find a way to get the company to cover these two costs then it may be doable. The cost of these additional benefits are taxable so you must consider this too.

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by H. Upmann » Mon, 06 Jan 2020 2:57 am

Thanks for the replies. The employer will not cover school or housing. But as mentioned, I could factor in approximately 50k of capital gains income annually. So if I would reach 200k annually, would that make a difference?

And rent for a freestanding house in Bedok with a small pool would be around 5k per month?

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by bro75 » Mon, 06 Jan 2020 6:28 am

I tried quickly searching for house with pool for rent in real estate portals but could not find any. Detached houses or with at least 3 bedrooms are in the 8k per month range. Try searching it yourself to confirm.
Western International School fees would be 20k per child at the low end of the range. There would be additional costs.
At 200k a year, i am still not sure it will work for you.

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by PNGMK » Mon, 06 Jan 2020 10:33 am

You might be better off using those same contacts for a job in Malaysia or Thailand. Your money will go a LOT further and the lifestyle you want is achievable.

In terms of housing in that area have a look at the smaller apartment blocks like Rich East. It's almost like landed but rent is a lot lower (property is a bit run down). These are low level apartments that are quite big.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by mialee77 » Wed, 08 Jan 2020 4:49 pm

Hey there, there are multiple concerns you've raised and I'd really like to help you out with my two cents worth. I relocated from Australia to Singapore almost a year back with my family (including 2 kids) as well so I really do get your concerns. Let's start from the more minor things before moving on to the biggest questions.

- Singapore IS hot and humid but most places are air conditioned even public transport options and malls so that hasn't been a problem for me. It gets rainy as well and I just love it when that happens cause it's refreshing. Singapore's infrastructure and public amenities are well built so most places are covered and it becomes so convenient to travel even without a car.

- While the cost of living in terms of housing is expensive, contrary to popular belief, food options are actually affordable. My favourite part about local food is that the best ones are cheap, readily available an very tasty. Definitely check out hawker centres, coffee shops and pasar malams if you're here. Cooking at home is also a very affordable option here. Vegetables are cheap and that's just great for me and my kids.

- with regards to housing, I think there has to be some trade offs. I don't consider living in other parts of Southeast Asia because the quality of life is so much higher in Singapore here. So in order to live here, consider other luxurious private apartments such as condominiums. condos are very safe, there are guards on patrol 24/7, there's a pool, tennis courts, playgrounds and some even have small gardens. You can refer to these 2 sites for more information on different types of housing and its prices in Singapore.
https://www.99.co/blog/singapore/singap ... oreigners/
https://www.pilotoasia.com/immigration1 ... -singapore

- last, education. there are 2 main types of International Schools in Singapore IB and community International Schools. You can refer to this video for more information. It tells you the different types of schools and its difference. There's a part 2 as well you can find it in YouTube. From there, you can decide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn82lqeL5Mc

I support relocation when you're moving to give your family and yourself a better life for the future and everything only seems uncertain because it feels foreign. Learn more about the facts and your expat privileges before deciding e.g. expat package

The video link above talks about it as well. Liaise with your potential company about an expat package. Can they pay for your housing or children's education? And if not, what are some things they can offer you to relieve the financial load.

Hope these help. Good luck! :)

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by Es Bee » Thu, 09 Jan 2020 5:47 pm

Hi Mialee77
I am also looking for transferring from Australia (Melbourne) to Singapore..... with two kids (international school) + house-wife + car + condo (4 bedroom) + maid ... what would be a good salary to afford these ?
Anyone ..any thoughts?
Thanks Mate!

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 09 Jan 2020 6:32 pm

250K/pa minimum.

H. Upmann
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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by H. Upmann » Thu, 09 Jan 2020 7:50 pm

Thanks for the answers so far, really appreciate it. Thanks also MiaLee for giving your perspective. Unfortunately, it will be very unlikely that my employer will pay anything. As said, it will not be a highlevel Exec job but more in the middle. So I have to sort it out myself;)
As I dont need a car, what would you think is a minimum annual budget for the above mentioned? 220k? Of course we also dont want to turn every penny.

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by tiktok » Thu, 09 Jan 2020 9:03 pm

For a family of 4, we spend about 1k a month on food. Another 1k for helper including the $300 levy. School and housing are the big items, and there a big range for both.
I not troll/wacko/spammer.
Me no expat. Me foreigner.

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by PNGMK » Fri, 10 Jan 2020 12:12 am

There are schooling options that are cheaper (victory International School or home schooling). http://victorylifechristianschool.com/ - there are a couple like this - they are ~10k per year compared to ~24k for normal International School.
You could rent a bid HDB on Marine Parade for probably 2k
You don't need a car.
You can do this on 120/150 per year. A bit tight but possible.
I not lawyer/teacher/CPA.
You've been arrested? Law Society of Singapore can provide referrals.
You want an International School job? School website or http://www.ISS.edu
Your rugrat needs a School? Avoid for profit schools
You need Tax advice? Ask a CPA
You ran away without doing NS? Shame on you!

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by south42 » Tue, 14 Jan 2020 8:43 pm

Thanks for the info everyone! My family are also looking to move from Australia to Singapore this year. Our combined package (two full-time jobs) would be around 210-220k gross (inc housing) + 2.5 International School fees for three children + annual flights + health care. With all this can we afford a reasonable lifestyle in Singapore?
We are looking at 3-4 bedroom condo, helper, rental car (essential), two Asian holidays per year.. We're Kmart people in Aus and will be happily living like a local in Singapore - except for the car.
Any info would be appreciated!

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by tiktok » Tue, 14 Jan 2020 9:37 pm

What is 2.5 International School fees?
Anyway I think it's realistic. For a car, if you can come up with 25-40k cash you can get one to drive for 5 years.
I not troll/wacko/spammer.
Me no expat. Me foreigner.

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Re: Immigrating to Singapore with family - a good or stupid idea?

Post by south42 » Wed, 15 Jan 2020 8:20 am

tiktok wrote:
Tue, 14 Jan 2020 9:37 pm
What is 2.5 International School fees?
Anyway I think it's realistic. For a car, if you can come up with 25-40k cash you can get one to drive for 5 years.
Thanks Tiktok! For our three children we will only pay 50% of one full fee. We have been given a few school options, all in the 30K range. We will need to pay 15k for three children.
For a family of 5 with a helper, do you reckon we could get by with 3k per month for grocery and utility bills (excluding transport)?

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