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Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Posted: Sat, 21 Nov 2020 12:52 am
by Liquorice
Hi all,
Due to a company re-organisation, there is a very real possibility that a posting to Singapore may be offered to me. I would like your advice on what you think is an acceptable package for moving to Singapore.
I believe my package should be as follows:
1. Basic annual salary SGD 350K, which covers International Schooling for 2 kids (SGD 70K), housing allowance (SGD 96K per year), car allowance for 1 car (SGD 25K per year). I estimate Singapore taxation at around 18%;
2. Annual bonus of ca. SGD 100K, based on hitting the KPIs at 100%;
3. Full medical and dental insurance, including coverage for pre-existing conditions;
4. Insurance coverage for life, critical illness and disability for spouse and I;
5. 5 weeks holiday per year;
6. Moving expenses;

My current household package (we live in Scandinavia):
1. My gross salary (incl. annual bonus) is SGD 250K;
2. My wife is a dentist, and has a gross salary of SGD 200K. I have checked with the Singapore Dental Council, and she will be required to take a qualifying exam to be entitled to practise in Singapore. In other words, I cannot count on her working in Singapore in the 3-4 years we plan to be there. As a side remark, her university is recognised in Singapore for the medical profession;
3. 6 weeks holiday per year, not including public holidays;
4. Life, Critical illness and disability insurance premiums only cost us SGD1500 p.a.;
5. Schooling, including university is free for my children;
6. Medical and dental treatment is free at point of purchase (Medical is covered by the hefty taxation - around 45% of my gross income; and dental is free due to my wife being a dentist);
7. Some other facts - we own 2 cars, and can afford 3 overseas holidays a year. We put aside 12% of our gross income in a private pension. On top of that we have a state pension. Any years spent outside of the country will mean that we lose qualifying years and our state pension will be reduced;
8. I am able to put aside another SGD 20K p.a. for investments;

My questions is: Is this a realistic package to ask for? I work in a niche area of renewables that is about to explode in APAC over the next decade. There are no locals who can do the job I do, as the industry does not exist in Singapore.

Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Posted: Sat, 21 Nov 2020 1:40 am
by malcontent
Seems like a fairly reasonable package on most counts, given what you are currently earning. I would say the weak spot is the International Schooling. $70k for two could leave a shortfall depending on what school and what grade your kids are in... I would feel more comfortable with something closer to $100k for two. Note that initial enrollment fees can be steep, and school fees do increase each year, so you’ll need to consider that too.

Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Posted: Sat, 21 Nov 2020 9:35 am
by theboomboom
Scandinivia has much higher taxes and the cost of living is arguably more expensive. Even considering that your wife won't be working, I'd wager you'd end up with more money net. Especially, since most of your highest expenses is covered for. So, all-in-all it seems like a very reasonable package.

That said, I'd advise estimating what your cost is going to be month by month to understand whether it is a good offer in the end. Have a look around for rentals to see where you want to live and what that would cost (8k a month goes a long way). I don't know much about schooling, but I do know that International School fees can vary a lot, so you may want to do some research to where you want your children to go to. This should at least paint you a picture of what your cost will be.

Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Posted: Sat, 21 Nov 2020 10:13 am
by malcontent
One other thing, if you are getting state pension contributions by your employer today, I would expect you should get some form of retirement contributions while in Singapore as well. As a foreigner here you won’t be eligible for the local CPF program, but your employer can contribute to an SRS account instead, up to a maximum $35,700 tax free per year for foreigners - that amount seems like a reasonable expectation for your employer to contribute, given your compensation level.

Re: Advice sought for salary package to move to Singapore

Posted: Wed, 02 Dec 2020 5:11 pm
by Liquorice
Hi all,
Thanks for your advice. I checked the school fees again, and I do agree- SGD100K for 2 kids is more realistic- if you include all the miscellaneous expenses (enrollment, excursion fees, school uniforms, school bus, CCA fees etc.)
Thanks for the tip re. the SRS contribution- I will definitely bear that in mind.
My housing budget of SGD8K per month includes utilities and cleaning. I would rather not have live-in help, but instead have a local come and cook and clean 9-5 on weekdays. This was what I had in Shanghai when I was posted to China in 2010-13. I understand it may be hard to get the equivalent in Singapore. I would be looking to live as close to the school as possible, so that the kids can either cycle or walk to school. - My kids have been cycling themselves to school since they were 8 years old- so they are pretty independent. The areas I've been looking in are Dairy Farm/Upper Bukit Timah/Bukit Timah.