To be fair, this isn't really unique to Singapore? I would say it's true in the USA and UK as well (and probably every country that has a main city/commerce hub). Go to work in NYC, Bay Area, or London and then move out/back once you've made what you need.malcontent wrote: ↑Sun, 17 Jul 2022 12:00 amThere are also those who start out #1 and end up #2… whether by choice or by circumstance. I’ve now spent half of my life in SG, but still feel perfectly at home in the US (just spent the last 3 weeks there). And, I just got my EP renewed for the umpteenth time.Wd40 wrote: ↑Sat, 16 Jul 2022 10:43 pmTo me, the most critical question you have to ask yourself is what you are looking to gain from your stint in Singapore. Usually there are 2 different routes
1)You are looking at SG as an expat destination. Want to work here for a few years and you are here for the money, the experience or whatever. But you dont call this a home. You know where your home is and eventually you plan to go back. Singapore is awesome if this is your goal. You dont need to learn a new language, you dont need to buy a home or car or develop any kind of materialist or emotional attachment to this place. You enjoy your time here living like a long term tourist then you go back to whereever you came from, and you pretty quickly forget about Singapore, even if you lived here for 3-4 decades.
2)You are looking for a place to immigrate to. You come from a place where you dont really plan to go back to and retire. You are shopping for a new passport to settledown, build your house, grow your family and retire. Then Singapore is a horrible choice. You are better off to go to another developed country which still takes in immigrants.
To your point - - Singapore is a great place to make money, not spend money. So if you can swing it, spend your peak earning years here and sacrifice your lifestyle, then leave Singapore to enjoy what you’ve earned — where you’ll get way more bang for your buck. It can be a win for you and a win for Singapore as well — to shed that dead weight.
For families with kids, I think Singapore is cheaper than those three (or at least the two US ones). Although maybe for expats with kids in int'l school it is more here (if school fees not covered). For the local kids, school fees here are very affordable. Obviously it depends how one lives, as all of these locations can be very expensive or not that bad.
Net-Net, I would think it's a coin flip on whether you may be able to save more in USA over 10-20 year (peak) period working/living in other large metro areas (not NYC, Bay Area) than you can here? Earnings opportunity should be comparable and some costs will be lower (especially if have a public school system you think is decent). I guess in any city it will depend on what your exact skills are, the opportunities there, and your network. After a decade of work, the range of what you earn is a lot more dependent on you than market averages.
Of course, if you are comparing SG to a rural area or even a smaller city (1 million or so people), there are a lot more opportunities here. But that is also true of the 3-5 million metro areas in the US (more opportunities and more costs).