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Planning my move to Singapore

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smoulder
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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by smoulder » Fri, 22 Jul 2022 9:10 am

Lisafuller wrote:
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 2:37 am
Roadtosingapore wrote:
Mon, 18 Jul 2022 2:16 pm
Thanks for responding to my query. Do expat have an option to rent a HDB flat?

Here is my definition of leading a decent life -

1) 3 bedroom flat (close to the transport that connects you to the main city center / downtown)
2) International School for kids (school following British curriculum)
3) Weekend trips to local attraction and eating out 1-2 times per week (no alcoholic beverages)
4) Public transport / Uber
5) Access to swimming pool / Health clubs

I think the cost for above will give me a good idea about expected monthly expenditure.

I will be earning around 16k per month.
If you’re referring to government flats they’re incredibly small and there are quite a number of hoops you would have to jump through as a foreigner in order to rent. Also there are no facilities or amenities so you would have to purchase a club membership separately. For these reasons it is far more preferable for you to stay in a condo. Other members have given you a more detailed cost breakdown, but generally for a condo of decent build and size you should expect to pay at least $4-5K a month.
Actually HDBs are usually bigger, and even more so when you factor in the lower rental prices (more bang for your buck).

Yes, you do miss out on the facilities - but having said that, many people either don't care at all about them, or they do but never or rarely ever use the facilities. For instance, I never use the condo gym - I prefer to have a full fledged gym. I would love to use the pool, but rarely do and when I do, it's always for my 2 and a half years old daughter and not for me.

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malcontent
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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by malcontent » Fri, 22 Jul 2022 8:05 pm

Lisafuller wrote:
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 2:40 am
As for the point about eating at restaurants, at least we don’t have to tip! That helps bring costs down quite a bit - in the US we spend 30 a head on food alone, then tax is added and the 20-25% tip depending on service. Before you know it you’re over 40 a head, really expensive!
There is a huge misperception about tipping in the US, and it’s made worse by a slew of online misinformation and pay terminals in the US that ask if you want to add a tip… even for take out food (hint: you should always select no, and you should not feel guilty about it).

A tip of 20-25% is absolutely NOT the norm in the US… this is definitely on the high side and very generous. If you sift through all of the nonsense on the web, you will eventually find legitimate studies that use real data and it shows that 15% is the average tip across the USA, with most tips landing in the low teens to high teens range.

Tipping less than 10% usually signals some dissatisfaction with the service and less than 5% could even prompt the restaurant to stop you to ask whether something was not up to your liking. If you are really disgusted by the service, leaving one penny (1¢) as a tip is the best way to drive the point home — there is no way you forgot to tip! Is tipping 10% out of line? It used to be the norm when I was a kid growing up in the US, but today it’s viewed as the kind of the unspoken minimum acceptable tip, unless you are unhappy with the service.

How is this different than Singapore where you get stuck with a 10% service charge? If you are happy to pay 10% here, just add 10% in the US if that is what you want to tip. 10% is not a great tip, but it is not unacceptable.

Let’s say the total bill is $34.29 with tax, what you might do is calculate 10% of that which is $3.43 and then round that up to either $4 or $5, depending how happy you are with the service. If the pre-tax was $32.35, that works out to a 12.4-15.5% tip, both are totally fine.
Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it - Niels Bohr

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sundaymorningstaple
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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 22 Jul 2022 10:07 pm

Don't know about the US tax laws regarding tip income off the top of my head today but when I was in the business back in the 1970's if you were waitstaff in a proper restaurant and didn't report a minimum of 15 % of your income as tip income IRS would automatically correct your return by adding that much. You were welcome to dispute it, but you would get penalties & interest charges if you did as most restaurants that are not fast food oriented are already tested out by IRS agents and know what the average tips for that city/style of restaurant is. In some upper class restaurants it could go as high as 25% average tips for excellent staff and most were excellent and those that were not, did have a job very long. In fact, in NYC and probably LA but I don't really know there, there were waiting lists to get jobs at those places. It was nothing for a good waiter/waitress to make 100G/yr even back then. It is a well known fact that a huge number of movie and Broadway stars survived back in the day by waiting tables in NYC waiting on that big break.
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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malcontent
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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by malcontent » Fri, 22 Jul 2022 10:51 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 10:07 pm
Don't know about the US tax laws regarding tip income off the top of my head today but when I was in the business back in the 1970's if you were waitstaff in a proper restaurant and didn't report a minimum of 15 % of your income as tip income IRS would automatically correct your return by adding that much. You were welcome to dispute it, but you would get penalties & interest charges if you did as most restaurants that are not fast food oriented are already tested out by IRS agents and know what the average tips for that city/style of restaurant is. In some upper class restaurants it could go as high as 25% average tips for excellent staff and most were excellent and those that were not, did have a job very long. In fact, in NYC and probably LA but I don't really know there, there were waiting lists to get jobs at those places. It was nothing for a good waiter/waitress to make 100G/yr even back then. It is a well known fact that a huge number of movie and Broadway stars survived back in the day by waiting tables in NYC waiting on that big break.
Some states still have that, but they still have room to play. More recently in California, they passed a new law to ensure waitstaff get paid a “living wage” which has stirred up a debate about whether people should change their tipping habits in light of this. And honestly, if you do the math, tip income from waiting even 5 tables in an hour… even if people tip average, it’s a whole lot of money. It’s probably the best paid job for the skills involved… the big question is, should it be?

To this question, the millennials have spoken, and they don’t agree with tipping, and they have been labeled the worst generation of tippers in history — a large percentage of them don’t even tip at all. Honestly, I think the whole tipping culture in North America is absolutely over the top and needs to be heavily curtailed if not abolished.

You can probably tell that I’m not a big fan of tipping. I really have a lot of respect and admiration for the Japanese, they feel insulted by tips and there is never any expectation for one. The worst thing is being hustled for tips, which has only happened to me in the US. It’s just abhorrent behavior IMO.
Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it - Niels Bohr

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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by Roadtosingapore » Sat, 23 Jul 2022 8:29 am

Thank you all for taking time to respond to my query. Your suggestions are very helpful. I got a pretty good idea - School and accommodation are the key expenses....Have been working on finalising school at the moment, once finalised will begin on the accommodation in the area close to the school.

This forum is a great help! Thanks.

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malcontent
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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by malcontent » Sat, 23 Jul 2022 1:53 pm

Roadtosingapore wrote:
Sat, 23 Jul 2022 8:29 am
Thank you all for taking time to respond to my query. Your suggestions are very helpful. I got a pretty good idea - School and accommodation are the key expenses....Have been working on finalising school at the moment, once finalised will begin on the accommodation in the area close to the school.

This forum is a great help! Thanks.
You definitely have the idea. Employers who send employees here should at a minimum compensate for the differences in what you’d spend in your home country vs. here, which can be substantially different, especially if you compare apples to apples (size, quality, etc.).

The only thing I really saved money on when I moved here was transport — just the cost of my car insurance back home easily covered all of my bus & train rides here. Housing & school are the two big ones, and next is the car if you insist on having one.

Having a car here can be enormously more convenient, especially when you have younger kids who can’t take public transport on their own yet. I have noticed that most people who stay here long enough will eventually bite the bullet and at least get a used car.
Every great and deep difficulty bears in itself its own solution. It forces us to change our thinking in order to find it - Niels Bohr

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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by Roadtosingapore » Sat, 23 Jul 2022 6:30 pm

Thank you. Getting a car is not in my immediate plan, will see how it goes and based on the necessity and affordability will decide. Definitely it’s convenient to have own transport with younger kids. Will miss my 4x4 but in other way not having one may improve overall fitness :)

Lisafuller
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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Jul 2022 4:41 am

smoulder wrote:
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 9:10 am
Lisafuller wrote:
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 2:37 am
Roadtosingapore wrote:
Mon, 18 Jul 2022 2:16 pm
Thanks for responding to my query. Do expat have an option to rent a HDB flat?

Here is my definition of leading a decent life -

1) 3 bedroom flat (close to the transport that connects you to the main city center / downtown)
2) International School for kids (school following British curriculum)
3) Weekend trips to local attraction and eating out 1-2 times per week (no alcoholic beverages)
4) Public transport / Uber
5) Access to swimming pool / Health clubs

I think the cost for above will give me a good idea about expected monthly expenditure.

I will be earning around 16k per month.
If you’re referring to government flats they’re incredibly small and there are quite a number of hoops you would have to jump through as a foreigner in order to rent. Also there are no facilities or amenities so you would have to purchase a club membership separately. For these reasons it is far more preferable for you to stay in a condo. Other members have given you a more detailed cost breakdown, but generally for a condo of decent build and size you should expect to pay at least $4-5K a month.
Actually HDBs are usually bigger, and even more so when you factor in the lower rental prices (more bang for your buck).

Yes, you do miss out on the facilities - but having said that, many people either don't care at all about them, or they do but never or rarely ever use the facilities. For instance, I never use the condo gym - I prefer to have a full fledged gym. I would love to use the pool, but rarely do and when I do, it's always for my 2 and a half years old daughter and not for me.
Right, but OP mentioned that they wanted those facilities so going with an HDB means they would have to incur the additional expense of a membership. Will probably still work out to far less but there’s nothing like the convenience of having all your amenities within the compound.

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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Jul 2022 4:44 am

malcontent wrote:
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 8:05 pm
Lisafuller wrote:
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 2:40 am
As for the point about eating at restaurants, at least we don’t have to tip! That helps bring costs down quite a bit - in the US we spend 30 a head on food alone, then tax is added and the 20-25% tip depending on service. Before you know it you’re over 40 a head, really expensive!
There is a huge misperception about tipping in the US, and it’s made worse by a slew of online misinformation and pay terminals in the US that ask if you want to add a tip… even for take out food (hint: you should always select no, and you should not feel guilty about it).

A tip of 20-25% is absolutely NOT the norm in the US… this is definitely on the high side and very generous. If you sift through all of the nonsense on the web, you will eventually find legitimate studies that use real data and it shows that 15% is the average tip across the USA, with most tips landing in the low teens to high teens range.

Tipping less than 10% usually signals some dissatisfaction with the service and less than 5% could even prompt the restaurant to stop you to ask whether something was not up to your liking. If you are really disgusted by the service, leaving one penny (1¢) as a tip is the best way to drive the point home — there is no way you forgot to tip! Is tipping 10% out of line? It used to be the norm when I was a kid growing up in the US, but today it’s viewed as the kind of the unspoken minimum acceptable tip, unless you are unhappy with the service.

How is this different than Singapore where you get stuck with a 10% service charge? If you are happy to pay 10% here, just add 10% in the US if that is what you want to tip. 10% is not a great tip, but it is not unacceptable.

Let’s say the total bill is $34.29 with tax, what you might do is calculate 10% of that which is $3.43 and then round that up to either $4 or $5, depending how happy you are with the service. If the pre-tax was $32.35, that works out to a 12.4-15.5% tip, both are totally fine.
Perhaps it’s a regional difference? In Miami if you tip anything less than 20% you tend to get funny looks from the servers. And service is usually pretty great because they are working hard for their tips so I don’t mind paying the 20 or 25%. Wish I didn’t have to, but I do because I know it goes into the pockets of the servers.

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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Jul 2022 4:46 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 10:07 pm
Don't know about the US tax laws regarding tip income off the top of my head today but when I was in the business back in the 1970's if you were waitstaff in a proper restaurant and didn't report a minimum of 15 % of your income as tip income IRS would automatically correct your return by adding that much. You were welcome to dispute it, but you would get penalties & interest charges if you did as most restaurants that are not fast food oriented are already tested out by IRS agents and know what the average tips for that city/style of restaurant is. In some upper class restaurants it could go as high as 25% average tips for excellent staff and most were excellent and those that were not, did have a job very long. In fact, in NYC and probably LA but I don't really know there, there were waiting lists to get jobs at those places. It was nothing for a good waiter/waitress to make 100G/yr even back then. It is a well known fact that a huge number of movie and Broadway stars survived back in the day by waiting tables in NYC waiting on that big break.
Yep, this is my impression as well. The tip economy is huge in the US, and tipping 15% would make you seem pretty stingy. Wish it didn’t have to be this way, because it does add up quickly.

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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Jul 2022 4:48 am

malcontent wrote:
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 10:51 pm
sundaymorningstaple wrote:
Fri, 22 Jul 2022 10:07 pm
Don't know about the US tax laws regarding tip income off the top of my head today but when I was in the business back in the 1970's if you were waitstaff in a proper restaurant and didn't report a minimum of 15 % of your income as tip income IRS would automatically correct your return by adding that much. You were welcome to dispute it, but you would get penalties & interest charges if you did as most restaurants that are not fast food oriented are already tested out by IRS agents and know what the average tips for that city/style of restaurant is. In some upper class restaurants it could go as high as 25% average tips for excellent staff and most were excellent and those that were not, did have a job very long. In fact, in NYC and probably LA but I don't really know there, there were waiting lists to get jobs at those places. It was nothing for a good waiter/waitress to make 100G/yr even back then. It is a well known fact that a huge number of movie and Broadway stars survived back in the day by waiting tables in NYC waiting on that big break.
Some states still have that, but they still have room to play. More recently in California, they passed a new law to ensure waitstaff get paid a “living wage” which has stirred up a debate about whether people should change their tipping habits in light of this. And honestly, if you do the math, tip income from waiting even 5 tables in an hour… even if people tip average, it’s a whole lot of money. It’s probably the best paid job for the skills involved… the big question is, should it be?

To this question, the millennials have spoken, and they don’t agree with tipping, and they have been labeled the worst generation of tippers in history — a large percentage of them don’t even tip at all. Honestly, I think the whole tipping culture in North America is absolutely over the top and needs to be heavily curtailed if not abolished.

You can probably tell that I’m not a big fan of tipping. I really have a lot of respect and admiration for the Japanese, they feel insulted by tips and there is never any expectation for one. The worst thing is being hustled for tips, which has only happened to me in the US. It’s just abhorrent behavior IMO.
Me too, I absolutely hate the expectation. I only do it because it’s the culture and at the end of the day if the restaurant is not going to pay their workers a living wage, I’ll do what I can, even if I don’t agree with it. One might even argue that continuing to tip so highly to supplement the servers’ income encourages businesses to continue paying their workers peanuts.

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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Jul 2022 4:49 am

Roadtosingapore wrote:
Sat, 23 Jul 2022 8:29 am
Thank you all for taking time to respond to my query. Your suggestions are very helpful. I got a pretty good idea - School and accommodation are the key expenses....Have been working on finalising school at the moment, once finalised will begin on the accommodation in the area close to the school.

This forum is a great help! Thanks.
Cost of schooling can vary greatly, but I personally recommend SAS if you can afford it.

Lisafuller
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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Jul 2022 4:51 am

malcontent wrote:
Sat, 23 Jul 2022 1:53 pm
Roadtosingapore wrote:
Sat, 23 Jul 2022 8:29 am
Thank you all for taking time to respond to my query. Your suggestions are very helpful. I got a pretty good idea - School and accommodation are the key expenses....Have been working on finalising school at the moment, once finalised will begin on the accommodation in the area close to the school.

This forum is a great help! Thanks.
You definitely have the idea. Employers who send employees here should at a minimum compensate for the differences in what you’d spend in your home country vs. here, which can be substantially different, especially if you compare apples to apples (size, quality, etc.).

The only thing I really saved money on when I moved here was transport — just the cost of my car insurance back home easily covered all of my bus & train rides here. Housing & school are the two big ones, and next is the car if you insist on having one.

Having a car here can be enormously more convenient, especially when you have younger kids who can’t take public transport on their own yet. I have noticed that most people who stay here long enough will eventually bite the bullet and at least get a used car.
That’s what we did. We used to buy cars new, but at some point we realized that it was just not economical. Now we get them used with a couple years left on the COE, has cut costs dramatically. Still incredibly expensive, but less so.

Lisafuller
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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by Lisafuller » Sun, 24 Jul 2022 4:52 am

Roadtosingapore wrote:
Sat, 23 Jul 2022 6:30 pm
Thank you. Getting a car is not in my immediate plan, will see how it goes and based on the necessity and affordability will decide. Definitely it’s convenient to have own transport with younger kids. Will miss my 4x4 but in other way not having one may improve overall fitness :)
I will warn you though that not having a car when you have younger children can be incredibly stressful and inconvenient. Taking public transport with kids is exhausting.

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Re: Planning my move to Singapore

Post by Roadtosingapore » Sun, 24 Jul 2022 6:17 am

Got your point. Will assess the situation in first few months then will decide. Affordability and utilisation will play role. Are Grab and other taxi services too expensive?

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