What salary would I need?

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buju
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What salary would I need?

Post by buju » Wed, 10 Sep 2008 1:15 am

Hi, my family's thinking of living in Singapore for a while (2-4 years).
I work in telecom/ broadband/ Internet field and I may be able to find some Singapore expat job, if I looked hard.

We have 2 kids and they'd require Canadian schooling - hence big (I guess) Canadian International School expenses.

We REALLY need a reality check in terms of actual earnings that we would require in Singapore in order to match our current lifestyle here, in Canada.

As we did not find any proper international salary equivalency calculator out there we'd love to hear from the community here. Preferrably, if there are any Canadian expats that'd be best.

So, if our family income here is C$ (pretty much equivalent with USD) 110k/ year, what salary would we have to have in order to maintain same living standard? Of course, we do understand that we'd not live in a large house as here, maybe not even a house, just a 3 room bedroom. We'd prefer having a car.

Anyone? Thanks in advance.

Hithnar
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Post by Hithnar » Wed, 10 Sep 2008 2:08 am

First of all, there are a lot of topics like this, and maybe try to do some researching first :evil:

One thing I can add: if you want a car, then prepare to spend a lot. Car and condo are the real money drains :twisted:

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Zeenit
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Post by Zeenit » Wed, 10 Sep 2008 9:53 am

Check on the web the prices for schooling that wil be a be chunk of your salary. condo in good schooling areas' about $5k or more.
Food is cheap but only if you want to eat spicy food everyday and kids dont always in my experience.
Do you need a maid? It all adds up.
How old are your kids, reason been, if they old even, you need them to agree to the move.
Disgruntle kids or partner make 2- 4 years very long
Taxes here are low but make sure you dont have double tax to pay.
But otherwise Singapore is a very nice country and its a safe place as well.
Good Luck.
Zeenit

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Post by mrsfingers » Wed, 10 Sep 2008 5:19 pm

I wouldn't come to Singapore unless you get an expat posting over here with some sort of rental allowance and other benefits. Housing will be easily SGD5-6k per month, based on a condo. If you want a house I think it's more. International School fees range from SGD4-18k per year depending on prestige/age of kids. Owning a car is expensive, especially to buy. Even to lease a car can cost SGD2k+ per month.

Bear in mind that the job market & culture in Singapore is quite different. I was shocked to discover there's virtually no contracting market here - the most 'socially acceptable' form of work here is full time employment. (I come from the UK where there's a buoyant contracting market). If your wife wants to work she may expect some challenges, especially as part-time/flexitime work is pretty non-existent. Many wives set up their own small businesses instead.

Working for a local company is a non starter if you're going for the expat lifestyle as the salaries are too low (I have friends on SGD $3k/month). An expat job can pay higher but even so my experience is that the salaries I am being quoted at interviews are the same as I was earning in England, only now in SGD! So effectively I can only earn 1/3 of what I used to earn. Of course, tax is pretty low here but even so, you need to be on a decent whack to start with.

My husband and I are currently managing to live off his salary but we have no kids, no car and we're not exactly rolling in spare cash. Honestly I reckon you'd need to be on at least US150k based on your circumstances...and then some.

buju
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mrsfingers and zeenit

Post by buju » Thu, 11 Sep 2008 12:52 am

Thank you for your good comments.
After further research our conclusion is that we'd need around a $200k+ per year in order to achieve what we wanted. That would bring us in VP or GM positiion territory, which is something that I would not be able to get, neither would I want to.

So in the end it looks like we either set our camp elsewhere in SA Asia, or we visit from here - not really a good idea, given the short North American vacations and especially the expensive plane tickets. But we'll see.

Sharks, if only we could bump into one of those hitech/ telco expat jobs - they used to be abundent in the 90's.

Thanks again.

Leone and John
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Post by Leone and John » Thu, 11 Sep 2008 7:44 am

mrsfingers says:

"My husband and I are currently managing to live off his salary but we have no kids, no car and we're not exactly rolling in spare cash. Honestly I reckon you'd need to be on at least US150k based on your circumstances...and then some"

.... and this is exactly our experience as well.

We are not on any "expat package" or contract, we are employed for as long as the job holds out. So if the job is suddenly made redundant, then we would have to pack up and move out within 30 days. Certainly not something we would be looking forward to as we really do like it here!

Yes the tax is low, but then the rental is high, some food items high, some low, car expense is high, but public transport is low, though of excellent value ..... so it all evens out - in a lot of cases.

But make sure you do your homework thoroughly before making a final decision. Good luck with whatever you do!!
Leone + John Fabre
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buju
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Leone and John

Post by buju » Sat, 13 Sep 2008 2:04 am

Leone and John,

Thanks for your comments.
We did reach the conclusion that it would not be a good idea to come over... We'd love it, but we do not want to experience a serious drop in the living standard, and most of all we do not want to compromise our kids' education.

I may be spending a bit more time to check out Thailand - but I am sure that that will be a very brief search that will result in a quick NO WAY decision. Thailand is a very different place than MY and SG, especially from the language perspective.

Big pitty, but again, you never know - we may strike the lottery jackpot and be there in a jiffy - and not for work... only for fun.

Thanks.

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Post by Hithnar » Sat, 13 Sep 2008 3:23 am

Buju, I don't know what is the living standard you currently have, but you can get a HDB flat here, instead of a condo, and it cuts the costs of renting by a half. condos are fancy, but they are not the only option.

I would not worry about compromising children's education - Singapore has a deserved reputation in education, and Singaporean kids score the highest in international comparison of quality in education system.

buju
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Hithnar

Post by buju » Sun, 14 Sep 2008 11:04 am

Thank you for your message Hithnar.

Well, I do understand your feedback, but the reason why condo + International School are sort of must have's for us because:
> Condo: we're coming from a large house (that we'd rent out for the duration of our Singapore stay). My wife hardly accepted to stay in a high rise condo - to ask for even lower conditions...
> We know that Singapore education system is good. The reason we'd enroll the kids in the Canadian International School is that we're Canadian, the school uses the same curriculum as here, in Ontario, and we'd not want to have ANY disruption in their education. That means that there would ne no equivalency tests, curricullum differences, etc.

So I guess that the only choices remain:
> An expat job with a fat benefits package - fat chance these days...
> Strike the lottery jackpot and .. buy a house in Singapore..

It's a pity Malaysia is as unstable as it is...
Thanks everyone.

abserf
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ideas for cost

Post by abserf » Sun, 14 Sep 2008 5:26 pm

You would need around 250k p.a. to make it worth your while with 2 kids in Int'l school:-
3 bed condo 50k
Intl School 50k (25k each including GST and ancillary expenses)
Income tax 35k
Food and Utilities 12k
Modest Car 20k including petrol etc.
Pension/Savings Contributions, lets say 15-20% of salary, 40k
Other living, entertainment, holidays, clothes etc etc 40k

And this is for living a middle class lifestyle commensurate with peers in U.S., Canada, Europe, Oz.

Bear in mind also that you will also need a deep bucket of cash to get started if the company is not paying - here are some rough ideas:
School registration fees 3k (1500 x 2 kids)
School 'security deposit' 10k (5k x 2)
1st terms fees 10k (5k x 2)
Condo security deposit 8k (4k x 2 months)
Condo rental up front 4k

So thats 35,000 Sing dollars just to get the keys to your home and for your kids to start their first day in school - this is without flight costs and other ancillary expenses - and I think these figures are quite conservative - ouch!

buju
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abserf

Post by buju » Sun, 14 Sep 2008 11:47 pm

I agree. My calculations were a bit different, but the total still ended up at around 250k...

I can just wonder again, same as a couple of years back, when I visited Singapore last - what jobs do the parents have to have to be able to keep the kids in an International School in Singapore?
That assuming that they'd also leave in a condo if their kids are in an IS..

The parents must really be corporate executives or own some decent size companies...

Anyway, for now it looks like it's a no go for us. We can't afford it.
Thanks.

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