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New Graduate budgeting for a year in Singapore

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Eibow
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New Graduate budgeting for a year in Singapore

Postby Eibow » Fri, 05 Aug 2011 8:17 am

Hi all,

I'm new to the forum (1st post!) and have just received a job offer for a position at an asset management company headquartered in Suntec, Singapore.

In short, I just turned 22 and graduated only a couple months ago from a university in Los Angeles, CA. I am born and raised in San Francisco/around the Bay Area and given the shortage of entry level jobs in CA, I figured the offer was far to good to give up. After a 2-week visit to Singapore last month, I got an employment offer the day before I headed back home and accepted.

Of course, while I know this is a huge opportunity, there are also certain things that provoke anxiety leading up to my move- a major one being my cost of living.

I have been putting together a budget/living expense spreadsheet for the last couple days for use in negotiating my budget and if I have found one thing- Singapore is NOT cheap. I am hoping that someone on these forums has constructed something similar and with more realistic figures than I have been able to provide myself.

Currently, I have about 6 sections (housing, food, transportation, communication, entertainment, and additional purchases) with various subsections included in my budget. At my entry level position, I will be receiving approximately $3,500 SGD per month. I also may have up to $1,000 per month of additional support (savings, etc.) Now, I know this is not much to live a luxurious life, however, I am in this move for the experience and if I am able to negotiate a salary that will allow me to break-even and not "pay to work" in Singapore, I will be satisfied.

I know it's impossible for me to provide adequate info to get a personal budget, but any insight is greatly appreciated. Very briefly, I would hope to have at least my own apartment regardless of size with it's own door/number (i.e. no "room" for rent). Entertainment wise, I do enjoy going out and drinking (helps get me through the week) and know it is expensive to do so in Singapore so it will likely be my largest entertainment expense. For transportation, I plan on using the MRT (stops right below my work) and rarely a taxi. If you feel any further questions would be beneficial, please don't hesitate to ask.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my situation. I will be having a growing presence on this forum as I count down the days to my move.

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nakatago
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Postby nakatago » Fri, 05 Aug 2011 8:54 am

Most of your questions have been asked and answered several times already. Though you think your situation may be unique, it doesn't take much to see what other people asked and apply them to your own scenario. You just need to diligently use this site's search function and iteratively use the proper keywords.

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JayCee
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Postby JayCee » Fri, 05 Aug 2011 9:58 am

Frankly I'd be more concerned with if your EP gets approved or not, as a lot of foreign new graduates have been given job offers only for MOM to veto it by rejecting their work passes. Read the forum and you will find plenty of such cases, along with answers to your others questions
I HAVE MASTERS!

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boffenl
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Postby boffenl » Fri, 05 Aug 2011 2:13 pm

Glad to welcome another American to the board. Just a few hints:

1. You will find it VERY difficult to find your own apartment/HDB for less that $1500 per month. Another route is a hostel (you'll have your own room and maybe a bathroom) but it'll feel like college all over again.

2. Drinking is ridiculously expensive--a can of (local) beer is $6-$8, you could eat lunch twice for this amount.

3. Since you're a new grad, work with your student loan officer before you arrive in SG and see if you can go into forebearance. It's better to ask now than get here and find out you can't cover your loans.

4. Good luck! The experience is worth it--I'm trying to get my young nephews to move out here for a few years too.

andrew22
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Postby andrew22 » Fri, 05 Aug 2011 6:08 pm

Hey Eibow--

To echo boffenl, glad to see a fellow meiguo ren around these parts.

As it happens, having just graduated from a US university in May, I'm in a very similar situation to yours, the only major difference being that I'm already set up in SG.

I would say that it won't be terribly easy to snag your own place for a reasonable percentage of that level of salary. If you're anything like me, you might find that size isn't the big concern, it's actually the area that you're in and the condition of the building. Rents are pretty astronomical here...you can live in some of the, shall I say, least desirable parts of SG, in some of the oldest, least maintained buildings, and still be paying ~$2k+/month for your own place. I have some experience with this, and can tell you that it can also be a little more challenging to be a westerner in these areas (though not by any means unbearable).

From my experience, living in a condo room, which you can find for anywhere from $1k-$2k depending on the building/area, is a much more comfortable situation. Sure, you have to watch out for crook landlords, but I suppose that applies for renting your own place as well. In some areas like Farrer Park/Holland Village/Newton, there are quite a few expats in similar positions/professions sharing condos.

Beyond that, yes, drinking is damn expensive, but the nightlife here is solid, and you can easily budget for it if you aren't paying too much for rent.

As for the EP, have you applied yet? I'm in the beginning stages of sweating mine out...unfortunately, it's no guaranteed process these days.

Eibow
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Postby Eibow » Tue, 16 Aug 2011 5:42 am

Thanks for all of the advice. At this point in time, my EP has not yet gone through. While I understand this is not guaranteed, I am hoping that given my circumstance with my future employer, I shouldn't have much of a problem getting my work permit.

As far as housing, I have begun to realize that having my own appt feels well out of my price range. I am also realizing that sharing a condo/renting out a room seems like the normal/common housing option and in many cases is superior to renting out a tiny, studio apartment individually.

It sounds like many new expats are in the same boat. Has anyone had luck in finding new expat housemates on the forums? Seems like if you were able to get together ~$2,500 (1,250 each, give or take) there are some pretty decent 2 BR options.

Eibow
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Location: San Francisco/Singapore

Postby Eibow » Tue, 16 Aug 2011 5:43 am

Thanks for all of the advice. At this point in time, my EP has not yet gone through. While I understand this is not guaranteed, I am hoping that given my circumstance with my future employer, I shouldn't have much of a problem getting my work permit.

As far as housing, I have begun to realize that having my own appt feels well out of my price range. I am also realizing that sharing a condo/renting out a room seems like the normal/common housing option and in many cases is superior to renting out a tiny, studio apartment individually.

It sounds like many new expats are in the same boat. Has anyone had luck in finding new expat housemates on the forums? Seems like if you were able to get together ~$2,500 (1,250 each, give or take) there are some pretty decent 2 BR options.


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