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Special school with mainstream education, living expenses

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cindycnl
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Special school with mainstream education, living expenses

Postby cindycnl » Tue, 03 Jan 2012 2:55 am

Hi, my husband is just being offered a job as a senior manager with S$10k monthly pay in Singapore, but there's no children education allowance, housing allowance & transport allowance :( . We are family of four with a 6 yrso boy & 4 yrso girl. My son is a slow learner with mild autism.

Glad that I found this forum. I've been searching & reading several informative posts here for these couple of days. However, I would still like to get more specific information & some precious advices according to our situation.

We plan to rent a HDB flat with 3bedroom, hopefully we'll get an ideal one with < 3k monthly rental fees. I think the 2nd part of our big expences will be on our son's education.

After reading some posts on this forum, I learned that Dover Court or Pathlight School is the best place for him. Although I've visited DC website that provides information about their fees (with some additional charges ..), I still don't have a clear picture in mind around how much we'll need to spend annually if my son joins the Department of Supportive Education Junior class. Does anyone here have a child attending this class?

Actually, we are not quite sure if my husband's salary will be able to afford such high fees. Pathlight sounds good too & cheaper but it seems not easy for a non-citizen to get a place. And I have read that DC may have long wait list or my son may not be accepted too. Lots of worries :???:

For our daughter, if she goes to local pre-school, is it true that we have to pay double of the fees local pays? Around 1K permonth? If we spend 3K on housing, 3K on son & 1K on our daughter's education (possible more? :? ), will our family still be able to live comfortably? Hm... one more thing, we are still not sure if we should get a used car to bring the kids to/frm their school.

Pros & cons..
Pros,
1/.Wider & seems better choices of special education compare to the place we are living now. This is the most important thing we concerned about. Anyway, after reading through the forum, cause of the wait list(non-citizen harder) problem & high fees, I am DEEPLY worried we may endup failing to send our son to any school & regret the relocation. Any parents here can share their experience, for an expat's child in Singapore, slow learner, mild autistism, if we fail to get him into Pathlight or DC, what else can we do :cry: So far from what I had read, it seems not many choice of special schools offers mainstream education.

2/. The job seems to be a very good apportuniny to my husband's career, pretty big increase in his salary too, but of course the living cost in Singapore is higher. Currently, we can have around S$1500 for saving each month, we hope in future too.



Cons,
1/.We'll not have granny's helps any more to take care of our kids when necessary. We'll be on our own.
2/.Working lifestyle there? Employees are encouraged to work hard for long hour?
3/.Although I read that the public transport is excellent, with 2 kids, I am still worried if I'll have problem bringing them to&frm 2 different schools everyday. Will we be able to afford having a used car, not going to drive somewhere else, just for the purpose of sending kids to school?


Please advices, many thanks.
Cindy

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ecureilx
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Re: Special school with mainstream education, living expense

Postby ecureilx » Tue, 03 Jan 2012 9:20 am

cindycnl wrote:
Cons,
1/.We'll not have granny's helps any more to take care of our kids when necessary. We'll be on our own.
2/.Working lifestyle there? Employees are encouraged to work hard for long hour?
3/.Although I read that the public transport is excellent, with 2 kids, I am still worried if I'll have problem bringing them to&frm 2 different schools everyday. Will we be able to afford having a used car, not going to drive somewhere else, just for the purpose of sending kids to school?


Please advices, many thanks.
Cindy


let me just add some thing from my experience ..

smaller companies nowadays expect long hours .. and also depends on the trade / industry. If the industry is such that work is in Singapore, office off- all off .. if the coverage is regional .. it can stretch

Larger companies, generally are now going loud on "work life balance" and discouraging people from taking work home .. (atleast where I am, they do .. including compulsory lights off once a month at 4 PM .. :D :D)

Schools - most schools, have school busses .. you can check that with the school directly. Taxis can cost upwards of 15$ or more .. per day .. per trip . .. if you are not in walking distance to the school .. oh, it just went up by a +25% :D

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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 03 Jan 2012 9:37 am

Two more minor points regarding salary:

1) Don't forget taxes. You will pay next year for this year, so you're off the hook year 1. But (without checking) your rate will be about 8%. Also, if by chance you're US Citizens, don't forget you'll have to pay them a bit too. S$10k/month should just slip you under the earned income exclusion, but anything over (bonus, stock options/grants, etc) will be hit at a high rate. (28%+ ?)

2) Does the company your husband is going to work for do anything about their portion of his CPF contribution? Without getting into details on what CPF is, many large companies will invest or reimburse this directly to your husband until he becomes a PR. This could be another ~$800 a month to assist with savings.

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ecureilx
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Postby ecureilx » Tue, 03 Jan 2012 9:43 am

zzm9980 wrote:2) Does the company your husband is going to work for do anything about their portion of his CPF contribution? Without getting into details on what CPF is, many large companies will invest or reimburse this directly to your husband until he becomes a PR. This could be another ~$800 a month to assist with savings.


My experience having worked for a few companies (oh, not by choice .. ) ... large companies consider the CPF as a fixed cost, and pay to you the 16% as additional 'allowance' the fallback being, those companies will insist you go for full contribution upon your getting PR, so, you loose out 20% + 16% of your pay in one go if you get PR :)

and a fair number of companies, primarily SMEs don't do the above .. they act quite as the CPF contribution is considered a 'cost' .. so you only get the 'fixed' pay .. nothing more ..

The 'extra' allowance should work out to about 700 $ a month if the employer pays the CPF as additional pay ..

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Postby boffenl » Tue, 03 Jan 2012 5:08 pm

You can do it with $10k per month salary. It will be tight, and I'm not sure you'll be able to save much money. But if you're going to be living in an HDB, then you shouldn't have any problem getting your daughter into a local PAP kindergarten--maybe right in your estate. That way you'll save time and money ferrying her.

Your son is a whole other issue. There have been strides recently in dealing with autism in mainstream classrooms in local schools. My daughter's grade has at least three boys with mild autism. I don't know more about schools, but do send an e-mail to the Ministry of Education, they seem to be VERY eager to help these days. :)

Good luck in finding a 3 bedroom under $3k. It may be a struggle, but I know they're out there. I'll think happy thoughts that you get a good agent!

Prepared food is cheap here, but a car is not. The purchase price plus parking and petrol is VERY expensive. We got rid of our car about 8 months ago, it makes you budget your time better too.

Good luck!

cindycnl
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Re: Special school with mainstream education, living expense

Postby cindycnl » Wed, 04 Jan 2012 4:32 pm

ecureilx wrote:
cindycnl wrote:
Cons,
1/.We'll not have granny's helps any more to take care of our kids when necessary. We'll be on our own.
2/.Working lifestyle there? Employees are encouraged to work hard for long hour?
3/.Although I read that the public transport is excellent, with 2 kids, I am still worried if I'll have problem bringing them to&frm 2 different schools everyday. Will we be able to afford having a used car, not going to drive somewhere else, just for the purpose of sending kids to school?


Please advices, many thanks.
Cindy


let me just add some thing from my experience ..

smaller companies nowadays expect long hours .. and also depends on the trade / industry. If the industry is such that work is in Singapore, office off- all off .. if the coverage is regional .. it can stretch

Larger companies, generally are now going loud on "work life balance" and discouraging people from taking work home .. (atleast where I am, they do .. including compulsory lights off once a month at 4 PM .. :D :D)

Schools - most schools, have school busses .. you can check that with the school directly. Taxis can cost upwards of 15$ or more .. per day .. per trip . .. if you are not in walking distance to the school .. oh, it just went up by a +25% :D


Thanks for your reply. Ya, I read about the school bus, if both can go by school bus that's perfect. If just one, can't bring another to school if I have to wait for the school bus together with one kid ~~"

Unless the school provides all therapies my son should take, I have to bring him somewhere else for extra therapy classes like speech therapy, sensory integration therapy etc ...

I think all my problems can be solved only if I have a maid or a car huh....:???:

Taxi fair went up? Everything seems up up up.. the house rent too ..

cindycnl
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Postby cindycnl » Wed, 04 Jan 2012 4:40 pm

zzm9980 wrote:Two more minor points regarding salary:

1) Don't forget taxes. You will pay next year for this year, so you're off the hook year 1. But (without checking) your rate will be about 8%. Also, if by chance you're US Citizens, don't forget you'll have to pay them a bit too. S$10k/month should just slip you under the earned income exclusion, but anything over (bonus, stock options/grants, etc) will be hit at a high rate. (28%+ ?)

2) Does the company your husband is going to work for do anything about their portion of his CPF contribution? Without getting into details on what CPF is, many large companies will invest or reimburse this directly to your husband until he becomes a PR. This could be another ~$800 a month to assist with savings.


Thanks for your kind remind, I'll check if my country will double tax or not. I think my husband has to ask them about CPF, they didn't mention about it.

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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 04 Jan 2012 4:50 pm

cindycnl wrote:
zzm9980 wrote:Two more minor points regarding salary:

1) Don't forget taxes. You will pay next year for this year, so you're off the hook year 1. But (without checking) your rate will be about 8%. Also, if by chance you're US Citizens, don't forget you'll have to pay them a bit too. S$10k/month should just slip you under the earned income exclusion, but anything over (bonus, stock options/grants, etc) will be hit at a high rate. (28%+ ?)

2) Does the company your husband is going to work for do anything about their portion of his CPF contribution? Without getting into details on what CPF is, many large companies will invest or reimburse this directly to your husband until he becomes a PR. This could be another ~$800 a month to assist with savings.


Thanks for your kind remind, I'll check if my country will double tax or not. I think my husband has to ask them about CPF, they didn't mention about it.


You pretty much only have to worry if you're from the US.

cindycnl
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Postby cindycnl » Wed, 04 Jan 2012 5:06 pm

boffenl wrote:You can do it with $10k per month salary. It will be tight, and I'm not sure you'll be able to save much money. But if you're going to be living in an HDB, then you shouldn't have any problem getting your daughter into a local PAP kindergarten--maybe right in your estate. That way you'll save time and money ferrying her.

Your son is a whole other issue. There have been strides recently in dealing with autism in mainstream classrooms in local schools. My daughter's grade has at least three boys with mild autism. I don't know more about schools, but do send an e-mail to the Ministry of Education, they seem to be VERY eager to help these days. :)

Good luck in finding a 3 bedroom under $3k. It may be a struggle, but I know they're out there. I'll think happy thoughts that you get a good agent!

Prepared food is cheap here, but a car is not. The purchase price plus parking and petrol is VERY expensive. We got rid of our car about 8 months ago, it makes you budget your time better too.

Good luck!


Thanks for your good suggestion, so far, we haven't contacted any school yet, we'll do so & if necessary we'll try to send the e-mail, hopefully we'll be lucky. :wink:

It's good that we haven't agreed with the offer yet :)
Thanks all :love:

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zzm9980
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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 04 Jan 2012 5:06 pm


thismyvoice
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Postby thismyvoice » Thu, 05 Jan 2012 10:19 pm

1) 3 bedroom, <$3k is doable. Depends on location. Will be good if you can provide the address of your husband's office. Does he mind long bus/subway journey?

2) Public transport used to be excellent. A few years back it was good, but crowded. Nowadays, the subway has some serious issue. But then again, there is always bus and taxi.

3) Car is expensive. A low range Toyota, fresh from the oven cost about $100k.

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Re: Special school with mainstream education, living expense

Postby Michelle Martin » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 8:41 am

[quote="cindycnl"]Hi, my husband is just being offered a job as a senior manager with S$10k monthly pay in Singapore, but there's no children education allowance, housing allowance & transport allowance :( . We are family of four with a 6 yrso boy & 4 yrso girl. My son is a slow learner with mild autism.


Hi Cindy:
I just posted as well, moving from CA to S in February and feeling the stress as are you - car and maid - hmm...I keep saying no to car and no to maid but wondering if living on the 30th floor with groceries and a 4 and 8 year old will be a nightmare! would love to hear more about what you find out. Our company will pay education expenses but we have to pitch in $500SGD a month for both kids, although youngest is on wait list for pre-school at SAIS....and my oldest has mild ADD and takes meds for it but I was upfront with the school and sent all the tests/evals etc and they took her. I would love to know if preschool is an option for the "public" preschools? Did you find that in your research?

What is an HDB? I don't understand all the abbreviations! I wish there was a site that listed them with definitions so I could easily decode many of these posts and what people are referring to! Guess I better do more research.

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Re: Special school with mainstream education, living expense

Postby ecureilx » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 12:15 pm

Michelle Martin wrote:What is an HDB? I don't understand all the abbreviations! I wish there was a site that listed them with definitions so I could easily decode many of these posts and what people are referring to! Guess I better do more research.


Hi Michelle,

welcome to Singapore

You gotta start learning the words used here, ERP, PIE, AYE, BTO, MRT .. :D :D

HDB - housing Development board housing for natives ..

Supposedly cheaper housing, but has gone a bit sky high .. unlike condos, where most expats live (especially those on expat terms .. :D) HDB lacks swimming pool, gym, and security

Essentially towers of public housing.

And with the lack of pool, gym and all such facility, the rental disparity between HDB and condos can be very large .. like 2,500 for a 3 bedroom HDB flat, vs 5,000 or more for a smaller size condo ..

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 1:02 pm

Just to head this one off at the pass...

Since you're from the US (like myself), be aware HDB is *nothing*at*all* like public housing in the US. You don't have to speed through red-lights if you find yourself near one (Which you will), worry about getting caught in cross-fires, drug dealers, crack heads, meth labs, gangbangers, etc.

As for the price disparity, that is correct. They're rather expensive to rent (compared to how much they would be to buy), but about 50% or less the cost to rent a comparable condo. For example, I live on the East Coast directly across from the beach (next to the underpass even) with a full unobstructed view of the beach/water. (In reality, a parking lot for freighters and smoke from Indonesian fires). My rent is only S$2600/month for a 2 bedroom ~760sq/ft unit. A comparable condo in the area (with the view) would probably start at $S6k-7k, and only really add a swimming pool and workout room.

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Re: Special school with mainstream education, living expense

Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 06 Jan 2012 1:03 pm

Michelle Martin wrote:[

What is an HDB? I don't understand all the abbreviations! I wish there was a site that listed them with definitions so I could easily decode many of these posts and what people are referring to! Guess I better do more research.


Ask, and ye shall receive....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Si ... reviations

:cool:


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