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Comparing salaries between London and Singapore

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SHAIP
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Comparing salaries between London and Singapore

Postby SHAIP » Mon, 06 Aug 2012 10:15 pm

Hi all,

Apologies for yet another post on this topic, but after reading a huge number of exceptionally useful posts, I still don't quite have a handle on it.

We are family of 4 - a 5 month old and a 3 year old. I am fortunate enough to earn £95k in London and my wife earns £30k. We are not extravagant, but we are comfortable with enough disposable income to have savings.

My wife will lose her job if we move, so for now I will be the sole earner. We are moving for the experience and the exposure to a different part of the world - so I am not asking what I need to earn to equate to our existing package - there are too many variables.

But at the same time I do not want to move and find ourselves struggling. I realise that some people may be offended by these numbers, but I have to do what is best for our family.

The question then, is does SGD 200,000 as a package (inclusive of all allowances) get us to where we need to be?

Appreciate your patience and any advice!

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Postby JR8 » Tue, 07 Aug 2012 12:12 am

The question then, is does SGD 200,000 as a package (inclusive of all allowances) get us to where we need to be?

No! As that is less than you are earning in England.

An expat package should compensate you for the disruption to your home lifestyle, family, schooling, etc.

IMO the offer should be enough that it initially makes you take a breath and blink. It sounds to me like they're trying to transfer you on the cheap.

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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 07 Aug 2012 8:22 am

How long to you plan to be here? What is the minimum sized house (most likely flat) you could live in?

I'm guessing a three bedroom condo, and you'll be long enough that your kids will need to go to school. Figure S$4k-6k for an average three bedroom condo in most areas (nothing too fringe, but nothing too central). International Schooling, you can guess about S$3k per month per child including the school's transport. I don't know food costs in the UK, but the average grocery bill here is roughly double that from where I lived in California. Some things cheaper, somethings, significantly more expensive. Cars are very expensive, figure at least S$1k all in per month for a 1.6l Japanese saloon car.

So yes, I agree with JR. Ask for more money.

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Postby SHAIP » Tue, 07 Aug 2012 4:05 pm

Thank you both - very much appreciated. The plan is to move for at least 3 to 5 years - longer depending on how we get on there.

A 3 bed property is an absolute minimum, as well as International School etc. I have taken your advice on board and will certainly endeavour to get more. If they refuse, I guess we will need to weigh up whether the excitment of moving justifies a drop in standard of living.....

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Postby zzm9980 » Tue, 07 Aug 2012 5:05 pm

SHAIP wrote:Thank you both - very much appreciated. The plan is to move for at least 3 to 5 years - longer depending on how we get on there.

A 3 bed property is an absolute minimum, as well as International School etc. I have taken your advice on board and will certainly endeavour to get more. If they refuse, I guess we will need to weigh up whether the excitment of moving justifies a drop in standard of living.....


If a drop in a standard of living is that big of a deal, I'd suggest making a very detailed list of everything you find important in life. The little things you probably don't think about. Then do research on all of it. Search these forums, ask us questions. There are no straight comparisons ever between different cities, and your standard of living in many areas you never think about will rise or fall very perceptibly once those things have changed, and your income won't have much to do with it.

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Postby x9200 » Tue, 07 Aug 2012 5:35 pm

SHAIP wrote:Thank you both - very much appreciated. The plan is to move for at least 3 to 5 years - longer depending on how we get on there.

A 3 bed property is an absolute minimum, as well as International School etc. I have taken your advice on board and will certainly endeavour to get more. If they refuse, I guess we will need to weigh up whether the excitment of moving justifies a drop in standard of living.....


Nice, 3BR flat (120-140sqm) will take 5-7k out from your budget, the school 30k annually, reasonable medical insurance 4-5k per person (annually, average). These are probably the most impactful ones. Now factor in the tax difference: http://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/page.aspx?id=6706

and you should know how much your future employer to be should top you up.

Edited to add: the car, if you prefer to have your kids properly seated you will have to have one. For the small kid you still can carry the back facing baby seat but for the older one anything with standard safety is simply impractical to carry around and there is no public transportation option available.

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Postby SHAIP » Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:44 pm

Great info.... thank you. So from this and the other posts I have read, is this a fair assessment of my monthly costs for a comparable standard of living? (What I lose in disposable income I gain in first class education, sun and being in a great part of the world!)

3 bed condo $6000
School (1 child) $2500
Car $1500
Utilities, TV, internet etc $1000
Groceries, nappies etc $1500
Eating out (we don't do much) $ 500
Taxis and MRT (for commuting)$ 500
Health Insurance for all $1000
Trips, entertainment $1000
Childrens activities $ 500
Savings $1000

TOTAL: $17,000

So I would need to earn approx. $225-230k.....

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JR8
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Postby JR8 » Tue, 07 Aug 2012 11:59 pm

SHAIP wrote:Great info.... thank you. So from this and the other posts I have read, is this a fair assessment of my monthly costs for a comparable standard of living? (What I lose in disposable income I gain in first class education, sun and being in a great part of the world!)

... [edit]
...
Savings $1000

TOTAL: $17,000

So I would need to earn approx. $225-230k.....


Earning say $225k and saving less than 0.5%? Something sounds really wrong there to me. I'd aim to be saving more like 20%+! Oh and the apparent 'sun' etc is offset by the disruption to your family life etc. Believe me it won't take long for you to be cursing the climate...

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Postby Saint » Wed, 08 Aug 2012 9:53 am

JR8 wrote:
SHAIP wrote:Great info.... thank you. So from this and the other posts I have read, is this a fair assessment of my monthly costs for a comparable standard of living? (What I lose in disposable income I gain in first class education, sun and being in a great part of the world!)

... [edit]
...
Savings $1000
TOTAL: $17,000

So I would need to earn approx. $225-230k.....


Earning say $225k and saving less than 0.5%? Something sounds really wrong there to me. I'd aim to be saving more like 20%+! Oh and the apparent 'sun' etc is offset by the disruption to your family life etc. Believe me it won't take long for you to be cursing the climate...


That's a month :wink:

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Postby Girl_Next_Door » Wed, 08 Aug 2012 10:27 am

My humble thoughts...


3 bed condo $6000
> $6000 would be a good area within town area. If you plan to drive, you can also consider more sub-urban area and get a house.
School (1 child) $2500
> If you are planning 3 - 5 years (or longer), you would want to consider childcare and eventually school for the younger kid?
Car $1500
> This should get you a cheap Jap car. Again, the big question is, do you need to drive? If you stay near your kid's school, your Mrs should be able to walk the child to school. Public transportation system in SG is great, especially when you compare it to London.
Utilities, TV, internet etc $1000
> The most expensive item would be electrical bill which is dependent on the type of property you have. Older house have crappier air-conditioner which drives up the electricity bill. Internet plus cable is less than $100.
Groceries, nappies etc $1500
> You might want to increase groceries, if you are not eating out much. We are only two people at home and we spend about $1500/month. We cooked about 2-3 times a week but using good ingredients.
Eating out (we don't do much) $ 500
While food are generally cheap when you eat local food, a family of 4 will still cost between $100-$200/meal (depending if you are having wine or not). Given the budget, are you planning to have meals outside only twice a month? Have you forgotten your lunch money while you are at work?
Taxis and MRT (for commuting)$ 500
If you plan to drive, do you need to budget so much for taxi & MRT?
Health Insurance for all $1000
You should ask for this to be provided to you, as part of the package. Expatriate insurance are very expensive. In general, many MNCs provides a standard health insurance (local/expats), covering the family as well.
Trips, entertainment $1000
$1000 for trips? where do you plan to go for a family of four? Drive to malaysia? Think again...
Childrens activities $ 500
Not sure how much it usually cost but looks like a reasonable amount to me, assuming you don't plan to buy the latest IT gadgets for your kids.
Savings $1000
Too little for a family of 4? At this saving rate, you don't plan to move back to London?

You should also consider a few other cost:
- Initial moving cost including shipping of furniture (or whatever you own currently) and furnitures (when you rent)
- Flights back home
- Medical expenses for kids

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Postby zzm9980 » Wed, 08 Aug 2012 12:03 pm

Unless you need a 'nice' car, you can get by for $1000-1200. That would pay for a new Honda Civic and most incidentals. FWIW, my company pegs currently transportation at $1300/month (continually adjusted).

You won't spend nearly that much money on MRT/Taxi if you have a car.

Utilities should be half that unless you want your condo to be colder than Canada and/or you need every channel available.

A lot of companies (MNCs) may provide you with health insurance you deem acceptable already, and you won't need it. Of course, that's always a personal risk cost/benefit analysis you have to do on your own.

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Postby v4jr4 » Wed, 08 Aug 2012 12:23 pm

SHAIP wrote: (-edited-)
Utilities, TV, internet etc $1000
...
Trips, entertainment $1000


By Jove! It's more than enough.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 08 Aug 2012 12:27 pm

Mine runs $550/mo without any aircon! (Power/Water/fibre broadband/cable/mobile phone)

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Postby x9200 » Wed, 08 Aug 2012 3:22 pm

Girl_Next_Door wrote:> This should get you a cheap Jap car. Again, the big question is, do you need to drive? If you stay near your kid's school, your Mrs should be able to walk the child to school. Public transportation system in SG is great, especially when you compare it to London.

As I explained above, unless you are fine traveling with the kids without proper seat there is no other option but having a car or carrying 2 baby car seats everywhere you go and the school is not the only place you go with kids.

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Postby SHAIP » Wed, 08 Aug 2012 4:56 pm

All - this forum is fantastic and I cannot begin to tell you how much you have all helped.

JR8 and Girl Next Door - you are of course both absolutely right - we do need to save more and Girl Next Door thanks for going into it in so much detail.

Judging from your advice and others like X9200 and ZZM it sounds as though I can juggle a few of the numbers around and potentially increase those savings...

Maybe spend up to 2000 less on utils, health (will demand that from the company), car and MRT - add a bit to groceries and child care etc - could leave me with 1000 extra for savings.....

Lot's of permuations and subjective I guess, but really really useful info. THANK YOU!!


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