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Expat Pacakge (Junior) -what should we ask for?

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Prune
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Expat Pacakge (Junior) -what should we ask for?

Postby Prune » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 6:52 pm

Hello!

My husband is being expatriated to Singapore in March 2012 and we are very excited as we used to live there a few years back. His boss has asked him to do a draft package that we seek ("within reason"!) over the weekend that they can negotiate next week. We have a few ideas but I just wanted to verify a couple of things because I am sure that Singapore has changed a lot since the last time we were there!

Few details: It's still a junior position so we can't ask for the amount I've seen in "average expat salaries". I will also work, but I would like to use my income mainly as an extra, to save, rather than as a necessity to live. We have a 2 year old who will be 3 in the summer.

Separately, company will pay for the allowances of:
Housing:3 bedroom condo (how much are we looking at?)
(we also have to specify which areas, I am thinking: East coast, Harbour Front, Toa Payoh area? Please give us an idea of a good areas, and/or names of condos, to live with small children!)
Education:French school, and related costs (school bus, etc) and maybe language schools for us (mandarin, etc)?
Transport: A car? (I'm not sure if this is necessary?) and related costs
Insurance: Company health insurance (comprehensive -anything we should specify?)
Flights: our first trip to, and our last trip back, and once a year flights back for the whole family
Contract duration:3 years with possibility to renew?? or?


That's all that I can think of for the moment, sorry for the million questions. We just wanted to come up with a draft that is as concise, well-revised and reasonable as possible before the first negotiation! Thank you so much for any help!!

p.s. sorry for the lack of colour, I tried but it won't let me :(
Last edited by Prune on Wed, 24 Jul 2013 11:24 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Postby offshoreoildude » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 6:59 pm

Salary is a bit low.

Income tax - who pays?
Country club memebership - being stuck in a condo is no fun for some families.
Kids schooling - pre K and primary? USD25,000 p.a. per kid depending on the school.
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Postby Prune » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:04 pm

hmm :( As his salary here is not very high, we feel a bit strange asking for too much more.

Income tax, so if we tried to get s$5000 a month, we could ask for the company to pay our income tax? Or is it usually the employee who pays that?

Does every expat have country club memberships? Which one? We would ask for it but we just don't want to see unreasonable on our first contract.. or am I being naïve and should we just ask for as much as possible?

And the schooling would be pre K for now, and I guess I would mention the possible increase in costs as he grows older.. and maybe for playgroup fees for our next baby.

Thank you for taking time to read my post and responding, and sorry for the neverending questions... :p

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:09 pm

I'm not seeing it. Junior position that pays $5K. An expat package, which are getting much rarer now, could easily run more than the salary.

Condo: $5K per month
School (per kid): $2K per month - minimum
Car (cheap one): $700 per month
Health Insurance (non US): $300 per month, per person.

American Club - S$20K buy in, S$300 per month, others similar

Bottom line: You can't live in a nice condo, send a kid to International School, and drive a car for $5K per month... You need at least double that amount. No kid in school? Then maybe you can get away with S$8K per month.

Housing costs are a real bitch... you can find S$2.5K to $3.0K flats but most, especially closer to town, are much more expensive than that. You can buy a five year old car that you will have to scrap in five years for a capital cost of $7000 per year.

Will they pay your hubby S$10K per month? If not, it will be tough sledding in this town. Costs for everything continue to climb, with an inflation rate (when transportation and housing are figure in) of about 5 percent per year.

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Postby Prune » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:15 pm

Sorry if I wasnt clear, I meant S$5000 in addition to the costs of housing, school, etc. As in, we would get S$5000 as pocket money, and the housing and other things that I mentioned in the list would be paid for separately from that salary, by the company.. if that makes sense.

Is it still too little, if they paid for the school, house, car etc?

Thank you for the approximate costs, I will note that in the contract :)

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Postby revhappy » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:16 pm

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Last edited by revhappy on Sun, 14 Oct 2012 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Prune » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:20 pm

By that, do you mean that we pay for the house and school etc FROM the 10k salary? or that the company pays for them separately? Because having 10k salary to spend on nothing when everything else is paid for, seems a lot to me :???:

Thank you for the approx. costs :) It seems housing costs have shot up by a lot since the last time we were there :o

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Postby revhappy » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:24 pm

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Last edited by revhappy on Sun, 14 Oct 2012 11:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Prune » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:34 pm

Okay thank you, I have read other posts where other people have also suggested S$10,000/mth as minimum to live a comfortable life as an expat. So I will keep that in mind when making the draft. And 25% for housing, gotcha!

Mm interesting quote, Me I think I like to spend after after I have finished what I wanted to spend. :p

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Postby offshoreoildude » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:43 pm

If you tell us his position (and company type - not the name) we maybe able to give you some guidance on similar salaries.
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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:45 pm

Prune wrote:Sorry if I wasnt clear, I meant S$5000 in addition to the costs of housing, school, etc. As in, we would get S$5000 as pocket money, and the housing and other things that I mentioned in the list would be paid for separately from that salary, by the company.. if that makes sense.

Is it still too little, if they paid for the school, house, car etc?

Thank you for the approximate costs, I will note that in the contract :)


It doesn't matter how you slice it and dice it, although company paid housing does help a little bit with your personal income tax... what really matters is that if you are not dragging in an aggregate of at least S$10K per month, your choices of lifestyle become quite limited.

You want a nice condo, convenient to most things? A decent car... and while others will tell you they are not necessary... which is true... they are a hell of a lot more convenient, especially with children. You want to be able to eat out at nice places? Drink bloody expensive alcohol?

Then you need at least S$10K in the aggregate to be satisfied... and I'd ask for more.

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:49 pm

You should also take a look at this website.

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/comparison.jsp

It will give you some idea, based upon your current living standards, of what you will need to live in Singapore.

It's all based on user contributions, and I've found the numbers to be mostly correct.

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Postby revhappy » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:52 pm

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Last edited by revhappy on Sun, 14 Oct 2012 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Prune
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Postby Prune » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 7:59 pm

I don't think we have too high an expectation when it comes to comfortable lifestyle.. we like it pretty simple and without too much bling bling :) Maybe we are a little too old school and not prepared for the the expat lifestyle in Singapore!? :p Either way, it seems that everyone agrees 10k is a good number to work from, so we will work on it this weekend to see if we can come to a reasonable number.

Thank you for your replies, they have been helpful and I will definitely check out the site you gave me. :)

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 28 Sep 2012 8:32 pm

SE's numbers are pretty well on. Although, not sure you'd need the "American Club" membership (even if you we're French :P). I didn't see you mention that in your initial post, so not sure why he quoted it.

Otherwise, $5k a month will get you an slightly nicer than average condo in a ok area. Nothing too central, nothing too ulu ulu (far away and remote). You don't *need* a car, but I highly highly recommend it for a couple with a young one. I couldn't live without mine now. Can't comment on school costs, but those seem right. I seem to recall reading French school was slightly cheaper than other International Schools, so that $2k a month is OK.

I would say if your company is giving you those numbers on top of a $5k a month salary (Which is really just then used for food, your own savings + spending money) you're doing OK. But I can't see a company giving that much in allowance for a Jr. position that only warrants $5k/salary.

Maybe I'm in the wrong industry.


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