US Ciitizens have a tax free allowance (component) of about USD90,000 per year if they are truly non resident. You need to factor this in - Singapore has low income tax rates (www.iras.gov.sg) and this may tip the balance.Somers wrote:Hello everyone,
My husband and I are currently in parallel discussions with our employers to relocate to Singapore.
Two weeks ago, I was asked to to lead a project in Singapore for six months. If all goes well and/or if I want to stay, my boss and her boss would be willing to secure a work visa so I could stay there. (I am very lucky in that I can do my job anywhere as long as I have access to phones and the Internet.) Since my job and reporting structure would remain exactly the same, my salary, bonus and benefits would not change. The only thing we're haggling on now is the housing and transportation allowance for those six months.
After those six months are up and I want to stay in Singapore, I have questions about whether I should request to be paid in USD or SGD. What are the pros and cons to either option? Is there any way at all to (legally) avoid the double tax from the U.S. and Singapore?! (I'm thinking a huge pro would be the lack of currency exchange fees so I can keep paying our mortgages and U.S. bills, but I don't know if there is something else in the bigger picture I'm not seeing.)
And what are the biggest differences between being a U.S. employee and a Singaporean one? What are some gotchas I may need to look out for in the negotiation process should I switch over? My husband and I are already getting a sense of some of these differences as we tackle his own negotiations...
So last week, my husband received a verbal offer to take on a lateral position from the San Francisco Bay Area to Singapore. Unlike my offer where I would still be paid in U.S. dollars into a U.S. bank account (for at least the first six months), my husband received an offer for 185k $SGD with no guarantee of a bonus and no other perks.
We have a number of issues with this initial offer since 1) the base is 4k $SGD less per year than what he's making now, 2) he's currently guaranteed a bonus and/or a block of RSUs every year that can be worth anywhere between 25-75k $USD, but in Singapore there is no mention of a bonus, and 3) he will lose out on the 6% company match to his 401(k).
The opening volleys of negotiation has already started (i.e., he re-expressed his enthusiasm for the job while raising concerns over compensation), but we're wondering how much we can realistically bargain for since it appears expat packages are dwindling. The only bargaining power he has lies in the fact that the hiring manager has been trying to fill this position for months. To compound the pressure, the hiring manager needs to execute and deliver on a 60-day plan.
On our end (the part that our employers won't care about), we would want to try and only live off of my husband's SGD salary in Singapore. This would entail housing, feeding and supporting us, two young kids (ages 2 and 4), possibly a helper, and two dogs. (Oh, and don't forget school tuition and the occasional weekend getaway.) I have no doubt we can somehow manage to survive in Singapore with 185k $SGD, but we just don't feel right about losing potentially 20-75k $USD every year. With this in mind, what is the likelihood he can negotiate and secure a higher base salary to accommodate cost of living adjustments, round trip flights for the family, temporary housing (in case my employer fails), and/or shipping our belongings to Singapore?
Anyway sorry for the long post, and thanks in advance for any insight or advice. (If you need further details, please let me know.) I am really glad I stumbled onto this forum. It has a tight-knit community feel, and I hope I can participate in other discussions soon.
A family of four with two kids in school, yes, that is quite tight. If the kids were in Singapore schools it would be easier. Singaporeans receive quite a few subsidies that EP holders do not. School fees of $50,000, rent & utilities for a family of four (no HDB, right?) would be $50-$60k, school fees of $50,000, Singapore taxes of $20,000, a helper at $10,000, and the bank account balance is dwindling quickly. Transportation, restaurants, clothes (more expensive here), and so on won't leave a lot. It will be challenging with kids living without a car but don't assume you can afford one. Minimum $60-$80k for a car though you can lease one for $1k per month.beppi wrote:I find that comment pretty misleading: Given that the average Singapore household income is about a third of that number, something must be seriously wrong if you find S$185k/year tight!srd6 wrote:$185k is a bit tight but you can probably do it.
Four kids at SAS will burn through about USD$120,000 p.a.beppi wrote:I find that comment pretty misleading: Given that the average Singapore household income is about a third of that number, something must be seriously wrong if you find S$185k/year tight!srd6 wrote:$185k is a bit tight but you can probably do it.
What everyone is saying is, the choice is to send to International Schools, and based on that choice, those numbers would be tight. It's not a question of being "forced".beppi wrote:Nobody is forced to send their kids to such expensive schools, especially if there is a much cheaper local school system available, which is consistently highly graded in international rankings.
It's a lifestyle choice, not a necessity!
Mine burn through $80k for 3 kids in GESS (even "subsidized") and because we want them to continue with German as a schooled second language, and also due to cultural issues, we make that choice. That plus $8k housing plus $2k/month car plus $1k/month helper (after her expenses of flight ticket home, etc.) the $185k wouldn't be enough. Then there's taxes...PNGMK wrote:Four kids at SAS will burn through about USD$120,000 p.a.beppi wrote:I find that comment pretty misleading: Given that the average Singapore household income is about a third of that number, something must be seriously wrong if you find S$185k/year tight!srd6 wrote:$185k is a bit tight but you can probably do it.
I find your comment pretty misleading: The average Singaporean lives in subsidized housing not available to foreigns and also has almost free schooling for their children.srd6 wrote:$185k is a bit tight but you can probably do it.
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