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Possible move to Singapore in 2014.. But unsure.

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MiamiExpat
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Possible move to Singapore in 2014.. But unsure.

Postby MiamiExpat » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 4:27 am

Hello everyone,

I'd really appreciate a bit of advice as I'm in a very specific situation and you good folks have the facts on the ground.

I was recently informed that I may be transferred to my company's office in Singapore, however my housing will not be paid for by the company. Therefore I'm trying to figure out whether the remuneration package is fair.

I would be traveling with my wife, we don't spend money extravagantly but we do like to go out to eat once or twice (maximum) a week, and also maybe go out for a drink here and there. We're not heavy drinkers.

In addition we tend to prefer smaller apartments, as we hate cleaning, and living in a 45-70 sqm apartment - while not ideal - is perfectly tolerable for us.

We have been offered a remuneration package of approximately 7100 SGD net per month. I will work, I suppose she will find it next to impossible to work but she does speak French so I thought maybe she could convince some company to submit a letter of consent or something like that to alter her dependant pass to a valid work permit, if temporary.

With those 7100 SGD monthly we are looking to find an apartment within 7 km of my work, which would be situated somewhere around "orchard blvd/tanglin road/napier road" area, within the vicinity of the British embassy or something like that.

I believe this means I would have to find an HDB flat somewhere within this distance of the central area. My questions are:

* Which neighborhoods are within 7km or so?
* Is it possible to bicycle around this area to work safely? I know the weather isn't ideal with the rain and humidity but I'm a bit of a "bicycle warrior" and will trudge on no matter what/shower once i get to the office.
* Is this salary realistic enough to have a nice life in Singapore and ALSO travel to other countries in the region 1-2 times a year?

We are willing to adapt our lifestyle to be more affordable within Singapore, I'm just worried that living within this distance to my possible future work area, even within HDB, might be unrealistic.

Any advice you knowledgeable folks could provide would be appreciated.
Last edited by MiamiExpat on Fri, 06 Sep 2013 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PNGMK
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Re: Possible move to Singapore in 2014.. But unsure.

Postby PNGMK » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 8:25 am

MiamiExpat wrote:Hello everyone,

I'd really appreciate a bit of advice as I'm in a very specific situation and you good folks have the facts on the ground.

I was recently informed that I may be transferred to my company's office in Singapore, however my housing will not be paid for by the company. Therefore I'm trying to figure out whether the renumeration package is fair.

I would be traveling with my wife, we don't spend money extravagantly but we do like to go out to eat once or twice (maximum) a week, and also maybe go out for a drink here and there. We're not heavy drinkers.

In addition we tend to prefer smaller apartments, as we hate cleaning, and living in a 45-70 sqm apartment - while not ideal - is perfectly tolerable for us.

We have been offered a remuneration package of approximately 7100 SGD net per month. I will work, I suppose she will find it next to impossible to work but she does speak French so I thought maybe she could convince some company to submit a letter of consent or something like that to alter her dependant pass to a valid work permit, if temporary.

With those 7100 SGD monthly we are looking to find an apartment within 7 km of my work, which would be situated somewhere around "orchard blvd/tanglin road/napier road" area, within the vicinity of the British embassy or something like that.

I believe this means I would have to find an HDB flat somewhere within this distance of the central area. My questions are:

* Which neighborhoods are within 7km or so?

Yes. At your salary though you need to look at HDB flats.

* Is it possible to bicycle around this area to work safely? I know the weather isn't ideal with the rain and humidity but I'm a bit of a "bicycle warrior" and will trudge on no matter what/shower once i get to the office.

Yes but buses and trains are safer.

* Is this salary realistic enough to have a nice life in Singapore and ALSO travel to other countries in the region 1-2 times a year?


Barely but you can do it if you cut down on the booze and 'expat' entertainment. You won't save much at all.

We are willing to adapt our lifestyle to be more affordable within Singapore, I'm just worried that living within this distance to my possible future work area, even within HDB, might be unrealistic.

Any advice you knowledgeable folks could provide would be appreciated.

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Postby AngMoG » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 10:07 am

Coming from the US (I suppose based on your user name), with only yourself working at that salary, I concur with PNGMK. You will be able to live on that, but you won't be able to save much - let alone pay for a flight ticket back home every now and then.

Even HDBs, when last I checked, aren't so cheap anymore. We had the choice between a $2500 HDB two-bedder and a $3000 condo one-bedder half a year ago, we chose the condo. But with the $7100 salary, that means that around 35-40% of it is already gone for housing (also add $100 for cable and internet, and $150-200 for utilities per month), and the remainder is what you will need to live on.

If you want to make that work, you would either need to get a significantly better offer (doubtful by what you say), or your wife will really need to look for work seriously, even if it is only a $3000 job; whether she can find a job is depending on how qualified she is, and whether her specialities are in demand here. Plan C would be to look for another job where you are right now that does not want you to relocate ;)

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Re: Possible move to Singapore in 2014.. But unsure.

Postby the lynx » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 10:35 am

MiamiExpat wrote:Hello everyone,

I'd really appreciate a bit of advice as I'm in a very specific situation and you good folks have the facts on the ground.

I was recently informed that I may be transferred to my company's office in Singapore, however my housing will not be paid for by the company. Therefore I'm trying to figure out whether the renumeration package is fair.

I would be traveling with my wife, we don't spend money extravagantly but we do like to go out to eat once or twice (maximum) a week, and also maybe go out for a drink here and there. We're not heavy drinkers.

In addition we tend to prefer smaller apartments, as we hate cleaning, and living in a 45-70 sqm apartment - while not ideal - is perfectly tolerable for us.

We have been offered a remuneration package of approximately 7100 SGD net per month. I will work, I suppose she will find it next to impossible to work but she does speak French so I thought maybe she could convince some company to submit a letter of consent or something like that to alter her dependant pass to a valid work permit, if temporary.

With those 7100 SGD monthly we are looking to find an apartment within 7 km of my work, which would be situated somewhere around "orchard blvd/tanglin road/napier road" area, within the vicinity of the British embassy or something like that.

I believe this means I would have to find an HDB flat somewhere within this distance of the central area. My questions are:

* Which neighborhoods are within 7km or so?

With your salary like that, you can only afford to rent HDs. You should look around Holland Avenue, Holland Drive, Commonwealth area as the areas are close to Holland Road > Napier Road > Tanglin/Orchard area. I don't remember the latest rental rates for 3-bedder HDB units but they probably go SGD2500 per month and above. Not sure if they have 2-bedder ones.

Those areas are within 3-4 km to British embassy.


* Is it possible to bicycle around this area to work safely? I know the weather isn't ideal with the rain and humidity but I'm a bit of a "bicycle warrior" and will trudge on no matter what/shower once i get to the office.

Yes cycling (route-wise) is very easy there. Holland Road > Napier Road is a straight road and you will be pleased to know that Singapore Botanic Garden is along that route. But for safety, I'd recommend you to cycle on the sidewalk instead of the road, because really, you can't trust the local drivers. I even lost count the number of times I see a car turned turtle on that road and I would wonder how on the earth that can happen on a darned straight road?!

Do remember this bit about Singapore's humidity. You think you may sweat but trust me, you will sweat buckets! You need a good shower after your ride.


* Is this salary realistic enough to have a nice life in Singapore and ALSO travel to other countries in the region 1-2 times a year?

To be honest, it is a little tight as there are two of you. You really need to live like an average-income local or lowly-paid foreign PMETs to be able to survive. That means no nice wine, just occasional once-a-month cheapo substandard ones. Having said that, expect no saving from this salary.

Travelling within SEA few times a year is possible. Budget airlines are abound but you need to do it in backpacker style to be able to do that.


We are willing to adapt our lifestyle to be more affordable within Singapore, I'm just worried that living within this distance to my possible future work area, even within HDB, might be unrealistic.

Any advice you knowledgeable folks could provide would be appreciated.

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Postby Wd40 » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 10:39 am

The salary is too low, to call yourself MiamiExpat. If you have a choice to stay back in the US, do consider it.

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Re: Possible move to Singapore in 2014.. But unsure.

Postby bgd » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 11:30 am

MiamiExpat wrote:
* Is it possible to bicycle around this area to work safely? I know the weather isn't ideal with the rain and humidity but I'm a bit of a "bicycle warrior" and will trudge on no matter what/shower once i get to the office.



If you are already used to riding busy roads, and it sounds like you are, then Sg is fine for cycling. A bit of experience and common sense goes a long way. Singapore is great for cyclists, despite what the non or occasional cycling community will tell you. ;-)

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Postby Barnsley » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 11:30 am

Wd40 wrote:The salary is too low, to call yourself MiamiExpat. If you have a choice to stay back in the US, do consider it.


Isnt anyone who lives outside their own country an ex-patriate?

Or is it now defined by salary?
Life is short, paddle harder!!

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Postby Wd40 » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 11:45 am

Barnsley wrote:
Wd40 wrote:The salary is too low, to call yourself MiamiExpat. If you have a choice to stay back in the US, do consider it.


Isnt anyone who lives outside their own country an ex-patriate?

Or is it now defined by salary?


I know the original definition of expat. But here in Singapore, if you talk to the locals, their definition of "expat" is those that rent condos from them and are given expat benefits from their employers or paid an above average compensation.

Those that are paid on local terms are just referred to as "FT" here.

There was a survey conducted by HSBC sometime ago and according to them 45% of expats in Singapore earn more than USD 200k. I am sure they haven't taken the Bangla workers into consideration in their "Expat population" :P

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news ... d=10676308

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Postby zzm9980 » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 12:27 pm

Off the cuff, coming from the Tier 2 / 'slightly cheaper' US cities like Miami, I'd want to make at least double the salary I made. So if you live on $35k USD a year, then your new salary sounds 'ok'.

Here is the best tool you'll find to compare, but don't trust it even 100%.

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/co ... =Singapore

I'm shocked it thinks groceries in Miami are more than Singapore. I'd take that with a grain of salt.

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Postby Wd40 » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 12:36 pm

zzm9980 wrote:Off the cuff, coming from the Tier 2 / 'slightly cheaper' US cities like Miami, I'd want to make at least double the salary I made. So if you live on $35k USD a year, then your new salary sounds 'ok'.

Here is the best tool you'll find to compare, but don't trust it even 100%.

http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/co ... =Singapore

I'm shocked it thinks groceries in Miami are more than Singapore. I'd take that with a grain of salt.


+1. Thats good advice!

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Re: Possible move to Singapore in 2014.. But unsure.

Postby MiamiExpat » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 5:43 pm

the lynx wrote:
MiamiExpat wrote:Hello everyone,

I'd really appreciate a bit of advice as I'm in a very specific situation and you good folks have the facts on the ground.

I was recently informed that I may be transferred to my company's office in Singapore, however my housing will not be paid for by the company. Therefore I'm trying to figure out whether the renumeration package is fair.

I would be traveling with my wife, we don't spend money extravagantly but we do like to go out to eat once or twice (maximum) a week, and also maybe go out for a drink here and there. We're not heavy drinkers.

In addition we tend to prefer smaller apartments, as we hate cleaning, and living in a 45-70 sqm apartment - while not ideal - is perfectly tolerable for us.

We have been offered a remuneration package of approximately 7100 SGD net per month. I will work, I suppose she will find it next to impossible to work but she does speak French so I thought maybe she could convince some company to submit a letter of consent or something like that to alter her dependant pass to a valid work permit, if temporary.

With those 7100 SGD monthly we are looking to find an apartment within 7 km of my work, which would be situated somewhere around "orchard blvd/tanglin road/napier road" area, within the vicinity of the British embassy or something like that.

I believe this means I would have to find an HDB flat somewhere within this distance of the central area. My questions are:

* Which neighborhoods are within 7km or so?

With your salary like that, you can only afford to rent HDs. You should look around Holland Avenue, Holland Drive, Commonwealth area as the areas are close to Holland Road > Napier Road > Tanglin/Orchard area. I don't remember the latest rental rates for 3-bedder HDB units but they probably go SGD2500 per month and above. Not sure if they have 2-bedder ones.

Those areas are within 3-4 km to British embassy.


* Is it possible to bicycle around this area to work safely? I know the weather isn't ideal with the rain and humidity but I'm a bit of a "bicycle warrior" and will trudge on no matter what/shower once i get to the office.

Yes cycling (route-wise) is very easy there. Holland Road > Napier Road is a straight road and you will be pleased to know that Singapore Botanic Garden is along that route. But for safety, I'd recommend you to cycle on the sidewalk instead of the road, because really, you can't trust the local drivers. I even lost count the number of times I see a car turned turtle on that road and I would wonder how on the earth that can happen on a darned straight road?!

Do remember this bit about Singapore's humidity. You think you may sweat but trust me, you will sweat buckets! You need a good shower after your ride.


* Is this salary realistic enough to have a nice life in Singapore and ALSO travel to other countries in the region 1-2 times a year?

To be honest, it is a little tight as there are two of you. You really need to live like an average-income local or lowly-paid foreign PMETs to be able to survive. That means no nice wine, just occasional once-a-month cheapo substandard ones. Having said that, expect no saving from this salary.

Travelling within SEA few times a year is possible. Budget airlines are abound but you need to do it in backpacker style to be able to do that.


We are willing to adapt our lifestyle to be more affordable within Singapore, I'm just worried that living within this distance to my possible future work area, even within HDB, might be unrealistic.

Any advice you knowledgeable folks could provide would be appreciated.


Thank you all who have replied! Very useful information.

As to the comment on my username, I'm already living outside the USA but hail from Miami. I don't get paid a fat salary, but I also don't spend money very frivolously.

I do love to travel and my wife and I have backpacked everywhere we've gone.

That said, in terms of living in Singapore, * we are totally comfortable with living in a one-bedroom HDB, if that is an option within the vicinity of the area which interests us. *

I just thought maybe if I further clarified our expectations, I might be able to "help you help me." We don't want children and see no need for 2- or 3-bedroom apartments.

Thanks again for all the advice!

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Postby Strong Eagle » Fri, 06 Sep 2013 10:50 pm

S$7,100 is marginally enough to live an "expat" life... marginally. Want a car? Want something more than HDB... or a better HDB? Want to eat out somewhere besides a hawker center? Grab a few trips in the area? You'll need more... not that locals don't live on less... and I bet you're not used to the life style.

As an aside... S$7,100 doesn't qualify you for a P1 EP... does your company have your work permit in hand?

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Postby MiamiExpat » Sat, 07 Sep 2013 1:41 am

Strong Eagle wrote:S$7,100 is marginally enough to live an "expat" life... marginally. Want a car? Want something more than HDB... or a better HDB? Want to eat out somewhere besides a hawker center? Grab a few trips in the area? You'll need more... not that locals don't live on less... and I bet you're not used to the life style.

As an aside... S$7,100 doesn't qualify you for a P1 EP... does your company have your work permit in hand?


Nah, no car. We take public transport every day where we live now..

As far as HDB goes, I think it's okay. i mean, two years ago we were living in a slum lord's house in Europe, so living in a relatively complete public housing apartment doesn't sound intolerable. We certainly don't need to live in a fancy condo. I would personally like to live in at least 60 sqm, but if we have to go smaller, I think we can manage.

Concerning the pass, I think my company is getting around it by offering a supplemental income for the first year which increases the total compensation to 9700 SGD monthly. But I'm trying to calculate the possibility without this compensatory sum, as it will not last forever, and its not set in stone that it will in fact be offered...

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Postby zzm9980 » Sat, 07 Sep 2013 7:18 pm

MiamiExpat wrote:As far as HDB goes, I think it's okay. i mean, two years ago we were living in a slum lord's house in Europe, so living in a relatively complete public housing apartment doesn't sound intolerable. We certainly don't need to live in a fancy condo. I would personally like to live in at least 60 sqm, but if we have to go smaller, I think we can manage.


You'll be OK on space. The smallest HDBs you (as a foreigner) can rent would likely be "3 room", and are larger than that. Note that HDBs are identified by number of rooms, but it is not bedrooms. I believe it is the number of rooms minus kitchen and bathrooms. So a 3 Room HDB is 2bed, a 4 Room HDB is 3 Bed. But a 5 Room HDB is either 3 Bed and a Living+Dining Room, or 4 Bed + Living room. In your case, you're just looking for 3 Room HDBs. 2 Room HDBs exist (1 Bed), but they're very rare and I believe reserved for the elderly.

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Postby PNGMK » Sat, 07 Sep 2013 8:21 pm

MiamiExpat wrote:
Strong Eagle wrote:S$7,100 is marginally enough to live an "expat" life... marginally. Want a car? Want something more than HDB... or a better HDB? Want to eat out somewhere besides a hawker center? Grab a few trips in the area? You'll need more... not that locals don't live on less... and I bet you're not used to the life style.

As an aside... S$7,100 doesn't qualify you for a P1 EP... does your company have your work permit in hand?


Nah, no car. We take public transport every day where we live now..

As far as HDB goes, I think it's okay. i mean, two years ago we were living in a slum lord's house in Europe, so living in a relatively complete public housing apartment doesn't sound intolerable. We certainly don't need to live in a fancy condo. I would personally like to live in at least 60 sqm, but if we have to go smaller, I think we can manage.

Concerning the pass, I think my company is getting around it by offering a supplemental income for the first year which increases the total compensation to 9700 SGD monthly. But I'm trying to calculate the possibility without this compensatory sum, as it will not last forever, and its not set in stone that it will in fact be offered...


Your employer is engaging in illegal and unethical practices if you don't get that additional money in cash (or in kind - for example housing allowances). The income must be 'real' and not some made up bonus that you never get paid or a "loan" that you repay. The chances of the req. income levels for passes dropping in one year is almost nil.


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