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Old Apr 29th 2017, 9:49 am   #1
d211uk 
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Default Singapore relocation offer

Hi, I have been keen to move to Singapore from London for personal reasons, and managed to get an internal job offer. I work in product control (accountancy) in an investment bank. My current London salary is £68k, however they have offered me SGD120k, which recruiters are telling me is 20k below the market rate. Does anyone know if this conversion is reasonable? I think they have just converted using the abnormally low sterling fx rate, rather than the long term rate.

Also, I will have be making a monthly loss of £500 (sgd800-1000) on my flat in London- will I be able to have a comfortable lifestyle on sgd120k and losing she 800-1000 a month on my London flat?

Many thanks
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Old Apr 29th 2017, 6:36 pm   #2
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

Who's paying for accommodation, medical and flights???

Any 13 month bonus and annual bonus payments???
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Old Apr 29th 2017, 7:07 pm   #3
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

They are paying for my relocation (so my flights, shipping, visa, some relocation money). I'm paying my own accommodation after that. There will be an annual bonus but I expect it will be slightly less than I got in London (£8k)
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Old Apr 30th 2017, 11:48 pm   #4
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

Others may disagree, but a general rule of thumb is don't come over on a package that promises you only the same as what you're getting back home. Singapore isn't a cheap place to live. My personal take is that anyone thinking of making the move should try to secure a package at least double (even if that figure includes housing allowance/medical expenses/transport allowance).

Here's some concrete figures to help you with your decision (I've been in Singapore for the past 20 - 25 years):

Rental per month for a 1-room apartment in a decent part of the city: $3000 to $4000

Transport costs (a mix of public buses (pretty decent but slow and tortuously long rides), taxis/Grab/Uber rides and the MRT - the Tube equivalent) would set you back on average $300 - $500 per month, depending on where you stay vs work and how often you wanna get sloshed on weekends.

Food can vary tremendously in prices. You can get your tummy filled from $2.50 per plate of yummy but carbohydrate laden local fare (noodles, chicken rice etc) at the hawker center located at the cooked food area of the wet market as opposed to the part where people do their marketing (oh yes, be prepared for English like you've never heard it spoken) - translation: there is cheap food to be had from the kiosks at a marketplace which also hawks live produce is a separate section. Or you could blow your wad on Michelin-starred items in the CBD. Alcohol is prohibitively expensive in these parts, and decent alcohol even more so. Sadly, I have a weakness for Chateau Moutons Rothschilds, and a decent 750ml bottle from a good year can easily set you back anywhere from $1000 to $2500. Such is the degree of extreme n Singapore.

Medical fees at the local GP (if you're not covered by company insurance) for common ailments are around $50 per visit. Hospital fees however, are notoriously infamous for being stratospheric - it's not uncommon to pay $5000 for a simple appendix operation. Make sure you have a good health insurance plan (BUPA International comes to mind) and that can cost you anywhere from $1500 to $5000 per year, depending on your coverage.

You'll probably want to set aside flight money for the trip home at least once a year. So do take that into consideration as well!

Taxes - unbelievably - are laughably non-existent. I presume you'll be here on an employment pass. If memory serves, I paid no CPF (the Central Provident Fund - equivalent to a self-funded private (but state owned - another one of the many oxymorons you'll need to wrap your head around in Singapore) pension fund) and my effective tax rate was all of 10% for the first few years I was on an employment pass (that was some 20-25 years ago though, mind you!)

I'm not sure if I've included everything here, please feel free to ask if you need further details!

Good luck!
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Old May 1st 2017, 8:32 am   #5
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

If the company doesn't budge on salary etc then you have to decide the benefits of the move in experience jobwise and in relation to your personal situation.

Do the company know that for personal reasons you want to move anyway and they are taking advantage of that fact.

When I first worked in Singapore the total package was well over double my UK salary.
Times have changed now and Singapore has gotten very expensive. Some 'surveys' have it as the most expensive city in the world. I don't go along with that but I replaced my 10 year old car here last year and it cost £63k for nothing special new one.

One other point leading on from Xizzles above will the company pay their part of CPF payments if you decide to join the fund?? It used to be they would do this and that was on top of salary and when you eventually left Singapore you could withdraw your CPF including that paid by the company and that was a nice bonus as well. iirc.

Another thing on flights if your annual return flight to the UK is Business Class then you want to be able to use that fare as and how you want, i.e. get the cash buy an economy fare and pocket the difference either for use on local holidays or add to your savings.

Do you know another ex pat in the company who has done what you are doing so you can chat about some of these details before talking to the company.

Lastly just check how your UK salary for the part year you will work in UK before and after your move is taxed by HM Revenue.

And finally if you work in the banking sector and don't think you are being paid the going rate then don't forget you will spend time with fellow bankers who may well be paid the going rate and they will expect you to splurge on stuff.
You see so many ex pats in Singapore paying for very expensive meals just because they are on expenses and/or wining and dining clients.

Last edited by ex reg; May 1st 2017 at 8:37 am.
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Old May 22nd 2017, 6:54 am   #6
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

I think you had two people who moved out from the UK a very long time ago advising you. I moved here to Singapore after Brexit, get used to sterling being weaker, it's no bad thing actually when you are out here (shopping online etc).

You have to think that your salary may be below the market rate (of which country?) but factor in very low tax and thus higher take home pay. Though you will need to check prices and budget to account for the London rent shortfall.

Rent: I have seen 2beds for 2.5k. That was 6 months ago and apparently rents have fallen. Depends where you want to live (there aren't really bad/undesirable areas) and transport inc. taxis are incredibly cheap, esp compared to London. You won't need or miss a car. The hawker centres serve a great food, only an ignorant snob would make comments about Singlish (yes that's the local lingo) and describe Singaporean food as pot noodles after 25yrs of living here. As you can tell, some are indeed rich yet so bored after this time that they need to brag about how much they spend online. Yet next they moan about healthcare.....an appointment is $30-50 (£20 or so) and the quality and public hospitals are to an incredible standard by UK comparison. You might not want to scramble home every year either as you are in the heart of Asia, so travel opportunities are unlimited and budget airlines aplenty.

Singapore is doable and not as expensive as the online Mdme Buckets make out. Its worth checking online and doing price comparisons.
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Old May 22nd 2017, 9:00 am   #7
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

Miaow, pussycat.

I will start this post by saying we moved on from Singapore in 2008, so I'm not that familiar with current living expenses. However I do visit regularly and I think it's gotten more expensive for food, taxis, etc., since we left. We moved there in 2002. I was initially a trailing spouse and never really had a "career role" as I'd had in the UK, so we mainly relied on one salary. It was considerably higher than 120k but we didn't save much. And we lived in Geylang (which is actually a great place to live!).

If you don't have a partner or family to support, you may find 120k OK but I don't think you'll be living on Orchard Road or jetting off on diving trips every other weekend. It really depends what kind of lifestyle you have or want, and your personal circumstances (e.g., are you moving to be with somebody, or would you be prepared to flat share?).

I really wouldn't recommend you think in terms of your current salary converted to SGD, it's not a useful conversion due to the difference in COL.

Honestly, I'd be asking for more from your employer, but I guess it depends on how much you want to move.

Best of luck with your decision. It's a great place to live if you let it be, not without its frustrations and quirks but an easy place to be. We moved on for personal (and my career) reasons but I still consider it my second home and love to visit whenever I can. And we never say never...
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Old May 22nd 2017, 9:11 am   #8
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

Thanks for the replies- they wouldn't move on the number In the end but I spoke to several recruitment consultants and colleagues over there and they all the said I was "ok" and I should take it as the market is so tight out there at the moment in what I do it is almost impossible to relocate at my level in any other way. It's just me moving with no dependents and yes I will flat share to begin with.
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Old May 22nd 2017, 10:40 am   #9
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kooky. View Post
Miaow, pussycat.

I will start this post by saying we moved on from Singapore in 2008, so I'm not that familiar with current living expenses. However I do visit regularly and I think it's gotten more expensive for food, taxis, etc., since we left. We moved there in 2002. I was initially a trailing spouse and never really had a "career role" as I'd had in the UK, so we mainly relied on one salary. It was considerably higher than 120k but we didn't save much. And we lived in Geylang (which is actually a great place to live!).


Honestly, I'd be asking for more from your employer, but I guess it depends on how much you want to move.

Best of luck with your decision. It's a great place to live if you let it be, not without its frustrations and quirks but an easy place to be. We moved on for personal (and my career) reasons but I still consider it my second home and love to visit whenever I can. And we never say never...
Why did you change your Bored nom de post???

On the food thing, for us the price has increased slightly in food courts and coffee shops but the standard and quality has deteriorated a lot.

For the higher end stuff then it just gets charged at as high as the market will allow and still ain't nothing special.
For Singaporeans these days if the price isn't high then it just can't be any good. So different from their parents and grand parents of yesteryear.
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Old May 23rd 2017, 4:23 am   #10
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

If the poster is on £70k in London, I somehow don't think they are living the luxury high life. Though they are obviously good with money if they have a mortgage on a single income. As Kooky says, it's all about personal expectations, spending behaviour and to some extent peer groups and who you choose to socialise with.

Singapore is not cheap no, but I don't know of a global city that is and I really don't see much difference in COL with London. If some products are more expensive, this is balanced by substantial transport savings etc. Eg. Must you buy the $12 Somerset strawberries when the juicy longan (lychees) will cost a fraction? These are the sort of spending choices you will be faced with. Singapore will give you what you want.....if you are willing to pay the price for it.

The market is tight in Singapore, those now coming out are deemed very lucky. Though it is also very competitive and there is lots of movement locally. I don't think it's particularly helpful for those who were working 10-30yrs ago to go about how marvellous their expat package was. The world has changed a lot and in real terms, professionals particularly those in their 20-30s are not being paid well anywhere, relative to the corporate largesse that generations before enjoyed. Though from what I can ascertain from these forums, behind the expat packages the salaries were much more meagre, they were less savvy at saving/investing, and splurged enough that most of their pay packet went straight back into the local economy. Hence without the expat package, they really couldn't afford the lifestyle (and end up in even some pretty crappy places like corrupt and crime-ridden Malaysia).

I don't know any decent place to live where costs are not ever increasing, not least from a decade on as Kooky describes. That most things bar London house prices have generally held steadfast in the UK (including professional salaries), is another sign of Britain's problems. I lived in Sydney at the height of the mining boom and golly that was expensive (much more than Singapore imho), I doubt their COL has fallen since then.

There are always ways to save money. Switching the aircon off when you are out, fans, buying at branded outlet malls etc. Do you need cable, wifi etc if you are going to be out socialising anyway? It is perpetually humid so it's not like having a quiet night in like England. It can be done, without compromising on your lifestyle.

I'm sorry if I sound brittle but people go on these threads for help and information, not to be told they are not rich enough to think they can cut it here or 'might want to think twice' etc. I note one case where pure snobbery - someone referred to his occupation as 'the catering industry' actually appeared to put a Michelin* restaurant chef off Singapore, even though it was a career changer. You don't have to live in Orchard, Tanglin or 'Holland' (too many expats) to experience Singapore, if you want to have the time of your life and make proper friends, I recommend you don't.
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Old Aug 15th 2017, 9:36 am   #11
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

How did you get on with your relocation?
Did they at least cover the cost of moving you?
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Old Aug 15th 2017, 10:24 am   #12
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

Yes they did- and I realised it's actually quite a decent package worth about £15k, so can't complain! They even flew me business class
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Old Aug 15th 2017, 10:29 am   #13
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

And I should add so far I really love Singapore!
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Old Aug 15th 2017, 11:14 am   #14
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

That's great to hear!! Only just moved here as well....well it's been 5 months!
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Old Aug 16th 2017, 5:36 am   #15
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Default Re: Singapore relocation offer

Quote:
Originally Posted by ex reg View Post
Why did you change your Bored nom de post???
Sorry, just saw this. I registered as this many, many years ago, when we were first thinking of moving to Oz, then moved to Singapore instead and used this name on all the expat boards I wasted time on there (including one I ran). Forgot I had registered on here and thought somebody else had beaten me to it so registered with the other name.

For my sins some people call me this in the real world as a result of meeting me online in the early 2000s so, as I came back after a break of a few years and knew not many would remember me, I asked if I could change it.

TBH I'm not finding myself very useful on Singapore stuff as I'm so out of date, or Australia stuff as our relocation was sponsored so a lot easier than many have it, and we don't have kids so I can't recommend schools. So not a lot to offer really!

(Would I know you in the real world, has always been a question in my head.)
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