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Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

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Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

Old Jul 20th 2016, 7:05 pm
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Question Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

I would be very greatful for any advice on a target salary for a negotiation on salary package. My husband has been offered initial verbal offer of 200k SGD assuming with bonus in the digital sector. Can we live comfortably in Singapore on this? We are a couple with a dog but we really want to start a family soon. What sort of target figure should we be aiming for to make the move worthwhile from London?

He is on 125k GBP in London and we live comfortably in the Greenwich/Docklands area (zone 2) and would want to maintain similar standard of living. We are in our late 30s, not so bothered on heavy eating out and drinking but love travelling so a priority. Though aware socialising is important. We have visited Singapore and lived in Sydney for 3yrs so am familiar with high cost of living and the expat lifestyle.

I have always wanted to experience Singapore but am worried about high costs if I don't work. We were on a high combined income in Sydney so costs were fine. My professional background is Communications/PR. But I haven't worked for 2 years as I've been completing a Management Masters and have been unable to find a job in London!

I've had a pretty terrible experience re-settling in London so am now weary. I made the mistake of not going back to the UK Civil Service and have had no luck outside - despite having private sector experience from Australia. So am now worried about my working prospects in Singapore. This also matters because although rent should cover our entire UK property costs, our quarterly service charge is very high so we need to factor nasty surprises.

Any comparisons between Singapore and London/Sydney would be appreciated.

Many thanks in advance
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Old Jul 20th 2016, 9:08 pm
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Default Re: Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

So you are going to move to a more expensive place at a lower salary.

You don't mention accommodation allowance, medical or provision of car in the salary.
If those three items are added to make it a higher salary then don't forget you will be taxed on them.
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Old Jul 21st 2016, 1:58 am
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Default Re: Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

So $200k is certainly enough to live on here, whether it's on par with what you're used to is a different matter. Tax is definitely MUCH lower (around 10% on $200k) but things like rent and booze are a lot more so depending on your lifestyle it can even out.

I came from the UK and my company offered me a very slight increase on my UK salary to bring it line with a similar standard in Singapore. That being said, the quality of life here for the same money is generally higher. I couldn't say compared to Oz though. My wife and I are in a similar situation, similar overall salary, only one income until recently and starting a family soon - I'm happy we can survive fairly comfortably.

Overall you'd be fine, I would aim for at least a similar level of income to what your husband is currently on though.
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Old Jul 21st 2016, 7:56 am
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Default Re: Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

Many thanks, that's really helpful. My husband miscalculated as he did a straight conversion though he stated his salary in GBP at the start of interviews, which was before Brexit. Looking now, 225k is more on par so he will aim for 250k plus package and bonuses etc.

I think he also wrongly factored the low tax rate into costs. I pointed out just how expensive a glass of wine was in Australia and they make the stuff there!

Think we should be okay as we are not big spenders, though I am a big worrier. I hope I could pick up work, even at a junior/administrative level? My experience in London has made me nervous as my sector has shrunk a lot with an oversupply of candidates. Any advice on spouses working in Singapore? Also, what is the standard annual leave and how often do people break away into Asia? I'll admit as Sydney is so far from everywhere, I did feel like I sometimes had cabin fever there.

Cheers again
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Old Jul 21st 2016, 9:00 am
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Default Re: Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

Yeah Brexit has killed the exchange rate at the moment. $2 = £1 is about average so i'd use that as a guide.

The IRAS website is good for tax advice check here for a handy tax calculator: https://www.iras.gov.sg/irashome/Qui...s/Calculators/ Works out at about 12% on 250k which is excellent really. No council tax or NI either but then again no national health...

I'm not sure regarding work, my wife became self-employed when she got here though they've recently put a stop to foreigners being able to do that. Employers tend to favour locals, especially if you don't have a particularly unique skillset so you may find it difficult but i'm not the best person to ask.

As for travel you're in a perfect spot here. We've been here just over a year and have been to Bali twice, other nearby Indonesia islands twice, Japan and Thailand and would have certainly been to more had we not had to go back to the UK a number of times. Standard annual leave is 20 days, though there are about 12 public holidays so most people use these and extend weekends to go somewhere fairly close like we have. Singapore is postitioned brilliantly for seeing the rest of Asia and you can get cheap flights to all of it.
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Old Jul 22nd 2016, 4:54 pm
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Default Re: Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

My husband had a chat with an ex colleague in Singapore who explained the employment package. So he will be negotiating for that which makes the opportunity amazing. Without the housing, medical care etc.then the move would be difficult. I hope the package is the norm?

Does anyone know if the education allowance is only if you have kids and if it applies to kindergarten etc? And medical costs for pregnancy. I'm trying to think ahead as don't want to get out there and circumstances change and things get too expensive. Though the travel does sound amazing and you are selling it well!
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Old Jul 22nd 2016, 5:15 pm
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Default Re: Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

Originally Posted by GreenwichCat View Post
My husband had a chat with an ex colleague in Singapore who explained the employment package. So he will be negotiating for that which makes the opportunity amazing. Without the housing, medical care etc.then the move would be difficult. I hope the package is the norm?

Does anyone know if the education allowance is only if you have kids and if it applies to kindergarten etc? And medical costs for pregnancy. I'm trying to think ahead as don't want to get out there and circumstances change and things get too expensive. Though the travel does sound amazing and you are selling it well!
Sorry for butting in, but these are first world problems. I've no idea why you can't figure this all out for yourselves.
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Old Jul 22nd 2016, 9:26 pm
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Default Re: Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

At the moment, my healthcare is paid for through tax. The local state primary is rated outstanding and 2mins from my flat. If I am going to move halfway across the world, I am going to make sure I can pay for the healthcare and schooling costs that is required of me. Which I think is fair as I don't expect free access to public services.

I don't at all think health and education are first world problems. If I could figure it out myself having never lived or worked in one of the most expensive countris in the world, I wouldn't be posting on here.
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Old Oct 12th 2016, 3:30 pm
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Default Re: Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

Originally Posted by GreenwichCat View Post
At the moment, my healthcare is paid for through tax. The local state primary is rated outstanding and 2mins from my flat. If I am going to move halfway across the world, I am going to make sure I can pay for the healthcare and schooling costs that is required of me. Which I think is fair as I don't expect free access to public services.

I don't at all think health and education are first world problems. If I could figure it out myself having never lived or worked in one of the most expensive countris in the world, I wouldn't be posting on here.
I'm shocked some say it's not enough.

How close do you want to live to the central business district? Prices vary for 3 bed condo from 2.4K SGD on outskirts to 6-7K SGD near CBD.

Tax is low, cars are expensive and taxis are cheap.

Schools - private school depends on age but for 10 year old you're looking at maybe 30K SGD a year. If you can get a spot in local school (same system as England but GCE instead of GCSE and after is A-Levels), foreigners non ASEAN will be $500 month roughly.

25k SGD monthly if he gets this deal is a lot. Just buy a bottle of wine instead of going out every night.
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Old Oct 13th 2016, 10:31 am
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Default Re: Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

Hi many thanks for the post, I had trouble loggin in so actually forgot to update for a while.

We are actually due to arrive in Singapore in 2 weeks and are very much excited.

As per my original post, we are not at all big spenders but were aware that Singapore as a reputation for being expensive and actually many of the threads I read here made out ordinary activities ie. food shopping is expensive. Though doing my research, I'm not that is the case. I think I am more a 'wet markets' and even in London, don't do my weekly shop at the top end supermarkets etc.

I was also trying to get an idea about healthcare since I am aware how expensive US, Australian systems are for maternity care (as I hope I'll need). Everything seems more than comfortable on that salary quoted. Yet some comments on these forums and give a very different impression, ie. suggestions to budget 5k on accommodation raises hairs of those yet not arrived!

Though thanks for your (v helpful) input on this thread and I can't wait to get over.
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Old Oct 17th 2016, 7:16 am
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Default Re: Is 200k enough for couple starting family?

Originally Posted by GreenwichCat View Post
Hi many thanks for the post, I had trouble loggin in so actually forgot to update for a while.

We are actually due to arrive in Singapore in 2 weeks and are very much excited.

As per my original post, we are not at all big spenders but were aware that Singapore as a reputation for being expensive and actually many of the threads I read here made out ordinary activities ie. food shopping is expensive. Though doing my research, I'm not that is the case. I think I am more a 'wet markets' and even in London, don't do my weekly shop at the top end supermarkets etc.

I was also trying to get an idea about healthcare since I am aware how expensive US, Australian systems are for maternity care (as I hope I'll need). Everything seems more than comfortable on that salary quoted. Yet some comments on these forums and give a very different impression, ie. suggestions to budget 5k on accommodation raises hairs of those yet not arrived!

Though thanks for your (v helpful) input on this thread and I can't wait to get over.
If medical is covered by company you won't need to worry so much as long as the package is decent. If Medicare is covered then you could end up paying zero for doctor visits, just need to double check which doctors you can visit without paying (if again covered). Maternity on other hand may be different. I have had to fork out a bit on this but the standard is a lot better than NHS.

Wet markets are great for fresh stuff. Avoid supermarkets such as Cold storage or Market Place as they are like SG version of Waitrose and Sainsbury's. Giant is cheaper (same owners as Cold Storage) as is Sheng Shiong.

I live north east and pay less than 3k month for a new 3 bedroom condo with big pool. Takes me 45 mins to get work in CBD door to door.

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions, I'll give you my honest and humble opinion.

I have been here for 5 years and miss my car dearly. I can't bear to pay the prices on offer here, but the cost of public transport is decent and very well maintained.

All the best in your move.
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