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Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Old Nov 1st 2015, 1:16 am
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Default Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Hi All,

I've been reading a lot of these posts on the forum and the information on here is great. I was hoping to seek advice on an offer which we have at the moment.

My partner has been offered a job in Singapore and it is 160K SGD all in.

We have 2 children who are 6 and 3 therefore we know they will both need schooling. I've heard it is hard to get our eldest into state school and from what I can see it will be about 20k to 25k a year if we go to the private international schools. I think it will be about 12k to 15k per year for our youngest to attend kindergarten / pre-school.

We are a family of 4 and know we would need a 3 bedroom apartment / condo and from my research it looks like we'd have no trouble finding one and have set a figure on 5k per month aside for that.

Working on the assumption we spend 60k per year on housing coupled with 35k on schooling is the remaining 60k enough to live well on? I know we have to factor tax in too.

In short, we've divided the 160 by 12 months so we know roughly the take home pay each month would be 13k, with 5k coming off for a rental is the 8k left each month manageable for a family of 4? We know the tax is low and that seems a great benefit however it's countered with the high price of accom and schooling.

I'd really appreciate any advice here. It's been great from what i have read upto date. We are really interested and this would be a huge move for us therefore we just need to know if we would manage?

Any help is much appreciated
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Old Nov 1st 2015, 1:43 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Another thing you might want to include is other costs associated with schooling.
Peer pressure from kids can cost a lot and there are many ex curricular things to do and pay for.

A few years ago a bunch of 2 and 3 year old kids went on a trip to Japan along with their mothers - that sort of thing. That's OTT but it's what they do here.

If you went with a maid then that's another S$12k ish.

Car would be out of the question unless paid for by the company.

Are holiday and return flights included and what about medical expenses, including dental.

Tax may be low but it's on the overall package including accom.

Make sure you've done your maths in detail.

You should be OK but won't save much unless there are bonuses which you haven't mentioned.

Depends if you are after experience with the intention of progressing with a career or just hope to make some money.

And finally are all the family healthy because the haze here has not been good. Things might well change on that front now because of ASEAN and other countries becoming involved but it might enter your calculations.
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Old Nov 1st 2015, 1:55 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Thank you for reply, much appreciated.

We're not looking for a maid, I thought about it but with me not working we won't need one. If we need babysitters and hired help I've read that there are many services we could use if we needed too.

Thanks for the info on the extra schooling costs etc. At the moment our two do karate, football and dance classes outside of school and we'd continue that there I think but overseas trips with schools we'd prob miss until we had the full funds.

I know we've been offered full healthcare, inc dental for all four of us. It's with the same provider we have here through work so it offers a very good cover which is nice to know. No flights home per year but we do have flights made for there, plus freight shipping and 4 weeks accom when we get there.

I've heard the car prices are extortionate therefore if we need one I guess we'd rent one.

Yes, I've seen the haze on tv! Dear me.

Your post is reassuring that the package is comfortable providing we manage our finances correctly. In regards to tax is that paid on a yearly basis then? if so we will prob just put that money away each month so we don't get a big tax bill at the end of the tax year.

Thanks again for the reply
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Old Nov 1st 2015, 2:17 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Yeah taxed annually.

Just read this as well
Singapore ranked world's healthiest country, UK fails to make top 20 | Health News | Lifestyle | The Independent

Surprises me though.
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Old Nov 1st 2015, 1:24 pm
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Our kids attended Overseas Family School (OFS), the fees were based on 2 semesters per year. The fees had to be paid one month before the start of each semester.
As mentioned above tax can be paid annually. Depending on your OHs position, tax will be 15-20%. My best advise would be to open a separate bank account for tax purposes only, adding a slightly higher amount 'Just to be sure'
If health is covered via your OHs employer that is a great help!
Public transport (MRT (train) and bus) is cheap. Do you know where your oh will be based? Trying to find accommodation and schooling somewhere to be a happy medium re where you rent will help keep down transport costs too. Especially on those days when it is raining cats and dogs and you need to take a taxi for the school run.
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Old Nov 1st 2015, 9:51 pm
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

You actually don't need a car in Singapore. Their train system and bus systems travel all throughout the country and you can reach any destination on public transportation. Just make sure to keep your MRT card loaded since you can use it for both buses and trains.

Looking at your math, it is pretty detailed already, with the tax just not factored in. I'd say ask for a slightly higher offer to allow you to have savings for the long term. If there are incentives you haven't factored in, then it is best to do so now.
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Old Nov 1st 2015, 10:27 pm
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Originally Posted by BloodyBrilliance View Post
You actually don't need a car in Singapore. Their train system and bus systems travel all throughout the country and you can reach any destination on public transportation.
That's one of the plusses of Singapore. And not to mention, proper pavements so you can actually walk around (unlike here in Penang hehe). We lived and worked in Singapore for nearly 3 years and never had a car. Just got around by taxi when we needed to. It's also possible to source a good taxi driver so you can do regular journeys if needed, say for commuting. But, as BloodyBrilliance says, the trains and buses work well, which is a cheaper option than taxis.
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Old Nov 2nd 2015, 9:07 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Excellent advice here and thanks very much for the details you have all provided. Great help.

It's good to know we can manage without a car and how reliable the transport system is therefore we will ensure we are near train and bus stops. My partner has been told it is very easy to get to and from work (offices near the Esplanade) using public transport and I can do the school/kindy drop offs and pick ups using the transport network.

We don't know where we will live as yet but once we are happy with the contract the company have offered to pay for one of us to visit for 3 to 5 days to view apartments/condos and just get our bearings and more general information. Although we've been told a lot about Singapore I find the advice on here very honest and fair. We just don't want to jump in with two feet until we've really checked everything out.

So far, happy with how things are going. We just need to see what the final package looks like.

Thanks again
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Old Nov 2nd 2015, 9:17 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Originally Posted by allthewayfromuk View Post
My partner has been told it is very easy to get to and from work (offices near the Esplanade) using public transport and I can do the school/kindy drop offs and pick ups using the transport network.


It's been said many times on here that you should try and finalise kids schools before finalising accommodation.

Some schools have a bus pick up route for kids as well.
I expect you are aware that many schools start at 7-30am.
You might find taking and picking up kids from school using public transport a real bind.
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Old Nov 2nd 2015, 9:34 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Originally Posted by ex reg View Post
It's been said many times on here that you should try and finalise kids schools before finalising accommodation.

Some schools have a bus pick up route for kids as well.
I expect you are aware that many schools start at 7-30am.
You might find taking and picking up kids from school using public transport a real bind.
I would agree with Ex Reg, it does make it easier to confirm where your kids will attend school before finding accommodation.

The first time we lived in Singapore our 2 kids attended Chatsworth International School at Emerald Hill, Orchard. The school bus cost us $900 per term.
Chatsworth and OFS both have a start time of 9am. Tanglin Trust School (British) does have an earlier start time of 7.50 - 9.00am depending on school year. Local schools do begin their day from 7am onwards but it is difficult for an expat to have their kids placed in one.

Last edited by scrubbedexpat100; Nov 2nd 2015 at 9:37 am.
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Old Nov 3rd 2015, 7:36 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Another consideration to factor in will be your accommodation deposit. We had to pay 2 months rent up front as a deposit plus our first months rent all in one hit (3 months in total handed over)

Last edited by scrubbedexpat100; Nov 3rd 2015 at 7:48 am.
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Old Nov 5th 2015, 10:18 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Thanks all and thanks Mammabear. We are still digesting all this information, notably the costs for 2 children per month coupled with an estimated 5k per month rent. We've found a good kindergarten for our youngest which was around 15k a year but for our 6 year old schooling is circling around the 20k to 23k per year. The company have said the local schools are great and we are totally comfortable with that however we can't be guaranteed a place there and are also worried that if our child doesn't settle in there we'd have to look at the international schools thus the increased costs.

I am trying to break the package down into a monthly figure after tax however we keep leaving ourselves with only 3000 - 3500 SGK once accom, schooling for two has been paid for. I don't think the 3500 left over is enough. It maybe but I think it will be really tight.

If the package is 160000 per year we are working on the tax being around 17% so want to bank at least 2250 per month to pay the tax bill at the end of the year as opposed to having to pay the 27k at the end of the tax year. Ohhhh decisions!!!
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Old Nov 6th 2015, 12:06 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

You might decide to show your costings to your employer so that he can see how tight things are and how it all depends on how much you have to spend on your kids' schooling. If they were to partially contribute to that directly rather than to give a lump sum for you to spend it would help you and you wouldn't be seen to be asking for more money to spend how you will.

This could be done before or after a visit here. You might have a more accurate idea of accom costs although I think 5k pm is fair.
You might also get an idea of the cost of food that you eat regularly as an estimate of monthly outgoing. Don't forget utility costs although imo they are less than UK but will depend on how much A/C you use.
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Old Nov 7th 2015, 4:12 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

The ex reg thats good advice. We got the formal offer yesterday and we think it's fine.

The company have broke it all down for us as follows;

Salary all in is now 180,000 SGK, they have calculated the taxation as 15650 as apparently we get a tax relief 4000 per child and 2000 for a spouse. We were not aware of that which is good.

The 180,000 includes;
55200 (4600 per month, not 5000) for accommodation
Schooling at 25,000 for only one child.

We've had a look on the internet and my partner has spoken to some people in the offices there and they say we could get a condo for 4500 to 5000 in a nice area close to everything. I've heard that the market is quite easy to get accommodation and that some agents would advertise at 5200 or 5000 per month however there is movement with the owners apparently. I think schooling for our youngest (3 year old girl) will be fine and we can manage that through the salary. i've seen a lot of kindergartens she can go to for around 12000 a year.

We are happy with the offer and its good to hear it's manageable on that salary.

Excited.

I'm sure I will have lots more questions so I will keep on this thread. Thanks so much for all help to date
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Old Nov 7th 2015, 6:36 am
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Default Re: Family of 4 moving to Singapore, is 160,000 SGD enough?

Good luck.
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