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Singapore beckons! Help please?

(16 Posts)
Imsosorryalan Sat 08-Nov-14 10:23:57

I may have the possibility to work in singapore! I don't know anything about the place! Please help, tell me truthfully about costs, lifestyle, your experiences!

I know it's expensive out there, but also my job will pay $10000 singapore dollars per month. How is that as a wage? Will we be able to live on this, my husbands hoping not to work! I don't have to worry about school fees as the dcs get a school place and it includes medical insurance and flights and two weeks accomodation until we find a rental. What do you think?

Saltedcaramellavacake Sat 08-Nov-14 13:27:54

Is that gross or net salary?
People can obviously live on vastly different amounts but that would be very tight IMO. If you're happy to live in an HDB (government housing, no facilities like pool etc) you might pay less than $3k per month rent, but most condos are more than that. How many kids do you have? Do you plan to use the school bus (400-500 per child per term)? Utilities are expensive here - are they included in your package? How good is the medical insurance? Is there a deductible and/or co-pay? There are no free visits to the GP here - you pay for everything!

fatowl Sat 08-Nov-14 13:32:19

When you say the dcs get a place, do you mean there is a place reserved for them in a certain school, or that fees are part of the package?
Unless you have a place reserved somewhere (unusual, unless you are a teacher where a place for your own dc as part of your package) - places are extremely tight in Singapore and I would make finding a school place the priority before deciding on a location to live etc

Imsosorryalan Sat 08-Nov-14 17:24:20

Thanks for replies, I'm a teacher so the school place is free. The salary is gross I presume. The condos I've looked at are near the school and all seem to range but I've seen nice looking condos with pools for between 3/4000 (1335 square meters) the head teacher mentioned that rental costs have slowed down and are ok at the mo?
Looks like the hubby will have to get a job wink
Not worried about maids etc as the dcs will prob travel to school with me.

Saltedcaramellavacake Sun 09-Nov-14 01:56:46

People can definitely live on different amounts. Rents are a bit better than a few years ago, but you're still talking about a lot of the net salary for a small amount of space. Is the school Dulwich? That might explain lower rents as it's not very central.
Might be worth looking into visas for your DH. You can't work on a dependent's pass without permission from the Ministry of Manpower (dependent's pass is the usual visa for a spouse and for kids). To get an employment pass or other permission to work he'll need to meet certain criteria - it's all on the MOM website.

Laptopwieldingharpy Mon 10-Nov-14 05:51:47

If health and schools are taken care of I think your expectations are realistic. I don't think you will be saving much but you can certainly have a really nice laid back lifestyle and sunshine all year round.

The rent range suggested is very doable in a wide variety of condos (like Pandan Valley, normanton park, clemeti park, or down the ridge along tanjong pagar towards jurong. That is for proximity UWC, Tanglin, Dover etc...
You can do a simulation per area/sqfootage/budget on propertyguru.com.sg
If you need help narrowing down an area or a list of condos let me know.
Condos will usually have a pool and gym and BBq area so a bit of extras for free compared to the UK and in that area, condos tend to have big grounds and lots of greenery.

Shopping is all relative. Am now in Hong Kong and I would swap fresh produce from my outrageously overpriced gourmet supermarket here for any Singapore wet market in a heartbeat. If you like cooking from scratch, that's cheap clean fresh food in abundance. Eat more fish/shelfish and less red meat. That's a health benefit too!
Lots of options also to reduce the grocery bill with strategic bulk shopping for non perishable food and hygiene/cleaning from fair price, carrefour etc.... Daiso shops and Ikea for homewares, local malls for shoes and clothes etc....saves enough to cover the crazy utility bils, M&S bras and bookdepository deliveries.
Public transport is very reliable.Taxis non rush hour are very reasonnable.

I would definitely think another source of income, even part time or free lance would be great to make the most of this experience and have that extra cushion for added conforts and frequent little trips to the beach!

Cerisier Mon 10-Nov-14 15:41:25

The Singapore government is now enforcing the rule that you pay tax on school fee remission, which can cost quite a bit, especially if you have more than one DC. A number of teachers in Singapore are finding that this is tipping them over the edge and meaning that they are not covering their costs each month. It is a very expensive place to live. What is your rental allowance?

Imsosorryalan Mon 10-Nov-14 15:59:35

Thanks laptop, very informative. The school is st josephs ( not sure what area that comes in, near Toa Payoh?) I'd like to walk to school as no car, what sort of areas should we be looking. Also what's the difference between an apartment and condo? Size? For a family of four, I was thinking of around 1300sq ft does that sound ok? It's so hard when I can't see the actual size of the places!

My husband is now also, looking for work out there. I've had a look on the MOM website and can't see what sort of visa we would need. I guess I'm being sponsored but then my dh may also be sponsored if he gets a job. Can we both be sponsored or does one of us have to travel on the others visa as a spouse/dependant?

So many q's sorry!

BringMeTea Tue 11-Nov-14 06:35:02

Brand new affordable condo very very close (walkable) to the school is 368 Thomson. You will be able to negotiate too as it will still be quite empty. Also closeish to an mrt station and several supermarkets etc. Good luck.

BringMeTea Tue 11-Nov-14 06:39:08

Sounds like your DH will be on a dependent pass. If he gets a job his prospective employer has to apply for a Letter of Consent which will allow him to work. Your employer will be able to explain this to you, do ask them.

Laptopwieldingharpy Tue 11-Nov-14 09:17:49

Wow cerisier that can ba a deal breaker!
St josephs is a good school! Upper thompson area.

Cerisier Tue 11-Nov-14 11:15:10

It is a big worry laptop, especially as it can be backdated as the law change was a few years ago but nobody acted on it. There seems to be a lack of clarity so some schools are deducting it already while others aren't.

Imsosorryalan Tue 11-Nov-14 20:48:29

Ceresier, can you link to any info regarding this? I've been searching for more info online, but can't see anything about it.

Onedegreenorth Tue 11-Nov-14 22:28:51

My DS was at SJI till recently (we left Singapore in July). We lived near Newton as dh and I were both working in the CBD so it worked well for us. I'd look at Upper Thomson, Ang Mo Kio - some great value there. Otherwise Newton, Novena, Balestier. We both had separate employment passes but unless your dh has a job sorted before you came out then he'd have to be on a dependants pass first. You would need to check they'd definitely grant one as I know from work
that they were making more difficult for those earning less than $12,000pcm.

Saltedcaramellavacake Wed 12-Nov-14 14:08:00

We pay tax on school fee payments, as well as rental assistance, car allowance etc. https://www.iras.gov.sg/irasHome/page.aspx?id=9874

Cerisier Thu 13-Nov-14 05:55:25

Teachers have a school fees discount if they are personally responsible for the fees and they have not had to pay tax on the difference (they pay tax on their other benefits of course). However that situation has been challenged recently. The new situation hasn't been clarified by the ministry yet I believe, but it is only fair that new teachers are aware of the issue. As I understand it the implications are that, if enforced, the tax bill would be something like two hundred dollars per child per month. This won't sound much to someone on a big expat contract but for teachers it will be a significant amount.

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