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Help - Singapore wobble!

(27 Posts)
Esssss Wed 28-Oct-15 06:25:49

Hi there, I have posted here before about potentially moving to Singapore. Well oh has now been offered a job there and I am having a massive wobble about it. the contract is for 3 years, we have a (just gone) two year old and I am 28
Weeks pregnant. We wouldn't move until just after 2nd is born. The job is a great opportunity for oh and he is v unhappy in his current job. However we have just sold and bought a house (in the last month) which I had to deal with on my own as oh was away working. I am just feeling massively overwhelmed and need reassurances that this is the right choice. Or are we crazy for bringing over a brand new baby and a challenging toddler? The salary would be something like $120,000 sd with accommodation allowance, nursery allowance and health insurance provided on top of that. Does that sound like its do-able to live comfortably on that? I'm so blimmin' hormonal that the thought of being so far away from family and friends makes me want I run and hide!!!! Some perspective would be good please! Thanks

feckityfeck Wed 28-Oct-15 08:12:55

Wow, you've got a lot going on! I think you need to think about which bit is causing the most wobble, iyswim.

We aren't in Singapore yet (planning a move in the summer), so can't give you much help on cost of living etc. But I think we're going to be on a similar budget, so I think/hope it's about right. Does the nursery allowance roll over to school allowance once your eldest is in school?

How soon after the new baby is born would you be going? I don't think being worried about being away from family and friends when you've just had a baby is just 'being hormonal'.

What will you do with the house when you go? If you're going to sell again/rent it out, will that be something you'll have to deal with by yourself again?

Most importantly, does your OH listen to your concerns? Can you talk it over with him without the focus becoming how unhappy he is in his current job and what a great opportunity the new job is for him?

All those questions sound very negative, but that doesn't mean I think you shouldn't do it, just trying to work through your worries smile

ChopsticksandChilliCrab Wed 28-Oct-15 15:34:47

One thought- I notice you aren't married- this might cause problems with getting a dependents pass here. Are HR aware of your marital status?

The salary looks ok, but it won't leave much over each month, especially if you fund a car, flights home and your own utility bills.

Singapore is fabulous if you are a solid small family unit who can cope with being away from friends and family. You can learn new customs, make some money and travel around Asia. It isn't so good for meeting and making real friends as people come and go so much.

MyFriendsCallMeOh Wed 28-Oct-15 22:04:07

Is this sgd 120 before tax? Will the company pay flights home, utilities, relocation costs both ways, car?

Esssss Thu 29-Oct-15 07:20:33

Thanks so much for your replies.

We are actually married so I don't think we'll run into the dependents problem.

The salary is before tax so I'm guessing it would be about 15-20% tax off that. Utilities, flights home are added on to the package, we wouldn't have a car but from what I've read that wouldn't be such a problem?

We would rent our house out here to cover the mortgage. I havent even started looking into the practicalities of this so this could be a headache!!

We're not entirely sure when we might have to go but I think it would probably be about 6-8 weeks after the baby is born - with the caveat that if the birth is traumatic or if the baby is ill then I would stay here in the uk for longer and join my husband later (not ideal for either of us as the plane trip with my wild 2 year old and newborn on my own brings me out in a cold sweat!)

We would get a family flight home once a year and my family have said they would visit once a year. I do have a tendency to get very homesick so I'm worried about this. But on the other hand, if we decided not to go I'm afraid we'd miss our opportunity to really make a change in our lives as at the moment, husband has no work/life balance, I'm sick of my job and we are both jaded and knackered.

If I wasn't feeling so unsettled and pregnant I think I'd be jumping at the chance!

Can I just ask whether anyone knows about how childhood vaccinations work in Singapore?

Thanks for reading, your advice is invaluable.

Squigley Thu 29-Oct-15 07:54:57

Your package sounds great - you have a lot of things covered. If I could go back and do it all over again I'd say no because we started on a local contract with ZERO perks, apart from health insurance, and relocation fees to get us here in the first place. We've been funding school and nursery fees, rent and just about every other imaginable expense. You'd definitely be able to afford a car if you have all that lot covered, which, with a newborn and a toddler yes you will definitely need one - ignore anyone saying "no need, public transport is amazing!" - Well yes it is good, but just try it with two tots, a double pushchair and all the paraphernalia that goes with it not to mention tantrums and unpredictable nappy explosions in thirty degree heat...and you might swiftly change your mind or you'll find yourself stuck at home most of the time.

We've not had a comfortable ride by any stretch (exacerbated by other issues), but things would have been a lot easier if we'd come as "proper expats" (hate that word btw). So while I think your package sounds great, I really wouldn't worry about that side of things, it's hard to advise on the other stuff - it's very subjective and down to personality whether you think you have the desire, motivation, oomph to give it a go. I said earlier I would have said no had I realised how expensive it truly is to live here, but I'm going to contradict myself and say actually it's been an invaluable experience full of positives as well as negatives and I'm glad I've done it (but also very glad to be going home!) - less so for me but for DH's career and my kids who have loved it. Ask yourself if you would kick yourself for turning it down (not to mention DH) a few years down the line - that's what swung it for me. It's a very tough question to answer but hopefully the wind will blow in the direction which is right for you. Good luck with your decision.

Peppapogstillonaloop Thu 29-Oct-15 12:11:07

That package is good, you have plenty funded there, check nursery allowance rolls over to school in case you stay longer.
Vaccs work as you want them to basically you can choose to follow the British system or whichever! They do suggest having tb vaccine so if that's an option when your lo is born I would take it..
It is hard moving away from family etc but I found I made some amazing friends and people were very helpful and supportive you just have to put yourself out there!
There are tons of groups etc with kids..
Renting out your house will be fine just a bit of setting up..
We loved it there, totally understand your wobbles but do you think. You'll regret it if you don't go??

Esssss Thu 29-Oct-15 15:01:50

I think we would regret it especially because we are unhappy with our current situation. We're both just terrified of such a massive move!

feckityfeck Thu 29-Oct-15 15:33:13

You and me both Esssss grin

I keep fixating on questions that really don't need to be answered yet, like whether we would get a helper (I have no idea how to make that decision!).

We'll be renting our house too and I don't know where to start either, apart from fixing various bits and pieces that we've been living with for far too long smile

If you do end up staying after having the baby and your husband goes out ahead of you, is there anyone who could do the flight out with you and stay for a while to help for a week or so?

Esssss Thu 29-Oct-15 16:18:32

Feckityfeck I'm relieved to read you're making the move too!! There's so much to think about! At the moment I can't think of anyone who would make the trip out with me should we have to stay but that feels so far away at the moment!

Laptopwieldingharpy Fri 30-Oct-15 08:22:55

The package is good and life in Sg with a toddler and baby is very confortable.
Don't worry!
I have couple of british friends there who are relication/property agents. They have been there all their life, happy to make introductions.
And happy to recommend a couple of helper agencies too.

feckityfeck Fri 30-Oct-15 10:28:35

LaptopWH - Any tips on how to make the decision of whether we should have a helper? I imagine a helper would be invaluable in Esssss's situation, with a toddler and baby, but I have two school-aged children and probably won't be working (I'm a student at the moment) and I have all the usual expat reservations about it.

papooshka Fri 30-Oct-15 10:59:49

Flying with a baby is very easy, we used to live in Singapore and I regularly did the trip on my own with a baby or a toddler and a baby. SQ are great to fly with and really help if you are on your own. Plus you can get assistance to help you at the airport at both ends (through the airline). I did this once when I had a toddler and was pregnant.
It is a big move to Singapore but its such an expat place that you will meet loads of people in the same boat. There are constantly people coming and going and its very sociable. Theres a very active FB page called 'real singapore expat wives' which is good for info and and also loads of meet ups going on.
Re the helper, I would say 80% of people in Singapore (local and expat) have a helper (could be wrong on the % but its quite a high amount). However there are loads of people who don't and its doable. We never had a helper, I just had a cleaner come in once a week and that was enough for me. Also had a regular babysitter so we could get out at least once a week. However because most people have a helper you may feel you are missing out if you don't have one as it does give you lots of freedom. See how you feel once you get there. Theres a whole heap of problems that come with helpers too, I think its luck to get a good one and have had loads of friends that have had problems with their helpers. However I also know lots of people who have had theirs for years and they are part of the family.

Laptopwieldingharpy Fri 30-Oct-15 11:04:25

I'd happily do without now that the kids are in school all day but part timers are generally illegal and after 8 years in Asia, i am now too used to the full flexibility it offers for evening babysitting!

Imakethebestgravy Sun 01-Nov-15 06:54:08

Can't add anything about Singapore but thought I'd say we're 4 months into our first experience as expats in Bangkok. For us the transition to Asian life has been easier than we thought it would be though I will admit our kids are a bit older. There are lots of expat groups (I'm sure Singapore is the same) who have been extremely welcoming and happy to help with lots of really good advice. Here too it is the done thing to have a helper/maid. I've resisted so far but have definitely come under some pressure to get one. With little ones I could imagine it would be a wonderful help to not have to worry about housework and just concentrate on them!

For us the main incentive to move here was that we knew we'd regret not going for it at some point. Our lives have changed massively and we've all had opportunity to try things that are just not possible in the UK. We decided that as a family we'd give it a go - if it didn't work out we'd head back but so far it's going great smile

feckityfeck Mon 02-Nov-15 07:25:00

Thanks for the thoughts on helpers. I guess we should wait til we get out there and see how we feel. And sorry for the hijack Esssss - how are you feeling now about it all? When does the decision have to be made?

MyFriendsCallMeOh Mon 02-Nov-15 21:02:22

I had a part time helper and so did nearly half the people I knew in Singapore. As long as you don't ask anyone's live-in helper to work for you and you hire a Singapore PR or citizen legally, it's fine. It's a popular option for families with school-age children.

Esssss Tue 03-Nov-15 11:47:04

Oh my god I just toed out a massive message and then lost it aaaaargh!

Anyway, thank you all so so much for your advice and reassurances you made me feel a lot better about it all and I'm feeling more positive about it.

After finally managing to sit down and actually speak to my husband about it, he was the one who had a big wobble! He is an idealist and doesn't often think of the practicalities of things like this. When I laid out exactly what it would require and that we wouldnt be able to save as much as we had hoped, he wasn't as excited.

But I just think we have to change our mindset about it being less of a financial opportunity and more of a life experience opportunity. As long as it's not for forever I'm up for an adventure (I think!)

Can I just ask whether any of you went on to get your own jobs after relocating for partners job? I'll be taking at least a year with the new baby but I can see myself getting very bored after that.

Thanks so much again!

Esssss Tue 03-Nov-15 11:48:15

And by toed I meant typed

waitingforsomething Tue 03-Nov-15 17:26:20

Hi Op, just wanted to say that I am feeling the same! Dh and I are going sometime between March and June next year; I have a 3 year old and a baby who is currently 4 months. We have a similar package to you but without the nursery allowance. I'm really wobbling but talking to myself about the great opportunity for myself and the children. It's going to be ok! Pm me if you want to chat as it sounds like we're in a similar boat and might be going out at a similar time

MyFriendsCallMeOh Tue 03-Nov-15 20:02:11

Esssss, It's easy to work in Singapore - I just responded to another post with the link to Mums at Work which is a great resource. When we first moved to Singapore in 1999, I worked freelance for a company in Germany, the second time in 2001, dh and I weren't married so I found my own job with an employment pass and the most recent time with kids (moved there with a 3 yo and 6 months pregnant) I did voluntary work and set up my own company - anything's possible and even if you don't work, you definitely won't be bored.....

Esssss Tue 03-Nov-15 20:26:22

That sounds really positive! I do think it would be a fantastic chance to try something new.

beingorange Wed 04-Nov-15 17:30:17

MyfriendscallMeOh - can I ask if you got a permit while freelancing? We are moving to Singapore too, wit DHs job, but my company are letting me continue my job, whichis is a permant, full time, post out there, But I will be working from home and am the first and only employee, and there is no registered office, so I am clueless how to do employment passes.
OP good luck whatever you decide!

Laptopwieldingharpy Thu 05-Nov-15 00:30:59

Being orange, EP have become a bit harder to get iver the last few years but it seems like you would be in a good position to justify your application.
It would be well worth taking professional advice as to how to set it up.
here is a good starting point

and here listings of advisors who can help setting up a company, accounting, company secretay services, tax, employement etc...

MyFriendsCallMeOh Thu 05-Nov-15 02:53:59

I didn't have a permit while freelancing, it was very short term and I was there on a tourist visa, traveling in and out of the country. I don't think a foreign company can apply for an EP with to having an office in Singapore. Probably best to be employed by a Singapore manpower agency who assign you to your current employer. That way all your tax and employment status etc are very clear to everyone including the Singapore government. If I were you, I'd ask for professional advice as suggested. It's probably worth a call or email to the Singapore ministry of manpower that oversees this area too.

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