Thursday, December 29, 2011

Moving to Singapore from India : Questions Answered !!

Thanks to my readers in 2011 who ask me questions via email or comments. I try to respond to as many as I can and to my best of knowledge.

There is this one particular question which I get asked in different ways. Look the following! :

Question 1) : I am Mr. X salary offered to me is SG$6000/month
  • What will a 1 Bed Room condo, in a reasonably close by area, cost?
  • Should I take an additional 10% margin over the numbers posted in your 2010 blog for 2012 cost of living?
I am paid close to INR 120,000 pm (After Tax and monthly saving of 40,000) in India do you think the salary offered in SG, I can meet a similar/better life style with the similar savings?

Question 2)  Is it enough for us to live comfortably with that salary in Singapore as we do live a very sophisticated and comfortable life in Chennai/Bangalore/Mumbai/Pune !.

My Answer :   First of all there is no simple answer to these questions!. But I will try to make your decision simple as I have gone through similar stage in my life when I was moving to Singapore. What you need to is to  breakdown your questions in to different logical ones rather than defining them like 'Comfortable' , 'Similar' or 'Reasonable' !!.

Most important is to understand that moving to a new country is your decision and you are trying to do this for your better prospects in life/career. You are moving to Singapore because you decided so and not due to the fact that you could not move to USA/UK or Australia!!. Once you are clear in your mind about the objective of moving to Singapore. The questions related to money part can be sorted out quickly.

Now coming back to comfortable salary and maintaining similar lifestyle as in your present country/city.

Questions you need to ask yourself :
  1. What is present Salary + Perks ?
  2. How much do I spend today per year ?
  3. How much do I save today per year ? Yes per year makes more sense!
  4. In my current occupation/job, what is my growth potential ? 
  5. What is my current lifestyle ? here are some examples!
    • I go and party every other week
    • Play a game or Swim everyday
    • My kids go to some activity every other day and that costs more than 30k INR p.a.
    • I like to travel every 2 months and spend INR 1 Lac on each trip
    • My Grocery bills in India goes up to INR 30k p.m.
    • I enjoy driving and have 20 Lacs worth car which I drive!
Does above questions makes you more confused? Should not !! ..In fact these are the questions which will put value against the terms like 'Comfortable', 'Sophisticated' etc .

Now coming back to moving to Singapore from India. The biggest question readers ask is "How much I would be able to save if I get $xxxxx.xx Salary ?".

This depends on following lifestyle options you will choose to when you start living in Singapore! :
  1. Accommodation : Condo or HDB, 2 BHK or 3 BHK ..Remember there is no 1 BHK!
  2. Grocery : From Fairprice(a branded Shop in Singapore) or from Mustafa only. Indian Vegetables only or will have local ones.
  3. School : Local or Indian International or US/AU International.
  4. Transportation : Local Public Transport(Bus,MRT) or Private Car or Taxi!
  5. Activities : Club Membership, Gym, Swimming etc
  6. Outside Food : Indian or Local or International Cuisine.
  7. Recreation : Going to Pub, Movie every week, Fine Dining every 2 weeks!
  8. House Maid: DIY or Keep one! . Singapore has given an excellent choice in this area but it sets you back by $700 pm.
I hope this gives you more insight into Singapore Lifestyle!. Also comparing lifestyle in India and Singapore is different when it comes to overall facilities. Singapore is an International country with most sophisticated and modern facilities to offer but with a cost. So if you think that you can maintain similar lifestyle as in India, please do some comparison based on above questions and you will get a fair answer yourself.

Most of the time we calculate cost of living for basic necessities only like Accommodation, Grocery, School etc. You need to consider that when you start living in for longer duration(within 2 months infact!) you would need other things as well in life to live 'Comfortably' :)

You surely need to define the most important question of all, that is "Savings per year". If you keep this goal very clear in mind and with realistic calculations(they are still approx!). You will be able to meet your goal fairly good. Remember don't keep savings goals on per month basis rather on per year basis. This makes life easy!

Best of luck for your moving decision to Singapore and Happy New Year 2011!. 

Please email me on the above email address and I will respond
 Related Posts :

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cost of employing maid in Singapore

Many people ask me this question ..How much does it cost to keep maid in Singapore ?

The best thing about Singapore, which many people envy who live in Australia or USA / UK is able to keep Domestic worker(often called as 'Maid') here in Singapore with not much of a cost. Many people like this in Singapore as it is allowed govt. It works out very well and quite cost effective compared to what you get in USA/UK/Australia!!.

Maid Nationality : This is the first question comes in your mind when deciding about the FDW in Singapore. I would suggest to go for Philippino, as we have experienced their work and they are good. If you are planning to bring maid from your own country like India or Malaysia, agents help in that too. I would still prefer getting a FDW who is already in Singapore as it helps a lot as they are aware of surroundings and culture.

Salary : Monthly salary is $340 or more depending on experience and maids nationality. You need to work out with the maid and agency to agree upon mutually.

FDW Levy : Please refer to this "Work Permit Information(FDW)" by MOM. It is very good source of information. A Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) levy of $265 (normal) or $170 (concession) is payable every month.

Agency Fee : Agencies will charge somewhere between $300-600 for getting you the FDW. It is negotiable as they try to adjust that with maid's salary too sometimes.

Agency Loan : When the FDW is directly coming from their home country. A loan is generally there of about $2000-2500 which maid generally clears using her salary. You can mutually decide how the maid and agency would recover this from their salary.

Things to get for maid before getting her home : This is an important task. You need to make sure that the maid is comfortable at your house, as she will be working for you. These are the following things we bought/arranged for her :

  • New Mattress - $50
  • A separate room for her to sleep- as we had 4 room flat.
  • Basic Toiletries
  • A small cub-board to keep her belongings.
Food for maid :  This was nothing different that what we are eating. As we prefer eating Veg at home, we had mutually agreed with her before signing the contract that she will have eat the veg Indian food at home. Mostly maid are fine with it as long as it is agreed before.

Indian Cooking : This was the huge surprise for us!. Our maid learned the Indian Cooking in just few weeks and she was able to cook most of the dishes. You need to give them in writing the ingredients once and show few basic things. They generally are good cook and learn quickly.

It is important to understand that maid is away from family(from wherever they come from) and it takes some time for them to get adjusted to new environment. As I have spoken to many friends, mostly all of them have good experience about maid in Singapore. Make sure that you get a maid from a agency which is known to you or your friend that way you can trust them well. Agencies also help you to resolve some conflicts in case you have with maid and helps you get a replacement if the maid decides to leave for some reason.

You need to make them understand your rules at home and they generally follow that strictly.  If you have kids, you need to be careful and make sure that you have make them understand about all things you want them to take care about kids. Keep all your valuables safely and never assume everything is going to be 100% perfect. As the laws in Singapore are very much followed, maids are aware that they need to be lawful and within MOM guidelines.  

Disclaimer : All above is based on my own experience and you need to apply your own judgement before employing maid. Also refer to Ministry of Manpower for any queries you would have.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flipkart : India ka Apna Amazon!

I just love this website. Since long time I was looking for a Indian website which will give me power to order the books which I keep looking at Amazon and do not order due to various reasons. Although Amazon rocks with its reviews and gives lot of confidence when buying a book.

Flipkart has changed the scene with lot of books available, both Indian and International Edition. When I first used their service I smelled Amazon :) ..Well later in a magazine I read that both the founders had a small stint @ Amazon :).

What I like :
  • Intuitive website design
  • Good collection of books, both Indian and International authors.
  • Get to order a book which is recently released Internationally
  • Super fast delivery - almost got all my orders till date within 3 days of order placed
  • Good packing in bubble wrap
  • Cash on Delivery option : This is something everybody will love as you not get bothered by Internet Payments.
  • Good search mechanism
  • Free delivery of books
What needs improvement:
  • Make website design with less clutter
  • Special attention to Book Reviews and Book view page should have less Ads!
  • Please give Bookmarks with all books :)
  • Need to have star rating on book reviews
  • Give more discounts on International Editions!
Overall the idea rocks!. I am sure they will go long way with their innovation and offer more discounts on international editions to have more buyers! I have not used their other items which they sell too like Mobiles, gifts etc.

I wish they can also influence some International publishers to publish Indian Editions of books available outside India.

I wish them good luck!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Cost of living in Singapore 2010 for married couple with one kid

Its been long time I have written about cost of living in Singapore. 2010 is mid way and I guess it is right time to share some more information with my readers!. In start of 2010 in Singapore, not much rise in rents is seen. But now I heard from my friends that rents are increasing as they are trying to renew their contracts. For long time I wanted to share this post about cost of living in Singapore for married couple with 1 kid. As many of my readers were looking for this information. It is easy to search now a days with google, but if you get something handy it works best :)

If you look at cost it is not much changed from 2009 for most of the things except rent which is increasing in few areas. As I have mentioned in my earlier post too, rent is something you can control too by staying away from city center. As commute in Singapore is very well managed, you reach office pretty fast with combination of MRT and Bus in peak hours.

Kids Expenses : Kids are expenses are something one need to calculate with some flexible budget as most of the activities you are not aware that you will start or not. It also depends how old your kid is when you first arrive in Singapore. As the time goes, kids expenses does go up in any country. In Singapore you have lots of activities for kids which are all year round, like Swimming, Skating etc ..Which normally in India are restricted to warm seasons!. So make sure that you make a good estimate of kids expenses before decide to jump on a plane to Singapore!.

Indian International Schools in Singapore: This is very important decision for Indian Kids. I get lot of emails of readers asking for information on fees and why Indian International School etc. About fees, I have already provided that information, but you need to verify from School websites as these things do change yearly. If you plan to stay in Singapore for short term(3-5 years) I would recommend to go for Indian International School for your child. Although it is expensive as compared to Singapore Local Schools, it makes life much easier for the kid when he/she returns back to India. All the the Indian International Schools in Singapore are affiliated to CBSE. Based on your location you can decide the school. In my personal opinion NPS is a good school which is started recently there. DPS and GIIS are also well managed schools.One good thing about these schools is that generally you get admissions easily whenever you need and fees are published on websites. There are no donations, just refundable deposits.

I hope this helps you. Please do email me if you need any more specific information.

Related Posts :

Cost of living in Singapore in 2010
Preparing for Moving to Singapore
What is comfortable Salary in Singapore

Monday, March 29, 2010

Yakult in India!!

Those who don't know, Yakult is a fermented milk drink!. I remember my good old days of driving Energy Drink ....not many stalls see now having that milk bottle. Now we have Yakult in India!. I used to drink this in Singapore.

In HDB apartments in Singapore there used to be Yakult Ladies delivering Yakult at door step. Now we have similar concept in India too. If you like flavored milk, you will like Yakult too!...try once!

Daily Piyo, Healthy Jiyo !!