Expenses in Hong Kong?

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  1. #1

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    Expenses in Hong Kong?

    As you can tell from the user ID, I might be moving to HK for a job with my wife and to be born child...hopefully by the end of the year. We are almost 28 [me] and 29.

    We are from the Philadelphia, PA area and currently live in London on a secondment and I'm trying to get an idea of the cost differential [or similarity] between the two cities [London & HK].

    I'm looking to come over in a management position within the planning & analysis department for the SE asia region. If any other Expats have a similar role and wouldn't mind sharing some of the contract details / perks, it would be appreciated so I can ensure I fairly negotiate my package.

    In addition, if you live with your partner [and even have a young child] what are your general expenses for food, cable, internet, mobile phone, electric, reasonability of clothes prices, public transportation [I think it's about 350-400 HK$ a month depending on where you live...at least it appeared that way on the MTR site] and any other special costs that are specific to HK. I know that with rent there are government & management fees with some inclusive and some exclusive but are any other oddities that people may not be generally aware of?

    Finally, what is the best area to live, how far is that area from the financial district [or main business section of HK], what size is your apartment and how much is your rent...if you don't mind divulging.

    It looks like I [hopefully we] will be visiting in late June / early July to sit with my prospective employer and I've seen many posts here for arranging get togethers. Once our plans are firm, I will be back on here and hopefully be able to arrange something and meet some of you on here.

    Thanks in advance for any information you can share, I do appreciate it.

    Last edited by MaybeHKExpat; 01-06-2008 at 10:48 PM. Reason: add additional question

  2. #2

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    These threads are always difficult because it's not really about any definitive measure of how much it costs to live in HK but how much you choose to spend, depending on your lifestyle.

    Broadly speaking, I would say that costs overall in HK are pretty similar to London. To address some of the particular examples, things like mobile phones, internet access, public transportation are certainly cheaper in HK. Food is more variable, it is certainly easier to eat out cheaply and well in HK than in London, but above that then of course it is perfectly possible to dine very expensively in both cities.

    In terms of where to live, it really depends upon what is important to you: space, convenience, rural/urban etc. Probably not very relevant to you but, for example, I live on HK Island about half an hour from Central by public transport. About 650 sq ft, we own it but rental for similar units in our building is about HK$15,000 per month. That said, there is a huge range of proerties and prices. You pays your money, you makes your choice.


  3. #3

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    Notice you have an unborn baby. The private hospitals fill up fast and way in advance. The minute you hit the pavement, it would be wise if your wife found an Ob and then reserved hospital space.
    A late June visit--be prepared to sweat. And then freeze everytime you enter a space with AC.


  4. #4

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    I am single with no kids and I don't think I am an average consumer, but here are some expenses for you to compare with:

    Spent up to $3000 HKD in cash per week for food (varies greatly), transportation ($150-$300 per week), entertainment (varies), dry cleaning ($300 per week) and other cash purchases.

    Water $150 per month
    Electricity $500 per month
    Internet $280 per month
    NowTV $280 per month
    Gas $300 per month
    Rent $17,500 per month

    Spent $16,000 to completely replace entire wardrobe with tailor-made clothing. It was a one-time charge and I don't expect to buy any more clothing for the next year or two.

    I strongly recommend that you choose an apartment within 30 minutes of your office (including elevator time).

    Medical insurance premiums are very cheap in HK compared to USA, so make sure you get full coverage for everything from medical, dental, vision, maternity to mainland China coverage.


  5. #5
    deleteduser

    It depends on how you live, and where you're from. I know for a fact that I am saving thousands of dollars each month by living here instead of Vancouver. Since I don't go drinking all the time, and I don't drive, the two main expenses of living here don't apply to me. Everything else is cheaper here than back home, with the exception of electricity (especially in the summer!)


  6. #6

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    Thank you

    Thank you everyone who responded. I realize there will be differences in lifestyles in people, but appreciate your input.

    Regards


  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by chowfun:
    Medical insurance premiums are very cheap in HK compared to USA, so make sure you get full coverage for everything from medical, dental, vision, maternity to mainland China coverage.
    I know Americans tend to be a bit paranoid about health insurance as they not used to having a public health system but personally I don't think there's any need for it in HK. There's a perfectly good public health system to cover you for emergencies and as always, health insurance companies make their money by charging you more in premiums than you're ever likely to spend.

    For example, we worked out that to get our money back on the general doctor part of the cover each of us would need to visit the doctor something like 20 times a year so we'd rather just pay cash for the one or two times a year we typically go. Consider getting cover for big operations etc if you don't enough money in the bank to pay for an operation if you need one but generally it's better to pay for medical services when you need them, you'll pay a lot less usually.

    Of course if your company's paying then you might as well take it but if you're paying yourself then I wouldn't bother.
    Last edited by dipper; 05-06-2008 at 11:01 AM. Reason: Ref quote

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by dipper:
    I know Americans tend to be a bit paranoid about health insurance as they not used to having a public health system but personally I don't think there's any need for it in HK. There's a perfectly good public health system to cover you for emergencies and as always, health insurance companies make their money by charging you more in premiums than you're ever likely to spend.

    For example, we worked out that to get our money back on the general doctor part of the cover each of us would need to visit the doctor something like 20 times a year so we'd rather just pay cash for the one or two times a year we typically go. Consider getting cover for big operations etc if you don't enough money in the bank to pay for an operation if you need one but generally it's better to pay for medical services when you need them, you'll pay a lot less usually.

    Of course if your company's paying then you might as well take it but if you're paying yourself then I wouldn't bother.
    Not sure I would run that risk with a new baby on the way. Between the ob appointments, the birth and the post-birth appointments you will be hitting the doctors rather often.

  9. #9

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    Sure, I was talking generally but if you know you're definitely going to be claiming then that's when insurance makes sense. You just have to be careful with pre-existing condition clauses etc.

    I guess the OP will have company cover anyway.

    Last edited by dipper; 05-06-2008 at 03:24 PM.

  10. #10

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    The company might cover it, but the OP will still pay something so it is worth a look.
    Another thing I just thought of--he won't want to vacation/visit in the US without insurance. That would be a nightmare.