Should I expect a housing allowance?

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  1. #31

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    never knew that london housing are cheap and huge ? is that the case ? (honest question... impression is that it is just as costly, if not more, than hk)...

    just go for it and try it out. frankly even 52k hkd is a fairly high wage if you take away the higher level expat expectation in this site. trust me 80% of the readers of this site are definitely getting lesser than that and are living well!


  2. #32
    Mat
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    Alright he is from UK and I agree, being form Europe too, that the definition of space is really different here than in the UK

    But bear in mind that he also have only 2.5 years experience -> I would therefore assume in his mid 20's and not at management level at all....

    One point worth noting too is that you spend way less time at home in HK that you would in your own country.


  3. #33

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    Thanks everyone for your replies! I think I may push back on my employer in the first instance (can't hurt to try!), as judging by the majority of comments I at least have a case.

    That said, I'm thinking I'm not too worried. I have no intention of living at Expat lifestyle, and I am definitely coming to HK for the experience over anything else (and my GF of course!). My girlfriend lives on 11k pm (admittedly in government housing) and she seems to survive just fine, so I'm sure she can teach me to live like a local

    Cheers all, I will let you know what the final outcome is!


  4. #34

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    Sorry Freeier, forgot to mention...

    I always thought London housing was expensive too, until I started looking at HK! That is what raised my initial concerns. In London I live in a very large, modern house, which although it is shared is a very good standard of living and just 10 minutes walk from work. I pay 600 per month for that (around 9000hkd) which includes all bills, sky tv and a weekly maid service.

    Therefore, if people are saying 15k per month in Hong Kong gets me very little, I am expecting my cost of accomodation to at least double including bills.

    However, from my own calculations, the salary I have been offered will work out around 500 extra than what I currently take home in the UK, so this should just about cover the costs I think, as most other things in HK are probably a little cheaper. Would you agree?


  5. #35

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    If your take home (post tax) is only going up by 15% then essentially you're getting the same gross and just using the savings from the much lower tax here to cover the higher cost of housing? I guess if they know you really want to come for personal reasons then they can squeeze you, but most people do, I think, manage to get some sort of gross increase when moving from the UK to Hong Kong.

    Note also that you should get whatever you think you are going to spend on rent defined as Housing Allowance in your contract. This will reduce your tax bill.


  6. #36

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    There's a lot of inflated numbers in this thread.

    $30k minimum for a single/couple in HK?! That's over the top. Maybe for an expat who can't stomach the thought of living outside of the Mid Levels and downsizing (accept it, you're not getting a 5 bedroom detached house in Hong Kong for European prices!), but most (non-expat) people spend a fraction of that.

    Many many locals have incomes less than $20k, some even $10k, and consider $10-20k for an apartment plenty.

    You should have absolutely no problem finding a nice, sufficient (for a single/couple) place on Hong Kong Island less than 30 minutes commute to Central for $10-20k. The closer to $20k, the newer the building and the bigger the area (at $10k you're looking at around 500sqft on HK Island which is a bit tiny, but not abnormal in HK). Look around Causeway Bay, North Point, Quarry Bay, etc, they're all affordable in that range (also try Tin Hau & Tai Koo, a bit pricier but nice areas and easily affordable on a $15-$20k budget).

    If you're moving from London, expect to pay basically around the same in Hong Kong, except you'll get less than half the space. But that's how things are in HK. You can't expect exactly the same apartment space if you're getting paid basically the same. A 3-5 bedroom detached house on the outskirts of London is pretty normal and affordable for normal people, the same thing in Hong Kong (unless you're looking at a really old building, far out on a NT Island) is reserved exclusively for overpaid expat bankers and multi-millionaires. Just forget about making the comparison and you won't mind so much.

    On the plus side, shops open past 6pm, public transport works, everywhere's within 10-30 minutes commute, and you won't get knived for looking at a teenager 'funny', so that goes some way to compensating for the cramped living space.


  7. #37

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    most people do, I think, manage to get some sort of gross increase when moving from the UK to Hong Kong.
    Really? From the majority of posts I have read, most people, certainly on a local contract, actually take a pay [I]cut[I]. I have read on many posts about companies using 'tax equalisation', effectively lowering your gross so that you take home the same after tax. I actually thought being offered the same gross salary was actually quite good. What do others think?

    public transport works
    I'm sold!!! Goodbye to London Underground forever!!!

  8. #38

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    Quote Originally Posted by newsense
    I actually thought being offered the same gross salary was actually quite good. What do others think?

    I'm sold!!! Goodbye to London Underground forever!!!

    If I made exactly the same in Hong Kong (with the current exchange rate) that I made in London, I'd be laughing.

    In reality, I make approximately half of what I made in London... though I pay less tax. But I didn't get transferred over here, I moved with my wife and found a job locally. Plus I'm not working in finance, and whilst London's a world leader in my field (design), Hong Kong's at the opposite end. If I was coming over as a banker I'd expect a gold plated horse and a pay increase.

    I'm probably financially worse off in Hong Kong, though I think I have a more exciting lifestyle and aside from a few things (rent!), money goes much further in HK than London. Back in London my weekly train ticket cost over hk$1000 - now I pay hk$45 a week to commute to work - and just grabbing a sandwich at lunchtime would have been around hk$80, about double what it would be here (except I'm forced to eat dim sum every other lunchtime instead).

    If you're single or a couple HK's much more exciting in my opinion, and definitely worth coming just to try out. It's nice living in a country which has actual evening and nightlife that consists of more than just going to an annoying nightclub. Though the idea of living in HK with a family sounds mildly horrific - lack of living space, lack of greenery, utter lack of fresh air, and the possibility of your children either being force fed through the local education system or become expat-brats in an international school to the point where you'd want to disown them...

    But that's probably just me ranting about how I need to escape this place if I ever have children. Sure, all cities are bad in that regard, and HK is actually very safe, it's just that it's the worst concrete jungle in the world.
    Last edited by MrLister; 25-07-2008 at 06:41 PM.

  9. #39

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    newsense,

    Tax equalisation only comes in if you are also getting Housing Allowance, Cost Of Living Allowance, School Fees and the other expat stuff. The idea of all of that together is to match as closely as possible what you got in your home country. You don't get it on local terms.


  10. #40

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    Tax equalisation only comes in if you are also getting Housing Allowance, Cost Of Living Allowance, School Fees and the other expat stuff. The idea of all of that together is to match as closely as possible what you got in your home country. You don't get it on local terms.
    But would you not say overall London pays better than Hong Kong in the finance field? It certainly appears that way from all the salary surveys, and quite considerably so. So to get my gross salary in Hong Kong seems quite good in my opinion, don't you agree?

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