School, Appartment & Car

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Miami
    Posts
    6

    Smile School, Appartment & Car

    My husband works for a major French company in Miami and has just been asked to write his 'conditions' to move to HQ. We are giving a shot at asking for the usual expat. package:
    - Rent allowance
    - Tuition - very important condition as my boys, 6 and 3, are French/American and are currently enrolled in a great bilingual program here in Miami, so I'm looking into the French Int. School.
    - Local health, dental, eye, meds. insurance (is this included for granted in all expat. packages or do we have to negotiate it?)
    - Moving costs
    - Yearly trip back home (Miami)
    - I was told that here expats get a set-up allowance to furnish the appt.

    Does all this seem reasonable?

    I was wondering if in HK families live near the children's school. Here in Miami it is a great advantage to live near your child's school since rush hour traffic is horrible.
    Additionally, I have heard that in HK having a car is not that indispensable. So how do you get around with two small children? How do you travel to see other places?

    I am sorry for including so many questions in just one thread. We have to give the exects. in Paris a reply soon.

    I really appreciate in advance any answers and/or comments!

    M2HK


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    3

    M2HK,

    I'm exploring a move as well, and one thing I've found is that in addition to tuition, some schools require an indebenture... basically an interest-free loan from you to them for the time that your children are enrolled in their school. This can be pricey. (US $16K for one school for my family.) I don't know if employee packages typically cover this, but thought it's not something to overlook!

    As for your other questions, I'll be watching for answers with you!

    EAH


  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Miami
    Posts
    6

    School Debenture

    Thanks for the advice EAH. The French International School does charge a hefty debenture. They charge $12,423 if it is a company owned debenture and $6,787 for a privately owned debenture. So for a child in elementary, if you count in registration, applications, lunch and tuition fees, it comes out to $8,912 USD per year. If you add a privately owned debenture it is a total of $15,699 PER YEAR!! That is why tuition tops second in my list (just after rent allowance, which apparently should range between $60 K to $80K for a decent 3bedroom.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    4

    Hard to generalize the package as companies are different in terms of scale etc and depends on negotiation power. For departmental (not divisional) head level:
    [*]You may need rent allowance of HKD40K to HK50K per month for a 1,500 sg ft apartment at some new residential projects (this actually depends on your need for conveniance, nearness to school and the corporate level of your husband). Although most schools offer busing facilities, it may take up to 1 hour travel for your kids' travel each way everyday (not nice for kids) if your residence is far away from school. The French International School is on Hong Kong Island side.[*]Allowances for settling in and repatriation - HKD150K to HKD200K (yes, you need to plan for expenses incurred when repatriating back to the States)[*]Moving expenses - paid by company in terms of maximum cu ft for cargo shipment (including free storage costs) - 1000 cu ft appears reasonable[*]Yearly trip home - business class ticket per family member (HK to and from Miami)[*]Medical costs are taken care of by the company - a standard practice[*]Inflation index of HK is not a good measure as one who compares supermarket prices from year to year will know[*]Company may pay for the debenture for education at the international school. Please check with their Hong Kong office if they already bought debentures issued by some of the international schools in Hong Kong. This is quite common among most international companies in Hong Kong.

    Good luck!


  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    4

    You may want to follow this thread on expat package and cost of living


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Miami
    Posts
    6

    I really appreciate all your feedback Dkcqu. It realy helps!

    regards,

    Miami2HK


  7. #7

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    on the road again
    Posts
    927

    Since every thing else has been very well answered already, I'll answer your questions about the French-International school : not many people live near the school, most people use the school bus system, which is very efficient (another thing to negociate in your contract, as well as school lunches and you might try school books as well while you're at it). The buses are great, always on time, they have seatbelts and a "bus mother" in each bus. If you do want to live close to the school, consider Happy Valley, Jardine's Lookout and the Parkview. Those places are closer to the city, so it depends on whether you want a sea-view or be close to the city!!! It only takes about 30 minutes by schoolbus to get from FIS to the south of HK island.

    Having a car is not indespensable if you want to waste a whole lot of money on taxis... if your children have activities and playdates, it is pretty useful to have a car. And also to go to the beach on weekends... Used cars are quite cheap and very easy to find. Insurance is cheaper than elsewhere as well.


  8. #8

    Beware of carpark/garage fees

    Further to ontheroad's comment about affordable used cars. Car park/garage cost can be very high, you need to factor that in your nego. Parkview is near the "main" FIS but not the pre-school campus. Public transport like subway and buses are easily available and can be less stressful when you don't need to look for place to park.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    14,364
    Quote Originally Posted by Steppy in Geo:
    Further to ontheroad's comment about affordable used cars. Car park/garage cost can be very high, you need to factor that in your nego.
    your typical monthly rental for a car parking space is $2500 a month in a new development, So not really that high.

    Or if you live in the sticks then its free.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    on the road again
    Posts
    927

    Out here, on the southside, I don't know anyone who pays for their parking space... either it's free or you can negociate it to be included in the rent...


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