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Finally making the move

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    21

    Finally making the move

    So after receiving three job offers in Hong Kong over the last decade, I've finally decided to make the jump and accept the fourth; an internal transfer with my company. I havent refused the others for fear of the unknown - on the contrary, i've spent most of my working life in Asia and have visited HK for business numerous times - but circumstances always got in the way before.

    I'm moving over to take up a senior management role with my company. I'm a single guy in my early forties and - to be candid - the package looks obscenely good.

    The offer is HK$180,000 per month. While they will put me up in a serviced apartment for a month, after that I need to find my own accommodation, but the package is structured in such a way that 40% of the remuneration is labelled an accommodation allowance. If I don't use it all for rent, it reverts to salary. I assume there is some kind of tax break there.

    Usual perks . . insurances, removal costs etc etc, flights home now and again. Potential for 15% bonus.

    I have no idea where I'm going to live, nor at this moment do I care much. I just want to get over there and start the new life.

    I'm looking forward to spending the next month looking through these forums to find out all the information I need.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Hong Kong
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    Obscenely good pretty much sums it up (unless of course you're a banker who gambles with other people's money, in which case it's pretty crap).

    The housing allowance thing makes sense. You will be taxed at 15% of 110% of whatever you earn excluding any housing allowance that is actually spent on housing. (So if, for example, you spend $40,000 per month on housing then you would be taxed 15% * 110% * $140,000 = $23,100 per month, collected, in effect, annually in arrears.)

    shri likes this.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    21

    No, I'm not a banker PDLM.

    Thanks for the explanation on the housing allowance thing. You summarised and clarified in three lines what my HR people couldn't explain in dozens of emails.

    Let me understand this correctly then. I would normally be taxed 15% on the whole 180k which would be 27,000 a month, so having it as housing reimbursement saves me a few thousand in tax each month.

    If I spent 30,000 on housing, I would be taxed at 15% of 110% of $150,000 which would be $24,750, correct?

    Ignoring all allowances etc etc.


  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
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    Hong Kong
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    Correct, yes.

    Longer explanation from the Inland Revenue here: http://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/pdf/pam44e.pdf

    Last edited by PDLM; 08-04-2011 at 12:31 AM.

  5. #5

    Did you say in another thread you are a lawyer?

    I'm an Aussie who just accepted a position with a smaller UK firm in HK and I feel exactly the same way about the move. Can't wait.

    It sounds like a pretty sweet deal you're on. I'll be earning a bit less than you and have three kids and I think I'll be pretty comfortable; if you're single earning that much you'll be absolutely set. I dare say you won't be single for long.

    I got the housing allowance thing too, sounds pretty standard. Coming from Australia it sounds like the sort of loophole the ATO would shut down in a second, but I guess the HK govt has a different philosophy!

    I managed to score some free flights too but only after negotiating and via a roundabout method. From what I hear, expat-style perks are more and more limited these days. I guess that stuff is easier to negotiate with an internal transfer.

    Anyway, good luck with the move and I'll keep an eye out for your posts - I'll probably have a lot of the same questions.


  6. #6

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gold Coast Marina
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    17,941

    For a lawyer (if that is what you are) then the compensation seems to be in line with market. Possibly on the low side for someone in charge of a team.

    You can find accommodation here within a wide range. If you are single then you have a an even wider number of options. For someone on your salary, the normal outcome is that they spend a fortune on accommodation and live somewhere like Mid-Levels; perhaps get a car they never drive and a maid to avoid ever lifting a duster (I know a few lawyers who the above apply to!). A few outliers (I put myself in this category!) refuse to waste their hard-earned cash on accommodation and find cheaper options - e.g. smaller flats or more travel. Public transport is fabulous here and a car is not necessary unless you really live in the sticks. The trade-offs are a hugely personal decision. We can help with options, but at the end of the day you can only do what feels right for you.


  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by MovingIn07:
    For a lawyer (if that is what you are) then the compensation seems to be in line with market. Possibly on the low side for someone in charge of a team.
    Do you know what market rates are for lawyers in HK? I'm at 11 years PQE just starting as a partner and the salary surveys I read said the going rate for international firms was anywhere from 120k to 180k, depending on size of firm and specialisation. Does this sound right to you? I'm told the US firms pay well above market but I've no desire to be on conference calls to New York in the middle of the night.

  8. #8

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    I just know a few of my friends - not a "general" view no.


  9. #9

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    21
    Quote Originally Posted by MovingIn07:
    For a lawyer (if that is what you are) then the compensation seems to be in line with market. Possibly on the low side for someone in charge of a team.

    You can find accommodation here within a wide range. If you are single then you have a an even wider number of options. For someone on your salary, the normal outcome is that they spend a fortune on accommodation and live somewhere like Mid-Levels; perhaps get a car they never drive and a maid to avoid ever lifting a duster (I know a few lawyers who the above apply to!). A few outliers (I put myself in this category!) refuse to waste their hard-earned cash on accommodation and find cheaper options - e.g. smaller flats or more travel. Public transport is fabulous here and a car is not necessary unless you really live in the sticks. The trade-offs are a hugely personal decision. We can help with options, but at the end of the day you can only do what feels right for you.
    I'm not a lawyer. I work for an international law firm on the management side of things. My new role will have Asia wide responsiblities, based in HK.

    I have absolutely no desire to be profligate and waste money on luxurious apartments. I am on a mission to retire in 3-4 years, and this role is the last piece in the puzzle. I aim to save at least 60% of my salary, and still have a good time in HK and beyond.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Gold Coast Marina
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    17,941
    Quote Originally Posted by scobienz:
    I'm not a lawyer. I work for an international law firm on the management side of things. My new role will have Asia wide responsiblities, based in HK.

    I have absolutely no desire to be profligate and waste money on luxurious apartments. I am on a mission to retire in 3-4 years, and this role is the last piece in the puzzle. I aim to save at least 60% of my salary, and still have a good time in HK and beyond.
    Makes sense to me! In that case, I'd say it's a good salary and when you are ready to look around for housing options, jump back online with some criteria and budgets and we'll see what we can do to help!

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