moving to HK - family of 4

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    2

    moving to HK - family of 4

    Hi

    I am a newbie here as I have just joined the forum to find out more of moving [back] to HK.

    I said moving back because I moved to HK with my parents when I was a wee boy but returned to UK for university and settled in Glasgow for the last 20 years. However, during a chance visit to HK last month I was offered a job (I work as an architect) with an HKD 80k/month salary plus 2k travelling expenses per month and also 1-month-salary-bonus per year. No housing allowance nor any moving allowance, though, as it was considered a local hire.

    The offered gross annual income is already 20% more than what I get in Glasgow, but with HK low tax system I guess it is much more than that. However, I am married with 2 kids - and that is the snag. With my kids unable to assimilate in local school (they speak practically no Chinese, although we are all ethnically Chinese) they must go to Internationals schools. ESF school fees are not cheap. Having no property in HK also means we need to rent a 3-bed flat, ideally in Shatin area (near our friends) or Kowloon west (for convenience??), although the office is in Quarry bay.

    I have read some posts re rental, living and travelling cost but still cannot get my head around the main question whether we are able to make ends meet on my salary alone?

    Any comments welcomed from those who can share their experience.

    Cheers


  2. #2

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    And all those ESF/International school fees are headed up. But I think the ESF fee is still cheaper than any of the international schools.
    You should be able to make ends meet on your salary, though. Won't have the biggest apartment, nor the international school, but it won't be bad.
    Here's a way of approaching it--does the 20% increase cover the school fee and an apartment?

    Last edited by Sleuth; 21-06-2008 at 02:42 PM. Reason: added the other approach

  3. #3

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    compared to the quality of life you would have in UK now, would it improve or would it deteriorate ?! are the schools there cheaper ? better ? or your apartment there can you rent out and cover your rental here ? etc.


  4. #4

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    May 2008
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    FYI - I have a friend who's born in Aus speaks cantonese quite fluently, has 6 years as Architect with certifications, married + newly born. Living in "Hung Hum" - he's not struggling and hes on less than $40K ONLY!!! no housing, no bonus as yet - review in a years time as he only took up the offer back in Feb for some strange reason......
    Although he whines about - Golf, Beachs, Scuba Diving, etc and the fact hes living in an apartment the size of his old kitchen
    At the end of the day, I guess it all comes down to Kid's needs, offshore exposure and career path but from what I've heard 80K mth in HK dependant on your industry and your personal standards of living is above decent - surely not poor, unless you have been an earlier expat with huge packages and benefits - cos these days more and more locals are well trained and educated as it is and have local knowledge and work experience (some with overseas as part of their graduate programs) + speak both canto and mand. We speak / write better english in most cases, thats about it.....
    That's my perception anyways - hope this wasn't too negative as I totally understand what you're going through. HK80K mth is around $140K pa in Aus and that's still well above the average, some less experienced C-level guys I deal with in the SME space are on that.
    you'll be right mate


  5. #5

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    I would probably look at it in terms of how much you save now and how much you would save here. It also depends whether you see this move as permanent or as an experience.

    For the kids, it's likely they'll get a better education at ESF than in a regular public school back home, they'll also have the opportunity to connect with their heritage and learn more chinese which is an advantage. The downside will be the pollution and the lack of space compared to back home although it's better in the NT.

    School costs will probably run you close 15-20K/month and you can get a nice flat/village house for 20K/month in NT, let's put 10K for regular living expenses and 10K for taxes. Let's put another 5-10K for a car. You are easily left with 20K/month in savings...


  6. #6

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    There is also the school of though that your expenses grow or shrink to match your income.
    So, as you see from the emerging consensus, you can make it here on that amount but you might have to trim some spending habits (depending on your current lifestyle).


  7. #7

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    There's no doubt that there are plenty of ways to spend your money


  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    2

    Thanks

    Thanks for all the invaluable replies. I understand that the offer I am getting is above the average HK salary, but this is offset by the need for ESF schools fees for 2 kids (education in Glasgow is free), plus the rental costs in HK.

    We have done some basic calculations including taxes, and concluded that we can almost maintain the same saving level as we have in here. We are never any heavy drinkers nor pub goers, and eating out in Glasgow is only limited to special occasions. Hence if we apply the same life style in HK it seems to work out.

    Anyway, it seems more positive than what we thought and it is the way forward. Again thanks for all your help. No doubt I will have more practical questions later.