I'm a late 20s single bloke from the UK. Londoner by birth but I despise the place, so I've lived around the South West for the past several years. Currently in Bristol.
I've been in executive search for the past five years which fortunately makes expat jobs in most places relatively easy to come by. I have an interview lined up and a couple of others in the pipeline.
Why I want to move, and why Hong Kong:
- It's next to impossible to truly get ahead in the UK (especially outside of London, and I refuse to live there again) - no matter how much I earn, so much of it gets taken away in taxes and I'm fed up of my money being constantly devalued by quantitative easing. The only way to really get ahead here is through entrepreneurship, which is my ultimate plan anyway but I want to save up some serious cash first for a mini-retirement and then my business venture.
- Related to above - to save lots of money. Pay in Hong Kong looks far superior and especially with opportunity to earn, given the business opportunities within the region.
- The place has always fascinated me. And it's clear as day that Asia is ascendant while the West is declining, perhaps terminally. Best start internationalising now.
I have a couple of friends in Kowloon too (locals, but went to university in the UK).
Salary-wise, basic salary for what I'm looking at from what I can gather at this early stage will be between 420,000-600,000HKD...most likely in the 480-550 region. OTE another 600,000+ on top at the minimum. But as far as I'm concerned the commission is for saving, not for spending. I want to live a comfortable and pleasant lifestyle on the basic salary alone and save everything else. I've been reckless with my money and have nothing to show for all these years I've worked. That has to stop, right now. If I can leave HK in 3-4 years with £six figures in the bank to finance a mini-retirement somewhere peaceful and then my future business ventures, after having an amazing experience in HK, then I'll consider that a massive success.
So what kind of life will I be able to afford within that range? I value having a nice home in a place where I can generally walk everywhere I want to go (especially with convenience for gym and socialising), although I know that's extremely unlikely to happen in HK. One of the things I really hated about London life was how lonely and isolating it was because everyone is spread out all over the place and it takes forever to get anywhere. At the moment I rent an amazing 850sq.ft. apartment in central Bristol for £970/month including council tax. Midlevels places looked a third of the size at twice the price. What are the best compromises to look for in the general 15-25K HKD range, and would that leave enough for a good lifestyle afterwards?
Otherwise, I like to go out and have a good time but not to spend money for the sake of it. I rarely buy things that can't be eaten, drunk or read. I have niggling health issues on account of arthritis from an old motorbike accident which are much easier to keep at bay with regular personal training and physio, so if I can afford that in addition to general healthy living considerations it will improve my quality of life immensely.
I have a desktop PC (for gaming) with decent sized desk, if I ship that across will I find I have nowhere to put it? Do I need to get a laptop instead? Most of the newbuild apartments I looked at in Bristol were too small to house my computer. For that matter I have a lot of books and a fair few DVDs too, will I have to get rid?
I have a pre-existing condition requiring expensive medication...does employers' health insurance usually cover this or am I likely to be funding it out of my own pocket?
I also love motorcycling. I'm aware days out riding aren't exactly going to be the same in HK, being a small island, but if I did decide to buy a bike, is it prohibitively expensive and is it feasible to keep a bike living on Hong Kong Island or would I need to live further afield to do that? For that matter should I bring my leathers and riding gear over, or sell and buy new? Would it be difficult to get kit that fits properly in HK? I don't have much in the way of family or "home" beyond my own rented place so anything that doesn't come with me needs to be sold or put into storage. Incidentally is it possible to ride/drive into China for day trips/weekends on the road?
Am I insane? I've never lived overseas or spent any substantial time abroad, but I have moved more than once around the UK knowing nothing and noone because I felt like it and I've never regretted it. I've done a lot of business internationally and I like to keep well informed, so I like to think I'm pretty worldly for the average guy in my kind of situation. I really can't see my future being in the UK long term, I'm already mentally disconnected from the place.
I'm a little apprehensive about the work culture in Asia, with the added pressure of having to pay the company back for the huge expense of and faith in me for relocating me half way around the world. But nowhere near enough to outweigh the benefits. I have options in Houston and Singapore too, but Houston looks like a sprawled out, disconnected dive and Singapore sounds like my idea of hell (authoritarian nanny/police state). The heart is calling to HK.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.