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Advice to a couple potentially moving to Hong Kong in July...

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  1. #1

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    5

    Advice to a couple potentially moving to Hong Kong in July...

    Hi All,

    I havent ever posted on a forum before so apologies if this post goes on too long!

    My husband & I will potentially be moving to Hong Kong at the end of July, I say potentially as we are just waiting on contracts & to commit 100%. I had a few queries that I hoped someone may be able to help with. A bit of background:

    We are in our late 30s with no children and we currently live in Greater London. We like to go out to eat & drink probably 2 3 times a month. We both used to be chefs so the rest of the time we eat at home, cooking from fresh (I do understand Hong Kong kitchens will be VERY small!) We love fish and eat a lot of Asian food sushi, noodles, rice etc. We like to get out and spend an afternoon at Hyde Park or just wandering around the city I love photography so love to just soak up the atmosphere.

    My husband currently works as a General Manager for a restaurant & the company wants him to go over to Hong Kong to run one of their restaurants there. He currently works 12 hour shifts with 3 hours travel to & from work. I have an online business where I sell handmade items & tutorials I have made, but this obviously isnt a guaranteed income.

    He has been offered 45,000K p/m after tax (the company are going to pay his tax for him), with a potential annual bonus, medical & a return flight home for the both of us once a year. They are also going to put us up in accommodation for the first two months so that we can find somewhere to live. The job will be in Lan Kwai Fong.

    I would hope to work part time as an English teacher if possible I have a Bachelors degree in English and will have 150hrs TEFL + in school participation with young children. Ideally we would like a 2 bedroom apartment so that I can continue with my craft business. Im not 100% sure what my salary would be but do you think we could get a reasonably nice apartment near his work with our combined salaries? I say near his work simply because he will finish quite late and it would be good for him be as close to home as possible. What areas do you think we should potentially look at? We would also have to allocate 8000K p/m to send back home as we are paying back parents for helping us set up our own business years ago. That will impact things quite a bit, it may be better to say his salary would be 37K p/m and that would then take that into account

    Also, I read that internal noise in apartments is quite bad Im fine with noise on the street but not sure how I would feel about noise from neighbours, it might stress me out a bit!

    I also have quite bad asthma and obviously the air isnt great over there (but then its not brilliant here either!), will it be best to build a backup of inhalers before I get over there or can you access them quite easily there? Currently I pay approx. 14.00 for 4 inhalers. I wanted to go a few months without having to find a doctor.

    And a really stupid question I HATE spiders, more like real arachnophobia, Ive read that if you want to hike then you will probably meet (run screaming from) some pretty large beasts, do you get them in apartments, or if we live higher up will there be less chance of them? Coincidentally I dont mind lizards or snakes so I guess that makes it a bit easier!

    Are there any items I should stock up on and have shipped over (that might not be available over there?), we will be shipping some furniture and other stuff anyway.

    Im so sorry for the length of this, Im really excited about starting a new life somewhere else & my husband cant wait (he lived in Japan for 4 years and although not the same place has always dreamed of going back to Asia). I just want to have an idea if our salaries will be okay for an equivalent lifestyle to here in London

    Any advice would be great


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
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    Hong Kong
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    Hi, welcome to Hong Kong

    On top of the 37k, there is 1.5k MPF so you're looking at 35.5k. For a single guy, that's semi-reasonable, for a couple, you need to budget.

    Flats for the most part may have cockroaches (typically lower floors and walk-up buildings), but rarely have I seen spiders. Mosquitos can get bad if they come in at night while you are sleeping.

    Teaching is a easy job to get. Part-time about 250-300 per hour, possibly more, you can mix it up with learning centers, schools and private lessons. Working full-time pays between 18k-30k (for a white female blond hair, I'd aim closer to 30k) at a center and international schools with proper qualifications (degree, teaching cert) are even more.

    The air quality is very bad and there is dust everywhere and lots of new construction constantly, and if there isn't, there will be soon if you are on HK side. Don't ever think you found the perfect flat because the next week there could be a 2 year project started with Monday thru Saturday 9am-6pm noise. Blasting (explosions) are nice to hear throughout your day at home.

    Your biggest expense is going to be the apartment. If you're in central or Soho, you're looking at close to 20k a month for a studio. 2 bedrooms 25-30k. The rental market is fast and you must be ready to jump when you find a fit. Have your 3.5 months rent cash ready for first payment. (2 months deposit, 1 month rent, half month to the agent). Look outside of the prime districts to save money and get better value! But for a 2 bedroom, budget at least 15-20k a month.

    Good luck and welcome to HK!

    Japsara likes this.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    1,366

    That is a fairly crappy package because rent is a killer - as a ballpark for other posters to comment and improve on, you are looking at upwards of at least $20k if you want to live close to LKF and not in a shoebox.

    The tax by employer is not much of a benefit especially with a well structured housing benefit scheme. For a single person on $45k/m, with $15k/m in housing, the ballpark tax off the top of my head is around $35k per year (tax on tax paid by employer ignored). If you earn nothing and elect for joint assessment, then will be a lot less, in the region of $18k/year.

    Last edited by ray98; 29-04-2015 at 12:22 AM.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Spiders - never saw one in HK thank God. I hate them.

    Noise - seems to be a constant, somebody always seems to be renovating a flat somewhere in the building and the noise just travels. A colleague reckoned it was just a tape recording that they put on when they saw a gweilo coming in.

    Air quality is much worse in HK than London (you can look up the figures). However it depends what triggers your asthma.

    On that salary you will survive fine but I am not sure whether it would compare to your lifestyle back home. On the other hand I would think you should pick up English teaching quite easily given your qualifications and that will make a lot of difference to your combined income.

    Give it a go, with your and your husband's attitudes I am sure you will love it.

    Japsara likes this.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    5

    Hi,

    Thank you so much for your comments - I wasn't expecting anything so quick!

    My husband has actually just spoken with his Director at this end and he suggested that there may be some more wiggle room with regards to money as they really want him over there (it is actually a different company that will employ him as they run the brand over there) to represent them. He suggested maybe an accommodation allowance. I'm actually really looking forward to getting into teaching so it's great to hear that it might be fairly easy - & I do actually have very long blonde hair, so hey, maybe it will be an advantage as you say

    So glad about the spiders, was panicking a bit over that one! Perhaps one day I might even be able to force myself to go on a hike - armed with a very large brimmed hat!

    I think we could potentially live a little father out, he will probably finish work around 11.00 - 11.30 pm so I guess if we were near the MTR that wouldn't be so bad. We're used to travelling the tube late here.

    I am nervous about air quality, noise and cost of living, but I look at the beaches, skyline, great transport, places to visit like Disneyland (I LOVE Disney so being so close will be fun), Ocean Park, temples, botanical gardens and just think - if we don't do it we could be missing out on so much... If we have to budget more, so be it I guess, at least we will be able to say we saw a bit of the world and experienced a different way of life.

    Thanks again for your advice it is really appreciated!

    Dankleness likes this.

  6. #6

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    May 2006
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    Anywhere on the MTR will be fine especially as he won't be travelling at rush hour. The MTR is a thousand times better than the London underground. Hong Kong is VERY safe so don't worry about travelling at night.

    Given the high cost of accommodation in HK an accommodation allowance would be great.

    I spent 6 or 7 years in HK and while I never fully settled there I am so glad I did it. Yes there are disadvantages and plenty of things that may annoy you but it also has so much to offer.

    Don't raise your expectations regarding Disneyland. It is smaller than the others I am told and very crowded with mainlanders.

    I am so glad I will be leaving UK before September arrives and the spiders start coming indoors!

    Last edited by hullexile; 29-04-2015 at 01:59 AM.
    Cho-man likes this.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    19,127

    If you have bad asthma I would seriously reconsider moving to HK. Your health is important and HK is very polluted. Try a trip over for couple of weeks to see how you cope.


  8. #8
    Mat
    Mat is offline

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    Re money if u have room for negotiation i would ask for 60k/m minimum. Flat eill be between 15 and 20k (depending on location) then 10k on ur payback to parents and mpf. Leaves u with 30k/m. That s fine.

    But yes. Ask for a trip of a week to hk before committing so that u get to see what to expect

    Last edited by Mat; 29-04-2015 at 07:39 AM.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Oct 2012
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    Glad you mentioned you're looking forward to the beaches... nice day out on Cheung Sha beach on Lantau.

    There are some big spiders in the fall time on some hiking trails (snakes in spring), but nothing to be worried at all about. I've never seen cockroaches or spiders in my flat (high floor though). The noise has been an improvement for me in HK over London. Our flats in London had thin floors -- could always hear what the neighbors were doing or saying. In Hong Kong, you get modern, concrete flats, so I've not had an issue with neighbor noise (yes, there are sometimes renovations, and noise from outside is another issue).

    I second that you'll do well finding teaching jobs with your qualifications. Even tutoring you should be able to take up off the bat until you get settled. Maybe ask your parents if you can put off paying back that loan until 6 or so months here?

    Good luck!

    Cho-man and Japsara like this.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jul 2009
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    If you don't mind an incy wincy commute on a ferry, then Discovery Bay is a good option - relatively reasonable rental, expat environment, good greenery.

    Look it up on Centaline website.


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