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Moving to HK- Cost of living ...

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  1. #41

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    Here is my two pennies worth:

    If you want to come just for the experience then the amount of money you’ve been offered is plenty to live a comfortable life – many expats do on less. If your wife works too you should have plenty for savings too. It may or may not be comparable to what you have back home but if it’s something you both want to do for the adventure of it I don’t think you’ll lose out overall.

    I’d echo the suggestions from others to come and try before you buy, Hong Kong is a wonderful place but it can be an assault on the senses and isn’t for everybody.

    There are also a few universal truths that a few other people have already mentioned –where you live will be much smaller than you’re probably used to and the quality will most likely be shoddy in comparison.

    Food costs are much higher than the UK and the quality is often poor – though with a bit of digging you can source good quality stuff for more reasonable prices, just keep in mind it’s not as simple as popping to Sainsburys. Tung Chung is actually a good place in this regard, there is a good butcher there, a great frozen meat store which delivers from nearby Mui Wo twice a week and well stocked Indian provisions store for some herbs and spices you may miss for example. I’d budget at least $2k+ per week if you are doing all your shopping at Jason’s or Taste (the two bigger expat supermarkets in Tung Chung.)

    Tung Chung is a love/hate kind of place in my experience. Some people swear by the place and wouldn’t live anywhere else, others find it dull and isolated. The rents are very reasonable and many of the complexes have great facilities. You mentioned Caribbean Coast which is one of the larger developments, just keep in mind that it is situated with the airport on one side and a motorway on the other. Not trying to put you off but definitely go and have a look before you set your heart on it as it may not be everybody’s cup of tea. What it does have in its favour is the ease of access to both Central and greenery and beaches of Lantau, which are some of Hong Kong’s best spots to spend outdoors in my opinion. There are plenty of expats around so meeting people shouldn’t be an issue.

    While you can feed a family of four in a restaurant for $400 you’ll find that figure is usually way higher, especially once you factor in booze. A beer here is usually between $60-$80 in a Western style restaurant (cheaper in Chinese places) plus you have to factor in a mandatory 10% service charge on everything. I usually find if I go out for a meal with my wife and kids it’s usually in the $800-$1000 range unless we are going something like dim sum, where we can all eat for under $150 sometimes depending on where we go. I know some others will say that my figures are off (another universal HK truth is that somebody will disagree with almost everything you say on Geoexpat!) but these are my experiences. What you’ll find is people you meet will suggest meeting in certain common places so even if you make an effort not to spend too much on eating out you’ll probably find your social life will force you to!

    Schooling will be a priority to arrange for you as getting places is tricky and you may end up shelling out large sums of money and still not getting a place. There is a tonne of information that has been written on HK schools and how much of a pain in the arse getting a spot is so I won’t duplicate it here, but you should focus on getting that arranged before you decide where to live in my opinion. The local system is very much an option if you want to go down that route – my eldest has been attending a local kindergarten in Tung Chung for the past few years and will go to a local primary school next year. Me and my wife are Brits who speak zero Chinese at home so it is do-able. If you want to know more drop me a PM, I’d be happy to share my experiences on the process – both good and bad.

    Hope this mini essay is helpful and I wish you guys all the best with the move if you decide to take the plunge!


  2. #42
    Original Post Deleted
    Yes, I have 2 children and understand how much it costs. I rent a 3 bedroom place, drive a new car, work part-time from home, take 3 vacations per year, about 2 months off in total, have one kid in an ESF school without subsidy and another one in a private Kindergarten, private full-cover health plan, life insurance, accident insurance, eat out 2 times per week, enjoy doing groceries at Great food hall. My wife makes a tad less than the OP, and I can supplement 15K with my part-time work. Life is good for us and while working here for the past ten years we were able to save up for a luxurious retirement home in Italy, which is ~80% paid off and I'm only in my late 30s. At the end of the year we still realize 150K in savings after paying for our mortgage.

  3. #43

    Join Date
    May 2015
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    civil_servant, mind sharing how much rent you pay? Because that usually takes the biggest bite out of a family's budget.


  4. #44
    Original Post Deleted
    School all day - $10000/month
    School bus - $1400/month
    Kindy - $3000/month with bus, half day

    Afternoon classes - For the older one it's not really needed as he gets that in school and is usually very tired after.
    For the younger one - $1000/month
    Weekend activities - hiking ($0), BMX track ($100), swimming ($20), language ($0) - I am the coach
    Shuttling them around - not much shuttling needed as most of their activities are with us, we can go hiking in our backyard and swimming in our pool

    Family trips out, parties, new clothes/toys - my kids get that too.

    Yes, all our savings are derived from my income (15K * 10 months, 2 months are holidays) plus the additional savings of MPF () and the principal on the mortgage and other investments. As the kids go off to school, I will transition to longer hours, accept higher commitments (raising my hourly price) to outpace the increases in school fees/activities, so I'm expecting increases in savings soon.

    Hence my suggestion to the OP that he can live perfectly well on his income (assuming no mortgage for him, additional rental income on his property, no car, initially no school for the kids, wife at home having time for cooking food, shopping at market is perfectly doable). Once kids are in school, his wife can get supplementary income and then they can also afford many vacations, car, additional activities, etc.) They want the experience, so why not? It's perfectly safe for them taking the plunge on his income.
    chuckster007 likes this.

  5. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by monomono:
    civil_servant, mind sharing how much rent you pay? Because that usually takes the biggest bite out of a family's budget.
    15K + parking, so about $18.5K for 900'. Building is 5 years old, SHKP. Lots of facilities.

  6. #46

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    May 2015
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    Where's SHKP? That's cheap!


  7. #47

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    OP has additional income from renting out his house in the UK

    We will also be renting our house in uk to supplement our income c600£ per month net.
    civil_servant likes this.

  8. #48
    Original Post Deleted
    That's the OP's intent and, generally speaking, back in our home countries it also takes two incomes to live comfortably and generate sufficient savings.
    Last edited by civil_servant; 12-12-2016 at 02:43 PM.

  9. #49

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    Quote Originally Posted by Islmvp25:
    18-30k seems too much for rent looking at square foot and go home.com you can find a 3 bed flat in Carribean coast for about 20k per month for 800- 1000sq foot. Is this wrong??? Are there hidden costs I need to be aware??

    Thanks
    Yes, agents fees, and also what is advertised is not always what the actual offer is. One thing I found is that the agents here in HK will ask for your budget then push it up higher in the hope that you will fork out more for rent. This was my biggest frustration and I actually told one agent off, that I would go elsewhere. I did eventually. So stand your ground, come over and visit HK first, stay in a serviced apartment and look thoroughly at accomodation. Make a solid list of what you and your family need and want. Stick to it, especially budget. Tung Chung is becoming more crowded and expensive - sorry to say, but I live on South Lantau and commute to TC often, shop there. There is a reputable agency in Tung Chung - Home Solutions which was started by and expat for expats. Yes, HK property is ridiculously expensive per sq ft. You may even find another area to live that is just as convenient and also has good schools within easy commutable distance. If you prefer the British system, then there are ESF schools all across HK. Other than that, your salary is pretty good, but it is the school fees and rent that will take a chunk out of your standard of living. If your wife can find work, that is also a bonus salary to add to your savings pot. The one good thing here is that crime is low and so is tax.

  10. #50

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    Quote Originally Posted by chuckster007:
    OP has additional income from renting out his house in the UK
    Best for the OP to keep it as rainy day savings for the future, in case he may need a buffer or something goes wrong.

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