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How much does life in Singapore cost? Continued.

Tatiana Sheremetieva, Director and Founder of RSBU:

Here is, perhaps, the article on which you can save a decent amount of money. First, at an average annual temperature of +28+30, the need for a significant amount of clothing - boots, fall and winter boots, fur coats, hats, etc. just disappears. It is quite enough to have a set of summer clothes and shoes. And what a savings if you have small children who are growing by leaps and bounds!

It is not customary in Singapore to dress fancy in everyday life, so in shorts and flip-flops you can easily pass for one of your own. Secondly, the cost of ordinary clothes and shoes (don't take into account brands like Versace, Gucci, Canali, Brioni and others) is several orders of magnitude cheaper than in Moscow. So if you do not suffer from a brandomania and shopaholism the clothing budget for a year can be stacked in 500 SGD (400 USD), and even less.

Singapore has a wide variety of local and international kindergartens and schools. Public schools and kindergartens are called local, while private ones are called international.

Education standards in Singapore are high and you can choose any of these two options without sacrificing your child's education level. The main difference is local schools follow a schedule approved by the Ministry of Education in Singapore, while international schools follow the most common international standards.

In an international school, children will be surrounded by expat children from high-income families, while in the local school will be predominantly the children of locals - Chinese, Indians, and Malays. However, they are also significantly more expensive than public schools - international school tuition ranges from 1,000 to 3,000 SGD (780 to 2,400 USD) per month.

Singapore has a number of kindergartens offering childcare from almost birth to seven years of age. Prices vary from center to center depending on location and programs offered. Also, the price depends on the number of hours you give your child - half-day (7am to 1pm) or full-day (7am to 7pm). Typically, half-day childcare costs between SGD 400-1,200 (USD 320-960), while a full day will cost you between SGD 500 and 1,500 (USD 400-1,200).

Local Schools.
Elementary school starts at age 6. Children of foreigners residing in Singapore may be admitted to local schools. It should be noted, however, that local schools primarily admit children of Singaporeans and permanent residents. (PR). The monthly cost for a child to attend a local school is SGD 250 - 400 for primary education, SGD 350 - 510 for secondary education, and SGD 570 - 800 for tertiary education.

International Schools
International schools can be found in Singapore. Estimated annual fees range from 12,000 to 50,000 SGD (9,500 - 36,500 USD) per year. You must also budget for school bus fees, which will amount to another SGD 1,500 - 2,000 (1,200 - 1,600 USD) per year.

In Singapore, higher education is not free.
The cost of tuition depends on the university and the program you choose, as well as your nationality. There are four different prices in Singapore depending on your status:

  • Annual subsidized fees paid by Singapore citizens
  • Annual subsidized fees paid by permanent residents
  • Annual subsidized fees for international students
  • Annual unsubsidized fees

On average, it costs about SGD 8,000-9,000 (USD 5,800-6,600) per year to attend a public university. This is the cost including subsidies. For non-subsidized international students, tuition will cost about SGD 10,000 or more (7,350 USD +) per year.

In Singapore, it is very popular to have au pairs (maid). The most popular countries for au pairs are the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, and India. The most common option is a live-in maid, who lives with the family all the time and has one day off a week (Sunday).

The list of duties of maids is very wide - from keeping order in the house, cooking, grocery shopping, ironing, laundry to watching and walking with children and supervising children's homework. There are a huge number of agencies that are engaged in the recruitment of maids. The average monthly salary for a live-in maid is now between 700 and 1,000 SGD (480-800 USD), including wages and government fees for foreign labor. The term "live-in" implies that you must also provide room and board for the maid. If you are not prepared to have a live-in maid in your home all the time, you can hire a part-time maid for 10-20 SGD (8-16 USD) per hour.
Singapore boasts one of the lowest income tax rates in the world, ranging from 0% to a maximum of 22%.

Singapore's taxation offers significant tax savings and is one of the often cited benefits of moving to Singapore. In Singapore, only income earned in Singapore is taxed. Income earned abroad is not taxed, with few exceptions.

The Singapore PIT rates for residents (citizens, permanent residents and foreigners who have been or worked in Singapore for 183 days or more) start from 0% to a maximum of 22%, while non-residents (foreigners or those who have worked in Singapore for less than 183 days in one tax year) are taxed at a flat rate of 15%. In addition, there is no tax on capital gains, estate, inheritance and dividends.

Singapore has also signed 69 complex tax treaties with other countries to avoid double taxation.

Key facts on taxation of individuals in Singapore:

  • Progressive tax rate of 0 to 22%
  • A maximum tax of 22% applies to those whose annual income exceeds S$320,000 (~224,000 USD)
  • No capital gains tax
  • No inheritance tax
  • Individuals are taxed only on income derived in Singapore
  • Income accrued by individuals while working abroad is not taxable (exceptions apply)
  • The tax rates for Singapore residents and non-residents are different
  • Income tax is calculated based on the previous year.

To summarize the above, let's say the following: life in Singapore certainly can not be called cheap. However, if you have a steady source of income and know how to manage your finances, you have nothing to worry about.

If you are single/unmarried, you can live in Singapore on 2500-3000 SGD per month (1 830 - 2 200 USD). By living you mean a modest room, public transportation and frugal meals.

If you are a couple without children, in Singapore it is possible to live on 6 000 - 7 000 SGD (4 400 - 5 150 USD) per month.

To live with school-aged children in Singapore you need at least SGD 8,000 - 10,000 per month (USD 5,880 - 7,350), you can send your child to an international school and also use cabs as your main mode of transportation.

With an income of SGD 15,000 or more, you can afford an apartment in a central location, send your child to an international school, and use a cab as your main mode of transportation. Well, if your budget is not limited, you can afford any standard of living in Singapore!