Package

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Forteach
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:43 pm

Package

Post by Forteach »

Hi lovely international teachers,

As a first-time international teaching job seeker, I am extremely grateful to receive an offer from a school in Tokyo Japan, I have some questions about the package, and I would like some suggestions especially from teachers who taught/are currently teaching in the greater Tokyo area.

I am a non-native English speaker with have 11 years of teaching experience, a US professional teacher license, and a master's degree. We are a family of 4, we cook at home a lot, and we don't spend money on fancy items.

Here is the basic information,

1. 570,000 monthly for me, my wife will get 100,000 monthly as a support teacher. So it is 670,000 in total monthly
2. 300,000 relocation
3. Monthly transportation 15,000
4. No housing allowance
5. PD allowance
6. Free tuition for my children
7. 2 years contract

I was wondering if,
1. We can make a living with the salary, again, we are not looking for living comfortably, teacher salary in the US isn't good anyway, so we always have simple living style.
2. Although the school doesn't provide a housing allowance, can I still try to ask for some housing support?

I know that this might be a very rare chance for me as a non-native English speaker, and this is a great opportunity for our kids to explore and learn to adapt to a new culture and environment, expanding their comfort zones, and a perfect chance for me as a teacher to teaching in a different country, but as much as we want this opportunity we also want to make sure this is a sustainable package/situation.

Honest feedback is much appreciated. Hope everyone is safe and sound.

Rhysboy
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:43 am

Re: Package

Post by Rhysboy »

I would try and negotiate some form of housing allowance as housing in Tokyo, especially near your school is likely to be very expensive. Of course this varies greatly on the size of the house/apartment but I would expect to pay between 150,000 to 200,000 yen a month on rent.
Secondly, although the school offer free tuition for your two children, it is classed as income in Japan and is therefore taxable. This can have quite a considerable impact on your tax bill. Although I understand that as a US citizen you get two years tax free in Japan so it may not affect you.
Thirdly, your wife’s pay seems quite low, if she supplement this with some extra teaching it might be a help financially.
Overall you will be able to live fairly comfortably on that package just don’t expect to be able to save that much unless your wife can earn more.

Forteach
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:43 pm

Re: Package

Post by Forteach »

Hi Rhysboy,

Thank you for the inputs. I think I should clarify more about the situation. The school originally didn't have a position for my wife, they are very kind to want to support us to make a living in Tokyo, so they are willing to offer my wife a part-time position with limited hours. That's why her salary is low because technically there was not a job for her. Although our children are US citizens, We are only green card holders so I am not sure if the free tax policy applies to us, but it's good to know.

There are many moving pieces in this situation, so we are really careful about making a decision, but thank you for the insights.

Rhysboy wrote:
> I would try and negotiate some form of housing allowance as housing in
> Tokyo, especially near your school is likely to be very expensive. Of
> course this varies greatly on the size of the house/apartment but I would
> expect to pay between 150,000 to 200,000 yen a month on rent.
> Secondly, although the school offer free tuition for your two children, it
> is classed as income in Japan and is therefore taxable. This can have quite
> a considerable impact on your tax bill. Although I understand that as a US
> citizen you get two years tax free in Japan so it may not affect you.
> Thirdly, your wife’s pay seems quite low, if she supplement this with some
> extra teaching it might be a help financially.
> Overall you will be able to live fairly comfortably on that package just
> don’t expect to be able to save that much unless your wife can earn more.

Rhysboy
Posts: 55
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 2:43 am

Re: Package

Post by Rhysboy »

No problem - just one more thing - if anyone from your school was to view this post they could easily figure out who you are. It might not be a problem but you never know. Just something to think about.

Forteach
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Dec 20, 2020 8:43 pm

Re: Package

Post by Forteach »

@Rhysoy

Thank you for the reminder. I am aware of that. I am not here to complain about the package. I have nothing but gratitude toward the school. As a father of 2, I am responsible for taking care of my kids and family. I need to make sure I can do so with this offer. I believe they will understand even they see this post, but thanks again.

Rhysboy wrote:
> No problem - just one more thing - if anyone from your school was to view
> this post they could easily figure out who you are. It might not be a
> problem but you never know. Just something to think about.

offwego
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 08, 2021 10:45 pm

Re: Package

Post by offwego »

I agree that you probably won't save much but can live comfortably enough with that package. And I myself would certainly jump at the chance to live in Tokyo!

teacher920183
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Jan 26, 2014 3:11 am

Re: Package

Post by teacher920183 »

I currently live in Tokyo with a wife and one year old. My salary is almost the same, maybe just a touch less, and my wife is getting a small benefit from her work because of maternity leave. The point is our salaries are probably similar.

You may also want to ask about health insurance and pension. In Japan everyone has to join the health insurance system and the pension system. These can be pretty big expenses, so you may want to find out how much that will cost each month for you and your wife (although if you wife is not working full time maybe her payment will be less. I am not sure, so maybe ask). Maybe ask what the take-home amount after taxes, insurance, and pension will be. I think my take home is about 450,000 after all of that. Again, maybe yours is less if your wife has to have some deductions too.

So, if you are taking home 450,000, I think you can definitely make do on this salary. As others said, you may not be able to save a ton, but I think you can be fine (although I only have a baby, so I don't know how expensive two kids are! Maybe a lot more??). We pay about 170,000 in rent, but we chose to live in a brand new apartment building in a fairly expensive neighborhood. I don't know for sure, but I bet you could pay 130,000 or so if you chose just slightly further away and an older building (although you need more space than me. Check this site to search for apartments to see the cost - this link goes to the page where you can search along a train line. Use Google Chrome and it will translate automatically - https://suumo.jp/chintai/tokyo/ensen/). You have a transportation allowance, so if you have to take a train a little bit, it's no problem. Also, depending on where you are you might just be able to bike.

That would still leave you 300,000 or so. The next biggest expense is food. I think shopping at the grocery store is much more expensive in Japan than the US (every thing is in tiny packages!). But again, looks like you still have enough money to play with.

Also, just imagine, maybe you can tutor one day a week, or your wife can do the same if she is working part-time. That would add a little cushion.

Point is, not the highest salary in the world, and housing allowance would be nice, but actually, there are only a few high-paying schools in Tokyo. Mostly the salaries are around where you are. If you like the school and are able to live a normal/slightly frugal lifestyle you will probably be ok.

Oh, last thing, when you move into an apartment in Japan, there are a LOT of expenses, so be prepared for that. You have to pay first month's rent, security deposit, and often you have to pay "key money" and/or an agent's fee. While you can get the security deposit back, you can't get the other's back. You may end up paying 500,000 just to move in, so have a plan for how you will get that money, or speak to the school if they offer interest-free loans.

ommatea
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 26, 2021 9:16 pm

Re: Package

Post by ommatea »

I don't know all the details of your situation, so I don't know if my perspective will apply.

While the chance to live in Tokyo is a difficult one to pass up, I do know that most schools in Japan listed on SEARCH do not advise a family of four to expect to be able to live on one income--which is essentially what you are being offered considering that there is no housing allowance and housing will cost around 200,000 yen or more per month.

I also do not think that US citizens have two years in which they are not required to pay taxes.

The teachers that I work with who do not have a housing allowance and whose spouses only work part-time offset the expense of living in Tokyo with the following:

--additional income streams (i.e. summer school, tutoring, coaching, wedding officiating, online businesses)
--sending their children to Japanese schools so that they can avoid the taxes on the "free tuition". These taxes are a significant expense even for one child. Japanese schools are high quality and work well for children who have a long-term relationship with Japan and the need to acquire Japanese fluency. I would not romanticize the experience for children who do not fit this category. It is not an easy adjustment, and I have only seen it work well for highly gifted non-Japanese children (the younger, the better).

You do have some potential workarounds if you have enough of your own resources to give you the time you need to set them up:
--If your workload at the school is manageable, you can find additional employment fairly easily if you are resourceful.
--If your spouse is a qualified teacher, there are many, many international schools in Tokyo. Some families arrive for one job and the spouse is able to find a full-time job within a year or two. You may have to be careful about visa sponsorship. If the school is offering her a visa based on your visa, she may only be legally allowed to work 20 hours/week. Thus, if she finds a position in a different school, she will need to ask them to sponsor her visa. Some schools (the top tiers) are quite generous about this; others are not.

My other question would be: What's your exit strategy? If you just want two years of an unforgettable adventure in an amazing city, how and where will you transition next and will you have the resources you need at that time to make that transition? Also, will this move build your credentials and career?

I wish you and your family all the best as you make this decision. I have been in a similar situation, and I know these kinds of decisions are really difficult to make. How do you turn down an amazing opportunity that you are not sure you can afford?

Verano
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue May 05, 2020 3:11 pm

Re: Package

Post by Verano »

I used to like in Tokyo and in the Yokohama area over a decade ago, and your rent will depend a lot on where you want to live. For example, Tokyo is always going to be the most expensive, but if you are going to be in the greater Tokyo area, it should be cheaper. Apartments that are a few train stations away from a major transfer station are usually cheaper than the apartments near the major transfer station. Apartments that are 15 minute walk away from train stations are also cheaper than the ones closer to the stations.

There are plenty of language schools that would probably hire your wife, especially if you are in the country. Check out Gaijinpot.com
https://jobs.gaijinpot.com/job/index/la ... mit=Search]

A lot of my friends with families go to Costco to shop in bulk, which will also help you save money.

Like the other comments, I think you will be fine if you are not looking to save tons of money.

PsyGuy
Posts: 9978
Joined: Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:51 am
Location: Northern Europe

Response

Post by PsyGuy »

In direct reply to your inquiries:

1) You can live decently on that, though I tend to agree with prior contributors that you wont save much.

2) You can ask for housing support but at most they are likely to do is maybe guarantee for you.

Your tuition waivers will be taxed as income. You need to find out how much thats going to be.
I would estimate youll spend closer to ¥350K-¥400K/mth on housing, utilities, health insurance and metro for a family of four (youre IS is paying your transportation but not the rest of your families I imagine).

If youre on NHI health youre first year cost is really low because its based on your last years income which will be zero, your second is going to see a major jump, make sure you know what tats going to be or your going to be in for a big surprise youre second year.

You tend to pay more coin the closer you are to a metro station with main transfer points costing even more. I disagree with @teacher920183, apartments that dont require key money or agents fees are growing and becoming more common, and if your IS guarantees for you you will save the security deposit. Even if they dont you can pay a guarantee company. You will also require fire insurance but thats a minor cost.

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