Benefits Package for Singapore

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Joined: Sun Jan 02, 2022 10:38 pm

Benefits Package for Singapore

Post by NeonMango »

Hi, I am an art teacher with 5 years of teaching experience in the US but have no international experience and no experience teaching IB, MYP, DP, etc. I am hoping to begin my international teaching career next year and have been in the process of applying and interviewing with different schools. I am in the final steps towards receiving a formal offer from a brand new school opening up next year in Singapore. I am very interested in the country. The superintendent, who I interviewed with, seems like a great person to work under. The only thing that is keeping me from accepting right away (I was given until Jan 10 to decide) is the benefits package which I'm not sure how good or bad it is. I know that a new school will have a smaller benefits package than a more established school but I'm curious to read any feedback from people that have worked/lived there.

The package includes:
* 60k USD salary
* 1,800 USD monthly housing stipend
* Worldwide health insurance - except for in the US, no dental/no vision
* Flight to home country at the start/end of employment - does not mention yearly flights
* Up to 1,800 USD shipping reimbursement
* No retirement contribution

I know Singapore can be expensive but I have no personal knowledge about the country since I've never been. I've tried to do as much research as possible but any information would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance for your insight and for taking the time to share your knowledge!
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Re: Benefits Package for Singapore

Post by Rob »

I lived there for 25 years but left a few years ago. I still contribute to a Singapore forum that has a lot of expats with real knowledge of Singapore. If you were to pose that same question there, particularly about the salary and housing allowance, you will get candid but kind answers.

Here is the forum:
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Re: Benefits Package for Singapore

Post by NeonMango »

Hi Rob, thanks for making me aware of this forum! This will also be very beneficial if I do end up moving there. I went ahead and posted my question there.
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Post by PsyGuy »

Are you sure those amounts are in USD (US Dollars) and not SGD (Singapore Dollars)? I feel they are correct as provided but just want to make sure. I ask because those figures would only put a handful of ISS above it. Thats fortunate for an IT with only 5 years experience and do IE or IB experience.

Are you single, is it just you?

Any financial obligations in the US youre going to maintain?

What type of lifestyle will you maintain?

First, the housing allowance is lite. It will be just enough for you to get a 1K. Its fine if youre willing to do a house share (a 1R+). If you want anything bigger youre going to have to go into your salary. You might also want to ask what assistance your IS is willing to provide as far as deposits, etc. If not, you need to come prepared with a sizable amount of funds to begin with. If your IS advances you funds against salary, youre going to be living really lite for the first couple months, which may well sour your experience.

Second, the salary. Its not very strong, and your likely going to have to make compromises or subsidize (such as an art gig side hustle). If you dont have any other financial obligations, dont really need to save and dont plan to travel back home to the US. You can probably maintain a reasonably entertaining lifestyle. A pint or two after work, eating out at cafes and mid scale establishments, the movies, and a c1ub/nice dinner out on a semi-regular basis, and a social relationship. If you have a family, spouse, kids, financial obligations such as student loans in the US, want to save, or have retirement plans then your going to have to accept more or less a homebody lifestyle. DVD at home, brews/v1no in the chiller/conbini, food courts and food stalls.

Dental costs are about what you would pay in the US unless you go to one of the Polyclinics (about SGD$25 for a cleaning and exam). Before COVID it was just easier and cheaper getting dental work done in Malaysia.

A vision screening for glasses/contacts costs about SGD$60. You can order glasses/contacts online at the same generally global price.

If your contract doesnt mention annual flights youre not getting them. You are specifically getting a flight in and when you end your contract a flight out.

You may be able to negotiate the shipping allowance as a shopping allowance, unlikely but worth a shot. It really depends if the IS intends the shipping reimbursement to be used for professional materials such as texts or things for your classroom. If not then you need to compare the costs of SG compared to where you are to determine if its worth shipping for you. If its a non-specific allowance then youre best option is using the allowance for extra baggage since you dont really need a winter wardrobe anything else will be to slow to be worth it vie slow ship container (though air freight is about the same cost as extra bags and gets delivered to your residence).

Is there at least an end of year bonus? If not how long do you plan to stay in SG? Without something your salary really isnt strong enough to allow any reasonable retirement or pension savings.

Its been commented before on the forum that SG can be reasonably inexpensive or absurdly expensive. While food courts and food stalls offer cheap and really good eats, and you can always there are some cheap (even free) activities, but if your intent is to live a single life it costs coin to have fun socialize and play in SG.
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