Monday, March 16, 2009

income vs cost levels - US vs Sgp

Hi XR,

You mentioned between US and SG income levels there's no clear winner. i guess you meant purchasing power ie income measured by cost level. USD income divided by USD prices vs SGD income divided by SGD prices. I have to ignore bonus since it has always been unstable in my jobs, though 4 month for your UBS S'pore job.

Q: Is purchasing power higher in US than SG? my answer is "no obvious winner". i agree with your observations on property tax, medical benefits... However, we missed a few points:
* SG economy feels like less stable than US, as US economy is big and "strong" in a sense. Econonic longevity and fragility affect  purchasing power. i witnessed and was a direct victim of IT salary drops in S'pore first-hand.
* there are various ways to reduce income tax. there are book and consultants on that topic i heard.
* it seems only the chinese like to rent out their homes. other people tend to buy single-family homes.

* housing cost is by far the biggest cost. However, it's hard to compare between US and S'pore.
** which part of US? Chinese IT professionals live in many different states, not only North East or West coast.
** what size? In S'pore, people in my circle bought 3-room, 4-room, 5-room to private condo.

* car is perhaps 2nd biggest cost. I assume both of us do not need a car in S'pore. In US, most places require 1 or 2 cars for a family with kids. Instead of calculating and comparing purchasing powers, i notice that most Chinese IT professionals who can stay in US would not choose to settle in S'pore. If i were 28 and single, i would stay here.

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