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Over $300k a year per household? Aussie man details how much an expat family needs to earn to live in Singapore

Over $300k a year per household? Aussie man details how much an expat family needs to earn to live in Singapore
PHOTO: Screengrabs/TikTok/Australian.expat

There's no denying that Singapore is an expensive place to live in.

Last November, the Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Singapore joint-top, alongside Zurich, as the world's most expensive city.

For a foreign family looking to settle down and live here—whether it be for work, studies or simply to start a new life—this can seem rather daunting.

Australian expat Jarrad Brown crunched the numbers, posting a TikTok video on March 13 to break down how much an expat household of four has to earn to live in Singapore.

The financial planner, who moved from Perth to Singapore in 2013, said: "We can work out that we need to earn between $320,000 and $335,000 per household per year."

Jarrad provided a caveat that this projected amount is for the "average family" and does not take into account "all the lavish things" that Singapore has to offer.

@australian.expat How much does a family of four REALLY need to earn to live and save in Singapore? 🇸🇬💰 I’ve broken it all down in my latest video. 🚀 From groceries to savings, get the details on managing your family budget. 👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼 Link in my bio 👉🏼👉🏼👉🏼 #BudgetHacks #FamilyGoals #FinancialFreedom #AustralianExpats #AustraliansInSingapore ♬ original sound - Jarrad Brown - Aussie Expat

Having received queries from fellow Australians on the cost of living in Singapore, he was keen to provide a real-life example—a family of four, with both children attending international school.

The first order of business is rental and he opted for a 3-room condo unit which he estimated would average at about $6,000 a month, or $72,000 a year.

"That's a pretty fair price in today's market. It's not going to be right in the city but you're not living on the border of Malaysia either," the 36-year-old said.

Sending the kids to school won't be cheap either.

Jarrad averaged international school fees at about $48,000 per child, so that brings the yearly amount to $96,000 for this family.

Speaking with AsiaOne, Jarrad shared that expats tend to hesitate when it comes to public schools as there might be a desire to maintain continuity with the Australian education system.

So despite the significantly higher costs of international schools vis-a-vis public schools, many expat families end up opting for the former instead.

Jarrad went on to list the projected yearly costs of utilities ($12,000), transport ($1,200) and insurances ($12,000).

A few other items were added to the list and he ended up with an annual spending of between $215,000 and $220,000 for this case study.

This is before any travel expenses, mind you.

"We need to be able to save some money in Singapore as well because otherwise, how are we going to retire?" Jarrad asked rhetorically.

He added that the general rule of thumb is to save 20 per cent of one's gross income.

Working backwards, the financial planner came to the conclusion that this family of four has to earn between $320,000 and $335,000 a year.

In the comments section, some netizens seem to be in a state of disbelief at the numbers Jarrad had laid out.

One TikTok user even called out his calculations as "seriously wrong", specifically mentioning that setting aside $6,000 for rent is "ridiculous".

Jarrad replied that whatever that was shared in his TikTok video is a case study and should not be seen as a "one-size-fits-all" model.

Another commenter was simply shocked by the cost breakdown. "I'm just blown away that.. there's people living these kind of lifestyles. That kind of money is beyond extravagant."

However, one user who identified as a Singaporean said that they "sympathise with this", noting that a local with "150k household income [per annum] is already struggling, and that's without international school fees or rent".

To that, Jarrad replied that this "puts [things] into perspective, particularly the impact of inflation on Singapore households".

Another user agreed with Jarrad's cost-of-living breakdown, saying it was "very accurate". "Of course it will vary depending on your family needs. We spend more than double on groceries. It’s good that you included savings. I think some expats forget," the user added.

Jarrad told AsiaOne that he was surprised and thrilled at the number of views, 141,000 at the time of writing, his TikTok video has received.

He found it fascinating that there's a strong interest in the cost of living for expats in Singapore, adding: "I think the video struck a chord because it provides practical and valuable insights into an area that affects daily life and financial planning for expats."

ALSO READ: 'You trying to compare to locals?' Expat shares his $5,000 monthly expenditure, gets criticised for showing off

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