Saturday, July 16, 2011

Working overseas: how much will you do it for?

I was playing mahjong with my friends over though the night on Friday and he told us that although we was planning to leave his job, his company had thrown a spanner in the works by offering to post him to Paris, France, on an urgent basis.

I understand that for his latest year of assessment, he paid close to $2,000 for taxes. He said that the company will give him an overseas allowance on top of his existing pay, lodging I assume will be paid for. How much will that work out a month for my friend on a annual basis?

The only issue that he may have is that he has to convince his girl friend, whom they already have secured a BTO together already, to go overseas with him, since it will be a three-year assignment. I threw the question back to him, "Would you go overseas with your girlfriend if such an opportunity existed?"

His answer was that if his girlfriend's remuneration could afford him a "tai tai" lifestyle, why not?

I kind of admire the opportunity that has presented to him. He has always been a very bright boy with a scholarship secured through the University. I wondered at the back of my head, will things present itself to me, a slightly less motivated person. Hard work is a form of sacrifice, which rewards may not be guaranteed. 

Nonetheless, I have been given the chance to travel over the past 12 months due to the generosity of my boss. Aberdeen, Scotland as well as KL, Malaysia were two places that I went to learn things on the company's tab. On my own, I went to Vietnam.

What is a good amount?
However, to be base overseas would definitely be a dream? You get to open your horizons up and have the "expat" tag labelled. I was given a chance once to be posted overseas. Sort of. One of them was when I applied to be an assistant station manager for SIA but I did not make it through the interview with my poor answers. They asked me what would stop me from going overseas at the moment and I foolishly told them that I had to sit for the CFA exams.

The other was for a aquarium equipment manufacturer which I almost clinched it. I went for two rounds of interview, meeting one of the managers. The reason I think I failed to make the final cut was that they were only offering to pay less than $2,500 a month. I felt that the amount was quite low in that I would not have any "meat" left each month to save up. Of course they mentioned that I would have a nice service apartment, as well as help me manage the taxes (Singapore and China, two sides) but then, I felt that it should not lower the dollar value of my pay.I did a quick chat with my friends who were working in China as well as my parents and they both said that the deal was a non-starter. Too much risks.

That said, how much are you will to work overseas for? How much each month and where in particular do you have in mind?

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