stuff from home - what do you miss?

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stuff from home - what do you miss?


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Old 21st July 2013, 09:43 PM
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Default stuff from home - what do you miss?

Morning all..new to the site, but wondering what things arent readily available in Singapore that are household items in Aus? Loving Singapore and haven't missed anything so far, so interested in others' experiences.... I've heard that Bonds gear is one thing!?

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Old 22nd July 2013, 03:39 AM
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I miss Greek restaurants.
I am planning to marry outside my race (a woman from Myanmar). In Asia people tend to marry within their own race. In the USA nobody frowns on mixed marriage.

I really do not miss the USA much, for the following:

There is too much intolerance toward people who do not want children.
There is too much crime.
The taxes are too high.
I am tried of political correctness. In Singapore I feel equal.

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Old 22nd July 2013, 04:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Linuxpro View Post
There is too much intolerance toward people who do not want children.
That highly depends on where you live in the U.S., and that hasn't been my experience in the areas where I've lived.

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There is too much crime.
Same as above. There are many, many places in the U.S. where people don't bother locking their houses and don't think twice about leaving car keys in the ignition. The national crime rate is moderate by global standards but declining.

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The taxes are too high.
Objectively, no. The U.S. is ranked somewhere past #50 in the world in terms of personal tax burden, which is really quite excellent for a developed economy. There are several states with zero income taxes and even some with zero sales taxes. There is no general federal sales tax or VAT, and state rates (among those that have sales taxes) are much lower than European norms. The U.S. is fairly rare in having a negative effective personal income tax rate for lower income individuals. There is no general wealth tax in the U.S. The U.S. has very few "taxes" -- required payments to support corrupt governments and politicians -- unlike many other countries. The U.S. has highly tax-advantaged retirement savings programs and highly tax-advantaged real estate (particularly when mortgaged). Motor vehicle taxes (including fuel taxes) are much lower than in Europe, Japan, Australia, and, yes, much lower than in Singapore. The U.S. social insurance system -- payroll taxes versus benefits returned -- is quite excellent by global standards. The effective corporate tax rate in the U.S. is ridiculously low.

Taxes in the U.S. are generally higher than in Singapore, however.

In my experience the U.S. is a consumer paradise, actually. I love shopping in the U.S. Unless you're looking for something very specific, it's very hard to beat the U.S. in terms of prices and quality for consumer products.

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Old 22nd July 2013, 10:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBCWatcher View Post
Same as above. There are many, many places in the U.S. where people don't bother locking their houses and don't think twice about leaving car keys in the ignition. The national crime rate is moderate by global standards but declining.
There are many beautiful places in Oregon, Northern California, Utah, etc. where I would love to live, and would never have to lock my doors. However, there is little demand for Linux professionals in those places.

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Originally Posted by BBCWatcher View Post
Taxes in the U.S. are generally higher than in Singapore, however.
My Federal Tax, Arizona State Income Tax, Retirement, and Health insurance came to 45% of my income. In Singapore I get free health insurance. I make over 100,000 Sing dollars a year. My taxes for 2013 will be less than $2000. Considering I will eventually be paying 20% into PCF, I will only be forking over 22% of my income for retirement and tax. That is half what I paid in the USA.

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Originally Posted by BBCWatcher View Post
In my experience the U.S. is a consumer paradise, actually. I love shopping in the U.S. Unless you're looking for something very specific, it's very hard to beat the U.S. in terms of prices and quality for consumer products.
Shopping does not interest me.

I am a Buddhist. I am very happy to live were most people are Buddhist. Nobody tries to convert me to Christianity, and nobody tells me that I should be making babies. What more can I ask for?

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Old 22nd July 2013, 12:51 PM
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we are about to move there from Australia. We have young kids. I am told to bring lost of those 'squeezy fruits' and junior toothpaste !!????!?

I think most things are readily available except some friends have said they prefer to shop for womens clothing back in Australia (especially jeans and swimwear) or from internet (UK, USA etc)

eucalyptus oil?

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Old 22nd July 2013, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linuxpro View Post
Nobody tries to convert me to Christianity, and nobody tells me that I should be making babies. What more can I ask for?
Are you sure about that?
Quote:
Originally Posted by kleng
eucalyptus oil?
That's rather easy to find in Singapore.

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Old 22nd July 2013, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Linuxpro View Post
My Federal Tax, Arizona State Income Tax, Retirement, and Health insurance came to 45% of my income.
Using an annual income of US$88,000 (about S$110,000) and tax year 2013 I get an absolute worst case U.S. federal income tax rate of 25%. If you're self-employed, payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare) are 15.3% total. Arizona state income taxes are around 4%, and health insurance would make the remainder. So 45% could be possible for those items.

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In Singapore I get free health insurance.
To be clear to others who might be reading this, that's what your employer is providing. You're paying for it (via your labor) -- it's just part of your total compensation package. Singapore does not really have free universal health insurance, and it definitely doesn't have free health insurance for non-Singaporeans.

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I make over 100,000 Sing dollars a year.
That should mean zero or near zero U.S. tax liability via the U.S. Foreign Earned Income Exclusion (FEIE).

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My taxes for 2013 will be less than $2000.
Probably not if you're earning S$100,000 per year. Singapore's personal income tax on earnings of exactly S$100,000 for a single individual is exactly S$4035 at current rates, unless you've got some fairly unusual relief(s). But that's still a very low effective tax rate (4.35%).

Quote:
Considering I will eventually be paying 20% into PCF, I will only be forking over 22% of my income for retirement and tax. That is half what I paid in the USA.
I think you mean CPF. And no, not really -- your employer also kicks another 16% into CPF for a combined rate of 36%. That's the rate most directly comparable to the U.S. self-employment payroll tax rate cited above.

And...that's still not quite right. Be very, very careful about CPF if you ever participate. It is not a qualified retirement plan under the U.S. tax code, and so you'll have a U.S. tax liability on those gains. Moreover, you have to be very careful not to run afoul of PFIC rules on any investments you make via CPF.

In short, you're forgetting the U.S. tax-advantaged retirement savings effects. Those are substantial for a U.S. citizen. No, they don't tell you that part in the marketing brochures.

I would also add that you don't (usually) have disability insurance in Singapore, and you lose U.S. Social Security disability coverage after a fairly short period of time outside the U.S. not contributing to U.S. Social Security. You can buy private disability insurance in Singapore, but it's rather expensive and has a lot of fine print. Same thing with unemployment insurance, although the labor market in Singapore is strong at the moment.

Anyway, I've barely scratched the surface, but the math is more complicated than it seems at first glance.

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Old 25th July 2013, 02:40 PM
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Thanx BBC watcher. Your numbers are closer than mine, I was doing quick calculations off the top of my head. Even if my Singapore taxes are about $4000, they still come to only about 2/3 of what I spend on a typical vacation since I moved to Singapore.

I have some old pay stubs. Health insurance, 401k, state, and federal taxes were killing me. The tax on cable TV, phone, and the city sales tax of 11% was having me for breakfast.

I have something in Singapore that I seldom had back in the USA... Money left over at the end of the month.

With regards to USA tax liability,I only have to worry if I make about $95000 USD a year. My future wife will not have a SSN. How can I claim the deduction for her?

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Old 25th July 2013, 03:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBCWatcher View Post
Are you sure about that?
I am "Childfree". It's on Wikipedia. I would post a link, but that is not so easy to do on my Android phone (hahaha). I had a vasectomy when I was 21. Back in the USA everyone asks, "How many children do you have" or more often "How many children are you going to have" as though it was somehow compulsory. If I say children do not interest me they can get somewhat nasty. Most everyone thinks I am still breeding age because my girlfriend and I both look about 28. We are both over 45!

In Singapore I rarely get asked such things. If I do, I just say children do not interest me. I usually get an answer like, "Oh yes, I have friends that say the same".

In the USA I could not go a week without someone stopping me to tell me about Jesus. If I walk away, some will get rude. Other times I explain to them that I know their religion better than they do, and so on. They hate it when I say, "I have read that book you have in your hand twice, have you? I once went to Lutheran school and studied to be a clergyman, have you?".

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Old 26th July 2013, 12:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linuxpro View Post
With regards to USA tax liability,I only have to worry if I make about $95000 USD a year.
Not exactly. You're referring to the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. Unearned income -- interest, dividends, capital gains, etc. -- is not excluded from U.S. tax, so as you save (for retirement and for other reasons) this is something to pay attention to. For example, if you participate in CPF and end up with PFIC problems it can be horrible, actually.

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My future wife will not have a SSN. How can I claim the deduction for her?
You would get a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) for her.

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