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Possibly getting relocated to Singapore

Old 08-23-2015, 07:57 AM
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Default Possibly getting relocated to Singapore

I'm looking for some THT wisdom, I might be getting relocated to Singapore for 2 years. This is not a mandatory relocation as I would have the option of staying in my present position. It is totally optional.

I am quite familiar with travel for both personal and professional purposes and I've always loved an adventure. We are a young family with a 2 1/2 year old daughter and practicing for more all the time. My wife works also and could actually transfer to work in that part of the world while we are there. Due to our relatively recent move to Stuart, we are renting and working with a realtor to purchase nearby (of course we would not purchase a home if we decide to go). We also own all of our vehicles, etc. so cutting ties would be pretty easy. We'd sell all of them, have no vehicles, boats, etc.. for the 2 years then buy all that stuff when we return..

It would be a good travel package from my company but I am not going to come home and buy a 65' Bayliss or anything like that. It would be more for the 2 year adventure. I would be able to return to my life back in FL with little to no change after the 2 year tour.

I am sure there are others here on THT that have done things like this...Please, any advice, words of wisdom, deragtory, inflammatory, or jokes are very much appreciated

Last edited by dadriva; 08-23-2015 at 08:14 AM. Reason: more info
Old 08-23-2015, 08:08 AM
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Boy so many variables. If you own your home what would you do with it? On the other hand the worst feeling as you get older is kicking yourself in the ass for not doing something like that. If the numbers work out in your favor my vote is go for it.
Old 08-23-2015, 08:16 AM
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Late night beers and grub at the hawker stalls in Singapore are a lot of fun but thinking the place would drive me nuts if I had to live there.....
Old 08-23-2015, 08:17 AM
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embrace the opportunity and run with it,,,due diligence,,formulate a plan and execute it!
Old 08-23-2015, 08:25 AM
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Singapore is a wonderful place to visit - lots to do there. Beautiful. I don't know how it will be living there. It can be expensive. I am sure the locals know where or how to live cheap.

If your company has a good ISE package with cost of living adjustment, car allowance, etc. then it may be OK. How much travel you have to do out of Singapore might be a concern, as is where you might be traveling.

Only you know how the assignment will affect your career, or how not accepting will affect your career.

For me, I was told early in my career to not blink when opportunities were presented. Best advice I ever had. Make sure you have an exit plan.
Old 08-23-2015, 08:33 AM
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If you didn't have the kid I would 100% say go for it - although I am sure you will find others in similar situations that have worked it out. There are a number of forums with expat advice etc, dig some of those up.

Singapore is a cool place if you are comfortable with the chaos and can adjust to the new culture. If you are sure your wife will be able to work there, and you can sort out what happens for childcare when you're both working, I'd say it is absolutely worth it and you could do a lot worse than singapore - it is also a great place to reach the rest of that side of the planet for more travel.

PS: Selling everything you own, except maybe a small storage unit etc is definitely the way to go. You should also work out a budget where you come back with a nice pile of cash, since many of your expenses should be nonexistent or paid by your employer (?). I've known a few people to do really stupid things financially on these types of assignments, like putting two cars in storage and paying insurance on them, or fly back and forth to a house here in the states to check on things. Get rid of everything you can, and be smart and put your car payments, insurance, rent (?) payments etc into the bank every month. When you come back you could be sitting on an easy $50-100k and still enjoy the adventure overseas.

Last edited by Flot; 08-23-2015 at 08:43 AM.
Old 08-23-2015, 08:36 AM
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Singapore is one of the safest cities in the world, but also has the strictest laws, strictly enforced. Don't chew gum or forget to flush a public toilet! English is probably the most common language, population density is among the highest on earth, government corruption is about as low as it gets anywhere.

When I was traveling to India on business, I carried a card that showed what to do if I became seriously ill- the company wanted me evacuated to Singapore if at all possible because of the quality of medical care there compared to India.

It would be an interesting assignment for 2 years, but look at how people in your company have fared after taking such assignments. It can be a stepping stone to higher-level jobs or a way to get your career track permanently side-lined.
Old 08-23-2015, 08:45 AM
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I faced a similar decision a few years ago but it was a move to Dubai. We ultimately decided not to do it... but had the opportunity been in Singapore we would have been there in a second.

When we considered Dubai our plan was to sell everything except family heirlooms, which would have sat in storage.

Don't under-negotiate school for your child. Even pre-school and Kindergarten can be expensive and you want your employer to pay that. Also, taxes, transport, trips home (at least one per year for all family members, plus emergency travel), storage, housing, etc.

You don't mention if you have ever been to Singapore. It's a wonderful place for expat families with kids. It's safe and clean, and a great point from which you can see all of Asia. I know several folks who've made similar moves and don't want to leave there!

A "two year adventure" is the right way to think about it!
Old 08-23-2015, 08:59 AM
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I would need to do more diligence myself but your daughter only being 2 1/2 you would be back for kindergarten. As long as the company had good expat support for its us citizens working abroad I would certainly consider it and I am pretty conservative. As your daughter grows it will be more difficult.

Still lots of variables though, like extended family support structure probably being the highest. May be tough on the rest of the family like the grandparents not seeing their granddaughter for two years and there will be no young childhood bonding. If this matters
Old 08-23-2015, 09:04 AM
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Ultimately it will come down to your and your wife's comfort levels.

Personally, I'd have the cars on Auto-trader before the day's end.
Old 08-23-2015, 09:15 AM
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Dude...I would avoid it.

Singapore is filled with foreigners.
Old 08-23-2015, 09:32 AM
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Great great great advice so far. I am VERY strategic and calculating when it comes to business. I intend to negotiate for the best package possible for my family. So far the move package seems quite comprehensive but needs a little bit of massaging in a few areas.

Re the grandparents; great advice. Thankfully they are healthy and LOVE to travel. They would certainly be making numerous extended stay visits.

I'm pleasantly surprised by the number of responses and excellent advice..Keep 'em coming!!

Last edited by dadriva; 08-23-2015 at 12:15 PM.
Old 08-23-2015, 09:38 AM
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get the best package and go.

these opps dont come aound often. i missed one for europe and still kick myself over it.
Old 08-23-2015, 09:43 AM
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Go for it.

Do your homework, cover the bases, etc, which it sure sounds like you are doing.
Old 08-23-2015, 09:52 AM
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A few years ago, a couple of guys made a travel guide for this. It might be a bit dated but you might get something from it. Look up Road to Singapore. ;-)
Old 08-23-2015, 09:58 AM
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If you are doing it for the experience GO FOR IT.
If you are doing it for your career DONT GO.
If you are doing it for more money DONT GO.

Its not worth putting yourself or your family out in any way over a company, career or money.
Companies say they care about their employees but specifically only care about the amount of revenue said employee can generate. You are a tool, a device an object to further the companies profits, no more...... The old days of being the company man and being compensated for it are long gone. Don't fall into that trap (yes I did). After (2) two major moves the compensation was negligible and the pie in the sky promotions were just a pipe dream thought up by a senior mgmt. figure looking to fill positions before his retirement.
Old 08-23-2015, 10:28 AM
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For a few years I traveld to and from Singapore twice a month. Very clean, safe, eclectic city with a lot of different cultures and fantastic ethnic foods packed into a small area. Not a lot of traffic for a city of its size due to the expense and complication of private automobile ownership (or so I have been told).

If you've been there you already know this if not I will offer the following observation, it's a LONG way from the USA. I was flying the B777 at the time and the trip was a 6 day connecting through Narita. Not a big deal if your staying out there the entire time but if you plan on bouncing back and forth often to the USA, especially if you have to ride in coach, the journey will get very old very rapidly and if you plan on doing it with ankle bitters (aka small children) may God bless you!

Last edited by Mpellet; 08-23-2015 at 10:38 AM.
Old 08-23-2015, 11:30 AM
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I turned down a 3 yr "developmental assignment" to Europe (was not told where but had inkling Germany). In my (large) company this was a requirement for promotion. Sorry than not most days 20yrs later. Good luck with your decision.
Old 08-23-2015, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by dadriva View Post
Great great great advice so far. I am VERY strategic and calculating when it comes to business. I intend to negotiate for the best package possible for my family. So far the move package seems quite comprehensive but needs a little bit of massaging in a few areas.

Re the grandparents; great advice. Thankfully they are healthy and LOVE to travel. They would certainly be making numerous extended stay visits.

I'm pleasantly surprised by the number of responses and excellent advice..Keep 'me coming!!
I moved my family across the country (West to South) and it happened to be my daughter's upcoming senior year in high school. (Lot's of drama--daughter thrived despite her initial insistence that her "life would be ruined.")

Aligatorgar makes a good point that there is no real company loyalty for employees in the modern economy. That being said, consider that you will be doing the following:

1. Expanding your contact's worldwide.
a) You never know you might connect with someone that will be great opportunity
b) You will see how business and life is done in a completely new environment

2. Your current employer may actually think positively of you and
a) Get promoted
b) Be considered for advance opportunity/training/relocation in the future
c) saying no to the opportunity may be held against you by the company.

Your daughter will never know the difference whether you stayed or went. There is no such thing as grandparental "bonding.' (Bonding is modern pop psychobabble--humans are not ducks) Relationships develop over time and it is you and your wive's lives. Chart your own courses and if you have dependable and motivated parents they will remain and grow actively involved with your youngster.

My observations and opinions only, of course. Like others have surmised, there are many variables only you will be able to know. I'd consider the move.
Old 08-23-2015, 11:54 AM
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You may only get one opportunity, grab the bull by the horns and run like hell...

John

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