How good is this expat salary

#1 Mar 11th, 2013, 02:29
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#1
Hi Guys and Gals,

I'm planning on taking an expat assignment within the next year and India is currently one of the places I'm considering applying for. The office is in Bangalore. There are quite a few reasons I am considering India (It'll be an adventure, a promotion, interesting assignments, etc) but one of the main ones is that I believe it will be extremely financially rewarding and I'd be able to save a bunch of money. My annual salary would be ~1 Crore ($200,000 USD). That would be base salary with hardship and expat multipliers included. Additionally at least a portion of housing will be paid for, all moving expenses and 1 trip home per year paid for and I think I'll continue to get the 10-20% annual bonus I currently get. The assignment would be for 3-4 years. It sounds like this is a very generous compensation package particularly with the relatively low cost of living in India, but I guess my question is how generous? It's just me and my spouse and I assume we'd want to live in a gated community probably villa style house with a housekeeper, gardener, and driver. Would I be able to maintain a US/European standard of living take a couple of nice vacations a year (1 back home to the US, 1 to Europe or Asia, and 1 in country) and still save a large portion of my salary?

Thanks in advance
#2 Mar 11th, 2013, 02:49
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#2
You should be able to maintain a better life style than in your country and still save a substantial amount. The PPP multiplier is somewhere between 15 - 20 for the basic services.
#3 Mar 11th, 2013, 03:54
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Do you have any children to educate?

If you do, then please look into the cost of international schools: it's a lot, and will eat into your salary amazingly. If not, you can live like a king!
#4 Mar 11th, 2013, 04:01
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Originally Posted by nola44 View Post Would I be able to maintain a US/European standard of living take a couple of nice vacations a year (1 back home to the US, 1 to Europe or Asia, and 1 in country) and still save a large portion of my salary?
What do you do currently in LA in terms of vacation & savings and hired help ? Do talk to your tax accountant about this move. I presume, you do have one now, who does your taxes.
#5 Mar 11th, 2013, 05:06
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Thanks Jods, Nick-N, and nycank for the replies. I don't have any children it will just be me and my spouse. Where I'm at currently we have a 3bed 3bath house in the city ~3000 square feet. We usually take one big vacation a year and another small one, but that is limited mainly by the fact that I'm still pretty young and don't get much vacation. Being an expat I would get 6 weeks of vacation a year. Currently I'm not saving/investing as much as I would like which is one of the main reasons I'm thinking of accepting a position in Bangalore due to the higher compensation and the lower cost of living. I'm hoping I could save up to half of what I would be making. Also I don't currently have an accountant but will have to get one prior to relocating.
#6 Mar 11th, 2013, 05:42
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Originally Posted by nola44 View Post Being an expat I would get 6 weeks of vacation a year.
Wow ! An american company offering 6 week vacation, take it an run. Don't come back home
#7 Mar 11th, 2013, 07:10
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I'm familiar with expat packages offered by a few companies in China and Taiwan (where I currently reside). Your package has some standard fare I'm used to seeing. The housekeeping staff should certainly be part of your housing package. I'd assume your company will have a monthly household budget based on your pay grade and pay 100% of that allowance. If I were you I'd push hard to ensure a driver is provided and available for both you and your spouse. This can easily be pushed as a safety issue for your spouse, who will be spending much of her time alone during day to day transit.

Salary packages I'm used to seeing for expats here in the 'Wan' (minus hardship allowances) are generally the same as corresponding salaries in the home country. The real perks are having your housing paid and your career go into turbo drive. I have yet to see an expat return home without a significant advancement in their career. These days people are lining up for the expat positions in Asia.
#8 Mar 11th, 2013, 07:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nola44 View Post Thanks Jods, Nick-N, and nycank for the replies. I don't have any children it will just be me and my spouse. Where I'm at currently we have a 3bed 3bath house in the city ~3000 square feet. We usually take one big vacation a year and another small one, but that is limited mainly by the fact that I'm still pretty young and don't get much vacation. Being an expat I would get 6 weeks of vacation a year. Currently I'm not saving/investing as much as I would like which is one of the main reasons I'm thinking of accepting a position in Bangalore due to the higher compensation and the lower cost of living. I'm hoping I could save up to half of what I would be making. Also I don't currently have an accountant but will have to get one prior to relocating.
If I were in your place, I would try and get it extended beyond 4 years!
#9 Mar 11th, 2013, 09:02
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@nycank yeah 6 weeks will be pretty sweet but that's par for the course with my company for any expat assignment not India specific. @Shaktipalooza the package may well include a stipend for all the household staff and the driver included because that's something the company seems to insist on (having a driver), but I haven't even applied for the position yet so while I know some specifics I don't know all the details. Once I apply for an expat postion with my company I'm more or less obligated to take the job if they offer it. They tend to get pissed if you don't so I'm trying to make sure it's somewhere I really want to work. Also thanks for the insight into what an expat assignment will do to a persons career. @Jods that may be an option but I'll wait until I'm sure that India is somewhere I enjoy living and working before looking into staying longer.

To summarize I'm definitely planning on applying for expat assignments early next year but I'm currently trying to refine my list. India isn't the only place I'm considering applying to but it's the only hardship position and I'm trying to decide if the financial incentives move it to the top. Also it's not one of the more popular postings so if I apply there is a good chance I'll get it over any other places I apply to. Additionally I'm trying to figure out how much of the ~1 crore/year I could expect to save/invest while still living well.
#10 Mar 11th, 2013, 09:12
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@nycank reading back through the comments I realized I didn't answer your first post fully. I currently have no household staff whatsoever, but I've been led to believe that a driver is absolutely necessary in Bangalore, and that westerners almost universally get ripped off so having a housekeeper to buy basic goods/groceries more or less pays for itself. Am I wrong about the necessity of hired help?
#11 Mar 11th, 2013, 09:20
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Please also look into the forum. If I remember correctly there is another thread as well which talks about the living expenses for an expat.
#12 Mar 11th, 2013, 10:02
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@Jods I've looked into the cost of living both on this forum and elsewhere but it seems to be very dependent on lifestyle. I'm hoping someone has insight into what type of lifestyle that salary could afford us while still allowing us to save a large portion of my income. I realize the best way to do this is probably to sit down and go through each expense (which I would certainly do before moving there), but right now I'm looking for a general feeling from someone in the know (i.e. "that's a decent wage you can live well and save a bit", "that's a ton of money you can live in a palace and eat nothing but caviar and still save half your salary", "that's enough to live well, but you won't be saving anything"). I also plan on talking to colleagues in country before making any decisions but it's still pretty early in the game.
#13 Mar 11th, 2013, 12:33
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#13
Have you considered the recent changes to the US tax laws? Where they tax your world-wide income? It might be a good idea to talk to someone over there, given the currency of your pay packet, considering the movement of exchange rate.
#14 Mar 11th, 2013, 13:32
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Originally Posted by adam00121 View Post Have you considered the recent changes to the US tax laws? Where they tax your world-wide income?
This is not a recent change. US always taxed one world-wide income. The OP is on assignment, he will have to pay his US taxes; and his annual income with perks is way below recent tax bracket hike.
#15 Mar 11th, 2013, 15:13
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nola44, I don't work, and never have worked in India. I'm retired, and live off a small pension and diminishing returns from investments --- so I have no experience of the work place, and absolutely no experience, ever, anywhere ( ) of living on the sort of money you are talking about. That really cuts down the useful advice I can give you: the only thing I know a bit about (eight years) is simply living in India.

A few years ago, you could have bought that palace, let alone lived in! Now property prices and rentals have increased a lot. Much is going to depend on which city you would be based in: are you able to tell us that? Your money will go a lot further in some places than in others. You say you have 3,000 sq ft in USA: Americans are used to getting a lot more property/space for their money than us Brits, but I still think (city dependent) that you can probably have much more here than you have there.

You can live in a palace --- but forget the caviar, because imported food stuffs are very expensive here!

You can live to a higher standard, but you cannot replicate your American lifestyle. You simply won't find every ingredient here. Making your own compromise is all part of the adventure.

Many lesser employees who have transport provided get ferried around in taxis. I can't imagine that, at your level, you will not have at least one car provided for you and your partner. Even if you don't, I wouldn't worry, because you will be able to afford to buy your own car and employ your own driver. One expat employee told me that he was not allowed, under his employment terms, to drive himself, and the reason for this is the company's insurance and the fact that they think it is just too dangerous to drive here. You are costing them a lot: they don't want to loose you in the first month!

Yes, you can shop here without being ripped off. We have "supermarkets" (you wouldn't call them that) with price tags: everyone pays the same. Tourists may get ripped off, residents buying day-to-day stuff, even from small shops, much less so.

Yes, you can, if you must, and are allowed, drive. It took me a year to pluck up the courage, but now I consider my own driving to be safer than taking a cab. If it was a daily commute, I'd be happy to have a driver, though!

I suppose the circumstances do not permit you a visit before deciding? Most of us come here as a result of some sort of positive attraction to the country and its culture, which acts as a sort of inoculation against seeing the bad stuff and going straight home . Added to which, living here is very different to visiting. It is challenging on many levels and in many ways. As a manager, you will be "challenged," daily, far far more than I am!
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