Most Singaporeans at one time or the other will consider migrating. Australia has always been one of the top countries to consider as it is close by (only a 5 hour flight to Perth and 7.5 hours to Melbourne) and Western Australia is in the same time zone as Singapore while the Eastern States are only 2 hours ahead. Therefore, it is easy to keep in contact with and visit family and friends back in Singapore.
This is probably the deciding factor why many Singaporeans decide to migrate to Australia. Most occupations in Australia will allow you to have a work-life balance. Most people generally go home on time and do not feel obligated to stay behind in the office (even when they have no urgent work to do) just to show their bosses that they are hard working.
Part-time or causal work is commonplace which suits the needs of a lot of working mums, who are trying to juggle between their careers and families.
You cannot put a price on happiness, better relationships and better health!
One of the considerations many Singaporeans have when they think about migrating to Australia is the high taxes.
Australia’s Resident Tax Rates 2018-19 is as follows:
TAXABLE INCOME TAX ON THIS INCOME
$0 – $18,200 NIL
$18,201 – $37,000 19c for each $1 over $18,200
$37,001 – $90,000 $3,572 plus 32.5c for each $1 over $37,000
$90,001 – $180,000 $20,797 plus 37c for each $1 over $90,000
$180,000 and over $54,097 plus 45c for each $1 over $180,000
There is also a Medicare levy of 2% payable on top of the income tax.
Singapore’s Resident Tax Rates 2018 is a maximum of 22%. Therefore, a lot of people think that as Australia’s tax is very high comparatively, the amount you can save will be a lot lesser.
This is not exactly accurate due to the following reasons:
- Housing is cheaper – For around $1 million dollars, you can own a house, with land, which is cheaper than most if not all of the landed properties in Singapore. For apartments, you can own a modest private apartment for between A$350,000 A$500,000, which you and your descendants will own indefinitely, unlike HDB apartments, which you only own for 99 years. Most condominiums also come with a 99-year leasehold.
- Cars are cheaper – In Australia, you do not need to pay for the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) in order to own and use a vehicle. The cost of the car is cheaper as well. As a comparison, in Australia, a brand new 2018 Toyota Corolla Altis Sport 2.0 Hatch Automatic CVT cost $28,185 driveaway. In Singapore, a brand new Toyota Corolla Altis Standard 1.6 Sedan cost $89,988 (with non-guaranteed COE).
- Higher median incomes – The minimum wage in Australia is $18.93 per hour (taking effect from 1 July 2018). The average weekly wage for an adult in Australia working full-time as of November 2017 (before tax) was AUD$1,567.90. That is AUD$81,530.80 per year. In Singapore, the median gross monthly income (including employer CPF contribution) of full-time employed residents is SGD$4,232, which is SGD$50,784 per year.
- Meals – If you are talking about food sold in Hawker Centres and Food Courts, then, yes, having a meal in Singapore is cheaper. However, if you are talking about having a meal in a restaurant or in a café, then the food in Australia is not more expensive than a comparable restaurant in Singapore. In fact, sometimes, for the same price, a restaurant meal in Australia is authentic because usually, a Thai restaurant is owned and run by a Thai, an Italian restaurant is owned and run by an Italian and so on.
In Australia, Medicare is the universal health insurance scheme. It guarantees all Australians (and some overseas visitors) have access to a wide range of health and hospital services at little or no cost. Medicare funds access to health care in 2 main ways.
- The Medical Benefits Scheme provides subsidies for:
• Out-of-hospital medical services, including general practitioner (GP) and specialist services
• Selected diagnostic imaging and pathology services
• Dental care for children in some circumstances
• Eye checks by optometrists
• Allied health services in limited circumstances
• Some medical services for private patients in public and private hospitals
- The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidies the cost of a wide range of pharmaceutical medicines.
Most Australian residents (depending of your taxable income) have to pay a Medicare levy of 2% of their annual income.
The Australian dollar is driven by commodities. Therefore, when the prices of commodities rise in the market, then the Australian dollar tends to appreciate. However, unlike a commodity, the Australian dollar combines the benefit of a commodity driven hike with the added benefit of yield.
Recently, the Australian dollar has been falling and people start to wonder if migrating to Australia is the right decision. However, bear in mind that the prices of commodities will rise again. At its peak, the Australian dollar is about 35% stronger than the Singapore dollar i.e. A$1 to SGD$1.35. If you are living in Australia, the currency fluctuations should not matter as you earn and spend within Australia. If you want to send money overseas or enjoy a favourable exchange rate when travelling overseas, my suggestion is to wait till the Australian dollar is stronger.
CENTRAL PROVIDENT FUND VS SUPERANNUATION
In Australia, all employees are entitled to Superannuation (Super), which is similar to Central Provident Fund (CPF) in that it is a way to save for your retirement. The difference is that only your employer needs to make a compulsory contribution to your Super, which amounts to a minimum of 9.5% of your salary.
You can also choose to add to your Super by entering a salary sacrifice arrangement with your employer or making personal super contributions. Salary sacrifice is an effective way to save for your retirement by voluntary super contributions, which is taxed at a maximum rate of 15% rather than your marginal tax rate.
Generally, you are unable to access this money until you turn 65 (even if you have not retired). You can also access your Super if you reach 60 and retire.
Australia is well known for being a fun-loving nation known for its laid back attitude and unrivalled outdoor lifestyle. There are plenty of places to explore in Australia and weekends will be filled with fun family activities. There are also many seasonal activities so you will always find something new and interesting to do. Low pollution also offers a great and healthy environment.
The above are just some pros of migrating to Australia. Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments!