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Singapore or Dubai
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Yipper
Posted - 30 April 2018 14:30
Pros and cons for a middle aged lawyer with a family?
Capt Haddock
Posted - 30 April 2018 14:34
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If family is the only consideration - both places are fine for having a family. Except having a car in Singapore is a bit of an expensive affair (compared to Dubai).
struandirk
Posted - 30 April 2018 14:41
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Dubai closer to home. But Singapore much more of a real country and culture and better travel opportunities etc. Less soulless than Dubai (I actually like Dubai though)
Cyprian
Posted - 30 April 2018 14:43
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What does your other half want to do.

My missus wouldn't live in Dubes.
Good on Paper
Posted - 30 April 2018 14:46
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Dubai would be my choice

More affordable
Better money after tax
Not as straitjacketed
Livelier expat scene
Fitter and more hookers
Closer to home
Middle eastern deals and clients are a bit more sophisticated and a bit less “challenging” than Asian ones
I think there is more respect for lawyers there
Capt Haddock
Posted - 30 April 2018 14:58
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tax in Sing is around 13%

that and rising to 15% and top end at 18% (you need to earn filthy amount of money to pay this band)
Foxbat
Posted - 30 April 2018 14:59
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Having lived in both, probably Sing if you have older kids. That said Dubai is brilliant for little kids as it is essentially one long bucket and spade holiday. I wouldn't discard Laz's comment about the differences between clients. Dependent upon your practice area it is probably easier in Dubai than Sing client-wise. Weatherwise Sing probably wins out. It dumps rain once a day at 2pm for an hour like clockwork and is otherwise 30 degrees all year round. Driving into work in Dubai yesterday at 8.30am it was 40 degrees with another month or so to go before it hits proper summertime
Foxbat
Posted - 30 April 2018 15:01
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Tax in Singapore is high but I wouldn't underestimate the living costs of Dubai. If you have a family you are probably looking at rent of about 40,000 or so quid a year so knock that straight off your salary offer to get an idea of true earnings
struandirk
Posted - 30 April 2018 15:06
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Don’t firms pay your accommodation to entice you to move these days?

Foxbat
Posted - 30 April 2018 15:18
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Depends. I see it a lot with teachers but not other professions. That said if you are a 40+ high powered exec/Partner they may. I am an early thirties worker drone so such concepts do not exist in my universe
Yipper
Posted - 30 April 2018 15:38
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I'm inhouse so don't get an expat package, at least not at my level, so the costs thing is relevant. I'm hoping renting out the family house here will help a bit.
B•a•M
Posted - 30 April 2018 15:42
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as a middle aged lawyer you have less time ahead of you than behind.

don't waste any of that living in a desert shithole
Chambers
Posted - 30 April 2018 16:06
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Go Cayman if you want to earn serious money, zero tax. Its a bit 'wild west', but the kids will love it.

Mine did.

Lincoln Burrows
Posted - 30 April 2018 16:08
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Yes go to somewhere that is not an option, like Chambo did.
Lears Fool
Posted - 30 April 2018 16:15
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There's no tax on the moon either, you should try there.
wilfrostron
Posted - 30 April 2018 16:26
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Nice to be in a position where you have the option.

Personally it would be Singapore every time. Great for kids, childcare easy, schools are decent. Travel is insanely good. Food is insanely good. And it's got more character than people credit it for. Also better regarded as a career stop and gives you likely exposure to both India and China.
Lincoln Burrows
Posted - 30 April 2018 16:37
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Dubai really is a toilet.
Used Psychology
Posted - 30 April 2018 16:41
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If you are not on an ex-pat package, tell them to fvck themselves.
Yipper
Posted - 30 April 2018 16:44
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In Chambo's defence, I actually would do Cayman as all of our family is in the US but inhouse roles are like unicorns.
Chambers
Posted - 30 April 2018 17:07
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Half of my family were in the US at the time Yipper. Easy trips over to the West Coast and I more than trebled my City salary in Cayman. Fun in the sun for a few years. Most of my family are still in the US, but I'm a homebody and came back.

TheBoltonMare
Posted - 30 April 2018 17:34
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What UP said, even if in-house you will need some enhancement just to keep up a moderate lifestyle.

If they are merely offering it on the “great opportunity” & tax equilibrium fronts, then no it’s not.

If you have to rent out your house here to fund it, then no it’s not.

Don’t be swayed by what you think is an expat life style, and don’t forget that in Dubai it’ll likely be a 6 day week.
aviator
Posted - 30 April 2018 18:19
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What BaM and Boltonmare said. Oh and UP and LB.
wilfrostron
Posted - 30 April 2018 20:36
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Disagree entirely with those going on about packages. Expat packages getting rarer these days. When I went to Asia I got a small uplift in pay, paid local tax and rented out my house. Basically broke even. Fantastic experience life wise, travel wise and family wise. And helped career.

People on here said the same when I was deciding and I’m glad I ignored them.

Cat on a hot tin ceiling
Posted - 30 April 2018 20:50
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No experience of Sing. Dubai is great with a young family but family cost of living is really, really high. Do your research/sums carefully. If you are in house then look at Abu Dhabi as well. There are some cracking in house packages on offer there, it’s only 1.5 hrs up the road from Dubai and it’s a nice place for young families.
Rhamnousia
Posted - 30 April 2018 20:53
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Re Dubai wouldn't you be in a constant state of terror at the possibility of accidentally brushing a cantankerous local man and getting lifted as a nonce?

Capt Haddock
Posted - 30 April 2018 21:34
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I am surprised by the hysterical reaction to Dubai. Closed minds.

Wilfroston - I remember your posts. Well done and congratulations.
Cat on a hot tin ceiling
Posted - 01 May 2018 04:59
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Clerghs - no, because the risk of something like that happening is vanishingly small. It would be no more rational than being terrified of living in London because of terrorism/acid attacks.

Os - no idea how long you spent here and lawd knows it ain’t perfect but people writing off an entire city because they spent 3 days here on a stopover in 2006 or whatever are a bit annoying.
Cat on a hot tin ceiling
Posted - 01 May 2018 05:07
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Ah I see you spent a whole week in Dubai Os...
Good on Paper
Posted - 01 May 2018 05:37
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Expat packages are not over, but nowadays th only way you get them at our shop - and I suspect others are similar - is if they need you to move internally and they need to incentivise you. For lateral moves, nowadays (definitely in Asia) there is usually some form of local market you’re competing against. In HK, the only expat market I know well, the place is still full of foreigners but for a single income family the financial deal is now roughly break-even with life in the UK. What you save in tax you will give back almost entirely in higher rents - it’s funny how efficient markets work, and international skilled labour between the UK and HK seems to be quite efficient in this regard.

For a professional couple however the financial benefits are extraordinary because for five hundred quod a month you can have full time childcare and household help which means both of you can carry on high-earning and basically save one partner’s salary (after c.11% effective tax rate). Our London mortgage has halved since moving here and will be paid off by next year.
Good on Paper
Posted - 01 May 2018 05:39
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Massive heh @ the idea Cayman is Wild West

It’s a haven for highly regulated back end financial and legal services. It’s like Reading with better weather and easier parking.
wilfrostron
Posted - 01 May 2018 07:00
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Thanks Capn Haddock. Back in UK and still miss it.

GoodonPaper - completely agree. Only issue I guess is that if you’re both working HK hours you won’t see much of the kids! Flexi working doesn’t seem to have caught on so much there, I guess partly because of availability of cheap help
MrSquaresMagicCircle
Posted - 01 May 2018 07:45
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Curious about people citing cost of living being high in Dubai. I would have thought Singapore is higher - everywhere I read that it is one of the highest cost of living cities in the world.

I dont find Dubai too pricey to live - other than rent and the cost of berthing my boat.
jinx
Posted - 01 May 2018 08:07
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Laz - don’t you mean ‘would have been paid off by next year if I hadn’t just resigned’?

Because you did resign last week didn’t you - that was a thing that actually happened, right?
Wellington
Posted - 01 May 2018 08:15
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just stay in england.

never understood the attraction to living in forrin land, especially fake forrin lands like singapore / dubai
Gabriel Oak
Posted - 01 May 2018 08:18
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I cannot imagine moving one’s family abroad for the sake of my career. I know a lot of people do - quite apart from the dislocation of social life for everyone, I assume it appeals to people who are happy not to set down roots and design/love their living space: after all as an ex pay you’re basically living in rented accommodation and can’t even paint the walls let alone develop a home. I’ve always assumed it doesn’t matter that much though because people who want to do it will have children who in turn won’t mind doing it
Wellington
Posted - 01 May 2018 08:26
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add in the fact of what a fvcking ball ache it is getting kids into decent schools / nurseries etc.

what is the upside? you get to spend a couple of years living in a house which probably isn't that much better than your own whilst you rent your own one out and some khunt trashes it (in return for a bit of heavily taxed rental income)

then add in the fact that your assignment ends, you come back to your original office but there isn't a job for you and no one knows who the fvck you are so you end up being out on your ear anyway

but yeh you get the "experience" of living abroad. Except you don't, you go to dubai or singapore where you spend your entire time with other expats, who are basically complete bellends anyway and are much shitter than your friends that you already had at home

also its too fvcking hot. i like hot weather, its great but not when you're working. And singapore and especially dubai are stupidly hot. In dubai you basically can't go outside for about 3 months of the year. give me daily drizzle over that shyte.
Chambers
Posted - 01 May 2018 08:30
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Cayman actually isn't Wild West, wrong choice of words there, but its certainly nothing like Reading!

The top two or three law firms there are full of ex-City lawyers, from the top firms. Some like the lifestyle, and the pay packages, easily seven figures at partner level and the work can be fairly complex on multi-jurisdictional corporate / finance stuff. You wouldn't go to a law firm in Reading for that.
Good on Paper
Posted - 01 May 2018 09:16
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Heh @ jinx casting desperately around

You’ll never catch me sun, I’m Barry Sanders to your ageing second-string linebacker
Lincoln Burrows
Posted - 01 May 2018 09:22
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Heh@Cat - one of the few places that makes Dubai seem appealing is the utter sh1thole that is Abu Dhabi! ugh.
Chambers
Posted - 01 May 2018 09:28
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What has jinx got against you Laz? I've found the repeated digs puzzling. Who is the character anyway.
wilfrostron
Posted - 01 May 2018 09:32
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At least abroad you will actually get to see your mates. With many honourable exceptions, many people in London post 35 have dispersed over London and the surrounding counties to spend their weekends tiling something or attending a cousin's birthday party in Tring. People in Dubai and Singapore live nearer each other and socialise more.

Travel-wise you have access to some brilliant places which are a ballache to get to from Europe especially with kids. Work-wise you get a completely different experience given difference in clients, local culture etc.

Life races past if you stay in one place doing the same sh1t every day. Would always back a stint abroad as long as it works financially.
sad banta
Posted - 01 May 2018 09:34
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"Chambers
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What has jinx got against you Laz? I've found the repeated digs puzzling. Who is the character anyway."

Could be Laz's literary/sports/electoral agent ?
Good on Paper
Posted - 01 May 2018 09:35
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He’s basically a fanboy

Angry cos I won’t let him touch me
Wellington
Posted - 01 May 2018 10:10
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People in Dubai and Singapore live nearer each other and socialise more.

because they're all tedious expat khunts who live vacuous empty lives which revolve around "brunch" and shoveling as much gak up their noses as they can before having crap sex with an eastern european hooker they met in a hotel bar.
Yipper
Posted - 01 May 2018 10:29
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That's all true Wellington but just for balance could you please provide your views on the downsides of expat life.
Wellington
Posted - 01 May 2018 10:55
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i think i've tried to troll people who live in dubai so many times that they no longer respond to my wind ups annoyingly.
A 1ng 1ng time ago...
Posted - 01 May 2018 11:56
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I quite liked the food in singapore. I had approximately 6 meals there. The night safari round the zoo was fun as was the gin amd peanut bar in raffles. I hope this gives yoj the information you require to make a life changing decision.
Nexis
Posted - 01 May 2018 12:20
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I love Singers. I'd move there tomorrow if it was a realistic opportunity.

Dubai is a toilet. There is not enough money in the world that could entice me to live there.
trainerboy
Posted - 02 May 2018 10:03
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Packages do exist, albeit are increasingly rare and (agree with Wilfostron) not absolutely mandatory for survival.

That said, you are almost certainly going to be spending more, even if you're concocting massive and elaborate savings plans as you type.

You'll hear people tell you they'll be keeping it real, mixing with the locals, not worrying about keeping up with all the richer expats spending money like water etc. They're either living in fantasyland, or will lead such boring, constrained lives as they sacrifice their stint abroad to the God of savings, but either way unhappiness lies.

As an expat you might well find that you do want to travel more, and more expensively (if only by reason of frequency, irrespective of the price of your tastes) - it's part of the whole point, as some have said above. Whether it's coming home for Christmas, or going somewhere new and exotic every half-term, most expat places empty at school holidays as people absolutely max their holiday opportunities (and escape oppressive heat). For example, the Singapore exodus to Margaret River in West Australia at Chinese New Year is huge, as are weekends on islands all over Asia.

So, I would bank on SOME sort of uplift - even a modest COLA would usually be justified. It might be that a company-paid beach club membership in Dubai, or some sort of sporting club membership in Singapore, would be the difference between your partner and family loving it, or not. These tend to be relatively immaterial at an employer level, but expensive individually if you're paying out of net.

There are more than several ways of skinning a cat, too. Others have spoken about tax savings balancing higher rents etc, and this is a common philosophy. You see some people take rent and schooling allowances in cash and try to bank as much margin from those as possible. The company I work for has a "nobody gets rich from an expat assignment" policy; it means you're selected for assignments by need/for development etc, and you're hypo-taxed back to your home market - thus no-one benefits vs their peers from suddenly being in a low-tax jurisdiction. This is super old-school as an approach, but the quid pro quo is that there is an uplift judged appropriate to each market to reflect cost of living, schools and rents, so at least you're not going backwards.

One caution and variable which may or may not apply to you is how experienced your employer is with expat-ism, and in the specific country you decide upon. If it is not experienced, it may be that it has underestimated the cost of living, and/or may simply be unsympathetic to the vagaries of life abroad. Above all, you need an understanding of what your life will be like; there are usually challenges which require an employer's understanding. I have seen people really struggle because their employer just hasn't seen them right.
Bloody Nora and the Unicorns
Posted - 02 May 2018 10:08
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I would go to Singapore because Dubai is a shithole.
Parsnip
Posted - 02 May 2018 13:53
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i lived in dubai for a number of years - and i think for every year i was there, i was three years better off than i would have been had i been in the uk. Cost of living is no higher than london - and as a minimum you shoudl manage to save the tax - and as the tax part of your income has no outgoings it will mean that you will make progress very quickly. Its a wealth generation approach but that's really the point of being a lawyer - do it make some money and then stop and do something else.
Foxbat
Posted - 02 May 2018 14:42
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Agreed Parsnip. Living normally (i.e. as you would in London and avoiding sports cars / flash brunches etc...) with an average mid-level lawyer salary in Dubai you can save anywhere up to about 60-80k per year. Try doing that back home.
Parsnip
Posted - 02 May 2018 14:55
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i had a nice car and went out plenty of times.
i just also made sure that i saved
brunches were fun every now and again - a bit like going to infernos - you grow out of them after a while and there are loads of things to do / sports etc that are easily accessible and world class in terms of facilities
Yipper
Posted - 02 May 2018 17:28
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If you assume parity on every day stuff, then to trouser all the Dubai tax savings, the rent, school fees x2 and commuting costs would need to be £2k a month which is my UK spend. Not sure that's realistic but maybe I'm wrong.
Cat on a hot tin ceiling
Posted - 07 May 2018 11:51
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Slightly different but I love the Christopher Brookmyre stuff
Cat on a hot tin ceiling
Posted - 07 May 2018 11:51
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Oops wrong thread
☠ Rufus Youngblood
Posted - 09 May 2018 03:26
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trainerboy
Posted - 02 May 2018 10:03 Report as offensive Report Offensive

. ...The company I work for has a "nobody gets rich from an expat assignment" policy; it means you're selected for assignments by need/for development etc, and you're hypo-taxed back to your home market - thus no-one benefits vs their peers from suddenly being in a low-tax jurisdiction. This is super old-school as an approach, but the quid pro quo is that there is an uplift judged appropriate to each market to reflect cost of living, schools and rents, so at least you're not going backwards.

---

I don't know that this is old-school - it was certainly the case at my firm (in contrast to the partners sent abroad 20 years ago (as associates of any level or to be made partner) who had lashings of benefits provided.

And it's a fvcking sh1t attitude. If you ask someone to go for the good of the firm, you're making them disrupt their lives and make huge non-monetary sacrifices. Sure it might be a great adventure too, but the very least you can do is take a generous approach towards them financially.
Good on Paper
Posted - 09 May 2018 03:32
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Agree with Rufo. I work for money. If I get sent to work somewhere else I expect the tax benefits. If the firm wants to take those off me then it can go fvck itself and I just won’t go. The *point* of expat work is to get rich. If you don’t like it, recruit locally - and in most markets, LOL good luck with that, frankly.
☠ Rufus Youngblood
Posted - 09 May 2018 04:43
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trudat laz.

The most ridiculous is people getting "tax equalised" from Europe to the Gulf or Russia. Fvck that in the eye.

A mate recently had a win on this point - the first time I ever heard it happening. But only because the partner had initially referred to the tax benefit when roping him into a sandpit stint - and was himself flabbergasted when HR insisted on tax equalisation.
Parsnip
Posted - 09 May 2018 09:41
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tax equalisation is pretty unusual in law these days.

Tax is the money you pay to the government to fund local services. If its not payable, its not payable. You can't withold money because otherwise you will be too well off! I know of one or two firms in the gulf where they have a problem with partner retention after about 10 years a partner because the partners become very rich and think "fuvk it, i;ll do something else"

Even a modest tri-tun = £25k per month
☠ Rufus Youngblood
Posted - 09 May 2018 14:22
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Really?? Maybe (ex-) Rufus LLP was an outlier.

I've never forgiven those khunts for making a junior associate friend sign over £25k owing from HRMC (due to a fortunate misalignment of tax years and several years paying all costs with no uplift to be in Rufustan) to the firm, in order to fund a few more ivory back scratchers for the firm.
Parsnip
Posted - 09 May 2018 14:35
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yes - in law firms

for short term assignments eg fiexed for a year or two with a formal right to return you used to see that some places but they would then uplift by paying housing, car, utilities, club, education etc. Now they just pay gross gross and you sort yourself out. much better for most - particularly those who dont have large education needs and the need for a massive 6ksqft house