While the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly created turmoil for many, Singapore remains one of the more popular destinations for Australian expats to relocate to. Whether it be to start a new business, progress in their chosen career or simply for a change of scenery, this little red dot continues to lure Australians in.

With over 25,000 Australian expats living and working in Singapore, this week our team at Ally are exploring what makes this city state so popular. Working with clients throughout many expat destinations around the globe, it gives our team some unique insights into the driving forces behind relocation decisions.

Let’s dive right in.

  1. First Class Public Transportation System

Singapore boasts one of the most efficient bus and train public transport systems of any country around the world. The MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) is a train service that branches across Singapore, with each station approximately 2 minutes apart. The MRT provides a very efficient transport service and is kept relatively clean to ensure that commuters have a pleasant ride. Trains are readily available and during working hours on weekdays it’s highly unlikely you would have to wait more than 5 minutes for a train.

There are more than 370 scheduled bus services in Singapore. These bus services extend into residential areas that are not covered by the MRT services. Residents often use them to connect to MRT stations. Bus stops have helpful signs that display routes of buses to allow commuters to plan their journey in advance and ultimately ensure they reach their destinations. Routes of bus services can also be found on their websites.

There are also numerous apps that you can download that will provide both the shortest and/or fastest public transport route to your destination. Finally, of course, is the fact that the bus and train fares in Singapore are approximately ¼ to 1/3 of what you would expect to pay in Australia. While it may be expensive to own a car in Singapore, it’s very affordable to get around.

  1. One of, if not the, safest countries in the world

In most expat surveys carried out for those living all over the world, such as the HSBC Expat Explorer Survey, the results continue to highlight the safety of Singapore being a key attraction for many. Singapore tends to be a very safe country for both women and children also, with those surveyed continuing to outline that they feel very positively about their personal safety in Singapore.

It is also one of few countries that you can take public transport alone in the evenings and feel very safe. The strict and harsh laws and penalties in Singapore keep violent crime exceptionally low relative to other countries.

  1. Singapore is the melting pot of Asia

Wining and dining is certainly one of the key national pastimes in Singapore, and this is evident whenever you visit or meet with a local Singaporean, who will typically first greet you with ‘Makan’, which essentially translates to ‘have you eaten’? With a diverse range of cultures in Singapore, it is a place where there is something to suit the taste buds of everyone. Whether you’re looking to spend $3.50 on a local chicken rice meal at a Hawker’s centre, or you’d prefer to spend $300 on a steak, Singapore has you covered.

With many popular local dishes to try, such as the famous Singapore Chilli Crab, Hainanese chicken rise and nasi lemak, there is always a new café or restaurant to check out. Singapore is also home to many Michelin-star restaurants and some of the most popular bars in Asia and globally.

  1. Location, location, location!

Singapore is the English-speaking doorstep to the rest of Asia, and most Australian expats (during non-pandemic times of course) make the most of this geographical convenience with regular weekend getaways to various parts of Asia. Whether you’re looking to take a cruise on a junket in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, or experience the hustle and bustle of the busy streets and nightlife of Bangkok, many of these trips and both affordable and easily accessible with a short flight.

The proximity to Australia, particularly for those who call Perth home, mean that it’s just a short flight to visit friends or family back home in Australia. Being in the same time zone as Perth also makes it simpler to stay in touch with your friends and family back home in Australia.

  1. The tax system

While tax rates are not the ‘be-all-and-end-all when it comes to deciding on an expat destination, Singapore’s tax system is certainly one of the most attractive. Firstly, there is no Capital Gains Tax (CGT) or tax on dividends in Singapore, which when compared with the marginal income tax rate of 45% (excluding the Medicare levy), is a meaningful difference to Australia.

The income tax rates are also significantly lower, with the top marginal income tax rate being just 22% for those earning over S$320,000. To put this into perspective, someone with an annual salary of $250,000 in Australia would pay approximately A$88,167 in tax each year, while someone on the same salary in Singapore would pay just S$30,700. While Singapore may be a more expensive place to live for some, the tax savings often more than makeup for this differential.

 

For us, it comes as little surprise that Singapore continues to rank very highly as one of the most popular Australian expat destinations. With its great food, endless travel destinations, and business opportunities for all, this lion city certainly isn’t losing its appeal.

 

Ally Wealth Management is the trusted ally in finance for Australians at home and across the globe. As both Australian expats and residents, the founders of Ally have a unique understanding of the common personal financial challenges faced.

Book your complimentary appointment with our team at Ally Wealth Management to discuss how we can help you to achieve your financial goals.

Ally Wealth Management Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative of Sentry Advice Pty Ltd ABN 77 103 642 888. Sentry Advice holds an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL) No. 227 748.

General Advice Warning: The information contained herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal advice. You should not act on any recommendation without considering your personal needs, circumstances and objectives. We recommend you obtain professional financial advice specific to your circumstances.