12 January 2011

Should I stay or should I go? 2


I read your blog http://ask-a-chinese-guy.blogspot.com/ and saw your email under
Go on don't be afraid ask away
Well, I am a Hong Kong born and bred but have lived away for a long time. I miss the night life and the lifestyle and I'm considering returning. The last time I check (around 2 years ago) I was being offered jobs at around 13K pm. I'm 28/m. I wanted to know if this is enough to have a comfortable life?

Thanks & Regards,

Hi there Roshan.

This is a highly subjective area, namely because it depends on your tastes wants and desires in life tbh. But any which way you look at it 13,000HK$ is not very much at all.

The average wage in Hong Kong is $19,000. Though I believe that this is skewed upwards because of the huge number of high earners who live in Hong Kong due to the low tax regime. Still $13,000 isn't exactly a huge amount of money to play around with either.

But you'll probably pay no income tax. I'd also look at your citizenship situation as well. 3* citizens have subsidised health care and can go on waiting lists. People without the three stars can't.

Quite simply accommodation will be THE biggest cost that will hit you. $3000-$6000 is typical with lower rents in not so good areas. And when I say that I mean a box room which can fit little more than a bed in it. A common trap is to live in the New Territories the problem is the savings in rent are sucked up by the time and commuting costs. Although HK's MTR and bus networks are extremely effective and cheap probably better than when you left it all adds up.

I can live on $13000 because $10000 of that is disposable income.

Some other costs you can't avoid.

A decent meal can be had for $30-40.

Beer is about $9-15 in convenience stores while anywhere from $10-$1000 for a beer (in LKF HK where all the bankers go it is v expensive.)

Thus your life will be no fun at all and you'll be scrimping and saving constantly meaning your life won't exactly be great. Also I'd add that Hong Kong people by and large are very face conscious. They will look down on you and some people will even go as far to ridicule you to a great extent. Much like how people put down others to make themselves feel better. If it was just to get your foot into the door to lead to a better job then MAYBE it is worth it. But as said I'd look for at least $16000+ which will get you an ok place to stay, decent food to eat and some fun money.


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