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Would you move to HK again?

  1. #1
    whendg is offline Registered User
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    Would you move to HK again?

    I know this question will probably get the "It's a matter of personal preference" type answers but I want to ask anyway.
    My husband is currently being pursued for a job in Hong Kong. We're still getting all the info on it but we do know it will not be an ExPat package, it instead will be a Local Package, which we know is not as "desireable" as the ExPat. Anyway! My question is...those of you who have been living in Hong Kong for a while, what are your thoughts? If the pieces fall into place should we do it? Uproot ourselves (and our 2-year old) and head around the world (we are in Florida) and move to Hong Kong? Would you do it again?
    I am equal parts terrified and excited. I am game for the experience and think it would be great for my son, but it is also crazy over-whelming!
    I have been lurking around on the GeoBaby site reading old posts on moving, living, schooling in Hong Kong and it helps to know that there is such a great, knowledgable community intact to help out if things progress.
    Thanks for any thoughts, advice, input you might have.
    ~wendy~

  2. #2
    Gracey is offline Registered User
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    I'm on a local package, and my husband is kinda on a local package, too. We've been here more than a decade and are very happy.
    The only difference is really one of hard, cold cash. Expat packages often include allowances for housing and English-language schools -- maybe flight tickets back and forth. But if you have a well-paid local package that is generous enough to include good housing / education / travel, it's basically the same. If you have a lowly paid local package, it can be a struggle -- but that's the same in any big city. Money buys comfort.
    If you don't mind my asking, how much will you get per month? This will help people here figure out if you can afford a nice home in a nice neighborhood, etc.
    Also, what level of living are you used to? Do you expect a giant apartment with private outdoor space? Do you want full-time housekeeping / nanny? Do you want a car? Top private schools? Are you interested in being part of expat high-society and hang out at expensive restaurants and bars downtown?
    Or are you happy living in a modest-sized flat, cooking at home and taking public transport?
    It all comes down to salary and lifestyle.

  3. #3
    whendg is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for your qiuck reply. We haven't gotten all the specifics on salary yet so I am not sure on the number. We would be dealing with a more modest lifestyle though, which suites me just fine.
    My inquiry is more in the way of "If you knew then, what you know now about HK, would you still have moved?" Your comment on having been in HK for ten years and that you are very happy is a big help!
    ~wendy~

  4. #4
    yonge is offline Registered User
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    I wished we had stayed in Hong Kong continuously instead of moving back and forth between Hong Kong and Singapore five times in the last ten years. It would have been better for us professionally and financially as we would have been able to buy a larger flat in Hong Kong than instead of now. At that time, we thought it would be better to raise our children in Singapore and took the risk of moving where we thought we would be able to pursue our careers while having more open space, larger apartments and bilingual schools. Instead, we both lost our jobs during the financial crisis. Thank God we managed to have completely paid up our home in Singapore or we could have been in serious financial hardship. My husband is now the sole breadwinner on a non-expat package with a rental allowance, but no educational or travelling allowance. We've found we were able to make do by being very diligent in our research for housing, schooling and shopping to maximize our dollar - we have a large family, with three children 6 and under, my parents and a helper. We've found that Hong Kong can be inexpensive if you're willing to "go local". The difference between prices aimed at the expatriate market and the local market can be staggering. After all, half of Hong Kong lives in public housing where there are very low maximum income thresholds. Depending on your line of work, Hong Kong is a pretty hard place to beat in terms of career trajectory. I would probably still be working if I remained in Hong Kong, but we're still happy with being in Hong Kong on a single income.

  5. #5
    Frenchy is offline Registered User
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    We are living in HK for more than 4 years now, it was planned for only 2... and just signed for 3 more. We have 2 kids, one going to preschool and the other is only 11 months old.
    If we had to leave it would be really hard, because we've learned to love this city, and have no regret at all about our move here. It's a very exciting city, with lots of energy, of possibilities, of new friends. And we could come back in a blink !

  6. #6
    Shenzhennifer is offline Registered User
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    We moved here from shenzhen across the border, 2 yrs ago. It was amazing to move here instead of stay in sz which I hated. We are moving to Canada next month. I don't know if i would come back. Never say never but I would suspect not. One of the main reasons we are leaving is because of our kids, 2 yo and 4 mo. We are a single income family, living in a more local urban area(I'm the only whitey mama around;). We live in a modest 3 bedroom 800 sqft apt in a reasonably nice complex. Rent is $14.5k, covered by my husbands company. The portion of his salary we live on is $18k. Technically an expat package(don't laugh, ppl!) bc we have insurance as well, but my husband is not high level and works for Japanese company so conditions are different. For the past 6 months, I have been overspending bc of doctors bills when I was pregnant, helper salary(pt), moving costs, sons play school, etc. We eat at home mon-fir, but most weekend meals are out. Most bills are $200-300, except breakfast. I would say we are half expat-half local in terms of spending habits, possibly more local, hehe. We can't afford school for the kids. I think the company supports half but not till primary school, and that's far off. So that is a main reason. We also get bored on the weekends. No car, public transport takes long to go to far place. No family here. Couple close friends but not huge community compared with some expats here. Weather is ok, but a bit muggy hot in summer. I will miss the food, and all the cheap stuff you can buy. I will miss my couple of close friends too, of course. And living in a foreign culture. But there are other thngs that bug me here. I don't want to be an English teacher and get a helper to raise my kids.
    Anyway, I would only come back if we got fed up, bored or failed in Canada and were offered a proper expat package. The school thing here is a real bummer though.
    Sorry for choppy post, 2 monkeys around me:)
    All the best in your decision. I'm all for going for it and moving overseas. We are just doing the reverse after many years away.

  7. #7
    TNT
    TNT is offline Banned
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    We have been here 14 months, 2 kids aged 4 and 2 and we would definitely do it again. While every place has it's drawbacks, we love it here and plan to stay here a little while (3 years +). We also went to the UK from Australia as expats and although we also loved that found it harder as it took longer to establish a social network - here I have found it really easy as there are so many ways to meet people.

  8. #8
    hkexpat2010 is offline Registered User
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    I'm from the US originally and I've only been in Hong Kong 6 months so I may not be the best person, but I've been living in Asia for 10 years now including Singapore and Shanghai. I have to say I find Hong Kong a difficult transition and with a baby on the way even more so.

    The things that bug me the most here is value for money of things like apartments, restaurants, private healthcare, and baby stuff. It's all ridiculously expensive if you want/expect the same quality as in the US. Even when you can afford it, you wonder isn't it crazy to spend $40USD a person on a very mediocre, typical dinner or $30USD+ on a set of bottles that costs less than $10usd back home.

    Also, if you have a 2 year old, school will be a huge cost here. Others can probably tell you the exact price, but if you want an international preschool/school I've heard it's about 20,000+USD/year. However, the public school starts at 3 years old with half days if you are ok with that route. Tutoring is also very costly at about 500hkd + per hour.

    The population and building density is also hard to stomach after living in other places. You can definitely avoid this if you want to live in areas like Discovery Bay, Lantau or Lamma Island, etc and they have cheaper apts. Additionally, I feel money is very important here. More than I've felt in other countries I've lived in. Maybe it's because things are more expensive here or people have more money in general. I'm not really sure. I just feel like there is a huge pressure here to spend alot of money to do anything.

    For pros, help is cheap here (about 60hkd per hour for part-time and I think 4000/month for a live-in) and transportation is really good and cheap for buses, tram, and subway. It's also easy to get alot of Western groceries and ingredients here compared to other Asian countries. Finally, it's nice for hiking and beaches.

    With a little one on the way, we see our time in Hong Kong as limited by school age, unless a job change gives us a full expat package with education, but even then we'd like to raise our kids in a place where we have a backyard and they know what running barefoot on grass feels like. I've literally seen a kid cry every time their feet touched grass because they were so freaked out by the feeling... And now that I think if it, I can't think of anyplace I've been in Hong Kong island where a kid could even walk on grass.

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