Working in Hong Kong
Monthly Earnings 275,000 baht
Q1. How is that income broken down? (full-time salary, private students, on-line teaching, extra work, etc)
My full-time salary is 200,000 baht, which is a huge step up from what I used to make in a small international school in Bangkok. I also have a 75K housing allowance.
Q2. How much money can you save each month?
I save about 120K every month. My wife has a steady income stream of 50K a month and saves all of that. Most of my end-of-year bonus, which is 375K, I save as well.
Q3. How much do you pay for your accommodation and what do you live in exactly (house, apartment, condo)?
Hong Kong is very expensive to rent. My wife and I rent a small two-bedroom apartment close to the school. I technically don't pay for this at all, because the cost (60K) fits well into my housing allowance (75K)
Q4. What do you spend a month on the following things?
Hong Kong has fantastic public transportation (and infrastructure), which is a big thing after coming from Bangkok. I think we spend about 3,500 bath a month on this
My internet, phone, electricity, and water all add up to about 10K, which I pay with the leftovers from my housing allowance
Food - both restaurants and supermarket shopping
Restaurants can be very expensive. My wife and I are absolute foodies, though she now cooks 6 days a week. We spend about 20K a month on groceries. We go out to restaurants once a week and we spend about 30K on this.
Nightlife and drinking
I used to go out quite a lot when I lived in Bangkok, but now that I am married with a rapidly developing career, I find that I prefer staying in much more. I also limit myself to only drinking at home once a month. So I guess I might spend about 1-2K a month on this.
I own a very good computer which my job bought for me. I also have an Xbox, for which I probably pay about 500 baht a month. I am an avid reader but I download my books for free.
Q5. How would you summarize your standard of living in one sentence?
I think my wife and I have an extraordinarily high standard of living. We do not have to really think about any expenses, but we are both very sensible with money and like to save. We can afford to do the things we like and still save more money yearly than most people back in Europe would earn in that same time-frame.
Hong Kong is such an amazing location to live, especially after being exposed to blatant Thai discrimination and racism towards foreigners. In Hong Kong, every person is what he or she brings to the table. We have access to completely free, top quality healthcare within a city state that has very sound infrastructure. On top of that, Hong Kong isn't nearly as expensive as some people think. It is certainly not that much more expensive than Bangkok.
Q6. What do you consider to be a real 'bargain' here?
Transportation is something I absolutely fell in love with. Being able to traverse the city in less than 30 minutes for bottom barrel costs is something you could only dream of in Bangkok.
Q7. In your opinion, how much money does anyone need to earn here in order to survive?
That is a tough one to answer and it all depends on your priorities. If your employer pays for your housing, then you would live pretty well on 85K.
Phil's analysis and comment
Thanks Patrizio. It sounds like you have a wonderful lifestyle out there in Hong Kong, a wonderful place I've been lucky to visit at least seven or eight times. As you say, the public transportation system is second to none.
One thing that did shock me about your figures was dropping 30K a month on restaurants and you only dine out once a week. Those must be some pretty swanky joints you eat at!