3 Money Tips for Expats in Singapore

Since Singapore is among the most livable country in Asia for expats. The country promises great financial prospects and a good-quality of life.

Nevertheless, if you would like to reap the most benefits of living here as an expat, you will just have to familiarize yourself with the financial laws applicable in Singapore.

What then can you do when faced with any financial problems? You always can apply for the foreigner loan or personal loan offered by licensed moneylenders.

As you pick up and move to Singapore, there are several tips that can help you save some money during the move. While you are going through the challenge of moving, you do not want to have the added strain of dealing with financial issues.

Luckily for you, Singapore is also a global financial hub, meaning you will have endless options as well as service providers to choose from. Sadly though is that more expats are still losing money through making common mistakes, and end up learning the hard way.

How then can you save yourself from such experiences?

  1. Do not buy a car

The country is a well connected, small island and you can move from end to end in 90-minutes flat. So there you will not need to own a car since it will prove to be rather expensive. Instead, consider ways for managing your money during the first phases of moving to a new country.

For any financial challenges, licensed moneylenders may be approached for assistance, should you be needing some additional funds.

  1. Understand the local tax system

In Singapore, there is no inheritance tax or capital gains tax. Even so, the taxation method is not as easy as it possibly appears. For example, when your company is giving you stock options, these are considered as a portion of your salary and the profits are made taxable.

Likewise, when you are considering to purchase property here, then you should be aware that for an expat, a stamp duties fee of 15% or more is payable. Talk to your tax manager for more clarity.

  1. Know the tax implications for renting your own property back home

For someone who lived in their own property back home, it could be that you wish to rent it out since you will be living in another country. Though some countries will not have further taxes imposed on expats who are subletting their properties, yet others will not have such parameters.

Therefore, you should know these before renting out your property. Likewise, when you are considering to sell your property, then it is best you finalize the transaction before leaving your home country.

Additional Money Management Tips For Expats in Singapore

In order to make your stay much more affordable and save you some money in the process, here is a look at more money management tips to help you settle-in in Singapore. Keep in mind the cost of living is ever increasing so any chance you get to save an additional dollar will be helpful.

What other ways can you save yet enjoy your stay?

  • Get a local Credit Card

As you make credit card transactions, do not use a credit card issued in your home country. In addition to currency differences, you will be charged foreign exchange fees, which could come to 2 percent.

So instead obtain a local credit card this way you will avoid these fees, also local credit cards will save you money through the cashback offer, one-on-one restaurant deals, or even discounts at some of your favorite shops. Such savings could significantly add up and eventually save you several hundred dollars each year on daily expenses

  • Opt for a Global Insurance Policy

Most insurance companies will terminate your cover soon after you leave your home country. Similarly, local insurers will not consider covering you when you will be spending significant periods moving in and out of Singapore.

In this instance, it is financially efficient that you choose a global insurance cover rather than a local one, particularly when staying for a short-term (7 years or less) and when you will be moving around a lot. Though the premiums will be higher, however, it still may be cheaper instead of repeatedly adding cover from local insurers.

  • Don’t choose a Bank Because It is More Familiar

Singapore being the regional financial hub, has more than 100 banks operating. Past the world renown brands such as Citibank or HSBC, Singapore has a variety of private and also offshore banks which will you a suitable personal loan deals.

Local banks, like OCBC and DBS and licensed moneylenders, also offer an accessibility advantage. These lenders will have more ATMs, making it easier to deposit and withdraw cash at your own convenience.

So, why not consider choosing 2 banks once you arrive? How will this work? The first one needs to be an international lender to be used for transferring funds to and from home; it is normally cheaper instead of using non-bank remittance services, and you will get better exchange rates.

Your second bank needs to be a local bank, which will make it more convenient in making transactions like withdrawals.

  • Contact a Forex Broker

When you are planning to bring a huge sum into Singapore, or wish to transfer big sums frequently, be sure to contact a Forex broker. Can a forex broker help? Since brokers use futures and options to obtain the best possible exchange rates, they can do this for you and charge a fee.

Also when not in a hurry, the Forex broker may also offer you advise on when it is the ideal time to do currency exchange. Sometimes this may be worth the wait for several months to minimize losing thousands of dollars, and especially when you plan to exchange a substantial amount.


Singapore is reputed for being among the world’s most expensive cities. But on the flip side, it offers a mix of low tax environment and great safety with political stability. Therefore, if you are considering moving to Singapore, the above mentioned and time-tested tips will help you manage your finances as you enjoy your stay in Singapore.