For those of that have called Singapore home for a number of years, we’d all agree that it is an easy place to live. From the abundance of great food, an array of tropical travel destinations a stone’s throw away, safety at all times of the day and night, and of course the excellent public transport system, it’s hard to recall how we ever did without. As a new expat to Singapore, however, it can be a daunting experience knowing exactly what to do and who you should speak to.

Our team at Australian Expatriate Group has put together the following checklist for new Australian expats who’ve moved to Singapore:

1. Update address and contact details with bank and any share registries

Once you’ve secured your new condo or house in Singapore, it’s important that you update the bank/s in Australia and the share registries with your new address and contact details. Not only will this ensure that you continue to receive correspondence from them, it is also important for your tax residence.

2. Join ANZA and AustCham

As an Australian expat living outside of Australia, there will often be things that you miss about back home, whether it’s the crystal clear, white sandy beaches or the more affordable wine. Both ANZA and AustCham are excellent communities full of great people and hold regular events that you can get involved in.

3. Set up a retirement savings vehicle

Now that you’re working outside of Australia, you will no longer have mandatory contributions to your superannuation fund. It’s important that you seek to set up an equivalent retirement savings vehicle that is not only tax efficient, but also provides you with the flexibility to transfer these funds into your super or another retirement vehicle should you repatriate or relocate elsewhere.

4. Set up health insurance for you and your loved ones

As an expat, it’s important that you have the right international health insurance for you and your family. There are a wide range of providers in Singapore and the premiums vary significantly, so be sure to review your options and identify the right policy for you. It’s also important to have a clear understanding of the claims process and exactly which areas are and aren’t covered.

5. Review your personal insurances

There’s a chance that your current insurance will not cover you now that you’re living and working outside of Australia, or that you no longer have an appropriate level of cover. It’s important to review your key personal insurances, which includes your life, total & permanent disablement, critical illness / trauma and income protection cover to ensure you have the right level of protection in place.

6. Try the famous local food – Char Kway Teow, Haianese Chicken Rice and Chilli Crab

As you will quickly discover, Singapore is considered to be the melting pot of Asia with a diverse, world-class cuisine. Be sure to try some of the top local delights including the Char Kway Teow, Haianese Chicken Rice and Chilli Crab.

7. Review your share holdings

When you change your Australian tax status to Non-Resident, it’s important that you consider the impact on your share holdings. Ensure that you’re aware of your options here and select the strategy that is most appropriate based on your personal circumstances.

8. Ensure your children are protected

As an expatriate, it is typically appropriate for you to have both Temporary Guardians and Permanent Guardians in place if you have children. If your Permanent Guardians are living back in Australia or elsewhere, the Temporary Guardians would be responsible for your children should something happen to you, until the Permanent Guardians arrive.

9. Try a Singapore Sunday brunch

A stay in Singapore wouldn’t be complete without the bucket-list-worthy Singapore Sunday brunch and one of the many top hotels in the country. With free-flow champagne and cocktails, it’s a good idea to set the rest of the day aside and enjoy the first class seafood and other delights. On a personal note, some of our personal favourites are the W Sentosa  and the Sofitel on Sentosa.

10. Cancel your Australian memberships

Now that you are no longer an Australian resident, you should seek to cancel your Australian memberships if you’ve not done so already. This can also be helpful to support your non-resident status for tax purposes in Australia.

11. Get involved in local sports and activities

There are many clubs, sports and activities for you to get involved in here in Singapore, and can be a great way to meet new people. Whether you want to take up Muay Thai, Dragon Boat Racing with the Australian team or AFL with the ANZA Wombats, there is something for everybody.

12. Make the most of your time abroad

There is no doubt that living and working as an Australian expat in Singapore provides most expats with a significant financial opportunity to really grow your asset base. Don’t wait too late before putting a plan in place to ensure that you’re not wasting the opportunity, financially, of living and working in Singapore.


To Your Financial Success!

Jarrad Brown is the trusted fee-based financial adviser for Australian expatriates living in Singapore and throughout Asia-Pacific.

To learn more about how we may be able to help you, please contact us:

✆          +65 8282 5702

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