4 Reasons Singapore Might Not Be as Expensive a Place to Live as It Seems to Be

In some of the most well-known Global Cost of Living indexes like those of Numbeo and The Economist, Singapore often ranks among the most expensive cities in the world. In recent years, the city-state has also established a reputation for being home to residents who live glitzy and glamorous lifestyles, and these include many expatriates who migrate to the country to do business. As such, those who are considering moving and setting up shop in Singapore may feel discouraged about taking the first step, thinking that they will need to live a costly lifestyle by default. However, there’s more than meets the eye about this Asian Tiger, especially when it comes to managing one’s cost of living. 

4 Reasons Singapore Might Not Be as Expensive a Place to Live as It Seems to Be
[image: pexels by kin pastor]

It’s true that Singapore is an expensive place to live in compared to other Southeast Asian countries. Factors like land scarcity in the small city-state, dearth of natural resources, and the country’s reliance on food products and other key imports from overseas all contribute to the relatively high living costs. But there are other tradeoffs that contribute to an overall cost of living Singapore - based residents find not only reasonable, but generative to their professional growth and personal wellbeing. Below are four arguments that illustrate the cost of living and doing business in Singapore and why it’s not as expensive as it initially seems. 

You Can Tailor-Fit Your Lifestyle as an Entrepreneur in Singapore

Singapore is often portrayed as a haven for the wealthy. As a global entrepreneur who may come from a different background, you might think that this is the only demographic that does well in the country. But in truth, it’s possible for newcomers to customise their lifestyles to be more modest and less reliant on big money drains like luxury housing and private transportation. Necessities like public healthcare are also heavily subsidised by the Singaporean government, and as Singapore permanent residents and Singaporean citizens can attest, these services are reliable, excellent in quality, and available either for free or at a very reasonable cost. In addition, Singapore’s public infrastructure contributes to humane and inclusive living conditions for its citizens; a good example is the country’s public transport system, which people of all social classes and backgrounds regularly depend on.  

In Singapore, you will also have a lot of options for basic necessities and amenities, as well as a wide price range for all of them. As someone who is thinking about settling in the country, don’t buy into the myth that an extravagant lifestyle is the only one you can lead. 

Doing Business in Singapore Doesn’t Come with Corruption Costs

It may be viable to uproot and to set up shop in a Southeast Asian country other than Singapore, but be wary of where you go. In some jurisdictions within the region, it’s an open secret that you’ll have to pay for the cost of endemic corruption, or corruption that trickles down from government hierarchies. There’s a chance that these illicit costs will affect both your business and your lifestyle and, as a consequence, sour your experience of moving abroad. 

Thankfully, widespread endemic corruption won’t be a problem for you in Singapore. The country is known for its effective corruption control framework and for nurturing a culture of transparency and accountability. This will reflect positively on the life you’ll establish in Singapore – not only in terms of what you’ll spend for your personal and professional endeavours, but also in terms of your personal values. 

Living and Doing Business in Singapore Is Less Risky Than Elsewhere in the Region

For further proof that the cost of living and doing business in Singapore is less burdensome than it initially appears, one must also look at the level of risk that they’ll be exposed to. In other countries that have low costs of living, you may still end up spending more than you initially projected due to the presence of various business risks, risks to your personal security, and the like. 

Luckily, Singapore is well-known for its safe business and living environments, its effective law enforcement, and a citizenry for whom respect for the rules and for other people is deeply ingrained. You shouldn’t expect to spend an exorbitant amount in response to business risk or personal risk, at least compared to Singapore’s contemporaries. But in celebration of the safe, secure, and private lifestyle that you can look forward to in Singapore, make sure to follow the country’s laws and to watch out for the safety and wellbeing of others. 

Singapore Has the Lowest Tax Income Rates and Some of the Most Favourable Tax Benefits in ASEAN

Other factors that work in Singapore’s favour as a very sensible place to live are its business-friendliness, its agreeable tax income rates, and its range of available tax benefits. It must be noted that Singapore’s corporate income tax (CIT) rate for taxable income is the lowest out of all the ASEAN member states, and that there’s a variety of tax credits and incentives that new enterprises can benefit from. 

The Singaporean government is an active proponent of fresh investment activity for the country’s economy, and as such, makes setting up shop and living in Singapore an attractive prospect for foreigners. You can definitely look forward to tax perks and other benefits to offset the cost of taking root here. 

When you examine what actually goes into your cost of living in Singapore, the prospect may not be too daunting after all. Just be sure that you are financially ready for the move abroad, and look into your options for building the life you want in Singapore. 

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