Stupid for Going Back to Taiwan AGAIN?


#1

I lived in Taiwan from 2014-2017. I worked at a large tech company and made a good salary, started at 5m NTD and worked my way up from there. Got a good reputation as a problem solver. But at some point, I couldn’t take it anymore (for the same reasons as any expat probably).

I’m back in the US in the bay area now, and I love it. But the job market is really competitive here. I can find some stuff but none of its great, and it’s actually easier in Taiwan because quite frankly, nobody wants to move to Taiwan. I’m being offered an executive position at a large tech company ~10m NTD. I would have to move back with a wife and newborn. I can certainly more than get by in the US. I can get my 250k USD without too much problem, but that’s far from living large in San Fran, and I can make considerably more in Taiwan (surprisingly).

So for those of you who have done it: how is it raising a family in Taiwan? Any worries? I’ve been back on a business trip a month or two ago and the pollution seemed awful… Is this a no-brainer to move back to Taiwan and just take one for the team?

Also, what’s this thing where foreigners only pay half tax for the first 3 years?

EDIT: This would be Science Park in Hsinchu.


#2

Do it, you won’t regret it.
Only tax exemption is first $100,000+ nowadays.
Still have to file in Taiwan and US.
Don’t see why you wouldn’t do it. Seems like a no-brainer.


#3

I lived in Taiwan when I was single for three years. I went back to the States, married, had two kids, and now live in Taiwan with my family. My wife and I are both foreigners.

I loved it then and I love living in Taiwan even more now. Believe it or not, Taipei is an extremely kid friendly City. The toy Bank, government play centers, I could go on. And my kids virtually have half dozen sets of adopted grandparents. Just take the time to chat with the old ladies selling vegetables on the side of the road if you speak Chinese. If you know a smattering of Taiwanese, even better. I’ve had numerous Amas tell me that I remind them of their sons who are away in the States. I think it’s because I’m American. It’s sad how many of these Amas never get to see their grandkids. My kids get cookies and candy wherever they go. They’re spoiled :joy:.

As for taxes, at $10m, you’ll be in the 40% tax bracket. If you move halfway through the year and spend less than 183 days in the calendar year in Taiwan for that first year, your tax is 18%. In subsequent years, if you can find an excuse to spend 183 days outside of Taiwan (leaving and returning the same day counts as a day outside of Taiwan. The days don’t have to be consecutive) you’ll get the 18% bracket.

But remember to file taxes in the USA as well.


#4

Taiwan’s pretty keen on having senior expats such as yourself basing themselves here. I think you’d have a very comfortable life in Hsinchu in that pay bracket.

You could go down the Gold Card route and base yourself there for a few years, but ultimately, work culture is probably the big limiting factor, not sure if you’re willing to go through that again (Believe me, it doesn’t change) but I guess the increase in salary could make up for it.

Overall, pretty biased answer from me, I’m in a professional field and starting to get a little fed up with the work environment after a few years in Taiwan and considering moving elsewhere too.


#5

I feel like once you hit that kind of income level the quality of life concerns people usually have wouldn’t really exist anymore, unless it’s something humanly impossible to control like … climate, or air pollution. You can literally just go wherever you want.


#6

Well, if I had $10m/year, I’d live off of 5% of that for three years… with the remaining amount properly invested, you could retire and never have to work again for the rest of your life.


#7

Totally agree with @Caspian’s view . Taiwan isn’t as cheap as it used to be back in the day, but cost-of-living is undoubtedly WAY lower than SF. With a small family you could have a very nice lifestyle on 1M a year and invest the rest of it wisely. 5-10 years later you’ll be pretty much set up for the rest of your life.

Achieving the sort of salary on offer to you is incredibly unusual. At the executive level you’re likely to get a lot less of the day-to-day bullshit that the plebs in blue cubicles are subjected to. Of course, that depends a lot on the attitudes of the Boss/Owner, but since they’re considering hiring you in the first place, and paying you appropriately, I assume they’re quite forward-looking.


#8

An employee salary offer like that is very unusual in Taiwan (when you aren’t related to the shareholders ). I would just take it for a few years. Not a biggie either way though is it. Taiwan isnt that difficult a place to live, it’s pretty easy especially if you can speak some Chinese . Hscinchu has lots of schools for foreign kids.


#9

You already lived in TW so you know what life is like here.

Life for your wife could be lonely. There’s not a big expat community in Hsinchu, so might not easy to make friends. Baby classes and hospitals won’t be in English either, although you could just hire a Taiwanese nanny and get her to do everything.

Ultimately it’s up to your wife - can she handle moving here with a new born and with no friends, family, or husband to support her (presumably you’ll be busy with work until late every day )? I’d say that
she’ll be the one “taking one for the team”


#10

The guy feels poor on usd250k/year in SF?? Haysus Kristo. No wonder I have been demoted from the lower middle class to the upper LOW class. NOw I have miscalculated, according to that thinking I am in the Lower LOW class ! :frowning: Heading for CLASSLESS.

Yes, BART employees can make 100k/year and the police does too. So 100k is not a lot lot anymore and a lot of techies make 250 to 300. Docs make 600 plus. But those are docs.

Us common people are becoming part of the great divide in the US society. The haves and have nots. Guess who are in the have nots??


#11

I don’t think you should do it. Go somewhere else in the USA if you have to to stretch out that “meager” 250k/annum !! But go somewhere you can invest in.

Taiwan is SHORT TERM for anyone who is not tied down to the rock because of blood ties. Or you were born there and lived there most of your life. For anyone else, its mostly not a good long term deal.

Taiwan is like the foreign pilots flying for EVA. They are there to get the training and certification to fly the big jets. After a few years they graduate to another job in another airline/place where they can build senority towards retirement.

Taiwan is not for anyone long term UNLESS you are taiwanese or related to a taiwanese by marriage and YOU yourself want to remain on the rock for ages.

Its the ROCK OF AGES (other then Christ) or NOTHING when it comes to Taiwan. OR get in and get out in a few years, get your kicks, get your licks and be gone with ya.

OR…stay forever.


#12

Taiwan is far easier, more comfortable, and more affordable to raise families than in the US, although as other posters have said not as different as before.

The question you should ask is how much of a social life do you need or expect, and what are your expectations. Most family aged TW and or expats with families and kids end up staying home most of the time. If youre the type that values an active social life thar can be an uphill battle. If youre content within the family and can handle lack of musical acts, events etc-its a fine place.

Health care here is a big deal.


#13

i think this is about right, you have to really enjoy your family life. A lot of expats get stuck in neutral and hard to leave over time.


#14

If you got savings already, it doesn’t matter in tw if you make 5 or 10mil as there is no sensical way to spend it. If you don’t have savings this will be a good opportunity to save for the future

I’m in the same income bracket, but I literally spend 0 of my income other than paying the mortgage as we live on my wife’s salary for everything else

Also, you won’t pay 40% tax. If you are at that level there is a lot of room for you to optimise your taxes, I suggest you check with the employer how much room there is to structure the pay package in a way that doesn’t incur massive taxes


#15

I think a common mistake expats make is to not put down roots in Taiwan. Alif you do this, you’re acting like a short-termer. And it won’t be a big surprise when it really does end up being a short term deal.

IMO, an expat community is good for getting off the ground but if all your friends are expats, this will prevent you from putting down roots.

If you really want to put down roots here, you need to live like a local and make friends with locals.

I loved living in Taiwan the last time I was here. Then again, I had roots here (super good Taiwanese friends, not family). When we first stepped off the plane in Taiwan, my wife hated it. Everything went wrong. Before we knew it, she was threatening to get on a plane back to the States. She didn’t even unpack our suitcases until after the first month. Thank goodness I had roots here. I called up the pastor of my old church here in Taiwan and told him I have a problem. The church took us in and surrounded us and made my wife feel at home.

Now my wife loves living here. But wow was that first month rough.

You need a community. Community is everything.


#16

I would rather live in SF then in Taiwan. If I could do it over, I don’t think I would come here again.


#17

With US$ 250K/year you could live anywhere comfortable.


#18

Thats funny. Ive lived in both. Much prefer Taiwan.


#19

Most places. NYC, Bay Area, lots of LA thats doable. Depends on how many kids you have, schooling needs, etc.


#20

Why do you say that?

My wife dreams about living in California someday. Neither of us have ever lived there.