Expat Package - What to expect?

Secchi777

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I am analyzing an offer for a job based in Buenos Aires as an expat. The company approach is to give me an annual allowance for living expenses excluding car (rent, bills, etc.). I will keep my GBP salary (not great but OK)
Besides what I think I need in BsAs based on my standard of living, would you share with me what is “fair” to expect or ask as an allowance?
My company (US based) is not very generous so I don’t expect to get a lot but I want to have a benchmark to analyze the offer (they have not given me a number yet)
Any info would be of great help.
Many thanks in advance.
Secchi
 

HotYogaTeacher

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That's a fascinating question Secchi, but you didn't give any information on how you live and what kind of life you want them to provide. Do you have family? How much space do you need/want? What kind of neighborhood do you want to live in? How far from work? Will you need taxi fare or will you ride the bus? A taxi from one side of the city to the other during rush hour every day will run $1500 pesos a month, but bus fare for the same trip would run $50 pesos a month. You rent a small place in a moderate neighborhood for less than a $1000 US but if you want a nice home with some space and a nice private terrace in a good neighborhood you are going to pay closer to $2000. Food here, if you are grocery shopping is quite expensive, though restaurants are still cheap compared to the states.
Electricity is more expensive here. You'll pay nearly double if you need to buy a computer or other electronic equipment, unless you buy something built here, in which case you may as well just flush the money down the toilet.
I pay about 25% more here for groceries than in the states and the quality and selection are far substandard. I pay more for electric and more for cable, the same for gym membership, much more for nice clothing, much less for restaurants but I don't eat out much because the restaurants aren't as good as at home. I pay much less for transportation which is very cheap here. I pay less for HOA fees, though that won't be your concern. I pay less for insurance of any type. All in all my expenses even out to about the same though my quality of life is much reduced here for the same overall money. People who earn lots or have lower expectations seem to do very well. You will get lots of opinions on this question. Weigh them carefully and balance them out against what you know. Do some research AWAY from this site, like searching for homes you'd find acceptable on craigslist. Good luck...
 

SaraSara

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The above post is so full of misinformation that I don't know where to begin.

Here's my input on a few subjects:

HOUSING: A two bedroom apartment in posh Las Cañitas, overlooking the polo field, rents for US$550.

ELECTRICITY: My last power bill for two months was US$ 8.20. That's a whopping FOUR DOLLARS AND TEN CENTS per month.

HOME EXPENSES: In the States I paid US$1,400 a month to run my four bedroom home. Here I pay under six hundred to run my three bedroom home, including twice a week housekeeper and once a week gardeners.

FOOD: Restaurants are far cheaper. Groceries are about the same at large supermarket chains, 35% less if you know where to shop.

COMPUTERS: Not twice as much, but quite a bit more expensive here - a Mac that sells in the States for US$1,400 was 1,900 here, last time I checked.

Those are just some of the inaccuracies in the above post. I have just joined this forum, but from what I've seen of Hot Yoga's posts, she doesn't seem very happy in Buenos Aires - that is bound to color her perceptions and evaluations.
 

HotYogaTeacher

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You know Sara, because it doesn't match YOUR experience, doesn't mean it's "misinformation". I also have a power bill, which I did not invent. My last power bill was over $200. I can't, and won't attempt, to explain the difference, nor will I call you a liar. I have paid rent here as well, in Palermo, San Telmo, and Palermo Hollywood, and have never paid less than $1000 US a month for what I consider small, moderate apartments. That's why I expressed to the person asking that it is a matter of what type of lifestyle you consider desirable.

You are right, I am not happy here, but that doesn't make me a liar...
 

SaraSara

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Please note that I did not call you a liar. I said your post was misinformed and inaccurate.

My last power bill surprised me, but in the five years I've lived here it has never been above fifteen dollars a month - and I keep all the exterior lights on my house on at all times.

My cousin rents her Las Cañitas apartment for what I said. It is a well kept two-bedroom apartment in a good building. However, it does not have parking, which can make rents about a hundred dollars higher. Other apartments in the area rent for comparable prices.

Now, my question is, and I'm asking this honestly: if you are not really happy in Buenos Aires, why stay? Life is too short to waste a single day in a place which does not really suit you, and which apparently fails to meet your standards. (???)

In my view, taking a monetary loss is worth it when it means moving to where you want to be. That is, unless you have family here - that changes the equation.
 

SaraSara

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I remember seeing that apartment listed, and thinking that the seller was nuts. That's the price range of REALLY good apartments in the most exclusive areas of Buenos Aires, such as La Isla.
 

jp

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This thread isn't about HYT. She made her post, and its a valid opinion.

Secchi - I'd ask to have a couple of return flights per year included in your package. Makes a huge difference, and also enables you go home to stock up on whatever you can't find here for prices you're more comfortable with (which makes life a lot easier).

Probably fair to ask for 1000USD a month to cover the cost of a furnished 2 bedroom apartment in a nice area including all your associated bills and expenses.

Cars are expensive, can't really help you on the cost, but transport is very cheap and pretty good. I honestly have no need for a car.

Difficult to give you a benchmark without knowing what you're coming here to do, and what they are paying you though. Asking 1000 a month and a couple of flights a year isn't unreasonable, but it also depends on what you are coming here to do. It could be worth asking for a lot more :)
 

SaraSara

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I corrected what I saw as HYT's misinformation - if she priced her apartment that high, her other estimates may be equally off the mark.

The rental I quoted was for an unfurnished apartment - have no idea what a furnished one costs.

Cars are very expensive to buy and to keep: I pay US$ 250 per month to insure and tag a Honda, and about eighty dollars more for gas just to get around town. Public transportation is cheap and good, except when you travel in rush hours - then it becomes a nightmare.

I'd say ask US$1,200 for housing and utilities. Make sure your employer is willing to act as guarantor for the rental contract, otherwise you'd end up paying a lot more. Sometimes renters fail to pay rent, or just vanish, so a guarantor is required.
 

nikad

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HotYogaTeacher said:
You know Sara, because it doesn't match YOUR experience, doesn't mean it's "misinformation". I also have a power bill, which I did not invent. My last power bill was over $200. I can't, and won't attempt, to explain the difference, nor will I call you a liar. I have paid rent here as well, in Palermo, San Telmo, and Palermo Hollywood, and have never paid less than $1000 US a month for what I consider small, moderate apartments. That's why I expressed to the person asking that it is a matter of what type of lifestyle you consider desirable.

You are right, I am not happy here, but that doesn't make me a liar...
u must have rented a furnished apt at a tourist price, Sara must have rented an unfurnished apt at local prices.
 

bethR

Registered
The company approach is to give me an annual allowance for living expenses excluding car (rent, bills, etc.).
I am currently here on a semi-expat package for a US based company.
They provide me a USD$20 per day to supplement my salary. The also pay for a furnished apartment (including cable/electricity) but this was arranged by a local HR woman (i would think she got a much better deal then i could have as a foreigner) and reduced the hassle for me so if you have the option i would totally recommend that. I second the suggestion to request visits home which are fairly standard requests. Also I work outside the city and take a combi (van) service to and from work. I pay this out of my own pocket ($300 pesos/month) but consultants who work with me have transportation provided in their contract.
Hope that helps.
Beth
 
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