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Earning and saving money in China
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fat_chris



Joined: 10 Sep 2003
Posts: 3135

PostPosted: Thu Apr 03, 2014 2:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

NoBillyNO wrote:
wine, women and song?


Come hear Uncle John's Band playing to the tideā€¦

Warm regards,
fat_chris
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The_Big_White_Elephant



Joined: 12 Mar 2014
Posts: 34

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for sharing, Volver!

Quote:
Typically, I sent Y10-12K home to the States each month


So in the vicinity of $20,000 per year. It seems a lot of people in this thread have listed numbers similar to this, which makes it seem like people can save a LOT of money for doing the relatively easy job of teaching English in China. But at the same time, I am always hearing people complaining about how little foreign teachers are paid. This makes it difficult to get an idea of what the reality is like. Why are some people able to save so much whereas complain that they can barely make a living?

Anybody else want to share?
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1333

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The_Big_White_Elephant wrote:
Thanks for sharing, Volver!

Quote:
Typically, I sent Y10-12K home to the States each month


So in the vicinity of $20,000 per year. It seems a lot of people in this thread have listed numbers similar to this, which makes it seem like people can save a LOT of money for doing the relatively easy job of teaching English in China. But at the same time, I am always hearing people complaining about how little foreign teachers are paid. This makes it difficult to get an idea of what the reality is like. Why are some people able to save so much whereas complain that they can barely make a living?

Anybody else want to share?


The internet is full of liars, would be the easy explanation, and more than likely correct. I'm not saying that's the case with everyone (or the poster on here!). The truth is China is full of opportunities, but it takes dedication or luck to get them.

It also depends on what your priorities are. Teaching kiddies for 30 hours a week will net you a fair payslip, especially in the big cities.

The real deal is to look at the total package. I'll try and keep it brief and show the extremes:

Teaching kiddies privately in Beijing - salary 15,000/ month
Hours - 30 hours per week
Apartment - N/A
Holidays - 2 weeks/ year

Teaching at a public uni in tier88 - salary 5,000 / month
Hours - 12 per week
Apartment - included (and all bills)
Holidays - 5 months (paid)

See the difference? There was an old post where someone broke it down better than I have, but the end result was that the hourly pay for uni's was not far behind private employers and you had a lot more benefits.

Personal story: I taught at a public uni in a rural city (population under a million) I was paid 4,300/month by the uni. I worked 10 hours a week, free apartment, no bills, 5 months paid holiday a year, and had amazing students and a great boss. I started my own classes in the evenings, worked 4 hours a week and more than doubled my income from the uni. So for 14 hours a week I was on over 9,000 /month - no bills, free apartment, and a ton of holidays. Life was good.

EDIT: Given what I said in my first sentence, I see the irony of posting a personal account haha.
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Bud Powell



Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 1374

PostPosted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Volver wrote:

I work in a 3rd tier uni in the middle of nowhere and I make, consistently, Y15-16K per month.


You work for a university in the middle of nowhere and make that kind of money? You're not making it in corporate work because the corporations who want/need that kind of help aren't in the boonies. You can't be making it in privates in a a third-tier city because I really doubt that the average parent in a third-tier city could afford what you would have to charge in order to make that kind of money.

That leaves the university as the source of income. I have serious doubts that a public university located in a third tier city would pay that kind of money. That leaves the private university as a possibility. Why would a private university set up shop in a third tier city, and why would it pay that kind of money to an FT whose background isn't terribly uncommon?

I'm not doubting you. I'd just like to believe you. Could you give me a reason (e.g. some details) for me to believe that you make that kind of money in the conditions you describe. It would be a great help to everyone.

Many thanks
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Volver



Joined: 27 Sep 2013
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uni, IELTS, language school, private students. Believe or disbelieve anything you like but I have no reason to lie. Look at what Shroob wrote and increase his hours - he could easily exceed my numbers.

I am moving to a bigger city next year and I expect to consistently be earning in the 20K range without the IELTS income.

If you aren't making and banking serious money, look in the mirror to find out why.

V
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doogsville



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 673
Location: China

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Volver wrote:
If you aren't making and banking serious money, look in the mirror to find out why.

V


I took your advice. My reflection said it's because there are things in life I value far more than money.
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NoBillyNO



Joined: 11 Jun 2012
Posts: 1762

PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

my reflection borrowed some cash!
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Bud Powell



Joined: 11 Jul 2013
Posts: 1374

PostPosted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you aren't making and banking serious money, look in the mirror to find out why.

And what would I find, Master Volver?
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Volver



Joined: 27 Sep 2013
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Elephant,

I was in your position before I came to China - so many different opinions and it was hard to separate the truth from the BS. No matter what anyone said, someone else would dispute it. What I did was read every thread I could and look for similar numbers. I also considered the sources and whether the person had some sort of axe to grind or was being truthful. I finally decided that there was serious money to be banked by working here and it was worth taking the risk to come to China.

Now, some people don't care about saving a lot of money and I respect that. Others have bills back home and student loans to pay and they view their work situation differently. If saving money or paying debts is your thing, then the amount of money you can bank is entirely up to you.

I know of one examiner that paid off $80K in student loans in 5 years. Now, he worked his butt off, probably a lot harder than I ever would, but imagine not having that debt hanging over your head for years and years and years. In my personal situation, I still have a lot of bills to pay but what I have paid off in the time I have been here amazes me nonetheless. In addition to all my bills, I have also paid about Y40 to date for some long overdue dental work and there is a lot more to go. I'm having this done at a top-quality expat hospital and there is no possible way I could have afforded this in the States.

You have to realise that the demand for your services is huge. So what if unis pay lousy wages? There are a lot of schools and individuals that are willing to pay you much more than your uni salary for side work. The city I plan to move to next year has lots of want ads advertising Y300 hour for part-time work. I want to build up my own students and charge Y500 per hour. Do the math, add this to your uni wages, and you decide if this is worth it for you or not.

There was a very long thread awhile back regarding why anyone would work for lousy wages at a uni. That is a good question as wages suck. However, you get that ever-so-important visa along with a really easy and hassle-free lifestyle. Best of all is that your living costs consist primarily of food and almost nothing else. All those extra hours mean time available for side work, be it classes in your (school supplied and furnished) apartment or somewhere else. This is what the Chinese professors do to supplement their (low) income so it is not like you are doing anything out of the ordinary.

The final thing I want to say to you and any other people considering this place is that it is not what you make but what you save. It is both really easy to save money in China and really easy to spend every cent you make. The choice is strictly up to you.

Hope you find this info useful.

V
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El Macho



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:27 pm    Post subject: How much do Chinese people earn? Reply with quote

From this week's Economist:
Quote:
McKinsey, a consultancy, reckons that in 2012 only 14% of urban households belonged to what it calls the "upper-middle class" (with an annual household income of 106,000 - 229,000 yuan, or $16,000-34,000, in 2010 real terms) and 54% to the "mass middle-class" (with an income of 60,000 - 106,000 yuan).

EDIT: The Economist got it slightly wrong; the above figures are based on household disposable income. See my later post. I've also edited the below.
So by McKinsey's standard, a 5,000 RMB/month uni job actually qualifies you as poor in China, since after tax you'd have less than 60,000 in disposable income. A 10,000 RMB/month cram school job qualifies you as (barely) upper middle-class.

I'm not saying I agree with this, but it's an interesting data point to have.[/b]


Last edited by El Macho on Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:25 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1333

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:29 pm    Post subject: Re: How much do Chinese people earn? Reply with quote

El Macho wrote:
From this week's Economist:
Quote:
McKinsey, a consultancy, reckons that in 2012 only 14% of urban households belonged to what it calls the "upper-middle class" (with an annual household income of 106,000 - 229,000 yuan, or $16,000-34,000, in 2010 real terms) and 54% to the "mass middle-class" (with an income of 60,000 - 106,000 yuan).

So by McKinsey's standard, a 5,000 RMB/month uni job actually qualifies you as middle-class in China; a 10,000 RMB/month cram school job qualifies you as upper middle-class.

I'm not saying I agree with this, but it's an interesting data point to have.



I'd be interested to see where the statistics came from. A lot of income in China is from 'under the table' sources...bonuses, hongbao, gifts, etc. How is this factored in?
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El Macho



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think this is the report from which the figures were taken. You can dig around in their reports to see if you can find how these were determined.
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Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1333

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

El Macho wrote:
I think this is the report from which the figures were taken. You can dig around in their reports to see if you can find how these were determined.


'The material on this page draws on the research and experience of McKinsey consultants and other sources. To learn more about our expertise, please visit the Consumer Packaged Goods Practice.'
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El Macho



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 174

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking at the McKinsey report, the Economist has it slightly wrong; McKinsey set these categories based upon household disposable income (what you have to save and spend after tax). Grey money would fall into this. If your salary for is 2000 rmb/month but you get another 5k in hongbao, you're middle class.

I've edited my original post to reflect this. A uni wage by itself is a poverty wage! Wink
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wangdaning



Joined: 22 Jan 2008
Posts: 2051

PostPosted: Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But I would assume this data is compiled based on full time workers in the household. Not many Chinese households get by on a part time worker.

If I doubled my hours I would be over 20,000. If I got paid more for my extra 20 a week I would probably hit 30,000. The side work would be illegal an untaxed. So, an extra 10-20k under the table, that alone would move me up to the upper middle-class.

Why do I not do this? With doogsville on this one, I enjoy other things more than money. I have a house (did not pay for it, but it is there) and am able to save and put away just fine as it is. If I wanted to get money I would go live with family in the US or Aus and get a 40/w job. That being said, I have considered picking up a few hours a week doing test prep or something to that effect.
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