Ang Moh Couple Earning S$29,000 a Month Can’t Cope with Singapore Cost of Living

This ang moh couple makes a combined income of S$29,000 a month, and still they find it tough living in Singapore – known as the “Most Expensive City in the World”.

48-year-old American Cyril Letzelter is a corporate pilot, while his 35-year-old wife, Jennifer, is an engineer. The couple have two daughters who are 3 months and 23 months old. The family moved here in November 2013.

Mrs Letzelter apparently took up a job in Singapore because without additional income it would be difficult to save enough for retirement and their children’s schooling.

They couple used to own 2 cars back in America, but they don’t own a car in Singapore. That’s because of the high S$80,000 price tag compared to one in America which would cost S$27,500. They rely on public transport and taxis here to get around.

Meanwhile, the family rents a 150 sqm apartment in Thomson for S$4400 a month. Mr Letzelter’s says his previous house near Denver, Colorado was 610 sqm, while his wife had a house near Boston that was about half of that size. He laments that he could get a very nice car and 2 houses back in America for what he has to pay in Singapore.

And then, there’s clothes. Said Mr Letzelter:

“Children’s clothing at a Walmart in the US can cost US$3 (S$4.10) a piece but in Singapore, it’s at least US$15 (S$20.50).”

They also spend S$2400 a month on groceries – 3 times of what they usually spend back in America –as they pay extra for imported food products because they’ve found it hard adjusting to local food.

“Grocery shopping is shockingly expensive. We try to shop at FairPrice because it’s cheaper, but oftentimes we pay a lot of extra money to get products that make us comfortable.”

The family also hires a maid for S$1000 a month.

Mr Letzelter says when first joined his company here in 2013, he was getting paid about 40 per cent more than he was in the US, and this this has since narrowed to 20 per cent.

He said that it’s getting tougher for foreigners to draw high salaries in Singapore.

“Far fewer expats are getting expat contracts, with many getting only local contracts, and the salaries are not as high.”

Mr Letzelter says that he moved to Singapore because both him and his wife are “adventurous people and we were looking for a place to raise kids that could provide them with a unique culture.”

The family had initially planned to live here for 10 years, but they are now considering moving back to America.

A breakdown of the Letzelters living monthly living expenses:

Rent: S$4400
Groceries: S$2400
Transport: S$800
Eating Out: S$500
Maid: S$1000
Education: S$1000
Utilities: S$350
Entertainment: S$200

Total S$10,650
Add: S$15,000 a year for travel back to America




  1. Anonymous

    March 28, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Absolutely ridiculous …. Normal Singaporeans are living just fine with income around 3000-4000 sgd

  2. Daniel

    March 28, 2016 at 11:12 pm

    I am sorry to say this but this is complete nonsense. if you feel that 19k per month expendable income is a hard life you are deluded. that amount is over 4 times the national average household income for most families. add that up over a year it is over 220k… minus 15k travel costs its still over 220k p.a. in expendable income. yes it is cheaper to live elswhere clearly and you have a choice with that income of where you want to live. I am a sg pr who feels very priviledged to live and have my children educated here on significantly less than this family and I have three children. get real. if you dont like it… go home… and see if your two cars and two houses makes up for the lack of safety we have here for ourselves and our children and world class education ….. rant over.. goodnight

    • Dexter

      March 29, 2016 at 9:14 pm

      ignorant ignorant ignorant

      let me give it to you

      A tree that does not experience winds will topple the moment a hurricane hits

      Americans are strong because of Katrina & 9/11
      Europe are strong because they don’t backdown from threats

      We are WEAK , because we have no disasters or potential threats . adversaries are inevitable in life . It’s part of what LIFE is .

      Don’t mistake our safety as peace

      San quintin is the safest prison touché

  3. Anonymous

    March 29, 2016 at 12:53 am

    Very greedy

  4. Nalini

    March 29, 2016 at 11:51 am

    My question to this article is why then live n work in Spore. Might as well go back to USA n shop at Walmart and be happy.

  5. sickening

    March 29, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    they should go bad to whereever they are from and see can they still earn this kinda income

  6. Roland wee

    March 29, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    Seen the couple still dont know spore u dont need children cloth sdkr 20 u can buy sdkr 4 .go to china town n people park or orchard road

  7. Ivy

    March 29, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Move to a smaller apartment, travel by buses and trains, do your own housework, learn to eat local food else cut on using too many ingredients, buy clothes from wet markets and neighbourhood areas..etc..clearly this family is not willing to lead a real simple life. If earning 29k per month is not enough, then I think many us would have starve to death with the amount that we are earning. And I believe the family might declare bankrupt it anyone of them requires medical attention.

  8. Anonymous

    March 29, 2016 at 7:55 pm

    THEY live at Thomson (look at the luxurious house in the background)…they should rent a HDB instead… maybe thats why its so ex… And u can get clothes for less that $10… if they dont go the malls like H&m…

  9. Anonymous

    March 29, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Seriously , we don’t need you here.

  10. Chris

    March 29, 2016 at 8:54 pm

    Let’s not jump to slam this ang mo couple.

    They are clearly comparing their life now to what they had back home and not with ordinary Singaporeans.

    I feel this article is meant to show how much it can cost for foreigners maintain the lifestyle they did overseas.

    I think they are financially quite prudent by choosing not to buy a car when they actually can afford one.

    Finally they said they are finding it hard to cope, not finding it hard to survive. There is a very big difference

  11. Char

    March 29, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Seriously? If they are so adventurous, shouldn’t food be applied to that equation? It’s not as if the local chicken rice or laksa is inedible

  12. Char

    March 29, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Seriously? They call themselves adventurous?? They can’t even eat the local food! I guess they aren’t that adventurous.

  13. Imanuel

    March 29, 2016 at 10:05 pm

    What they should have done is to get back to US and live there instead. If you’re adventurous, Singapore isn’t the place for you. Adventurous people live and travel as the locals.

  14. Bomber

    March 29, 2016 at 10:35 pm


  15. Obama

    March 30, 2016 at 2:28 am

    Then go back USA and fly your kite

  16. Kristian

    March 30, 2016 at 4:43 am

    Eat local food its cheap to eat out can eat very good for $5-$10 when i was there i loved the food i wasnt sick but my buddies from the US ate kfc and Mcdonalds and was shitting through the eye of a needle lol

  17. Not surprised

    March 30, 2016 at 7:08 am

    Basically can’t adapt well to living in another country. Wanting the high salary in Singapore but still cannot bear to give up imported us goods and still cling on to the cheap house and cars from USA. Sounds like mentally defeated so it’s half the battle lost. I have literally seen an adult from US who does not dare to eat fish served whole with bones, as they have been raised on fish fillets. The mindset is a huge obstacle.

    To get the balance right, I’m sure many of us know numerous expats who embrace life here in Singapore and Asia. And who love Asian holidays to many countries near and around Singapore.

    Statistically, not everyone is cut out to work and live abroad, so this family would have to decide but one thing for sure is that will get a significant pay cut back in US.

  18. Kim

    March 30, 2016 at 7:16 am

    I marry an American and I must say international school fees are not cheap but the kids are under 2?!?!!!!

    Yes, clothes in USA is cheap, that’s because of the change in seasons. We save here because of one season. There are also clothes in Singapore that is inexpensive!!! I bought half dozen of each type (singlets to pajaymas) for my kids and they cost S$11-16/ half dozen from a corner shop in Waterloo for daily use.

    Food – Unless everything is organic and they only shop at branded/ gourmet groceries. Let me introduce my favorite groceries for normal household products – GIANT!!!

    Cars – try living in New York. Not that cars are expensive there, most Americans use public transport even when their safety security and network is not as sophisticated.

    Talk to other fellow expats, try to blend into the Singapore way of living.

    And honestly, if your can’t cope with the cost of living, the airport is not far.

  19. Dan

    March 30, 2016 at 8:38 am

    My friend is earning only $5 per hour for his work ? What’s up now ?!

  20. Anonymous

    March 30, 2016 at 10:30 am

    They may live in America but
    Still have fear of being mugged or robbed which may turn out to be much costlier.

  21. Molly

    March 30, 2016 at 11:39 am

    This article isn’t newsworthy.
    Please, ANG MOH COUPLE don’t gloat. Calling S$19K over(US tax excl.)besides a comfortable living ~CAN’T COPE only makes Singaporeans v ANGRY. Our seniors(some abv 70) stand 8-10hr @foodcourts for $1K/mth, grateful they hv the income to supplement. Many locals don’t hv enough retirement funds after paying off a simple HDB flat & kids’ university fees.
    All relocation & living exp. (house/transport /helper) wud hv been compounded in his salary, but not LIVING STANDARD costs. He can re-negotiate his “HARDSHIP EXPENSES” ~PREMIUM, IMPORTED FOOD LOL. Foreigners with that expendable income r enjoying SGP & laughing their way to the bank.
    Mayb Phuket, back to US or downgrade spending* ~rent HDB 5-rm/tak train/local school, less air-con. r options. Empathize w grocery-choice but $600/wk is v high. Liquor is a hole in pocket here😏 but local non-organic veg/poultry shud b edible? Buy kids clothes @ANG MO KIO stores w a price tag ~cheap & nice. *Buy foreign goodies after ferrying his bosses overseas unless only ply along Asian routes. I get price-down meat @Cold Storage & ask friends buy DFS products for me.👍

  22. Alvin

    March 30, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Why the fuck are they here then? Fuck back to where they came from. Fuck off!!! Fuck off!!!

  23. Alicia

    March 30, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    You know what, just go back to America. Before I started working, my mom only drew 2k and we could make ends meet. And you’re saying you earn so much but is not enough? How about other people in Singapore? Complete bull this couple. Pisses other people off. Certain parts of their expenses are not even needed at all!

  24. Su Poh

    March 30, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    I think they need to readjust their groceries, rent & maid levy sections. And $15k for air travel? Er, how abt travelling economy instead of business class?

  25. Lio Ng

    March 30, 2016 at 7:41 pm

    Couple of comment are over reacting. One is looking for a reasonable compensation to be working overseas. They are not going to ask for compensation to survive, instead compensation to gain.
    You don’t expect anyone to just live like local citizen, simply they aren’t local. They are going to purchase items that they recognize as safe/ comfortable even it it cost a lot more. Schooling in international school is already murder.
    They are sharing a view of their world. You can disapprove on how money is spend but it’s not right to go so far as make accusation and calling names.

    • David

      April 3, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      They have 19K/mth disposable income.

      Trust me, they are gaining.

      – Angmoh Expat

  26. Wendy

    March 30, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Please don’t compare foreigners and Singaporeans, first of all Singaporeans has almost everything government pay for them, this include school fees for kids, health care and more. They have kids, please do a research on foreigners school fees and healthcare without government subsidies.Plus if ur standard of living is high and u have choices around, why would u live a life with lower standards. Plus Singapores house and car is REALLY expensive compared to other countries, if u are foreigner ur not even allied to buy HDB.I feel like the locals hates foreigners so much just because one or two in ur life do something bad towards u and u hate them all. It really pulls down the overall image of the Singaporeans.

  27. Reina

    April 27, 2016 at 1:18 am

    Nobody is hating this ang mo family but the way they are behaving.

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