Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Inflation vs. Salary in Taiwan for the Past Few Years

Recently on the Taiwanese news everyone is blaming current president Ma for prices of goods and services to be increasing too fast. When he was elected for the 2nd term, he promised an economic stability and better living quality for Taiwanese people. So far, all I can say these promises were false, probably spoken as a election talks to get enough votes to secure his position for another couple years. Since president here can only be elected twice, now the fruits can be observed.

How bad does it get? Bad, to the point many voters want to vote for President Ma to step down. Will this happen? Hard to say, but in my opinion, no - it is really too difficult to push it, and while most poorer folks are loosing due to price hikes, some do profit.

What is my take on this? Well, this is the way I see it:
- Gas prices went up by 10-15%. That's about extra NT1000 for me a month spending
- Coffee in 7/11 went up by 10% from NT50 to NT55. What I do? I don't drink it anymore.
- Coke in 7/11 went up from NT25 to NT29
- My favorite fry rice from NT70 to NT80.
- It get worse, 5 years ago I could buy 10 dumplings for NT35, today? NT50-80!

I go to supermarket, like Carrefour, or market, vegetables, fruits, meat all went up (mainly due to prices of gasoline.) On average, everything cost much more than just few months ago.

House market? Tripled in last 3 years. That means higher rent to pay or higher mortgage if you buying a house.

Now, what about the salary? Usually when the price go up, salary slowly increases as well. Unfortunately, for locals, the salary stays the same. What about foreigners? Suppose you are an English teacher - 5 years ago without experience you could make about NT600 per hour. Today? Same or less.

If couple years ago you were making here NT50,000 to NT70,000 a month as English teacher, that would be considered a lot. Today? Try to stay home, cook, have some entertainment - maybe you will save up enough for tickets back home. Compared to locals, who usually make NT25,000-NT35,000 after graduation, it is a lot, but considering they are staying with their family, so no need to worry about food and all the bills, it is really hard to save now.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cost of owning car in Taiwan

Owning a car in Taiwan can be a blessing and a burden at the same time, depending on your needs. Taiwan is very convenient place and the public transportation is very good - there are many ways for travel - using metro system connected to bus network and rail system as well as taxi transport at every single intersection. If you are planning to own a car in Taiwan, you must clearly understand what costs you are going to have on monthly basis.
In 2009 I have decided to purchase a new Honda CRV from the Taiwanese dealer. The process is simple really - you do not even need to have a first payment as long as you own a credit card. I ended up paying for loan NT15100 a month for 5 years. I paid it off after 2 years, to save money that I would pay for interest (about 5.9% per year.)

So what else you need to worry about while owning a car in Taiwan? A lot:

- Fuel tax: Each year government will send you a nice bill called fuel tax. It depends on the value of your car, I get hammered NT6500 a year.
- Licence plate registration: Another government tax per year. Around NT11000
- Insurance: Basic starts at NT12000 a year and premium around NT60000. The more expensive car you have, the higher the premium.
- Maintenance: need to bring car about twice a year (every 10k km) for regular check up. Add costs like changing tires, batteries, etc. Roughly, 6000-10000NT, twice a year.
- Gasoline: Expect to spend NT4000-7000 monthly
- Car wax: NT450 for small car, NT600 for SUV, every 3 months.

So I calculated all the costs, changed to monthly and I end up with the range of NT7608 to NT15324 a month for car expenses that you will have to take in addition to paying loan for the car.

Wait, this is not all!
Parking space: NT3000 a month to rent a place (range NT1500-4000)
Parking on the street, malls, parking lots: The sky the limit :)
Tickets: try not to break law, and it will cost you nothing.

So after adding parking costs the range becomes:
NT9108 to NT19324 + any loan payments for normal, non-luxurious car.

Car is a sink investment - buy it only if you really need it .