I'm an expat living in Singapore from 8 yrs and now have a permanent job offer in a mid size firm at Calgary to do web development. They are willing to pay me upto CAD 60K/annum before taxes. When checked on various tax calculators, the pay came to around 42K (~ CAD 3550/month) after the deductions.

Is this a reasonable pay for a 8 yrs exp guy & lead a basic life style for a family of 3 (me, my wife, and 6 weeks baby)?

My basic life style

  • eat at home
  • a movie, dinner once a month
  • occasional child care
  • full family insurance, and
  • occasional road trip to nearby attractions < 100KM)

In SGP, with my current income of 65k/annum, my income after taxes will be around 62.5k and my current cost of living is around 3.5k/month leaving me with disposable/savings of 2k.

Based on information from Numbeo, I estimated the cost of living in Calgary to be around 2.5k/month (left with 1k disposable)

  • 1400 for 2 bed housing in outskirts
  • 200 for groceries
  • 300 for car + gas
  • 100 for utilities
  • 250 for health insurance
  • 150 for phone and internet
  • 100 Misc
  • ??? did I miss anything here

How near am I to reality?

I'm 29 now and want to move to Canada to settle down permanently with the baby and wife. I tried to do this in SGP, but with residence tightness, and rising costs, I'm always sweating.

So, can any one with knowledge of the life in Canada (and specifically in Calgary) give me help with

  • Cost of living (show reality)
  • Social Life/Culture in Calgary (does neighbors return a 'Hi' ?)
  • Does any of the taxes I pay now, comeback to me as pension ?

Note: I too feel the Question is broad or too specific. But, having a specific question with all things included is much better than assumption in my bigger opinion. Others too may benefit from the answers.

edit: I have updated the title & content based on appropriate feedback. Correction: pay is 60k not 65k

  • I kind of feel like this question is too specific.
    – vartec
    Mar 19, 2014 at 17:32
  • 4
    Be careful, Alberta has a quite high cost of living, compared to surrounding provinces and states.
    – Vince
    Mar 19, 2014 at 17:39
  • I think you're looking for a cost of living comparison rather then what you're asking. "Decent" rate is a matter of your own perception rather then an objective measure of cost of living. If you can live on 65k/year does it make it decent? May be not because you want more.
    – Karlson
    Mar 19, 2014 at 17:44
  • I think the question could be reduced to “How will my lifestyle/disposable income in Alberta compare to my current situation in Singapore?” I think it's a valuable and objective question. It's certainly more relevant to the decision than tax rates or the average salary for this area/profession.
    – Gala
    Mar 19, 2014 at 18:26
  • 1
    Remember that there's more to lifestyle than money. For example, I hope you like snow, since Calgary's climate is pretty radically different from tropical Singapore! Mar 20, 2014 at 3:04

2 Answers 2


Generally excellent source for such information is Glassdoor. They provide information on salaries and reviews of companies. It's especially useful for US based companies, but provides some info for companies elsewhere.

As for your particular case, it seems that for web developer in Calgary range is $44,000 - $70,000 with median of $55,000 (Canadian dollars). But it's hard to say, because seems that in this case all information are from people working for just one company (Critical Mass).

On the other hand if you want to know what the cost of living is, the sources would be Expatistan and Numbeo. Thus you should look at Calgary in Expatistan and Calgary in Numbeo, and perhaps compare it with your current city.

  • thank you. yes I checked glassdoor and salary survey. It says I'm 0% better paid than other with my 65K range. I will see the other links you have given here.
    – Shansan
    Mar 20, 2014 at 1:34

I live in Calgary and in the IT industry, 23 years old, finished my degree in computer science in May 2013. Between me and my friends, working in Calgary with a software engineering/computer science degree, recently out of university, I would say that the average is $60-65k a year. I make a bit more than this, but I got lucky.

I would say that $65k is pretty darn good for an intro position and probably about average if you've been doing web dev for a couple years.

I can't really help much in regards to cost of living because I have terrible spending habits, but I will say that I have more money than I can spend. I pay about $600 in rent per month, I eat out too often, I have a gym membership, and am often buying computer parts. I'm also looking into buying a car in the next couple of years. What I mean to say is, $65 would get you pretty far being single in Calgary and you could live pretty well, but as I've never been in your situation, it's hard for me to say how well it would support you. Hopefully an overview of my spending habits gives you an idea.

I live about 7 or 8 minutes from downtown, and all my neighbours are friendly, the occasional chit-chat, but not best friends or anything. I've found that people tend to be pretty friendly, but it also depends on the neighbourhood.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask, I've lived here all my life so I have a pretty good idea about the city.


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