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Moving to Frankfurt with Family in 1st Quarter of 2018

Hi All,

My husband will be relocated to Frankfurt Germany in the first qtr of 2018.  Family is included in the relocation package.  We have four children aged 9, 7, 3 and 1 yo.  The company will shoulder the school fees for one year for my two older children. We are looking at Metropolitan School of Frankfurt (MSF) as our first choice since its in the middle range when it comes to school fees.  However, we are not sure on how much salary package to negotiate, so needing for some advice here.

My questions are:
1.)  Any review for MSF?  Is it a good school? 
2.)  Which area is best to look for a house or apartment, that is near to MSF.  By the way, my husband's office will be in Sulzbach.  How much normally is the rent for a 3-bedroom fully furnished?
3.)  What is the average cost of living for a family of six?
4.)  Is it advisable to buy a car?  Or renting out is ok? How much?
5.)  What range of income should we negotiate, inorder for us to have even just a comfortable life in Frankfurt?

Hoping for any feedback.  Would greatly appreciate it!

Cheers,

Ivy

Hi from a German-Singaporean family in Stuttgart!
While I cannot comment on the Frankfurt-specific questions, I can help you with some general ideas:
- Sulzbach is 45min drive from Frankfurt - IF there is no jam (which is unlikely during peak hours when your husband goes to and from work). I would not stay that far away from the workplace if I were you!
- Finding a flat big enough for a family with four kids will not be easy. Arrange for temporary accommodation in the first weeks or months and take your time. Also, think about where you'd compromise first (price, location, amenities, ...?). Please note that there are only very few (and overpriced) furnished flats, so prepare to bring or buy your own stuff.
-  I always recommend sending kids to normal local schools, to give them a head-start in learning the language and feeling at home. The teaching standard is often better than international schools and you save a lot in fees.
- Public transport is good enough in most places that you don't need a car. But depending on how often you want to move around with all kids, you might want to buy or lease a station wagon or minibus.
- Information about price levels is available at numbeo.com. How much money you need depends largely on your lifestyle expectations and spending choices. An average German family of four earns EUR3500/month (after tax and deductions - this translates to approx. EUR5200 before) and live well. You will need more, especially in the beginning.

On checking the map again, I found there is a "Sulzbach am Taunus" quite near Frankfurt. I assumed "Sulzbach am Main" (there are also a few other Sulzbachs, so appendices do matter!). In that case of course living in or around Frankfurt is perfectly fine!

HI Beppi,

Thank you so much for your reply.  Highly appreciated.  I just realized my husband's place of location is at Sulzbach am Main.  I am hearing about Wiesbaden, is it a good option to settle with kids?  Also, I'd like to ask about health insurance.  How much does it normally cost?  Do we need to pay for it separately or is it included in the tax payment?

I also would like to know whether its possible to get permanent residency status in Germany and what are the criteria?

Thank you so much in advance. :)

Wiesbaden is even further from Sulzbach am Main - over an hour drive, plus you have to pass the Frankfurt.traffic on the way!
The only practically located cities near Sulzbach am Main are Aschaffenburg (15min drive) and Hanau (30min drive).
Health insurance, if you join the public scheme (which I would recommend), costs a fixed percentage of income and is included in the deductions I mentioned above. Dependent family members without own income are covered free of charge.
In the beginning, you must renew your residency status yearly. A permanent title is possible after three years.

Hi Beppi,

If we get EU blue card, will we be allowed to get the health insurance under the government scheme?

Is 80k EUR annual basic pay workable for a family with 4 kids?  Thanks again for your reply.


Cheers,  Ivy

The rules for health insurance membership are very complicated and not always clear. You should consult an expert about this.
EUR80k/year is a good income for German standards. It is definitely possible to survive, but since having kids isn't cheap you cannot expect luxuries. And you definitely need to forgo the private school, which for two kids would eat half of your post-tax income!

Thanks for your reply. Actually, the tuition fee for my 2kids will be shouldered by the company but for one year only.  So we are contemplating on whether we send them to international school or just the bilingual school. But whatever our decision is, the company will only pay the actual school expense. Also, is it not common in germany companies to give 13th mo pay?

Whether you get a 13th monthly payment or any other kind of bonus depends on the contract. Bonusses are never as generous here as in Singapore.

Yes thats true. In singapore he gets 3mos bonus plus 13th mo pay, but in the current offer he only gets 12% bonus and nothing else.

Then it's of course your decision if you put your kids into an (expensive) international school for the year paid for by the company and then force them through another change to a (free) public school, or choose public school right away.
There are no bilingual public schools, but many have preparatory classes for foreign kids who don't speak German. After a few months to a year, they will be able to join the normal classes. Ask around which schools in your future neighbourhood offer such classes!

Definitely a big decision to be made. But may I ask, if we transfer by April, I know the start of schol year is August. Is it advisable to let the children start school at the start of the school year, or is it possible to just join anytime of the school year?

Schooling is compulsory, so officially they must start the day the arrive. But I guess you’d get away with delaying it until the summer vacations, which run 30.Jul.-10.Sep.2018 in Bavaria (Sulzbach am Main), 25.Jun.-3.Aug.2018 in Hessen (Frankfurt) and Rheinland-Pfalz (Mainz).

Thanks Beppi for replying to all of my queries, really appreciate it!  I think I will still have a lot of questions, but maybe not until the final contract is signed by my husband and everything about our move is finalized.  :)

You're welcome!
Please post your future questions (or send me PM if it's a confidential topic).

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