Cost of living for a family of three

Hi,

I have an offer from a company to work at Ghent, Belgium. I have no idea about the cost of living in Ghent, Belgium and would like to get views about it.

I would be moving in with my Wife and 2 year old kid. So keeping this mind, what would be the average monthly expense for a family of 3?

Also, I would be on the payroll of the company in India and would be working on a Work permit. Given this what would be the amount of taxes I have to pay? Also I would like to consider the amount required for average medical expenses? (I am assuming that health care would not be free as I will not be a citizen of Belgium).

Given all these factors what should be my monthly disposable income (after tax) to lead a comfortable life?

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Edit: Let me clarify a few more things and make it a bit more concise:
1. I would paid in Euros
2. I would not eligible for free health care (as I am not Belgian citizen)
3. I would not be eligible for Belgian social security

So given these facts, I would like to the cost of living per month, considering these factors
1. Family of three (one 2 year old kid)
2. Average Medical expenses
3. Rent an apartment (preferably two bedroom) (Ghent area)
4. Travel by public transport
5. Schooling for the kid
6. Day care for the kid (I am not sure about it, but in case my wife has to work)

Please indicate the monthly cost of living with all these factors in mind.

I imagine you will be paid in euro through a Belgian company, even if employed from India. You should ask your employer if they will apply for "expat" status which reduces your tax burden.

It's not possible to predict exactly what your net salary will be. It's usual to receive "cheque repas" ie meal cheques for every day worked which you don't pay tax on, it's tax avoidance scheme. Some people also get "eco cheques", a company car, extra top-up health insurance. Then you build up 1.92 months extra pay on a Belgian contract, so effectively after a year's employment, you would get 13.92 months pay - an extra month near Christmas and an extra .92 month in May/June.

You will be taxed initially as having (I am assuming) a non-working spouse and one child under your responsbility, so you will pay less tax than if you were single and no dependants. Then every year you can also claim a tax refund, if you use child care, if you pay certain expenses on a rented property - this year I got 900 euro back for example, but it depends on your individual circumstances.

You can also claim child benefit if you are paying Belgian social security, but for 1 child it is not too much per month, about 100 euro a month. You apply through your employer.

For a family of 3, I would want a minimum net salary of around 2000 euro a month which would allow you to rent a 2 bed apartment.

School is free from 2 1/2, so I'd get your child in full time ASAP.

PS medical expenses. If you are paying Belgian social security, you are obliged to pay into a Belgian health insurance policy. It will cost you typically 13 euro a month for 2 adults and 1 child (that is with EUROMUT). You can pay top-up insurance if you want, or it might come for free as part of your employment contract. The basic 13 euro a month cover will cover most family's health costs except for a small percentage  eg a vists to a general doctor can cost (after refund for the health insurance) only 5 euro, dentist care for your child will be free, outpatient hospital costs will be perhaps 10%. Our child recently had an emergency operation and stayed overnight in hospital, as an example, we paid about 100 euro out of the 1000 euro bill.

Hello Schoolmum,
Thank you for your response. The figure of 2000 Euros includes all other expenses such as food, electricity/water, clothing, expenses for kid?

PS: I have elaborated the question a bit more, would be helpful for me if you took a look at it.

Thank you for the response.

schoolmum :

I imagine you will be paid in euro through a Belgian company, even if employed from India. You should ask your employer if they will apply for "expat" status which reduces your tax burden.

It's not possible to predict exactly what your net salary will be. It's usual to receive "cheque repas" ie meal cheques for every day worked which you don't pay tax on, it's tax avoidance scheme. Some people also get "eco cheques", a company car, extra top-up health insurance. Then you build up 1.92 months extra pay on a Belgian contract, so effectively after a year's employment, you would get 13.92 months pay - an extra month near Christmas and an extra .92 month in May/June.

You will be taxed initially as having (I am assuming) a non-working spouse and one child under your responsbility, so you will pay less tax than if you were single and no dependants. Then every year you can also claim a tax refund, if you use child care, if you pay certain expenses on a rented property - this year I got 900 euro back for example, but it depends on your individual circumstances.

You can also claim child benefit if you are paying Belgian social security, but for 1 child it is not too much per month, about 100 euro a month. You apply through your employer.

For a family of 3, I would want a minimum net salary of around 2000 euro a month which would allow you to rent a 2 bed apartment.

School is free from 2 1/2, so I'd get your child in full time ASAP.

Hi there

I would question why you are NOT going to be paying Belgian social security? Are you going to be an EU official or a NATO official or something similar? These are the main workers in Belgium NOT paying Belgian social security. It is irrelevant that you are not a Belgian national when paying social security contributions. There must be over a million non Belgians living in Belgium and paying social security and they are all obliged to pay into a health insurance policy, aka a MUTUELLE. It is very cheap for the basic coverage, we pay 13 euro a month for our entire family of 6, only the adults pay 6.50 euro each, the children are covered by the adults' payments.

I cannot quote you how much people pay in health insurance when they don't pay into a  Mutuelle, I don't know anyone in those circumstances. I can tell you that you pay only a small percentage of costs if you are part of a Mutuelle, as illustrated  already.

1. Family of three (one 2 year old kid)
2000 euro, so long as you keep within 700 euro a month for 2 bed apartment. Landlords are pretty reluctant to rent when the rent is more than 1/3 of monthly income, it's a good "rule of thumb", so 700 euro a month for rent, 1300 euro a month for everything else.

2. Average Medical expenses
6.50 euro for Mutuelle contributions per adult. We also claim back MORE than that in refunds for sporting activities and children's clubs. We rarely use medical treatment so we end up paying in often less than we get back.

3. Rent an apartment (preferably two bedroom) (Ghent area)
Use immoweb.be to find out current prices, but 700 euro a month looks realistic to me looking quickly now.

4. Travel by public transport
Belgium is in 3 regions, with each region having its own transport provider. Gent is in Flanders and the transport provider of buses and trams is De Lijn. A yearly de Lijn pass on all of their services for a 25+ year old is 232 euro a year, so very very cheap.
http://www.delijn.be/vervoerbewijzen/ty … js_omnipas
Trains transport in Belgium is provided by SNCB, if you need to travel by train outside Gent. It again is very cheap.
Most employers offer either a company car or 90% or 100% public transport costs anyway.

5. Schooling for the kid
from age 2 1/2, exact start date depends on month of birth, individual school, whether there are any places left. I'd deal with schooling IMMEDIATELY. Schools usually offer care from 7.30am to 6.30pm, you pay extra for "garderie" (don't know Dutch word) from 7.30 to 8.30 and from 15.30 to 18.30. You might pay an extra 5 euro a day for the full hours. Charges are set by individual schools. But mega cheap really, considering it's from the age of 2 1/2.
Holiday clubs run during school holidays, from 50 euro a week, depends on activity, could be as much as 250 euro a week if choosing something like a diving or pony riding course.

6. Day care for the kid (I am not sure about it, but in case my wife has to work)
Creches are for 0-3 years, cost is typically 450-550 a month, very very difficult to get a place full time at the age of 2. Informal creches also exist, might not be full time, typically 10 euro for a half day.

Thank you Schoolmum for your answer. It gives me a lot of info. I am not yet sure why I wont be paying Belgian Social Security, may be it is because of the Work permit structure, I am not sure. I need to speak with the company about this.

schoolmum :

Hi there

I would question why you are NOT going to be paying Belgian social security? Are you going to be an EU official or a NATO official or something similar? These are the main workers in Belgium NOT paying Belgian social security. It is irrelevant that you are not a Belgian national when paying social security contributions. There must be over a million non Belgians living in Belgium and paying social security and they are all obliged to pay into a health insurance policy, aka a MUTUELLE. It is very cheap for the basic coverage, we pay 13 euro a month for our entire family of 6, only the adults pay 6.50 euro each, the children are covered by the adults' payments.

I cannot quote you how much people pay in health insurance when they don't pay into a  Mutuelle, I don't know anyone in those circumstances. I can tell you that you pay only a small percentage of costs if you are part of a Mutuelle, as illustrated  already.

1. Family of three (one 2 year old kid)
2000 euro, so long as you keep within 700 euro a month for 2 bed apartment. Landlords are pretty reluctant to rent when the rent is more than 1/3 of monthly income, it's a good "rule of thumb", so 700 euro a month for rent, 1300 euro a month for everything else.

2. Average Medical expenses
6.50 euro for Mutuelle contributions per adult. We also claim back MORE than that in refunds for sporting activities and children's clubs. We rarely use medical treatment so we end up paying in often less than we get back.

3. Rent an apartment (preferably two bedroom) (Ghent area)
Use immoweb.be to find out current prices, but 700 euro a month looks realistic to me looking quickly now.

4. Travel by public transport
Belgium is in 3 regions, with each region having its own transport provider. Gent is in Flanders and the transport provider of buses and trams is De Lijn. A yearly de Lijn pass on all of their services for a 25+ year old is 232 euro a year, so very very cheap.
http://www.delijn.be/vervoerbewijzen/ty … js_omnipas
Trains transport in Belgium is provided by SNCB, if you need to travel by train outside Gent. It again is very cheap.
Most employers offer either a company car or 90% or 100% public transport costs anyway.

5. Schooling for the kid
from age 2 1/2, exact start date depends on month of birth, individual school, whether there are any places left. I'd deal with schooling IMMEDIATELY. Schools usually offer care from 7.30am to 6.30pm, you pay extra for "garderie" (don't know Dutch word) from 7.30 to 8.30 and from 15.30 to 18.30. You might pay an extra 5 euro a day for the full hours. Charges are set by individual schools. But mega cheap really, considering it's from the age of 2 1/2.
Holiday clubs run during school holidays, from 50 euro a week, depends on activity, could be as much as 250 euro a week if choosing something like a diving or pony riding course.

6. Day care for the kid (I am not sure about it, but in case my wife has to work)
Creches are for 0-3 years, cost is typically 450-550 a month, very very difficult to get a place full time at the age of 2. Informal creches also exist, might not be full time, typically 10 euro for a half day.

It is normally obligatory to pay Belgian Social Security if domiciled in Belgium, should not be connected with any work permit. NATO and EU officials don't as they have "special" status and don't count as normal residents. Diplomats also have another type of special status and pay social security to their home ocuntries. Cross-boarder workers, ones that work in another EU country but are doimiciled here normally pay tax to the country where they work but social security to Belgium. It really is the exception not to pay SS here.

So anyone else out there who DOESN'T pay Belgian Social Security? Maybe they could explain why......

Ok, so possibly I would be paying Belgian Social Security. I need to confirm this with the company.

schoolmum :

It is normally obligatory to pay Belgian Social Security if domiciled in Belgium, should not be connected with any work permit. NATO and EU officials don't as they have "special" status and don't count as normal residents. Diplomats also have another type of special status and pay social security to their home ocuntries. Cross-boarder workers, ones that work in another EU country but are doimiciled here normally pay tax to the country where they work but social security to Belgium. It really is the exception not to pay SS here.

So anyone else out there who DOESN'T pay Belgian Social Security? Maybe they could explain why......

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