Frequently Asked Questions about Money

1. How Much Money Will I Make and Save?
Download this Excel Document that is a tool for estimating how much you will make and save in a month or year.

Here is what the document will look like, but the below image is static. (go here to change conversion ratio and % saved):

 

2. How Much Money to Bring With You
Quotes from former staff:

"I personally don't bring more than $20 USD with me to China. I bring my ATM card and get cash from my US account at the ATM's in Beijing and the one on Campus. If you want to do this I recommend bringing a Visa debit card (I've never had problems using mine) and call your bank before you leave to let them know you'll be using it overseas."

"I think $150, which is about 1,143 RMB (Chinese) will totally be enough for you as you travel around Beijing the first few days and take care of you as you settle into your new home. If you want to start major decorating you might want to pull out more money when you get here. Seriously though, there's no need to actually bring a lot of money over here if you have an ATM card. To start out I'd just bring $150 and have the ATM or new friends :) who can help if necessary."

"I bring enough USD to assure I could get home in an emergency. Usually soon after arriving at [school] they will give you a partial salary to assist you in getting started. Or exchanging $100 should be plenty until your first pay check."

"In Beijing at the airport it is easy to exchange money. Once you get to the school you can exchange it at the local Bank of China as long as the bills are practically new and have no creases or tears in them. They are very picky about the money they will take."

"We were paid an advance of 500RMB when we arrived, which gave us a good start, and was plenty to cover our basic needs. When you get the first full paycheck, then you can start doing things you might want to make your apartment your home, like painting and buying lamps, etc."

"First take care of all the things you need (toiletries, toilet paper, cleaning supplies) then maybe spend some for decorating to make your room more home-like. Just be careful not to spend all your money before your paycheck."

 

3. How do taxes work?
Do you owe taxes to America?

Here are tips on filing taxes as an expat. ( http://www.irs.gov/businesses/small/international/article/0,,id=97324,00.html)

Check with the IRS as to whether you qualify for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. ( http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=108276,00.html)

The US Embassy in Beijing offers some tax help.
What if I can't file in time?
Overseas taxpayers are automatically eligible for a two-month extension if they are unable to file their taxes by the April 15 deadline. Simply wrote "Overseas Taxpayer" at the top of your return to claim the extension. Please note that an extension to file does not mean to have an extention to pay. If you owe tax, interest will accrue from the April 15 deadline.
Since I live overseas, aren't I exempt from paying?
Some overseas taxpayers may qualify for the Foreign-Earned Income Exclusion. However, there are strict qualifying criteria. Please consult with the IRS or an accountant to learn if you qualify.

Most teachers do not need to worry about taxes being withdrawn from their paycheck in China. Here's some info from Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Taxation_in_the_People's_ Republic_of_China#Individual_ Income_Tax
Individual Income Tax Rates Schedule (2):

 

4. Can I pay my bills back home from China?
Yes, you should be able to pay bills using online bill pay with money you have in your US Bank. Otherwise we suggest that you appoint a family member to take care of your bills in the states. For about $20 a month you can have a company scan your mail, email it to you and shred any paperwork. Contact us for help in this situation.

To transfer money to America you would need to pay a wire transfer fee or have friends going back to America take your salary (converted to USD) to America to deposit for you.

 

5.  What if I have student loans and other debt?
Student loans, car payments and other debt do not have to keep you from this adventure. While it is possible to gain deferments for student loans, many teachers raise financial support back home to help cover these normal expenses. The first step will be to approach your lending agency (in person is best) and explain that you will be interning/working for a year with a non-profit organization. Ask what type of restructuring is possible to allow you to experience this opportunity. There is usually a 6-month grace period between graduation and debt repayment for student loans. If your debt is limited, it is possible to use part of your salary to make very small payments.

 

6. What is included in my salary? How do I get paid?
You will be given a monthly salary based upon your academic degree, your own apartment, and three meals a day. Your salary will be automatically deposited to a Bank of China account set-up for you by the university. There is an ATM on campus and many others throughout China. Remember that China is a cash-based society so you will not be able to use a credit card. Most teachers go to the ATM and draw out money for that month to avoid expensive ATM fees. Again, this salary is more than enough to live comfortably in China. The University also provides culture trips to the historical and cultural hot spots in and around the province as well as optional Chinese language classes.

Benefits:
◗ Airfare to China
◗ Return Airfare*
◗ Medical Care Allowance
◗ Accident Insurance
◗ Private Apartment
◗ Internet and Utilities Paid
◗ Three Free Meals Per Day
◗ Free Weekend Trips
◗ Paid Winter Holiday
◗ Free Chinese Lessons
◗ Starting salaries range from 3,500 RMB a month depending on degree attained and other factors, with annual raises.
* With completed one year contract
 

7. How does money work in China?
For the most part, China is still a cash society. Expect to make your purchases using cash. You can use a debit card to withdraw money from your U.S. bank account. You will need to notify your bank before you leave that you will be using the card in China. The Bank of China in the provincial capital (an hour away by bus) will allow you to take a cash advance on a VISA card but will not accept MASTERCARD. The local Bank of China cashes U.S. dollars and traveler's checks (you must bring a passport) but does not accept VISA. If you have a Bank of America account you can withdraw money from that account with no fees throughout China using China Construction Bank (BofA owns part of CCB).

The Chinese currency is the Yuan (also called Renminbi, RMB). Roughly, one US Dollar = 6.35 Yuan

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