Country Information
General Information

COST OF LIVING IN KOREA: BUDGET TOOL

This tool will help you answer the question: How much can I earn (and save) teaching English in Korea. Because it's creating a monthly budget it'll work fine if you're not a teacher, but you'll need to adjust some fields like bonus and airfare reimbursement to fit your job.


The budget has default answers and numbers filled in, change what you need and press calculate. To find out more about a field (and how it is calculated) click the text for it.


You can share the budget with your own numbers by changing them and then pressing custom URL. You'll get a link to your own custom version of the budget

The Korean Won is a low value currency so this entire budget is in millions.
Enter your monthly salary. It has to be in millions of Won.
Nationality affects 3 things: flight costs, pension payments and getting them back when you leave and tax if you're on a public program.
This changes the currency of the totals (usually in green), all the monthly expenses, startup and end of year costs still have to be in won.
Progressive tax uses income brackets and you pay more as you earn more. Flat tax is a set amount. Progressive is nearly always better.
Public programs mean you work at a public school (EPIK, GEPIK etc.). A private school is a language company (hagwon) like YBM.
The 3.3% tax rate in your contract means you're being treated as an independent contractor. You'll have to file your own taxes and pay your own social security.
₩1.25
Or 1.9 solid silver replicas of the world cup.
₩18.41
Which is 13.1 weeks at the Ritz. Amazing. Well minibar not included.

THE BREAKDOWN

TAX AND INSURANCE

TAX BREAKDOWN

SOCIAL SECURITY BREAKDOWN

This break down is for the year. Only the total is monthly.
A tax default deduction which everyone gets. Pretty much every tax system has one.
(₩)
The amount of your salary that can be taxed once deductions (social security etc.) are removed.
(₩)
The total amount of income tax you'll have to pay a year.
(₩)
This break down is for the year. Only the total is monthly.
This is the cost of payments into Korea's national health system.
(₩)
This is the cost of payments into Korea's national pension system. Some nationalities can get it as a lump sum when they leave.
(₩)
₩1.94

STARTUP COSTS

You can alter the values in these fields
Upfront housing costs are things like key money, deposit and upfront rent. Deposits you get back, the other two you don't.
(₩)
This is an average price from Hopper.com from the 5 largest cities of your country to the largest destination airport.
(₩)

MONTHLY EXPENSES

You can alter the values in these fields
Rent is nearly always paid for in Korea.
(₩)
These are bills for the apartment, things like gas, electricity, building maintenance etc.
(₩)
The cost of an internet connection. Hopefully this one is obvious.
(₩)
This food budget assumes you can manage without mass buying western groceries e.g. cereal.
(₩)
This is the cost of getting to work and back, it doesn't cover train trips away etc.
(₩)
The cost of getting a local mobile plan. If you use a lot of wifi you could reduce this.
(₩)
This is very person specific so we've left this at 0 and you'll need to change it.
(₩)
₩1.25
₩1.15

END OF YEAR ROUNDUP

You can alter any of the values in the top row.
The cost of the plane trip back. See airfare there for how it's calculated.
(₩)
Airfare is nearly always paid for in Korea. If you're on a public program you get a 2.6m won allowance and can keep the remainder.
(₩)
An end of year bonus equal to one months salary is very common.
(₩)
Some apartment startup costs aren't refundable. The deposit is.
(₩)
Certain nationalities can get their pension paid out as a lump sum when they leave the country.
(₩)
Independent contractors pay the same tax as everyone else, but they pay a different amount each month and make it up at the end.
(₩)
You can download an Excel spreadsheet of the budget if you'd prefer to here. And if you have any suggestions for things that would be useful added or just want to discuss the finer points of the tax calculation, click here to email me and lets talk.

You can find long explanations of all the tax calculations in the country tax sections complete with examples!

Here's a really standard tax disclaimer: We're not tax lawyers, this isn't official tax advice. You're responsible for what you do, if you're unsure of anything you'll need to talk to a proper tax lawyer and all that good stuff. I'm sure you knew all this anyway.


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