Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

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Topic Author
DeathFalcon
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Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by DeathFalcon » Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:56 am

Hi All,

In the very near future I will have a decision to make regarding my career and family’s future. Currently in operations management in the SE USA for an O&G contractor, but will have the opportunity to start my own company working in the ME (primarily in Saudi Arabia) while living in Bahrain. Should the business grow, the business opportunities would be throughout the region.

It would involve a full move of the family, which includes the wife, and two kids under 3, away from our family all currently living within an hour

Financials seem to me that this is a great can’t miss opportunity, but I’m here looking for other general opinions/thoughts on all aspects of our situation

Currently:
Age: 37
Middle management making $94k + $650/month vehicle allowance and fuel costs covered
Wife Age: 34
employed at $50k
Own our home with approximately $140k left on the mortgage and $150-$160k in equity

Potentially:
Owner/partner in a JV with salary ranging $180k-$210k
Wife would stay at home with kids in Bahrain
Housing, private international schools, and vehicle costs would be provided
10% profit sharing of revenue earned after first $1MM, split between 3 partners/owners of our LLC.

There are current immediate business opportunities, and the upside for the business to generate anywhere starting out around $2MM early on to $10MM in the next 10 years, and potentially significantly more long term.
Last edited by DeathFalcon on Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stan1
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by stan1 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:53 am

How much time have you and your wife spent in the Middle East?

I'm also not clear on what it means to have an opportunity to start your own company. Would you be a consultant to someone at a firm or client you already know? Just read it is a JV so your partners have existing relationships?

Topic Author
DeathFalcon
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Joined: Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:44 am

Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by DeathFalcon » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:04 am

No experience in the ME

Consultant with current major GC in KSA through mutual contact, which is facilitating this entrance into the market.

OnTrack2020
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by OnTrack2020 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:07 am

Is this a short-term opportunity--such as 1-2 years or would you be there longer such as 5-10 years?

If longer, would you want your children to grow up in the ME?? What does your wife think?

DJN
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by DJN » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:15 am

Hi,
Most middle eastern countries require a local majority ownership of any locally based business. How you get paid and how you are protected in any JV in the ME is key, I would be extremely careful about any arrangement with locals, notwithstanding agreements and / or contracts.
There are many obstacles to carrying out business in the ME, however getting paid for work carried out is definitely one of the top concerns.
In respect to living there, Saudi is not a place for a western woman to have a normal life. The cost of living can be surprisingly high particularly for families with children, notwithstanding what you might find from polls and surveys. Finding suitable schools can be tricky and most are expensive for expats. The cultural shock can be significant.
Most visas out there are confined to specific periods and lots of employees if you are going to set up a business will have to come and go on a regular basis in order to comply with the local regulations, this particularly applies to Saudi Arabia.
The longest visa you will get will be for three years, could be less and be prepared that this can be rescinded for no reason.
While the salary or stipend you mention seems ok, with US tax due if you are a US citizen I wouldn't get over excited.
Good luck,
DJN
It's a constant source of amazement to me, how little I know and how much there is to find out.

traveler901
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by traveler901 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:19 am

Any particular reason you all want to be based in Bahrain as opposed to Dubai?

Bahrain is still a 1.5 hour drive into Dammam so it's not like it's an easy daily commute. So it's unclear if you will be in KSA on a daily basis? If there is true opportunity to expand in the MENA region I would definitely be based out of Dubai.

*Edit*
Last edited by traveler901 on Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

traveler901
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by traveler901 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:21 am

DJN wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:15 am
Hi,
Most middle eastern countries require a local majority ownership of any locally based business. How you get paid and how you are protected in any JV in the ME is key, I would be extremely careful about any arrangement with locals, notwithstanding agreements and / or contracts.
There are many obstacles to carrying out business in the ME, however getting paid for work carried out is definitely one of the top concerns.
Bahrain is essentially a giant free zone, so there isn't the issue of local ownership there.

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FlyAF
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by FlyAF » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:07 am

traveler901 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:19 am
Any particular reason you all want to be based in Bahrain as opposed to Dubai?

Bahrain is still a 1.5 hour drive into Dammam so it's not like it's an easy daily commute. So it's unclear if you will be in KSA on a daily basis? If there is true opportunity to expand in the MENA region I would definitely be based out of Dubai.

For me it also depends on where in SEA you live. Big difference if you are choosing between ME and Singapore or ME and Manila. Cost of living is another factor as the ME is quite expensive, especially compared to most of SEA (excluding Singapore).
OP is in the SE USA, not SE Asia.

Me personally, the numbers you posted aren't nearly enough for me to move to that region. I suspect your wife would be miserable. My spouse has to travel to the ME on business a couple of times a year. I've never been, but always returns home telling me no way no how.

Random Poster
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by Random Poster » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:23 am

DeathFalcon wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:56 am
Financials seem to me that this is a great can’t miss opportunity, but I’m here looking for other general opinions/thoughts on all aspects of our situation.
No way would I take that opportunity.

If you want to make money in O&G but not fear for your life while doing so, move to the Permian. The water may be foul, the roads may be terrible, the schools may be abysmal, and the scenery may be demoralizing, but the social and political climate is a lot more friendly than Saudi Arabia.

Or if you want more of a challenge given the current economic climate, go to Calgary and try to make it there.

But the Middle East? No thanks.

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LiveSimple
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by LiveSimple » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:12 am

Hearsay is that, it is easy to make money in ME, but hard to bring the money home.

Dude2
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by Dude2 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:23 am

I'm not knowledgeable on much of this. I say it up front. Not a businessman, an engineer -- so somebody just pays me a higher salary to be in the ME. Very simple. Opportunities abound because there is so much money. If they pull out a billion a day in oil, then what's 15 billion on a nuclear reactor -- chump change. But the pond is fished. Companies are here already, have been here. All kinds of nationalities are represented. If there's some shiny new opportunity, then why isn't already being handled by somebody else? One answer may be that the companies just got sick and tired of dealing with the customer, refused essentially to take their money to do job A or provide service B. Oh the stories that one hears around here about how some company was owed a billion dollars and then never paid. Companies hear what they want to. They gamble. The opportunity is right around the corner -- the promise of long term business. Dollar signs in our eyes.

I've hear bad things about Saudi. For a culture that is supposed to be so Draconian on law enforcement, Jordanians don't want to work there because they feel their families are not safe. This is very strange to me, i.e. counter-intuitive. You want a safe place for your family, live in the UAE, not Saudi. I think Bahrain is in terrible debt, can't pay the interest on their bonds, etc. Only saving grace was a recent giant oil find.

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TxAg
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by TxAg » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:13 pm

There's not enough money for me to raise a family over there.

krafty81
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by krafty81 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:16 pm

I think a lot of responders here do not understand Bahrain. I have had many friends who lived there and enjoyed it. Pretty western place.

Beatle Boots
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by Beatle Boots » Tue Jun 11, 2019 1:15 pm

Lived in KSA for 2 years and travelled to Bahrain during this time as well as Kuwait. If you haven't lived in this part of world (not brief visit) it will definitely be a culture shock. I saw many westerners expats that had lived there for many years and were culturally adjusted and expertly navigated the politics of working with Arabs. On the other hand, I also saw many excited westerners who wanted to "fill up their pail with cash" only to get tossed out of the country after a very short time. Normally, these guys were not very adept at figuring out "how the system worked" and successfully navigating it.

You said something about starting your own business, another poster mentioned that normally you can't own 100% of a business which is my experience. The majority of the businesses in KSA are Joint Venture between an Arab (51%+) and western concern. Also, if you are a principal for a business start-up or even an ongoing concern moving there, be prepared to pony up at least 20% baksheesh (b r i b e) to your Arab partner/sponsor. The baksheesh is NOT a 1 time payment and you will probably be required to ONLY purchase goods and services from specific vendors connected to your Arabic sponsor. Your Arab sponsor will probably be a 'Hi-Born" citizen who is most likely "connected" to someone involved with the royal family.

Quick google search shows that there are appoximately 15,000 royal family members with 2,000 controlling significant wealth.

Other differnces (there are many), if you are chriistian religious proselytizer you probably don't want to go. Also, if you are going to spend much time in KSA and you like to consume illegal homemade alcohol "Siddiqui" (not applicable to Bahrain). If you find yourself unlucky enough to have a major hospitalizing health condition or you end up in jail (drunk driving, you smoke bud, etc.) cross your fingers there are lots of bad outcomes.

Also, stay away from "Chop Chop Square".

For more info on what to expect, there are some forums of westerner expats that discuss in more detail what to expect.

Recommendation. After you have completed your research, and if you still want to go, consider going over by yourself for 6 months to a year to see if you really want to bring your family over. I also saw many family situations where the husband worked in ME and family stayed back in States. Often wondered how that worked?

Good luck!

Topic Author
DeathFalcon
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by DeathFalcon » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:03 pm

Thanks for the various responses. For those who immediately shoot down the opportunity by saying that’s not enough money, what would be?

As I’ve outlined, taxes aside, base salary $210k, housing, schooling, and vehicle paid for. 10% profit sharing of potentially multi-million dollar revenue would put the total annual cash compensation ranging from $300k to eventually upwards of $500-600k in the next 4-5 years. Longer term possibly $800-$1MM+

Bahrain is the no. 1 ranked expat destination by various reports that I’ve seen.

masonstone
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by masonstone » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:41 pm

DeathFalcon wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:03 pm
Thanks for the various responses. For those who immediately shoot down the opportunity by saying that’s not enough money, what would be?

As I’ve outlined, taxes aside, base salary $210k, housing, schooling, and vehicle paid for. 10% profit sharing of potentially multi-million dollar revenue would put the total annual cash compensation ranging from $300k to eventually upwards of $500-600k in the next 4-5 years. Longer term possibly $800-$1MM+

Bahrain is the no. 1 ranked expat destination by various reports that I’ve seen.
How easy would it be of getting your job back if you didn’t like the middle-east? If it wouldn’t be too hard and your wife is ok with going there I’d do it. The middle-east is better for men anyways 😝

renue74
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by renue74 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:59 pm

You live in the greatest country in the world with the most freedoms. Is $ that important to leave your wife and children, who you will not see grow up in their "best" years......to live/work in a somewhat oppressive country? Turn the table around...and put yourself in your wife's situation. As a female, would you voluntarily do this?

Really?

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FlyAF
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by FlyAF » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:31 pm

DeathFalcon wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:03 pm
Thanks for the various responses. For those who immediately shoot down the opportunity by saying that’s not enough money, what would be?

As I’ve outlined, taxes aside, base salary $210k, housing, schooling, and vehicle paid for. 10% profit sharing of potentially multi-million dollar revenue would put the total annual cash compensation ranging from $300k to eventually upwards of $500-600k in the next 4-5 years. Longer term possibly $800-$1MM+

Bahrain is the no. 1 ranked expat destination by various reports that I’ve seen.
How much money would it take for me to work in a country that regularly cuts peoples heads off in the town square? More than 300k a year, that's for sure. I value my personal freedoms WAY more than that, I'm not sure I could even put a number to it.

ETA: Bahrain is not the issue.

BobStrauss
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by BobStrauss » Tue Jun 11, 2019 3:56 pm

renue74 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:59 pm
You live in the greatest country in the world with the most freedoms. Is $ that important to leave your wife and children, who you will not see grow up in their "best" years......to live/work in a somewhat oppressive country? Turn the table around...and put yourself in your wife's situation. As a female, would you voluntarily do this?

Really?
This, 100%.

I work close hand with KSA nationals, and have colleagues who do short term assignments in the country and region all the time. I have also spend time in the region myself. While I’ve met many wonderful Saudis, there is no dollar figure that would make me want to move my family there - absolutely none. Could I sell a year of my life for a million bucks? Perhaps if it’s just myself. But no way I’d bring my family into that.

Topic Author
DeathFalcon
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by DeathFalcon » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:24 pm

renue74 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:59 pm
You live in the greatest country in the world with the most freedoms. Is $ that important to leave your wife and children, who you will not see grow up in their "best" years......to live/work in a somewhat oppressive country? Turn the table around...and put yourself in your wife's situation. As a female, would you voluntarily do this?

Really?
Who’s leaving their family? Family would be moving and the wife would be a stay at home Mom in Bahrain, as in no income.

rich126
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by rich126 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:19 pm

Although it has been a while, I've been in Bahrain several times and also briefly in Kuwait. Also I've lived over 10 years in Arizona. First of all Bahrain is brutally hot. Take the hot dry heat of Arizona and couple it with the humidity of the south (US). And Bahrain is tiny with limited stuff to do. Generally I think living elsewhere is a great experience for people and families but unless the money is life changing and it is very short term, I couldn't imagine asking a family to live there.

I never had any issues although certain times I was told to avoid going out at night for various reasons. This was back between the two Gulf wars. I'm guessing 1997 or so.

I know money can be good and sometimes you gotta do what you do, but I wouldn't take a family to live there. Bahrain at that time was a bit more open than Saudi Arabia and people from SA would come over to party on the weekends.

I never really got used to seeing all of the security folks armed with automatic weapons on various street corners, and especially around the gold souk areas. It was interesting and I met some nice folks (usually people from other countries in the mid-east). Not sure if I actually ever spoke to a native of the country.

AKsuited
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by AKsuited » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:57 pm

I spent quite sometime in the Middle East as an expat and agree with other posters that I wouldn't bring my family there. It's just a big culture shock and not very safe especially for females. On top of that; the weather is horrible for 8 months of the year.

As for the money; it looks great. Since your schooling costs are paid for; have you looked into schooling your kids in private/boarding school in the UK or Swiss? I used to know people who worked in KSA and they sent their kids to boarding school in Switzerland. However, that would mean you will be without your family in the Middle East.

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TxAg
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by TxAg » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:39 pm

I just showed this to my wife. She said "no way!"

masonstone
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by masonstone » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:47 pm

DeathFalcon wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:56 am
Hi All,

In the very near future I will have a decision to make regarding my career and family’s future. Currently in operations management in the SE USA for an O&G contractor, but will have the opportunity to start my own company working in the ME (primarily in Saudi Arabia) while living in Bahrain. Should the business grow, the business opportunities would be throughout the region.

It would involve a full move of the family, which includes the wife, and two kids under 3, away from our family all currently living within an hour

Financials seem to me that this is a great can’t miss opportunity, but I’m here looking for other general opinions/thoughts on all aspects of our situation

Currently:
Age: 37
Middle management making $94k + $650/month vehicle allowance and fuel costs covered
Wife Age: 34
employed at $50k
Own our home with approximately $140k left on the mortgage and $150-$160k in equity

Potentially:
Owner/partner in a JV with salary ranging $180k-$210k
Wife would stay at home with kids in Bahrain
Housing, private international schools, and vehicle costs would be provided
10% profit sharing of revenue earned after first $1MM, split between 3 partners/owners of our LLC.

There are current immediate business opportunities, and the upside for the business to generate anywhere starting out around $2MM early on to $10MM in the next 10 years, and potentially significantly more long term.
Is that 2 million per year for you? If so and if it’s relatively guaranteed I would definitely take it. People keep saying Middle East isn’t safe, but I guarantee you more people get shot due to our open gun laws in the U.S. than in the Bahrain. Also in Bahrain your wife would live like she’s upper class with a maid as opposed to the middle class living you have here stateside.

Actually we have 10 times the Homicide rate of Bahrain. Go figure.

https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indica ... 5/rankings

bltn
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by bltn » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:20 pm

I considered an employment opportunity in Saudi Arabia early in my career which would have doubled my income and provided some nice income tax advantage. I thought about moving over there for a few years to accumulate a nice nest egg, and then returning home.
I ve realized that for us, that would have been a huge mistake. Few friendships, feeling like an outsider in a different culture. My income advantage, while not as high a potential as yours, was pretty much insured by the government. But the lost years of our life would have been too big a price to pay. And this was before we had our children. With children, I wouldn t consider it.

umfan11244
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by umfan11244 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:30 pm

masonstone wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:47 pm
DeathFalcon wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:56 am
Hi All,

In the very near future I will have a decision to make regarding my career and family’s future. Currently in operations management in the SE USA for an O&G contractor, but will have the opportunity to start my own company working in the ME (primarily in Saudi Arabia) while living in Bahrain. Should the business grow, the business opportunities would be throughout the region.

It would involve a full move of the family, which includes the wife, and two kids under 3, away from our family all currently living within an hour

Financials seem to me that this is a great can’t miss opportunity, but I’m here looking for other general opinions/thoughts on all aspects of our situation

Currently:
Age: 37
Middle management making $94k + $650/month vehicle allowance and fuel costs covered
Wife Age: 34
employed at $50k
Own our home with approximately $140k left on the mortgage and $150-$160k in equity

Potentially:
Owner/partner in a JV with salary ranging $180k-$210k
Wife would stay at home with kids in Bahrain
Housing, private international schools, and vehicle costs would be provided
10% profit sharing of revenue earned after first $1MM, split between 3 partners/owners of our LLC.

There are current immediate business opportunities, and the upside for the business to generate anywhere starting out around $2MM early on to $10MM in the next 10 years, and potentially significantly more long term.
Is that 2 million per year for you? If so and if it’s relatively guaranteed I would definitely take it. People keep saying Middle East isn’t safe, but I guarantee you more people get shot due to our open gun laws in the U.S. than in the Bahrain. Also in Bahrain your wife would live like she’s upper class with a maid as opposed to the middle class living you have here stateside.

Actually we have 10 times the Homicide rate of Bahrain. Go figure.

https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indica ... 5/rankings
Maybe you should leave politics out of this, okay?

As someone who has spent significant time in the ME, there is no way I'm bringing my wife, kids, or dog to Bahrain. I understand the allure, but you can't fully grasp the differing lifestyle unless you've been there. Nearly every freedom you enjoy in the U.S., regardless of how small, will not exist. Someone earlier recommended Dubai, which I will second as my only recommendation for residence if you decide to do this.

Not trying to sound harsh, but it's not an ideal region for raising a family.

slick_dealer_05
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by slick_dealer_05 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:35 pm

Seems this thread is highly biased by people living state side in their comfort zones. US might be culturally suitable but isn't safe at all! Anyone can shoot you or your kids in their schools with no gun control (114 kids killed/injured in 2018 in US schools). On top of it, Inflated drug prices and laughable health insurance leave much to be desired.

I say go for it, plently of expats and their families live in Bahrain - it's a great opportunity to come up with a worldview rather than being siloed in USA.

Dude2
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by Dude2 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:47 pm

I too do not wish to come out 100% negative to this venture. Money talks. Surely there is a price. But, I'm sure many of us want to throw out some concepts just to be sure you've gotten a clearer picture. One that has probably always existed with people going to the ME is that you can live an insulated life like a VIP and turn a blind eye to everything. Above was mentioned getting a maid, etc. Yes, you can live that life, but for many of us it is antithetical to how we were raised in America. We aren't modern day slave owners. We believe people are equals. There is quite a different concept of this outside the 1st world.

I think if you are planning to be doing a lot of driving -- you said commuting from Bahrain -- well, if driving in Saudi/Bahrain is anything like driving in the UAE then this is going to be the worst experience of your life. I live as close as possible to my job just to keep driving to the absolute minimum. Remember (and this will especially hold true in Saudi), some people are far more equal than others. Your good driving record won't matter when the Arab guy tells his side of the story in Arabic to a cop after some traffic incident. The whole good buddy system works it way into all facets of your life. The whole us versus them mentality, etc. Now, if you are some kind of executive with a driver, the whole landscape changes. So, it is a matter of degrees as to how life will be. Will you be a regular Joe, trying to survive in a strange world, or will you be John D. Rockefeller?

MindBogler
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by MindBogler » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:38 pm

No offense, OP, but people doing low experience IT jobs can find work in Bahrain for as much or more, living in a private compound with private security, housing and food paid for. You are barely compensating for the risk you are taking.

If you've never been to the Middle East, I suggest you take a trip before you uproot your family. You won't be in Kansas anymore.

MindBogler
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by MindBogler » Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:49 pm

slick_dealer_05 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:35 pm
Seems this thread is highly biased by people living state side in their comfort zones. US might be culturally suitable but isn't safe at all! Anyone can shoot you or your kids in their schools with no gun control (114 kids killed/injured in 2018 in US schools).
I've been way outside the comfort zone of the US and so I don't take it for granted. Your kids are more likely to die in a bicycle accident than be killed in a US school, let's have some perspective.

traveler901
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by traveler901 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 11:23 pm

FlyAF wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:07 am
traveler901 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 7:19 am
Any particular reason you all want to be based in Bahrain as opposed to Dubai?

Bahrain is still a 1.5 hour drive into Dammam so it's not like it's an easy daily commute. So it's unclear if you will be in KSA on a daily basis? If there is true opportunity to expand in the MENA region I would definitely be based out of Dubai.

For me it also depends on where in SEA you live. Big difference if you are choosing between ME and Singapore or ME and Manila. Cost of living is another factor as the ME is quite expensive, especially compared to most of SEA (excluding Singapore).
OP is in the SE USA, not SE Asia.
Big reading mistake on my part :P

traveler901
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by traveler901 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:09 am

DeathFalcon wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 2:03 pm
Thanks for the various responses. For those who immediately shoot down the opportunity by saying that’s not enough money, what would be?

As I’ve outlined, taxes aside, base salary $210k, housing, schooling, and vehicle paid for. 10% profit sharing of potentially multi-million dollar revenue would put the total annual cash compensation ranging from $300k to eventually upwards of $500-600k in the next 4-5 years. Longer term possibly $800-$1MM+

Bahrain is the no. 1 ranked expat destination by various reports that I’ve seen.
It seems you are really stretching the figures to justify this because you want to do it. In your first post you said 180-210k salary, now you are saying the starting is the highest end of that at 210. And to be honest, if you and your wife already make 150k, that's not a big enough bump to justify the move IMO.

As for the profit sharing, no one else can really advise on this. You have just stated "potentially multi-million dollar revenue" which is extremely vague. Is there a local JV partner? Is this company going to be based in KSA or Bahrain (If you are employed in KSA will you really be able to live in Bahrain)? How much will the actual revenue be? How likely is the business to succeed? What are the profit margins? You stated that you are going to make 10% profit sharing of revenue over one million. I'm not sure exactly what you mean here - will you make 10% of profit (which could be a very low number) or 10% of revenue (seems unlikely). Are you having to invest money from the start?

My guess, as you mentioned the business will be done in KSA, is that this is a local LLC to be set up in KSA. And you will have a local Saudi partner that will be the largest owner of the company. If this is the case, kiss that profit sharing goodbye. You won't get anything past the base salary. But perhaps my assumption on your company set up is incorrect.

I have also seen Bahrain ranked fairly high on some expat destination reports. But it's completely due to money and not exactly reflective of it being the best lifestyle.

Again, there's only a few cities in the ME I would raise kids in (Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Muscat). Dubai would by far be the top option and really the only way I would consider this.

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6miths
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by 6miths » Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:29 am

We spent 3 years in the UAE, 2001-2004, and it was a very positive experience. Children were 1.5, 3, 5 and 6 when we arrived. We arrived 10 days before 9/11. People were wonderful and certainly it is a different culture but that was a positive. It was interesting to be in a religious and ethnic minority for once. Accommodations, utilities, vehicles, school, yearly return to home travel all paid. Pay was not dramatically different despite the tax free status - unlike the US, Canada does not tax non-resident citizens. Schools were quite good. UAE is more liberal than KSA and we were happy that we accepted jobs in UAE rather than KSA as the adjustment to culture is less. Definitely most ex-pats had maids, nannies, drivers, gardeners if they were so inclined. We only had a nanny who doubled as a maid. Accommodations were excellent and everywhere has AC. All very modern. I suspect that Bahrain is much like the UAE. Very centrally located so many ex-pats travel all over the world from there. We spent Christmas in the UK and returned to Canada for 8 weeks in the summers. Short hope to Africa and not bad to SE Asia. It was a very rewarding time for us. We had several family members and friends visit while we were there. Only regret would be having the children away from their grandparents. Our plan was always to have the kids out prior to secondary school education. We were in Al Ain which is the UAEs 'third city' in the east on the border with Oman. Many weekends in Dubai which was 75 minutes away on excellent highways.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

masonstone
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by masonstone » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:06 am

umfan11244 wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 9:30 pm
masonstone wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:47 pm
DeathFalcon wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 5:56 am
Hi All,

In the very near future I will have a decision to make regarding my career and family’s future. Currently in operations management in the SE USA for an O&G contractor, but will have the opportunity to start my own company working in the ME (primarily in Saudi Arabia) while living in Bahrain. Should the business grow, the business opportunities would be throughout the region.

It would involve a full move of the family, which includes the wife, and two kids under 3, away from our family all currently living within an hour

Financials seem to me that this is a great can’t miss opportunity, but I’m here looking for other general opinions/thoughts on all aspects of our situation

Currently:
Age: 37
Middle management making $94k + $650/month vehicle allowance and fuel costs covered
Wife Age: 34
employed at $50k
Own our home with approximately $140k left on the mortgage and $150-$160k in equity

Potentially:
Owner/partner in a JV with salary ranging $180k-$210k
Wife would stay at home with kids in Bahrain
Housing, private international schools, and vehicle costs would be provided
10% profit sharing of revenue earned after first $1MM, split between 3 partners/owners of our LLC.

There are current immediate business opportunities, and the upside for the business to generate anywhere starting out around $2MM early on to $10MM in the next 10 years, and potentially significantly more long term.
Is that 2 million per year for you? If so and if it’s relatively guaranteed I would definitely take it. People keep saying Middle East isn’t safe, but I guarantee you more people get shot due to our open gun laws in the U.S. than in the Bahrain. Also in Bahrain your wife would live like she’s upper class with a maid as opposed to the middle class living you have here stateside.

Actually we have 10 times the Homicide rate of Bahrain. Go figure.

https://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indica ... 5/rankings
Maybe you should leave politics out of this, okay?

As someone who has spent significant time in the ME, there is no way I'm bringing my wife, kids, or dog to Bahrain. I understand the allure, but you can't fully grasp the differing lifestyle unless you've been there. Nearly every freedom you enjoy in the U.S., regardless of how small, will not exist. Someone earlier recommended Dubai, which I will second as my only recommendation for residence if you decide to do this.

Not trying to sound harsh, but it's not an ideal region for raising a family.
As someone who has spent time in the Middle East I can tell you I was never worried about a potential school shooting when I was there. In Bahrain the OP will live an upper class lifestyle in a safer neighborhood. I’m surprised by the false sense of security people on this thread have of the U.S., when a robber in the South can literally buy bullets from a sports-store just as easily as buying running gear. Some other folks mentioned that living with servants is antithetical to their belief system. Without getting too much into politics, have you looked at the U.S. gini index lately? We have a much greater gap than Bahrain in terms of equality between the rich and the poor. So yes we do live in a society of the haves and have nots that is less safe than Bahrain. The only difference is I can talk poorly about our president when I’m living here but can’t talk poorly about the American backed government when I’m in the ME. Btw Bahrain, a small country, has a huge U.S. naval base (home to U.S. fifth fleet).
Last edited by masonstone on Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:33 am, edited 2 times in total.

masonstone
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by masonstone » Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:26 am

MindBogler wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:38 pm
No offense, OP, but people doing low experience IT jobs can find work in Bahrain for as much or more, living in a private compound with private security, housing and food paid for. You are barely compensating for the risk you are taking.

If you've never been to the Middle East, I suggest you take a trip before you uproot your family. You won't be in Kansas anymore.
If you’ve ever been to Bahrain you’d know it’s actually more modern than most parts of Kansas 🙂. PS I’ve lived in both.

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PoultryMan
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by PoultryMan » Wed Jun 12, 2019 2:13 am

I thought you would say this is a move with way more $$$$$ being thrown at you.

I’m all up for a year or two adventure/sacrifice, but it would be a big NO for me. Can’t see my family would enjoy that more than the first week or two, which would likely be fun and interesting.

Good luck.

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mrspock
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by mrspock » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:47 am

Pass. Double pass if any kids are girls. My fear would be if it actually got successful, I might be forced into a faustian bargain between my family and continuing to make big money.

This also feels like a false choice to me. It isn't KSA/Bahrain vs. Current. It's KSA/Bahrain vs. Current vs. <whatever other opportunities might exist in your field which are pretty much infinite> .

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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by jminv » Wed Jun 12, 2019 3:50 am

I would do it and not just because of the current offer on hand but what it can open up in the future. You’re less likely to get this sort of development stateside. I’m also coming at this as an expat that’s lived in much worse countries than Bahrain.

It also sounds like you’d probably regret not doing this. I wouldn’t leave the family in the states either because it would be easier to burnout and Bahrain is fine for expat family life. From what I’ve experienced elsewhere, expats that are doing fifo versus residential don’t save as much and put strain in their relationships. Doing a residential with family back home would be especially bad so bringing them is the right move. They’ll probably also like it.

Now about this job - do they have a contract fully secured? That’s an issue about getting paid for more than a couple months given the 180-210k to start plus benefits probably bringing it to 300k. Obviously you performing is a big part of them making the money to pay you. I would discount the profit sharing. I would also try to nail down the definition of profits in whatever agreement you have. Is this a profit sharing plan or do you have a real equity stake ie what happens if it’s sold and who can sell it?

You need to run through the tax issues. You are going to be paying us taxes and need to factor that into your expectations.

Take it and let us know how it goes.

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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by harrychan » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:18 am

I would not do it. I know a family who excitedly moved there in working for construction-related contract for a LARGE global company. One of their children passed away due to an unknown health condition and the parents ended up in jail. It took months and a lot of money to fight in court to be exonerated.
This is not legal or certified financial advice but you know that already.

bltn
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by bltn » Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:13 am

masonstone wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:26 am
MindBogler wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:38 pm
No offense, OP, but people doing low experience IT jobs can find work in Bahrain for as much or more, living in a private compound with private security, housing and food paid for. You are barely compensating for the risk you are taking.

If you've never been to the Middle East, I suggest you take a trip before you uproot your family. You won't be in Kansas anymore.
If you’ve ever been to Bahrain you’d know it’s actually more modern than most parts of Kansas 🙂. PS I’ve lived in both.
Wow! I had no idea!

masonstone
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by masonstone » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:12 am

bltn wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 5:13 am
masonstone wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:26 am
MindBogler wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:38 pm
No offense, OP, but people doing low experience IT jobs can find work in Bahrain for as much or more, living in a private compound with private security, housing and food paid for. You are barely compensating for the risk you are taking.

If you've never been to the Middle East, I suggest you take a trip before you uproot your family. You won't be in Kansas anymore.
If you’ve ever been to Bahrain you’d know it’s actually more modern than most parts of Kansas 🙂. PS I’ve lived in both.
Wow! I had no idea!
Well most in America think the middle-east is one giant desert full of terrorists.

knightrider
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by knightrider » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:08 am

I'd always be worried my kids would start making fun of the religion and government. What if they write some social media post bashing everything? Adults can restrain themselves, but kids love to do opposite of what is expected of them..

masonstone
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by masonstone » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:11 am

knightrider wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:08 am
I'd always be worried my kids would start making fun of the religion and government. What if they write some social media post bashing everything? Adults can restrain themselves, but kids love to do opposite of what is expected of them..
You'd be protected as an American Citizen. Bahrain wouldn't throw your U.S. Citizen child in jail when the 5th fleet is there :p But also my comments are about living in Bahrain, I wouldn't let my children grow up in Saudi Arabia.

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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by Erbman » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:12 am

I can't comment on the current situation in the Mid East, but I was born in Saudi to American citizens that worked for the oil company and I lived there until I was 12. I lived there from 1984-1996 so my view is definitely not entirely applicable to the OP's situation. I grew up on several of the company compounds in the Eastern Province although not in Bahrain itself.

My recommendation is for the OP to determine exactly what the motivation is for the move. Is it purely financial? if so I think you might be disappointed. If you and your family are adventurous and want to explore and live in a culture different than your own I say go for it. Bahrain is a very different place than Saudi. Not to say its just like the states, but its considerably more Western friendly. Don't let people scare you with one off tales of horror. I can find many examples of those here in the States. No place is totally safe. Living in any foreign country carries risk. Some risks are worth taking and others aren't. Only you get to make that decision. Just make sure your spouse is on board. The move will be more of a shock for her than you I suspect.

An important note: If you stay in the Mid East for the long haul at some point you will have to send your kids off to boarding school. Do you really want to send away your 9th grader halfway around the world? I know plenty of people who put in 20 plus years working in Saudi with kids they sent off to school. Some have regrets about boarding school and some don't. You can't stay forever, having an idea of a repatriation strategy before you set off is wise.

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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by michaeljc70 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:27 am

I'd be concentrating on what your wife thinks and how much you value being close to family and friends rather than the financial aspects. This seems like a long term thing. If it was for a year or two, I'd be more likely to say give it a try and see what happens.

Prahasaurus
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by Prahasaurus » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:33 am

So much misguided info in this thread, by all of these Middle East “experts.” I also note posts saying “America is number 1 in freedom!” are fine, but when others point out it’s actually not so simple, we are immediately warned to “not get political.” Funny how that works. But not surprising, I suppose, given the likely demographic here.

But let’s get on to the topic, because I am an American, and I’ve lived for two years in the Gulf (just moved back to Europe, however), and have been traveling to the Middle East regularly for the past decade, and still travel there monthly. Full disclosure: I lived in Dubai and Abu Dhabi. I have been to Saudi many times. I have been to Bahrain a few times.

I think there are pros and cons, and you should be aware of all the issues. So just off the top of my head:

1 - You have plenty of freedoms in most parts of the Middle East, including Bahrain. But there are limitations, and this could be something that might bother you. You can’t criticize the ruling families openly, without backlash (not prison as an American, but you would probably be asked to leave, or have your Visa cancelled). Outside of a few red lines, you are generally free to do what you want, provided you don’t break the law. Still, there are red lines, and that might bother you. For most Americans living in the Middle East, they could care less.

2 - The Gulf is very safe. No issues for you, your wife, or family. Violence is practically unheard of. The stereotypical images of fanatical Arabs in the USA media are simply racist caricatures. I have never felt unsafe in the region. My wife, as well. Very friendly people, very pro family, violence is condemned. Obviously low level crime is dealt with very harshly. Prison sentences, then immediate deportation.

3 - Saudi is more restrictive, without a doubt. I would never live in Saudi with my family. It is especially difficult for women. Services are terrible, well behind Dubai. I would put Bahrain closer to Dubai. You should be fine.

4 - Most wives either love the Gulf or hate it. A key will be having friends nearby, especially if you will be away a lot on business. Or work long hours, which is typical in the Gulf. It can be very lonely and isolating in the Gulf for wives who don’t work and have few friends. This is amplified in the summer, when you have 40+ degrees Celsius from May through September, with terrible humidity. You are stuck inside, it’s difficult. On the flip side, the winters are very nice. Still, your number one success factor for happiness will be ensuring your wife is OK with everything, is making friends, has activities... When I see expats leave early, it’s almost always because of the wife.

5 - Not sure of the legal framework under which you will operate, or your LLC will operate. But you work at the whim of the government. They can cancel your Visa at any time and for any reason. You will then have 2 months to get out of the country. Good luck unwinding everything. If there is money owed, good luck collecting if you are leaving under less than friendly terms.

6 - A lot of people are there for 2 or 3 years just to make money. Not everyone, but most. This doesn’t necessarily attract the best people. And the overall expat culture is rather superficial. Probably not surprising. It can be a very toxic environment, and you can start to lose sight of what is really important to you. What may start out as a way to make money, but also a way to learn other cultures, languages, etc., can quickly devolve into just making money, everything else is secondary. Be careful. You start to chase something and lose sight of what you already have...

7 - It’s frustrating to do so many things in that region, even minor things (fix a leaky pipe), and you need to be patient. The entire “inshallah” approach to deadlines gets old very fast. So much of the low-skilled expat labor force is there because they are cheap, few are properly trained, which means the quality of deliverables can be atrocious. Many of the locals are well educated and very nice, I made some great friends while there. But they definitely have their own priorities and their own time frames, and you are there to help them, they are not there for you. Get used to it.

8 - It’s much more expensive than you realize. If they are paying for housing and schooling - 100% - then this is a huge perk. Of course you will be taxed on all of this, as an American. You do have a foreign tax credit, but all of these perks will count towards your taxable compensation. I paid about 20k USD per year for my daughter’s high school while in Dubai. And that was fairly standard. Primary schools aren’t much cheaper. In general, because there are no taxes, you pay a lot for everything. If all of this is included in your compensation, then you only need to worry about taxes on top of those perks.

9 - You will find great restaurants, better than in 95% of American towns. You will have no issue drinking alcohol, although typically only hotel restaurants have licenses to sell alcohol. Still, there are plenty of nice restaurants in these hotels. Of course, it’s fairly expensive. I rarely drank while there, as I hated paying 10 dollars for a beer.

10 - Nobody cares that you are Christian or Muslim or Buddhist, although you probably will need to declare your religion, as it’s part of your Visa. But in practice, nobody cares. Just go about your business, you’ll be fine.

My thoughts after living there for 2 years? I didn’t really like the place. I was glad to leave. But I’m always happy to go back and see my friends, smoke shisha, and try to generate new business. So for me, the Gulf is a nice place to visit, especially in the winter, but I’m glad I no longer live there.

Happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by MindBogler » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:49 pm

masonstone wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 1:26 am
MindBogler wrote:
Tue Jun 11, 2019 10:38 pm
No offense, OP, but people doing low experience IT jobs can find work in Bahrain for as much or more, living in a private compound with private security, housing and food paid for. You are barely compensating for the risk you are taking.

If you've never been to the Middle East, I suggest you take a trip before you uproot your family. You won't be in Kansas anymore.
If you’ve ever been to Bahrain you’d know it’s actually more modern than most parts of Kansas 🙂. PS I’ve lived in both.
I have been to Bahrain and, well, it depends on where you go in Bahrain. There is abject poverty and squalor not far from great beauty. I haven't been to Kansas, though. Maybe it is that bad... 8-)

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ram
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by ram » Wed Jun 12, 2019 7:20 pm

I have worked in Saudi Arabia for 3 years. Recommend you go there alone and bring your wife and kids after 6 to 12 months after knowing the situation.
My wife and kids stayed with me about 50% of the times while I was there. At a park 2 blocks from my house there were alternate days designated "Male days" and " Female days" On male days I took my kids to the park and on female days my wife took them. We never could go as a family. Same policy at the Riyadh zoo. Many such rules which would be highly surprising for a westerner.
I was in an employed position and can not speak about the business aspect. I was paid on time. There was no restriction on repatriation of my savings.
Bahrain and Dubai are easier to live in for a westerner.
Ram

Flashes1
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by Flashes1 » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:13 am

If you believe with every cell in your body in this venture's success: I would move my wife and kids in with her parents and take the job in the ME....and work 24/7 to make it successful. Bring the family over a few weeks a year during school breaks or meet them halfway in Europe. Alternatively, return stateside a few weeks a year for vacation.

No way would I move my family to the ME.

masonstone
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Re: Job opportunity - KSA/Bahrain

Post by masonstone » Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:58 am

Flashes1 wrote:
Thu Jun 13, 2019 8:13 am
If you believe with every cell in your body in this venture's success: I would move my wife and kids in with her parents and take the job in the ME....and work 24/7 to make it successful. Bring the family over a few weeks a year during school breaks or meet them halfway in Europe. Alternatively, return stateside a few weeks a year for vacation.

No way would I move my family to the ME.
Sounds like someone whose never been to Bahrain.

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