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jaldeborgh
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May 29, 2020 1:40 pm  

I agree, it's for the experience.  She grew up in sort of rural suburbia and went to school at Syracuse University.  There are a lot of Syracuse alumni in NYC so her network drew her to the Big Apple.  Her oldest sister was also attending NYU graduate school at the time so I think that was part of the attraction.  My oldest has since moved back to Boston and has kind of a love/hate relationship with NYC.  In the long run I doubt any of our 3 daughters will be big city dwellers.  Cost of living and quality of life are the key drivers.


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STXdreams
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May 29, 2020 2:11 pm  
Posted by: @jaldeborgh

she then responded with “I’m passionate about living on a tropical island”,

This has been mine and my fiance's point of view since 2016. Go to the tropics, no matter what. We are currently in negotiations to see if we can keep our jobs if we move out of state. If so, we are both on our way down to scout an island in the Caribbean. We dream of having a WiFi hotspot on the beach with our toes in the water and essentially no difference in our work flow. We'll see if we can avoid CO or MT deflections!

If we can't keep the jobs we have now, and we don't find the offers from Automattic (the creator of WordPress) intriguing, we'll buy a cheaper house in Maine (we're currently selling our current home) until my youngest graduates high school or thereabouts, saving money for relocation all the while. We'll be down to one of our intended destinations this October, it looks like, so we'll see if anything grabs us in irresistible fashion. If nothing grabs us, we'll keep hopping islands until we find "our place."

We certainly haven't 100% ruled out STX yet, but after watching a few good YouTube videos from a dash-cam in a fella's car while he drives all over, we noticed the slumminess in the areas we thought were good, or at least where we had been considering renting for a few weeks (F'sted), so we're just pushing back our plans until we can see for ourselves. It turns out we have a friend of a friend on STJ, and he can connect us with some STX locals so that we can see about staying someplace safe and cheap while we look for a few weeks.

Regarding the issue of crime. I realize that to some, "safe" is a relative term, but I want to be able to have a laptop in a locked car and go into a store and not worry about coming back to broken windows in ten minutes. I would also like it if it didn't feel like we have to have bars on the windows and lock the doors when I don't want to be thieved, or have my GF raped. To the posters saying I am dreaming or unrealistic to want that, maybe, but I don't think so. I have talked to folks that live in STX in chat that told stories of frequent gas tank punctures to steal fuel, stolen wheels and tires, and leaving windows open to avoid getting them broken. I would think there is likely a place in the Caribbean where one isn't compelled to make a sign that reads, "Welcome thieves. Take what you want, but please don't break anything you leave me." I think there was also a story in this forum about living in a gated condo community where the cars were parked outside the gate, and routinely burglarized. I thought, "These must be isolated cases," but the more I read here and chat with folks who live in STX on forums, the more I realize there are some safe places, but you always will have to venture out into or at least through the less safe places.

Notable remarks from folks I talked to were:

  • Don't go out alone, or after dark
  • Don't use an ATM after dark, or alone, if you can help it
  • If you use an ATM, make sure you leave the area quickly (ie., don't grab cash and go eat, or shopping), so you don't get mugged
  • Buy a crummy car so you don't stand out and get jacked
  • Buy a gun, and carry it with you
  • Carry a knife when you can't carry a gun
  • Don't wear nice clothes
  • Try not to buy nice things
  • If you must buy nice things, try to disguise them so people don't see you bring them home
  • Don't make your house look too nice unless you have very good security and a gun, or you will be robbed
  • You will eventually be the target of violent crime. Don't resist, and give them whatever they ask for, or you could be killed.

If all these things sound like paradisaical island living on STX to you all, then we simply have different expectations of paradise. I can avoid flashing cash, I don't dress well, and I can deal with an island beater. But my GF and I love to run after sunset. We don't like firearms, or weapons of any kind, really. We planned to bring our nice TV and stereo, as we love music and movies. Why does it seem like folks on STX are used to having to avoid enjoying an evening walk, or even avoiding having anything nice as a preventative measure to avoid having it stolen. We don't live this way now, and we don't want to. 

So as I said, we'll plan to make a visit with eyes wide open this fall. Likely around the beginning of October, but maybe before the tourist season if we can manage it. We'll plan to get all over the island, and check out as many aspects of normal living as possible, as opposed to vacation life and hotels.


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STTsailor
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May 29, 2020 10:15 pm  

She probably has school loans she is paying off. Single person can get by in NYC on 85K without any problem but there are many $ temptations there that are hard to resist. 


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jaldeborgh
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May 31, 2020 3:20 pm  

No school loans, we worked hard, delayed retirement and sacrificed much to allow our kids to not be burdened with student debt.  You’re correct, she can survive on $85K, but not in a way that makes living in NYC worthwhile, and acceptably safe to her parents.  Fortunately she listens to her parents on the issue of safety and the importance of living in a safe neighborhood.  She’s actively made the trade-off of roommates in exchange for a safe neighborhood and a more exciting quality of life. 


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durmac
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June 11, 2020 3:34 pm  

@stxdreams  as i was reading the posts, i was thinking the same thing, research other destinations that are more in line with what i can afford and have a better infrastructure and cost of living. 

i hope everyone on here who resides in one of the USVIs are living your best lives post mainland US. 🙂


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jaldeborgh
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June 12, 2020 6:04 am  

@durmac I think your approach for choosing an island is very logical, force rank the options by cost of living, infrastructure and practical convenience.  I think most people planning to move to the Caribbean think as if they’re going on vacation, the focus is on almost anything but work and the routine of day-to-day life.  They think about relaxed living, beautiful beaches, fun bars, outdoor activities and holiday shopping.

When we were looking, my wife preferred STJ over STT and STX because we’d vacationed their several times and love the island.  We looked carefully at both STJ and STX, we agreed STT was the least appealing to us, and after considering everything we chose STX.  The easiest way to explain our choice is this, if we were going on vacation for 2,3 even 4 weeks, STJ is the better choice but to choose somewhere to live, for the next 25+ years (hopefully) STJ didn’t have anywhere near the infrastructure we would want/need, plus the cost of living on STJ was much higher than STX.  Housing alone, I’m estimating, is 50% higher.  In the final analysis we voted with our left brain (practical side) versus our right brain (creative side).


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vicanuck
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June 12, 2020 8:10 am  
Posted by: @jaldeborgh

They think about relaxed living, beautiful beaches, fun bars, outdoor activities and holiday shopping.

The reality is, once you've lived here for a while, if you own a home relaxed living is hard to achieve due to the high maintenance, you'll rarely go the beautiful beaches unless you have visitors, fun bars a very dangerous after dark, outdoor activities are few and far between (except home/yard maintenance) and holiday shopping or any real shopping takes place online or off island. Just sayin'... 


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East Ender
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June 12, 2020 9:22 am  

@durmac: I saw on your other post that you are a nurse. That is one calling that should be able to find work ahead of time. Nurses are always in demand. Don't give up on the USVI; you are needed. Check out https://www.srmedicalcenter.org/


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Scubadoo
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June 13, 2020 12:10 am  
Posted by: @jaldeborgh

When we were looking, my wife preferred STJ over STT and STX because we’d vacationed their several times and love the island.  We looked carefully at both STJ and STX, we agreed STT was the least appealing to us, and after considering everything we chose STX.  The easiest way to explain our choice is this, if we were going on vacation for 2,3 even 4 weeks, STJ is the better choice but to choose somewhere to live, for the next 25+ years (hopefully) STJ didn’t have anywhere near the infrastructure we would want/need, plus the cost of living on STJ was much higher than STX.  Housing alone, I’m estimating, is 50% higher.  In the final analysis we voted with our left brain (practical side) versus our right brain (creative side).

Yup, that's the decision we made over 20 years ago.  Now living the dream.


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Scubadoo
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June 13, 2020 12:13 am  
Posted by: @vicanuck
Posted by: @jaldeborgh

They think about relaxed living, beautiful beaches, fun bars, outdoor activities and holiday shopping.

The reality is, once you've lived here for a while, if you own a home relaxed living is hard to achieve due to the high maintenance, you'll rarely go the beautiful beaches unless you have visitors, fun bars a very dangerous after dark, outdoor activities are few and far between (except home/yard maintenance) and holiday shopping or any real shopping takes place online or off island. Just sayin'... 

Living on one of those beaches makes it a little easier to get to in between those home maintenance activities.


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durmac
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June 13, 2020 1:04 pm  

@jaldeborgh  thanks so much for the info. 🙂  


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Light
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June 25, 2020 12:57 pm  

Did anyone consider PR over the VI? Does anyone know if you can purchase individual health care in PR? 


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STTsailor
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June 26, 2020 6:28 am  

PR has a real land mass, shopping and culture. For long term living and employment fluent spanish is obligatory. There are multiple environments one can chose to live. Real estate is much cheaper then in VI. There is plenty of crime. Overall economy and goverment dept puts the island in shambles. Also, sales tax is 11.5%. 

The reality of living in Carribiean is such that under colonial regimes islands made fortunes for their colonialists but when freed and left to their own governance suffer from corruption, incompetence, nepotism, crime and general despair and indolence. 

Seems that the islands with strong british and french influence are doing best. This is in part of due to strong cultural influence (Anguilla, Antigua, BVI) and/or endless flow of € and tourism (St Barts, Martinique, Guadalupe, St Marten)


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singlefin
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June 26, 2020 8:47 am  

Puerto Rico’s only hope is statehood. 

The VI will follow suit... after our impending default.


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Gator's Mom
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June 26, 2020 10:15 am  
Posted by: @STTsailor

PR has a real land mass, shopping and culture. For long term living and employment fluent spanish is obligatory. There are multiple environments one can chose to live. Real estate is much cheaper then in VI. There is plenty of crime. Overall economy and goverment dept puts the island in shambles. Also, sales tax is 11.5%. 

The reality of living in Carribiean is such that under colonial regimes islands made fortunes for their colonialists but when freed and left to their own governance suffer from corruption, incompetence, nepotism, crime and general despair and indolence. 

Seems that the islands with strong british and french influence are doing best. This is in part of due to strong cultural influence (Anguilla, Antigua, BVI) and/or endless flow of € and tourism (St Barts, Martinique, Guadalupe, St Marten)

A problem PR has is that it is subject to the Jones Act making the cost of goods higher than in other parts of the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the VI's supply chain is connected to PR even though the VI is not included in the Jones Act. The VI not being part of the Jones Act makes the Lime Tree Bay business plan viable - and the VI attractive to the cruise industry. Consequently, though PR may become a state the VI would have much to lose by giving up its current status as a territory outside the reach of the Jones Act.

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/j/jonesact.asp

PR was doing OK until the the pharmaceutical business began moving manufacturing overseas (China, India) because tax incentives expired in the late 1990s. A fault lies with the PR government that continued to spend/borrow at the same rate as during more prosperous times - and by 2016 entered a form of bankruptcy called PROMESA. 

French Caribbean islands (not Haiti) are overseas departments of France - not separate countries. Very long term historical and cultural ties to France. The islands are embraced as part of France.

BVI and other British territories remain closely tied to the UK and their citizens are British Overseas Citizens. The BVI governor is appointed by the queen.

US doesn't seem to know what to do with its territories. Burying them in the Department of Interior's Office of Insular Affairs isolates territories from meaningful inclusion in the nation.

I find the dialogue about US colonialism in the VI interesting - since the VI only became part of the US 103 years ago. The true VI colonists and plantation era owners were the Danes and those from other European countries. And in PR, Spain ceded the territory only in 1898. US was very late to the party.


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Exit Zero
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June 26, 2020 12:49 pm  

The USVI being dis-enfranchised in both the National elections and in meaningful Congressional representation is a dysfunctional part of the equation as well.

While  mirror Income Tax, National Military Service, full citizenship if relocated stateside and participation in some social programs ,SNAP, Social Security, Medicare has been extended over the 103 years the full voting rights are still a major slap in the face here.


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Light
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June 26, 2020 4:31 pm  

@exit-zero agreed. 


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East Ender
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June 27, 2020 9:57 am  

There have been multiple chances for the VI to decide status. Not only have they not been able to agree, the last commission submitted an unconstitutional proposal.


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