Do any "older" Americans move to St. Thomas?
My husband and I dream of moving to Stt but are afraid we will be seen as too old. We have young adult children that are grown and out of college. We are not wealthy - but are ready for some adventure. Not sure if this is what we will do or not. Have others done this or know someone? We are 51.
There are lots of retirees moving to the islands and many others your age preparing for retirement by exploring their options in the islands. Some buy properties. Some rent. Some come to work and some come to relax and look at the beautiful scenery. Some come for the weather. You are by no means too old to move to St. Thomas or any of the other USVI. If this is something both of you are interested in doing, it can happen... and this website is a good place to get some of the information you will need to make a decision that is right for the two of you.
To clarify - when I said we are not wealthy that translates to "we have to work". We have raised, educated and paid for weddings for daughters! We are not even thinking of retirement - one of my parents worked full-time into their '70s.
My concern is we would have trouble getting jobs because we are not "youngsters" and may be assumed to be on the retiree path. Not our mindset - we may not have the energy of a 25 yer-old but we have plenty of energy PLUS knowledge and experience from having "lived". We are told we don't look our age (both still have brown hair, good shape physically,etc.)
So can we get decent jobs? I realize it will take effort - don't misunderstand - but I wonder if we will be stereotyped as "old folks".
You are by no means too old! I moved here last year when I was 57, and I'm having a great time (for the most part . . . I do get a little homesick now and then, especially during the rainy season).
What lines of work do you and your husband do? If you are willing to describe your work interests and/or qualifications, I'll do a bit of research for you.
In the meantime, if you are in academia, the University of the Virgin Islands posts its openings at http://hrweb.uvi.edu/employment/index.html
Note that other types of jobs are posted there besides teaching positions.
The DOE recently raised the salaries of teachers, and jobs always go begging in this area, I believe.
Accountants also seem to do well here.
PS: You can write to me off-list at email@example.com
Oh Lord no (as in being too old!)
The same parameters are valid for you as for anyone younger. Research this forum, do your homework!
I was 39 when I moved to STT and at 60 I'm still running very well.
But, seriously, do your research well.
I'm sure Alexandra has her statistics all in a row but my knowledge is maybe a little different and is related to medical care where older people are concerned. Not that you're old as far as I'm concerned!
Many of my older friends and aquaintances have (reluctantly) left over the years because the medical care that they need just isn't here. Others have the wherewithall to fly back abd forth for treatment. If you have any medical problems at all, do please research what might be available to you if a crisis occurred,
Just my two cents!
You are right, of course, STT Resident. When I first moved here, I lived with a lovely older lady whose husband had prostate cancer. They had to go to P.R. frequently for his treatments. She wasn't too happy about the kind of care her husband got either on STX or PR. Like she told me, STX is great if you're healthy, but you might want to think twice about living here if you have serious medical problems.
On the other hand, I met a gentleman last year who loved being here so much after his 2-week vacation on STT that he came back and overwintered. He had serious medical issues and required kidney dialysis 4-5 hours per session at least 3 days a week. He was very pleased with the attention and care at the clinic where he went on STT.
Jobs are available in the islands... whether they are the kind you are seeking is a different matter. There are positions that open up here in many different categories, just as they do anywhere. You may be able to find a job before moving to the island if you have experience, training or a degree in a certain subject matter (especially one that is of use to the Hovensa oil refinery or one of the schools). Employees of the DEA, Customs/Border Protection, and other such government agencies sometimes can get an internal transfer to the islands. Most people need to be here to seek a job or they aren't looked at seriously by a prospective employer. Many people also take jobs outside of their previous field to keep the bills paid.
On the medical side of things, there are more specialists being hired by the hospital on STX as time goes by. There are some things that aren't covered and might not be indefinitely. Certainly anyone with a specific medical need should do their research before moving here. In general, keep in mind that the doctors here attended the same medical schools and passed the same board exams as their counterparts who are practicing on the mainland. They should not automatically be seen as inferior because they practice here rather than a major city. Is YOUR intellect inferior because you can see that living in the islands might be a lifestyle you'd prefer to mainland life? I doubt it... and neither is theirs. It's true that some doctors may be a big fish in a small pond and might not have the same stature if they had remained on the mainland, but without reason to believe that of any particular doctor, I expect their professional abilities to be up to par.
Ric and I moved to STX 3 years ago at 55. We needed jobs and had no special/technical skills. He found something fairly quickly and has "moved up" both in responsibility and salary. I have office skills and also found something I like.
That being said, we have some pension to fall back on. My husband is fond of saying -- it's easy to find a job, but hard to make a living. We make a living from our salaries, but just barely. And we'd have no $$$ for trips or extras or emergencies with the pension $$.
But no, age is no barrier to a good life in the VI.
I second STT Resident's caveat about healthcare. The competency of the physicians here is not the issue; I think that there are competent people working in all avenues of healthcare on island but you cannot count on getting all of them to work together on your problem. If even one person in the healthcare chain drops the ball, the patient suffers. Last week there was a post on this board looking for dry ice. Someone had an infant in the hospital and the hospital performed some tests that needed to be sent to the states and a week later the mother of the child discovered that the tests hadn't left the island because the dry ice machine at the hospital was broken. The fact that nobody communicated this mechanical problem to anyone capable of finding a work around solution is unfortunately all too common here. When you are ill it is very difficult for you, or those who care about you, to keep track of all that is going on and advocate for your best interests. If you decide to relocate here perhaps you can foster a relationship with a physician near one of your adult children so that when you visit you can at least obtain basic preventative care.
My parents are going through a similar situation - they are a bit older than you but still young (mid-50s) They want to move to Florida and continue to work. My mother is a nurse and works with Alzheimer's folks - she'll be able to get a job in a second. My dad is another story. His background is more nebulous (graphic design, marketing, PR, training, etc), no real executive leadership exp. and no college degree. He is having a really hard time even getting a call back for an interview, and they signed up for a UPS store mailbox in the area they want to live so they have a permenant address. Ageist discrimination is rampant, despite the prohibition. But it's hard facts - and I know first hand.
I'm 33, and I own a small general contracting design/build business. Personally, I would rather hire someone with experience and know-how to staff my jobs, but usually I can't afford them. The salary expectations aren't in alignment with what the projects and fees can support.
I also have a somewhat unique way of doing business, that's extremely customer-forward, technologically savvy - clients respond to it very well. But as a general rule, older folks I interview for project manager positions look at me like I have three heads when I ask if they know how to use an online project management tool or track sketches and change orders in a database log. These are rudimentary business practices but no one over the age of 45 I've interviewed seems to get it.
I'm not harping on you - I'm sure you're great people but I'm just giving the other side of the equation. With a much smaller job market and possibly more competitive too - I'm guessing if you can't create your own jobs by starting a business you should enter the situation with an open mind and the broadest set of skills possible.
I hope this doesn't sound defensive BUT (you knew that was coming, didn't you?) I returned to school in 200 and completed my MBA at age 47 in 2001 ! So project management, databases, etc.no biggie - at all. Currently I work for on a team for a firm that manages employee benefits for Fortune 100 companies. I travel extensively (NY last week, San Francisco the next).
Now my husband is another thing - he has no computer knowledge. I tell him he is a dinosaur but that is ok with him
All to say - there are 45+ folks with losts of skills, excellent educations and experiences. Make sure you don't automatically eliminate them.....
Yikes - this sounds defensive - sorry ! I am a woman of strong opinions.
I do appreciate your candid comments. I need for people to see beyond age (I now leave my first job of 8 years off my resume and people beleive I am about 41 or 42.)
It is when they learn I have daughters 27 & 24 that I get busted ! 🙂
Thanks for a well-put post. I just wanted to add that the doctors I've encountered so far have been absolutely wonderful. Warm and personal, taking time to get to know me and spending more time consulting with me than I've experienced in a long time, especially when I was part of an HMO stateside.
I've never even met Dr. Bishop, for example, but when I called his office with a question, he personally called me back and talked with me for 15-20 minutes and never charged me a dime. Dr. Anne Treasure is exactly that: a treasure! She went to a fine medical school and has loads of experience. After one meeting, I can honestly say that I would trust her with my life.
Yes, STX is getting better all the time ...
Hear! Hear! I second your post! As part of my MLS degree, I took a library management class as well as a project management course. I also have the business scars of someone who's been through a changeover to content management software. But, then, librarians have to stay technologically AND information savvy or technology would sweep them away.
I didnt' read that as defensive at all - in fact I'd have been disappointed if you didn't pipe up! I wonder if you could get a job with one of the resorts? I would imagine anyone doing an extensive renovation or new construction of hotel/condo/timeshare units would want someone locally who had a strong project management background.
Back when I had a big-time "corporate job" I did a lot of work in Hawai'i and we were always bemonaing the local emloyment pool because there was no one qualified to run big projects. I wound up getting sent out to personally babysit projects. Granted, ours were much more technical (chilled water plants, cooling towers, etc) but still.
Based on my experience in Hono, someone with a mainland fortune 500 background might chafe at island speed when it comes to work. I was a bit younger and less mature then, and it drove me absolutely nuts. I'm still the kind of person that likes to totally kick back at home, but m at work I expect a high level of performance from my employees and subcontractors. I'm already trying to imagine how I'll do some "expectation management" on myself so that I don't blow a gasket. 🙂 Hopefully that won't last long.....
There are many of us 45+ age people out there with those computer & management skills that you seek....but as you indicate you can't afford us.
I have thought about how to manage my expectations of a more laid back life. I admit long weekends can be a challenge for me(isn't that terrible) but I have a strong work ethic and I get bored easily. I'm trying to believe it would be very different because I love the water, snorkeling, boating, etc. Not something I can do every day now ! Far from it - as I live inland
Let's talk about salaries. Is there a way to get a feel for what is paid for a "management" position? I realize there are hundreds of variables, but is there some feel for whether we are talking $ .75 cents on the dollar to US income. $ .50, etc.
Just a feel for this would be helpful. I have 28 years of work eperience, management skills, manage relationships with Fortune 100 companies and as I previously said a MBA.
Thanks for your thoughts on this and for all the other good information posted here!
It's almost impossible to say, but my guess is you're looking at $30,000 on a very good day. And maybe not that initially. That's small businesses, maybe larger employers pay more.
but that's just a guess.
My husband & I have a great desire to retire to the VI. Could you recommend a realtor on St. Thomas? We are coming back to St Thomas for 8 days in Feb to look at condos to purchase. This is our 3rd trip to St. Thomas & our dream is retire to the islands.
I appreciate any information that you would share with us.
Thanks so much.
Teresa & Kent:
We recently purchased a "pre-retirement" condo on STT. PM me with your questions.