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Just received a Job proposal. NEED HELP

Posts: 1
New Member
Topic starter

Hello Everyone,

I would like to get everyone's opinion. My family and I would like to relocate to USVI. We have 4 children. I just received today a job proposal to work in a school. Between my husband and I the salary will be 46,000 a year. The children will receive free tuition. Where we would be living is in St. Croix. Please tell me, if this is a reasonable salary for a family of six living in St Croix? Please, I would appreciate if someone can tell me approximately the cost of living.

Posted : August 1, 2006 4:45 pm
Posts: 1866
Noble Member

Hi farasha.

The moderators of this board have made an effort to provide answers to the most commonly asked questions, including yours, here: https://www.vimovingcenter.com/

Many families here live on $46,000/year or less but to do so you would have to drastically lower your mainland standard of living. If you read the information in the link I've provided, as well as past posts on this forum, you will be better able to decide whether this is something you would like to do. I think most folks on this board will feel that a family of six from the states will not be happy here on $46,000/year.

Posted : August 1, 2006 5:06 pm
Posts: 31
Eminent Member

My familly is also looking at relocating... My husband is going back to school for his teaching degree this fall and we hope to move in a year or two. We also have children, one and four. I am glad to hear you will receive free tuition for your children as the costs at private schools, from what I have seen are $8000/yr on average... I would love to hear where your from and any information about the school your husband will work at if he accepts!

Posted : August 1, 2006 5:26 pm
Posts: 545
Honorable Member

Hello Farasha,

My husband and I have been on STX for about two years. Our income is in that general range, and we have to budget closely in order to meet expenses and put some away for later. We were more fortunate than many to have purchased a very inexpensive home that needed more work to get in it shape than it cost us to buy it, but we were able to cover that with the money we made from the sale of our home at the peak of a superhot real estate market. We own our one car outright and have no other debt besides our modest mortgage. We don't go out to eat more than 3-4 times a year, usually when our family is visiting. While we do spend a LOT on medical expenses that you aren't like to have, we couldn't make it on much less without sacrificing more than would make us comfortable (we already live without AC as the cost to run it would kill us).

Having free tuition for your kids will help a lot, but you need to look at the other costs of every day living and the enormous expense of getting here. We spent around $25k to get down here: shipped our car and belongings but zero furniture, paid for a 7 day house hunting trip and temp lodging until we could close on our house, deposits to get everything turned on, travel for two adults and three cats, car rental until our car arrived several weeks after we did, etc. etc. etc. Milk and a large container of cottage cheese are $5 each. Auto insurance for our 2001 three door Saturn runs about $1000 a year for full coverage. Our homeowners insurance is $6k per year, after a 33% discount for having hurricane shutters and being a concrete block structure with redone electrical, roof and plumbing. Our electric bill averages $250/month and we are very energy conscious (use only two low wattage lights at night, high efficiency bulbs, etc) and only run the ceiling fans in the rooms we use every day. You get the idea -- that chart for prices that dntw8up referred you to is very comprehensive and pretty on the money, so to speak.

Can't tell you yea or nay about two adults and four kids making it on that salary, but I can ask you to consider how much your family is willing to give up (your savings, cable tv, going out, buying clothes beyond the absolute necessities, a second or newer car, larger home) and do (take lunches from home, limit your spending on groceries to essentials, grow some of your own food, get a second job to make ends meet) to get down here, get settled and make it work.

There are wonderful, wonderful things here to experience, and we are blessed to have the means to live comfortably on what we have. I wouldn't live anywhere else -- the warm and welcoming people here, along with the natural beauty, and island pace, have made the mainland US feel fast, dirty, and rude. It has its quirks that can take some getting used to, but for us this felt like home from the day we arrived on our PMV, and feels even more that way today.

Good questions you're asking...doing a search of the board for cost of living, cost of moving, etc. plus reading all of the personal moving stories listed on the site's home page will give you mountains of additional important information to help you move toward a decision.

Best of luck!


Posted : August 1, 2006 6:07 pm
Posts: 1428
Noble Member

Getting free tuition for your children is a huge plus. The two main STX private schools run something like $7500 per kid in lower school and $10K per kid in middle and upper school, although there are often discounts for multiple children in the same family and perhaps small scholarships to offset a portion of the cost. If all four of your kids are of school age, you would probably be saving about $25K to $35K per year in what others would pay for the same educational experience for their children.

If you have the ability to set up a budget and live within it, you can likely do well enough on STX with your salary expectations. If your husband is able to find another higher paying job opportunity on the island once he's been here for a while, you could wind up in pretty good straits financially. But hold onto that job that provides the free tuition for your kids! That's the equivalent of an enormous raise/bonus.

There are some 3-4 bedroom rental properties around that would likely be workable for your family and fit within your budget. Most entertainment on the island is free, so you can sometimes save some $$ in categories that would cost you something on the mainland.

Your biggest thing to look at up front is to figure out if you have the ability to afford the initial move. There are some pretty steep up front costs involved. Once you are settled in, some of the hemorraging from the bank account will stop.

Posted : August 1, 2006 11:12 pm
Posts: 3919
Famed Member

Even with tuition, $46,000 is not enough for 2 adults and 4 children from the states to live on comfortably on STX. That is my opinion. You MUST research this very carefully. A pre-move visit is essential. You don't say your children's ages. If they are teens, you should plan on bringing them with you on your PMV. You should read this board from one end to the other...EVERYTHING! Check grocery costs carefully. Milk and boxed cereal prices should be enough to scare you. If not, consider what it will cost you to go to the states once or twice a year to visit --probably $4,000 a trip at least.

If your kids are school age, are you willing to get a job? I think you will have to to supplement your income.

Again, think about this carefully!

Posted : August 1, 2006 11:16 pm
Posts: 859
Prominent Member

Have to agree with Linda on this one, that $46K is nowhere near enough to comfortably provide for a family of 6, school tuition included or not. Even if the $46K is net rather than gross, that's only $3300/month and I think you'll discover from your research that this will be eaten up in a heartbeat with the major portion going towards rent and utilities.

Posted : August 2, 2006 11:28 am
Posts: 206
Estimable Member

Hey STT Resident,
You must be using the "tax book" math. You deducted $500/month from farasha's income. I get $3833/per month when I calculate it. Just wanted to get the facts straight.

Posted : August 2, 2006 12:35 pm
Posts: 713
Honorable Member

I am sure Farasha and her husband will re-post - but I have been in contact with the husband via private email.

Whether gross or net, and I do believe he explained that is a GROSS salary since he asked about the tax base, NEITHER of their jobs provide health insurance. Yes, the private school tuition helps enormously and adds another $25-30K to their "income"...that doesn't help when milk is $5 a gallon. You can't take private tuition with you to the doctor, and with four children there are bound to be catastrophes, small or large. Now let's get totally ultra conservative and take off - what, $1200/mo. for rent and utilities? Ramy has explained to me he HAS to have some type of phone service and internet, so that's a done deal...cable? Kids probably want to catch their shows....Well, there goes another $14,400 minimum, or almost 1/3 of the gross, in rent and utilities. Hmmm...we're on a downward spiral here...and this is a DUAL income, not single.

So we have $46K less taxes (let's say just 7% of gross income, or $3200), less $14,400 minimum for rent, less how much for groceries? Again, be ultra conservative...what, $750 a month with 4 growing kids? ($9K per year, although I am not completely sure it could be done...)...so we're down to $19K and change...we haven't run or repaired or insured the car ($1500/yr?), we haven't bought clothes for growing children (5 outfits apiece at Kmart twice per year and a pair of shoes would run...ummm....minimum $300 per child ($1200), and 6 people to the mainland once a year is bound to run at LEAST $1500....and none of these figures are particularly reasonable. So we're down to $15,200...and still no health insurance in sight. If you want dental in there, well...kick it up a notch. To keep a reasonable deductible, you'd have to have a very large co-pay or OOP expense. If you eliminate health insurance and fly by the seat of your pants, you're talking $1200/mo. or so to cover every conceivable oopsy that could occur, and I believe I have been WAY too conservative in my estimates.

I suppose it is do-able, but comfortably do-able? Probably not. And Alexandra and others are so totally correct - the start up costs are gonna choke a moose...

Posted : August 2, 2006 1:22 pm
Posts: 1428
Noble Member

$46K is more than most local families have to raise their children on. The question is what kind of standard of living are you used to now? And would you have to drop that standard too far to live here on your expected income? With your children still so young, some of the expenses aren't as steep as they don't eat as much and you won't have to pay for a plane ticket for the baby for a couple years. Toddlers aren't all that fashion conscious about having designer clothing in their closet and that helps, too. Finding a housing option that wouldn't eat up too much of your income would be very important. The school that wants to hire you may have a suggestion or two as sometimes other teachers know of vacancies from teachers who have left island. They can also point you towards daycare for your non-school aged children.

It can be done. Many young families find it necessary to be frugal until the children are older and the parents' salaries increase over time. Life isn't always easy anywhere you might live. At least here you definitely won't freeze in the winter!

Posted : August 2, 2006 3:50 pm
Posts: 3919
Famed Member

6 people, $46,000 gross with both parents working and no health insurance? I'm sorry but this move would not be in your best interests at this time in your life. Teresa, where are you?

Posted : August 2, 2006 4:55 pm
Posts: 684
Honorable Member

My 2 cents: Between my husband and I we made quite a bit more than $46 thou./yr. We rented didn't own, our tuition was free since the two oldest kids went to public school, couldn't afford day-care for the baby, lived on STT, was able to pay all our bills, couldn't eat out much, have no money left over, and have decided to move to Atlanta after two years living on island. I could barely afford to live here, but STT is different than STX. I worked two part time jobs at one point to buy good groceries. I don't think a family would be able to live comfortably here with no family to lean on. One point about locals living on that and less, many of them live in government housing or have several generations living in one home. When you grow up here, you have a network of friends and family to support you with living or babysitting, etc. Moving here from the states and making $46 doesn't go that far.

Have I danced around it enough? For that salary, I would say it wouldn't be a good decision.


Posted : August 2, 2006 5:40 pm
Posts: 545
Honorable Member


Thanks for sharing the first-hand experience. You also made an excellent observation about the extended family/friends support network that's part of the culture.

On the topic of local and "continental transplant" families, I strongly believe that it's an unrealistic expectation that a continental family of six can live comfortably on island on a salary of $xx simply because local families live on that amount or less. IMO, it is significantly more difficult for a transplanted family with children to adjust and be happy living with the actual salary reduction (i.e. being paid less) or virtual reduction of their income (i.e. the same earnings do not go as far) that often accompanies a move to the USVI than it is for a local family earning the same amount to be comfortable with their lifestyle. This is because making the sacrifices and adjustments needed to live within the means of their family's income and resources is the way of life local families -- -- particularly those families in which both the parents and kids were born here -- have known since they were small children.

Note: This concept is not really just a mainlander USVI thing -- local and transplant could refer to anywhere at all. The issue is really that if you're used to living comfortably on one salary, it's much harder to come to terms with either having to bring in two or more sources of revenue to maintain that same lifestyle you used to have, or to live on the one income by giving up some things you've become used to having -- savings, cable tv, eating out when you wanted to, etc. Neither is an easy adjustment at all for adults, let alone children.

Sure hope that ended up making some sense -- my brain took a nose dive as I was writing. 🙂


Posted : August 2, 2006 11:34 pm
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