Minimum comfortable income for STX  

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Pdmargie
(@Pdmargie)
Advanced Member

Assuming an adequate nest egg to make a controlled moved, what income range for on island job would be considered adequate to live simply, but comfortably with all needs taken care of and some wants/splurges possible. Of course it depends on lifestyle, but looking for a general income range to cover basics and housing rental and all other fixed expenses. $40,000? $60.000? More? Any advice welcome.

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Posted : May 6, 2017 3:42 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Advanced Member

Impossible to answer that question because, as you already surmised, everyone's needs, wants, desires and lifestyle is different and those same things can change over time. It also depends on which island you are relocating to. What is OK for one person can be a mere pittance for someone else.

Suffice to say, as a rule of thumb, unless you now live comfortably in a very "affluent area" such as Beverly Hills, California, Palm Beach, Florida, Fifth Avenue, NYC, etc. , you'll probably need anywhere from 25% to 35% more to maintain the same lifestyle in the USVI's as you do "back home".

For what it is worth, at $40,000/year you'll be at the very low end of the income scale and many will tell you that at $60,000/year you'll be living very simply with little, if any extra available for those "splurges" you may want.

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Posted : May 6, 2017 5:09 pm
Gator's Mom
(@Gator's_Mom)
Trusted Member

monthly budget with some wants/splurges - one person

housing $1,000
utilities $200
car insurance $50
Health (some combination of insurance payment, deductibles, HSA, meds, life flight etc.) $800
cable/internet $100
Cell phone $50
groceries/supplies/routine car expenses $500
misc. (clothes, travel, entertainment) $500

NET $3,200/month
NET $38,400 annual

Assuming no debt including car payment, substantial savings in place for big surprises and no expensive habits.

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Posted : May 6, 2017 9:41 pm
Gator's Mom
(@Gator's_Mom)
Trusted Member

And if you have a government job (including hospital workers and teachers), 11% of you gross income will go toward your retirement contribution.

monthly budget with some wants/splurges - one person

housing $1,000
utilities $200
car insurance $50
Health (some combination of insurance payment, deductibles, HSA, meds, life flight etc.) $800
cable/internet $100
Cell phone $50
groceries/supplies/routine car expenses $500
misc. (clothes, travel, entertainment) $500

NET $3,200/month
NET $38,400 annual

Assuming no debt including car payment, substantial savings in place for big surprises and no expensive habits.

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Posted : May 7, 2017 9:55 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

i think the grocery/supplies are a bit low . and remember if you live on air conditioning your electric will be higher

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Posted : May 7, 2017 11:29 am
Afriend
(@afriend)
Advanced Member

Don't forget to add in that "little adventure" that life has in store for your checkbook each month - things like new shock absorbers you need for your "island beater car" after you've (again) hit one of the many potholes in the roads, the part for your used refrigerator that you have to have shipped in from the mainland, the new motherboard you have to get for the electronic controls on your washer or dryer that were "fried" by the constant power outages/surges or any number of other unexpected costs.

Human nature being what it is - you'll focus on the lower range of estimated expense when in reality you'll almost always end up spending more. In 15 years of living on an island in the Caribbean the one constant I've had is that everything that longer and costs more!!!

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Posted : May 7, 2017 11:47 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

so true

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Posted : May 7, 2017 7:03 pm
Alana33
(@Alana33)
Expert

Agreed, especially if you're a homeowner.

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Posted : May 7, 2017 8:31 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Trusted Member

And if you have a government job (including hospital workers and teachers), 11% of you gross income will go toward your retirement contribution.

...that you will never see again.

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Posted : May 8, 2017 11:19 am
Light
(@Light)
Advanced Member

$800 for health insurance? Is that a normal price in the VI?!
I know that when I move there I will have to have a job that offers insurance bc I have a costly med without it.
Hopefully by the time I'm actually able to move there, individual insurance will be available there lol, fingers crossed!

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Posted : May 8, 2017 12:03 pm
Gator's Mom
(@Gator's_Mom)
Trusted Member

I did not say health insurance - I said health expenses which is a mixture of meds, health insurance premiums, deductibles, co-insurance, co-pays, health savings accounts, life flight insurance, out of pocket expenses, dental care .... the list goes on.

'Nobody knew health care could be so complicated.'

Health savings accounts will become increasingly more accessible and important with the decimation of the ACA. Remember, health care is not a right .... it's a privilege ... it's your fault if you need health care. Plan accordingly whether in the VI or not.

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/02/02/513060189/health-savings-accounts-are-back-in-the-policy-spotlight

$800 for health insurance? Is that a normal price in the VI?!
I know that when I move there I will have to have a job that offers insurance bc I have a costly med without it.
Hopefully by the time I'm actually able to move there, individual insurance will be available there lol, fingers crossed!

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Posted : May 8, 2017 12:39 pm
vicanuck
(@vicanuck)
Trusted Member

Remember, health care is not a right .... it's a privilege ... it's your fault if you need health care. Plan accordingly whether in the VI or not.

That's a bit preachy isn't it!

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Posted : May 8, 2017 2:11 pm
Gator's Mom
(@Gator's_Mom)
Trusted Member

You bet I'm preachy - but really in the US health care environment right now, there is no predictability except that it is unpredictable. The only part of the Repubs plan I like is increasing access to HSAs for most individuals.

Right now, even on Medicare my husband will pay per month in VI
$109 part B
$40 part D (with $400 annual deductible)
$150 Medicare supplement insurance
$100 (meds and estimated deductible/co-pays for meds)
$50 (dental - $600 annual)

$449/month

I will be paying $680/month for my health insurance until I qualify for Medicare. With a deductible, co-pays and co-insurance additional.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/06/upshot/lost-jobs-houses-savings-even-insured-often-face-crushing-medical-debt.html

Crazy and it could get worse long before it gets better.

Remember, health care is not a right .... it's a privilege ... it's your fault if you need health care. Plan accordingly whether in the VI or not.

That's a bit preachy isn't it!

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Posted : May 8, 2017 2:46 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

dont make me choke.

$800 for health insurance? Is that a normal price in the VI?!
I know that when I move there I will have to have a job that offers insurance bc I have a costly med without it.
Hopefully by the time I'm actually able to move there, individual insurance will be available there lol, fingers crossed!

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Posted : May 8, 2017 6:52 pm
Cat
 Cat
(@Cat)
Advanced Member

HSAs are a pleasurable little sop to rich people who want to cut their taxes (again). Most people don't have thousands of dollars to sock away every year just in case, and the trivial amount of money you can save will not come even close to helping with a major illness or injury. It's nice to have Medicare, but the Republicans are going after that next. Everybody's going to get hurt.

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Posted : May 9, 2017 2:39 am
rotorhead
(@rotorhead)
Trusted Member

Remember, health care is not a right .... it's a privilege ... it's your fault if you need health care. Plan accordingly whether in the VI or not.

That's a bit preachy isn't it!

Not only preachy but wrong. Health care services and products are provided by people who expect to get paid. Just like buying a car or getting a haircut. You don't get those for free so why should health care be free?

The government should be looking for ways of lowering the cost of health care for everyone not simply shifting the cost from one person to another. Obamacare actually increased the cost of health care for some to lower it for others. Medical device taxes and taxes on "Cadillac" policies. Health care is already expensive even without these increases. Why not look at tort reform and ways to lower pharmaceutical costs before resorting to extortion. BTW. I would favor an initiative that was based on voluntary participation and NOT funded by a general tax. Anyone can form a risk pool and shop for group insurance. That would be a great idea if you don't force people to join.

The best thing that the local government could do in the short term would be to eliminate the government hurdles required to sell individual insurance in the territory. Something like eliminating the local bonds required to ensure performance and maybe partner with a state like Florida. We could allow any company licensed to sell insurance in Florida to sell it here without jumping through additional local hurdles.

There are many things to try short of forcing half of the population to participate in a program that they obviously do not want.

But no, the only solutions that some people see is that we must all be "forced" to participate in a government run health care plan whether we like it or not.
"Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated."

Isn't expecting an insurance company to sell you health insurance to cover a pre-existing condition kind of like expecting your auto insurance company to sell you insurance to cover the wreck that you had last week?
What you are looking for is charity, not insurance.

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Some say it's better but I say it ain't
I'd rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints
the sinners are much more fun...
You know that only the good die young.
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Posted : May 9, 2017 3:06 am
quirion
(@quirion)
Advanced Member

The wreck that people may have had last week could be a child being born with a preexisting condition. Charity? Let's all become the king cheeto

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Posted : May 9, 2017 4:26 am
Cat
 Cat
(@Cat)
Advanced Member

Health care has NEVER been free. EVER. It is not now free and it has never been free, not for anyone, not for EVER. People go bankrupt on this. All those "illegals" and moochers and takers who use the emergency room that you froth about? Somebody pays for that -- usually the people who have to use it, they get billed and harassed -- and guess what, besides the people who are bankrupt, it's you and everyone else who pays. Unless, of course, you want to throw people out into the street to die. Make your call.

"Tort reform" is the bullshit that incompetents and predators use to excuse their malfeasance. I'm a goddamn white-shoe lawyer who's seen this up close. Come at me on this, bro.

Nobody "forced" you to buy insurance, if you actually live in the VI, which I doubt. Getting any insurance here is an ordeal if you are not employed by the government or on Medicaid.

Your profound, willful ignorance on how insurance works -- sharing the risk so everyone is protected -- is encapsulated by the gruesome remark about "charity."

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Posted : May 9, 2017 4:46 am
JohnnyU
(@JohnnyU)
Advanced Member

it's not sharing the risk, it's charging the healthy/lower risk pools more to cover the old/high risk.

Its a subsidy for the old and high risk

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Posted : May 9, 2017 10:08 am
Gator's Mom
(@Gator's_Mom)
Trusted Member

The ACA tried to create equity in access to health care (not equality). That's why some paid more and others received tax credits. That is also the logic behind insurance risk pools where everyone contributes so you can access funds when you need help.

Obviously, equity is not understood or valued by the white guys in charge. So we all must plan accordingly and unfortunately for the time being. Health care will never be free - and I happily pay for equitable access. It's the inability to have access that's the issue.

Follow the dialogue in DC - and the worst of the lot are openly saying health care for the fortunate. You can see this in social media and the main stream, too - this diet, that diet, this vitamin, that vitamin du jour - it you don't do this or that - it's YOUR fault you're sick. Forget aging or DNA but especially poverty as a contributor to sub optimum health.

The average health care expenditure for each individual in the US has now topped $10K per year BTW.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/new-peak-us-health-care-spending-10345-per-person/

Health care has NEVER been free. EVER. It is not now free and it has never been free, not for anyone, not for EVER. People go bankrupt on this. All those "illegals" and moochers and takers who use the emergency room that you froth about? Somebody pays for that -- usually the people who have to use it, they get billed and harassed -- and guess what, besides the people who are bankrupt, it's you and everyone else who pays. Unless, of course, you want to throw people out into the street to die. Make your call.

"Tort reform" is the bullshit that incompetents and predators use to excuse their malfeasance. I'm a goddamn white-shoe lawyer who's seen this up close. Come at me on this, bro.

Nobody "forced" you to buy insurance, if you actually live in the VI, which I doubt. Getting any insurance here is an ordeal if you are not employed by the government or on Medicaid.

Your profound, willful ignorance on how insurance works -- sharing the risk so everyone is protected -- is encapsulated by the gruesome remark about "charity."

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Posted : May 9, 2017 10:21 am
Gator's Mom
(@Gator's_Mom)
Trusted Member

The VI government does not have enough money to bribe the elected officials in Tallahassee to make something like this happen. FL politicians are more expensive than the ones in the VI. After all, insurance is regulated by the state government.

Remember, health care is not a right .... it's a privilege ... it's your fault if you need health care. Plan accordingly whether in the VI or not.

The best thing that the local government could do in the short term would be to eliminate the government hurdles required to sell individual insurance in the territory. Something like eliminating the local bonds required to ensure performance and maybe partner with a state like Florida. We could allow any company licensed to sell insurance in Florida to sell it here without jumping through additional local hurdles.

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Posted : May 9, 2017 10:31 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

and a lot incorrect

Remember, health care is not a right .... it's a privilege ... it's your fault if you need health care. Plan accordingly whether in the VI or not.

That's a bit preachy isn't it!

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Posted : May 9, 2017 11:42 am
JohnnyU
(@JohnnyU)
Advanced Member

Obviously, equity is not understood or valued by the white guys in charge. So we all must plan accordingly and unfortunately for the time being. Health care will never be free - and I happily pay for equitable access. It's the inability to have access that's the issue.

Sounds like charity

Also I believe that you are older. It must be nice to have all those health young folks subsidizing your healthcare...

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Posted : May 9, 2017 11:57 am
Pdmargie
(@Pdmargie)
Advanced Member

So,....Health Insurance debate aside,......It sounds like $75,000-$100,000/year is what is required for a single person to live modestly and comfortably in STX. For all the dreamers out there,....what kinds of jobs are available that generat this amount of income? Can dreamers who hope to work in the service industry really make a go of it in the islands? Sounds like a big no, unless bar tending pays a lot more there than in the States

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Posted : May 9, 2017 12:14 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Advanced Member

So,....Health Insurance debate aside,......It sounds like $75,000-$100,000/year is what is required for a single person to live modestly and comfortably in STX. For all the dreamers out there,....what kinds of jobs are available that generat this amount of income? Can dreamers who hope to work in the service industry really make a go of it in the islands? Sounds like a big no, unless bar tending pays a lot more there than in the States

You are now getting a clear understanding of the Catch-22 of Island life. Wages are low, living expenses are high. Many people have to work 2 or even 3 jobs just to get by. It's the price one pays - the islands may look like paradise but they are not heaven.

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Posted : May 9, 2017 12:28 pm
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