Ready For A Change  


Cabcash
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58 years young. Self-employed forever. Woke up one day ready to do something else. Not sure what that is but whatever it is , I want it to be in the Virgin Islands. Sure , it’s crazy but I’ve put this off far too long. Im as interested in a buck as the next guy but it’s not the main consideration. Ready to simplify & get the hell outta Dodge. Please don’t try & talk me outta this. Any ideas appreciated. Who’s hiring? Ya know someone who is? Tired of debating this. That thing you’ve had in the back of your mind forever that ya dust off & take a look at once in awhile? This is mine. 

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Afriend
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Posted by: Cabcash

<<...Who’s hiring? Ya know someone who is? ...>>

What Island are you considering? 

What type of skills do you have?  

What level of income do you require to maintain your lifestyle?  Keep in mind wages in the Caribbean are often lower than they are for comparable jobs "back home" while living expenses are higher.  FYI - many people work two jobs just trying to make ends meet.

Conventional wisdom says that newcomers should come with enough savings to support themselves (in the manner to which they've become accustomed) for a period of about 6 months.  This will give you enough funds to find a suitable place to live (you'll need 1st and last month's rent plus 1 month security deposit just to walk in the door), find a reasonable car for transportation, put down deposits for utilities and pay your day to day living expenses while you find and secure gainful employment.

Not meant to dissuade you but life is not necessarily "simpler" in the Caribbean.  Island life has its own sets of challenges.  It's difficult to explain to newcomers.  The slow pace (aka "island time") the newcomers think makes life "simple" is really a euphemism for just about everyone putting off until next week (or next month) what most transplants expect to be done today.  For example, when your refrigerator goes on the fritz and the repair man says he'll be there "later, mon!" he doesn't mean in the next couple of hours but rather he'll show up sometime within the next couple of days - and, by they way, don't expect a phone call  alerting you to an expected arrival time - you have to just be sure to be at home when he gets there.  Then, he tells you that you have to order the necessary repair part from the supplier in Miami and it will take 2 weeks to get unless YOU want to pay $150 to ship the $35 part by Fed-Ex.  I know this sounds extreme but you get the idea.

 

Anyway, if you come with an open mind, are flexible and able to adapt to a different lifestyle living on an island can be rewarding.

 

Good luck following your dream.

 

 

 

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Tid
 Tid
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Curious, is this an opportunity to be a better business or do businesses just tend to go "the island way" even if they intend at the start to not?

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Tid
 Tid
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Posted by: Cabcash

58 years young. Self-employed forever. Woke up one day ready to do something else. Not sure what that is but whatever it is , I want it to be in the Virgin Islands. Sure , it’s crazy but I’ve put this off far too long. Im as interested in a buck as the next guy but it’s not the main consideration. Ready to simplify & get the hell outta Dodge. Please don’t try & talk me outta this. Any ideas appreciated. Who’s hiring? Ya know someone who is? Tired of debating this. That thing you’ve had in the back of your mind forever that ya dust off & take a look at once in awhile? This is mine. 

I hear ya! I have that feeling more every day and the words of Tim Ferris the author of the 4 hour workweek ring in my head ... " "Someday" is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you."

 

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MosquitoBaitt
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Posted by: Cabcash

58 years young. Self-employed forever. Woke up one day ready to do something else. Not sure what that is but whatever it is , I want it to be in the Virgin Islands. Sure , it’s crazy but I’ve put this off far too long. Im as interested in a buck as the next guy but it’s not the main consideration. Ready to simplify & get the hell outta Dodge. Please don’t try & talk me outta this. Any ideas appreciated. Who’s hiring? Ya know someone who is? Tired of debating this. That thing you’ve had in the back of your mind forever that ya dust off & take a look at once in awhile? This is mine. 

I would "strongly" suggest reading the book "DON'T STOP THE CARNIVAL"

for a better understanding of "What" you are about to do! 

🙂 

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East Ender
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Welcome Cabcash. I hope you have spent a bit of time reading through the information at the top of this page (planning, moving, island life, etc) and reading through the forums. Lots of people with your same idea.  As long as you don't burn your bridges back home and don't have a great deal of baggage (real and psychological), sure, come on down.

Have you visited before? Which island attracts you? What sort of work are you asking about?

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speee1dy
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its not cheap, so i hope you have a whole lot of money saved up-if you can even find a place to rent 

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PKVAKING
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What do you consider "a lot of money" please?  we looking to retire there in 2021.. any help on which of the 3 islands makes sense the most especially if we plan on starting a business - something in the boating industry - water taxi, dinner cruises, etc.. or something with casitas for rental income?

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jaldeborgh
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I think Afriend’s advice about 6 months living expenses is about right. Particularly because the OP is 58, not 22 and just out of college, willing to sleep in a closet.  Lowering your standard of living is never easy.  Change also gets increasingly difficult with age, I speak from experience, lol 😂. 

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singlefin
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Funny, someone once told me the USVI is where dreams go to die.

Look “a lot” before you leap!

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STTsailor
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I like “VI mainland redneck paradise”. 

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jaldeborgh
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I’m still very much a newbie on this island but my wife and I are fully committed to retiring here, at least during the winter months.  A few observations after 3 visits, there’s definitely opportunity here, providing you have real skills.  Everyone I talk with echoes that sentiment.  Being entrepreneurial and a willingness to work hard are a big plus as the community is small, making opportunities more scarce and reputation important.  Assuming the above, attitude then probably becomes the most important requirement as many people get bored or contract “island fever” and have to leave.  The bottomline is island life is what you make, it boils down to personal motivation and responsibility.  In my case, I’ve seen enough of the world to know that the island ‘melting pot’ that is St. Croix works for me. 

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PKVAKING
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What is to consider "a lot of money" We looking to retire there in 2021.. any help on which of the 3 islands makes sense the most especially if we plan on starting a business - something in the boating industry - water taxi, dinner cruises, etc.. or something with casitas for rental income? Rent or buy? Condo or Home? looking to spend around 250-300k to purchase.  

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singlefin
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Determination has got to the most important quality for any new business owner here. Yes, there are all kinds of opportunities here, for all kinds of businesses, however the obstacles you need to overcome here (amount of time waiting for things, costs of shipping, electricity, excise taxes, lack of competent manpower, etc...) far surpass those in the states. 

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jaldeborgh
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That’s a difficult question, “what is a lot of money “.  You mention retirement, almost everyone has a different meaning for that word.  To me it’s do I have sufficient passive income to maintain a standard of living, until I die.  To others it may be something else.

If the goal is starting a small business, and on which island, they appear to be very different.  St. John, small (5,000 people), remote, affluent so any business will need to be high quality and differentiated.  St. Thomas, larger (~50,000 people) but much more of a tourist hub and fairly saturated so understanding your target market is critical to business success.  St. Croix, similar in population to St. Thomas but with much less tourist churn, seems to be struggling to find its identity.  Between the refinery reopening, the rum business, the current shortage of housing (resort and other) the island offers both challenges and great potential.

Personally, I’m an optimist and have chosen St. Croix on the basis of size (population), the fact that it’ less of a tourist hub and how welcoming the community has been.  I also get the impression there is a good amount of positive investment and momentum on the island.  There’s a lot going on all over the island, in a good way.

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Gator's Mom
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VI - the land of broken dreams and broken toys.

I would estimate $5-8,000 per month expenses in retirement including fun, food, health care and travel. You can do it for less - but what's the point of struggling?

Don't discount medical and health care when estimating for retirement. With Medicare supplement, drug plan and evac insurance - think $300 per month per person if you are healthy.

 

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Fishbait
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Posted by: Gator's Mom

VI - the land of broken dreams and broken toys.

I would estimate $5-8,000 per month expenses in retirement including fun, food, health care and travel. You can do it for less - but what's the point of struggling?

Don't discount medical and health care when estimating for retirement. With Medicare supplement, drug plan and evac insurance - think $300 per month per person if you are healthy.

Medicare is $135 and AARP / UHCs best supplemental plan is $250. (rounded) So add evac insurance and it is way over $300. Then there are still drug co-pays. BTW, how much IS evac insurance? 🤔 

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Gator's Mom
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Posted by: Fishbait
Posted by: Gator's Mom

VI - the land of broken dreams and broken toys.

I would estimate $5-8,000 per month expenses in retirement including fun, food, health care and travel. You can do it for less - but what's the point of struggling?

Don't discount medical and health care when estimating for retirement. With Medicare supplement, drug plan and evac insurance - think $300 per month per person if you are healthy.

Medicare is $135 and AARP / UHCs best supplemental plan is $250. (rounded) So add evac insurance and it is way over $300. Then there are still drug co-pays. BTW, how much IS evac insurance?  

Lucky for you Plan G is $135 in the VI.  Drug plan is $45 plus $400 deductible and the donut hole. Tier 3 all said are about $100/month per script.

AeroMD will get you to the states (their choice kind of) at $140/yr for a couple. Puerto Rico is an acceptable choice for critical medical needs.

So monthly $135 Medicare B, $135 AARP Plan G, $45 Plan D, $13 Evac = $328. Medicare Plan N is $106 so that can drop monthly's to about $300/month. Then drugs of course - but that's only a factor if you take a  Tier 3 medication.

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Afriend
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Gator’s Mom hit the nail on the head.  When thinking about relocating to the Caribbean most people who ask how much money they will need are hoping for a “low number”.   If the suggested amount is a range (say $8,000 to $12,000 per month) they will focus on the lower figure while the person giving the advice is more focused on the higher number mainly because they have “real world” experience.

A good rule of thumb is to figure out how much you need to live a comfortable lifestyle in the manner to which you’ve become accustomed where you now live.  Add about 35% to 40% (there goes that estimate range again) to that number and you’ll have a good idea of how much you’ll need to live in the Caribbean.

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East Ender
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And if you want AARP supplemental Plan F, they are going to stop allowing new people to enroll in 2010.

It makes me laugh when I hear Medicare for All. Without Part B and D, the supplement or Advantage (not available in the VI) you are spending a bunch of money. I don't think that is what the advocates are thinking about.

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Gator's Mom
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Posted by: East Ender

And if you want AARP supplemental Plan F, they are going to stop allowing new people to enroll in 2010.

It makes me laugh when I hear Medicare for All. Without Part B and D, the supplement or Advantage (not available in the VI) you are spending a bunch of money. I don't think that is what the advocates are thinking about.

With plan F, you are paying for the $180 annual deductible for Medicare Part B across the year. With plan G you pay the deductible each year out of pocket. Very little difference.

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STTsailor
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With a budget of $5000+ a month one can live the royal lifestyle in Panama, Uruguay, Ecuador or perhaps solid middle class in Greece, Portugal, Spain or south of France. Without ever worrying about healthcare. So what makes this third world, murder capital of North America so attractive to retire to? Surely $5000 a month budget won’t get you far in VI. I would say you would live in paverty on that budget while surrounded by some most disfunctional population on the planet. I presume that US flag they are flying here gives you all the assurance of safety plus the English language. 

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Gator's Mom
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Posted by: STTsailor

With a budget of $5000+ a month one can live the royal lifestyle in Panama, Uruguay, Ecuador or perhaps solid middle class in Greece, Portugal, Spain or south of France. Without ever worrying about healthcare. So what makes this third world, murder capital of North America so attractive to retire to? Surely $5000 a month budget won’t get you far in VI. I would say you would live in paverty on that budget while surrounded by some most disfunctional population on the planet. I presume that US flag they are flying here gives you all the assurance of safety plus the English language. 

All of those places you named require residents to purchase some type of health care plan - for less than what a Medicare/supplement/drug/evac package costs in the VI. However, most older Americans will still opt to have Medicare part B once they qualify, adding to monthly costs. They would still have a med evac plan if living in South or Central America, too. Most foreign countries' health plans are only good within their respective borders. 

I may be wrong, but I think many are looking at the VI as an alternative to FL for sun and sand. They are not fully aware of how different it is from mainland US. An adventure but not too exotic LOL. 

Right now, I think PR should be on the list for retirees, too.

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STTsailor
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Posted by: Gator's Mom
Posted by: STTsailor

With a budget of $5000+ a month one can live the royal lifestyle in Panama, Uruguay, Ecuador or perhaps solid middle class in Greece, Portugal, Spain or south of France. Without ever worrying about healthcare. So what makes this third world, murder capital of North America so attractive to retire to? Surely $5000 a month budget won’t get you far in VI. I would say you would live in paverty on that budget while surrounded by some most disfunctional population on the planet. I presume that US flag they are flying here gives you all the assurance of safety plus the English language. 

All of those places you named require residents to purchase some type of health care plan - for less than what a Medicare/supplement/drug/evac package costs in the VI. However, most older Americans will still opt to have Medicare part B once they qualify, adding to monthly costs. They would still have a med evac plan if living in South or Central America, too. Most foreign countries' health plans are only good within their respective borders. 

I may be wrong, but I think many are looking at the VI as an alternative to FL for sun and sand. They are not fully aware of how different it is from mainland US. An adventure but not too exotic LOL. 

Right now, I think PR should be on the list for retirees, too.

Yes. Costs about $100-150 for full coverage, no deductible, privat health insurance. Quality of healthcare is generally good but if you need a new heart or liver that you are out of luck.

I agree about PR. The island has better infrastructure that VI and there are huge tax incentives is you relocate your business there. San Juan is very cosmopolitan and cheaper than South Beach. Rincon has great laid back beaches and is cheap. The downside is sales tax at 11.5%

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Upholstery Girl
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As I read through this thread I am fascinated with the wealth of insurance knowledge that has been cited.  I plan to move our upholstery business to St Thomas in the fall of 2020.  I called the hospital on St Thomas and spoke with a social worker and asked her about supplemental health insurance.  I will be receiving Medicare this year and wanted to make sure I have the right plan for the island.  She said AARP, Atena and United Health are the most used.  Any insight from those living on the island? 

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Gator's Mom
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Posted by: Upholstery Girl

As I read through this thread I am fascinated with the wealth of insurance knowledge that has been cited.  I plan to move our upholstery business to St Thomas in the fall of 2020.  I called the hospital on St Thomas and spoke with a social worker and asked her about supplemental health insurance.  I will be receiving Medicare this year and wanted to make sure I have the right plan for the island.  She said AARP, Atena and United Health are the most used.  Any insight from those living on the island? 

We are sorting through Medicare in the islands, too. The only supplement plans available are from AARP United Health (one company). They offer the same range of plans as anywhere. Sign up for an AARP United Health supplement plan in the state where you live now and then transfer it when you move.

Aetna plans are not sold in the USVI.

There is one drug plan available in the USVI through AARP United Health as well - $45/month, $400 deductible, big copays for Tier 3 meds. 

Also, there are several affordable med evac plan options available. You really need this because the hospitals in the VI are limited in their abilities to treat many ailments that require specialty care and procedures. PR offers first world medicine if you can get there.

The VI has many fine physicians BTW.

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Fishbait
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Posted by: Gator's Mom
Posted by: Upholstery Girl

As I read through this thread I am fascinated with the wealth of insurance knowledge that has been cited.  I plan to move our upholstery business to St Thomas in the fall of 2020.  I called the hospital on St Thomas and spoke with a social worker and asked her about supplemental health insurance.  I will be receiving Medicare this year and wanted to make sure I have the right plan for the island.  She said AARP, Atena and United Health are the most used.  Any insight from those living on the island? 

We are sorting through Medicare in the islands, too. The only supplement plans available are from AARP United Health (one company). They offer the same range of plans as anywhere. Sign up for an AARP United Health supplement plan in the state where you live now and then transfer it when you move.

Aetna plans are not sold in the USVI.

There is one drug plan available in the USVI through AARP United Health as well - $45/month, $400 deductible, big copays for Tier 3 meds. 

Also, there are several affordable med evac plan options available. You really need this because the hospitals in the VI are limited in their abilities to treat many ailments that require specialty care and procedures. PR offers first world medicine if you can get there.

The VI has many fine physicians BTW.

This is exactly what I plan on doing.  I already spoke to AARP UHC. All they need is a zip code to get you quotes for their various supplemental plans, which can be used anywhere Medicare is accepted. 

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Upholstery Girl
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So here is a little more information ☺.  My father and husband both have VA insurance.  Do you know about those services on the island?

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fdr
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Good day Uphostery Girl,

The nearest VA hospital is in Puerto Rico, so they would have to arrange travel for services there, or pay out of pocket (or under other insurance coverage) for care locally.

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Upholstery Girl
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Is there a VA clinic on the island?

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fdr
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 fdr
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There is one on St Thomas - https://www.caribbean.va.gov/locations/St_Thomas.asp

and one on St Croix - https://www.caribbean.va.gov/locations/St_Croix.asp

both with very limited services.

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East Ender
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Upholstery Girl: Here is where you will start seeing the problems in the VI..

"I called the hospital on St Thomas and spoke with a social worker and asked her about supplemental health insurance. I will be receiving Medicare this year and wanted to make sure I have the right plan for the island. She said AARP, Atena and United Health are the most used. "

The social worker did not understand the difference between Medicare supplemental insurance and regular health insurance. When you come for your PMV, make an appointment with the Medicare ladies at Nisky Center. They can explain the supplement deal, which is really easy because UHC via AARP has a monopoly.

You might also want to visit the VA clinic which is behind the hospital. They do have limited services, but provide vouchers for local providers when possible. They used to send everyone to PR for services, but that has changed in recent years. Only they don't always know what services are available locally. LOL

P.S. To all of you who think health care is great in PR, I hope you speak Spanish. Yes, the doctors do speak English, but many of the support personnel are monolingual.

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Upholstery Girl
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Thank you for the information.  I will add the information to our trip binder and schedule in a visit during our week on the island.  My binder is filling up fast with "must check out" things!!

 

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