retirement in US VI
Okay, how many times have you been asked this? My wife and I are planning our retirement. We are US citizens. We have Social Security of about $2,000/month for income. Assuming we own our residence on either St. Croix or St Thomas and we purchase a automobile, do you imagine us being able to have a life, Internet connection, cable or satellite TV along with VOIP telephone with this income? Medicare will be our medical insurance. I don't know what auto insurance is like. We are mostly homebodies and not living in the fast lane. Any feedback is helpful and thank you.
I'd investigate the medical community closely before retiring -- contact some doctors offices and ask if they accept Medicare -- many don't. A lot of people fly back to the states for medical treatment, and this practice can get very expensive. I can't really comment on any of your other issues b/c I don't have any of that stuff (cable, Internet, etc).
If you own the residence free and clear, maybe.
Not sure how much your homeowner's insure would be, assuming you purchase some. Could be a big chunk of your yearly income.
Another thing to consider is whether you have a secondary health insurance. If not, and if you have chronic medical conditions or other serious/expensive illness, your co-pay of 20% of the medical/hospital bill could do you in.
Insurance on a home is very expensive $10k per year depending on size of home.
I suggest a condo. Fees are expensive $600 to $1000 mo but that includes upkeep, security, insurance ( inside personal property not included, but that is cheap ). Rental on a condo is $1500 plus per month for a nice unit in a nice complex.
Find one that has ocean breezes, that way you don't have to have A/C. Electricity is VERY VERY expensive.
STX is far cheaper to live on that STT.
Bring a beater car or buy an island car. insurance is not bad for liability only $400+ per year.
Did I understand correctly that condo fees alone can cost upwards from $600 to $1,000/mo if you own the condo? Sounds as if it would be cheaper to rent than to own.
My condo fees cost me $800 monthly, my electric around $600.
So, if I'm following this correctly, it sounds like a monthly tally might go something like:
- you own the condo... no mortgage
- condo security, upkeep, insurance: $1000/month
- electric + water: $400/month
- cable TV + Internet + VOIP: $150/month (from past threads - not sure what VOIP costs in USVI)
- food: $300/month (I'm guessing... feel free to challenge this)
- car insurance, maintenance, fuel: $100/month
So, I get: $1950/month. I'm hoping your $2000/month is after taxes. I'm not sure how well your SS payment keeps up with yearly increases of costs. It sounds mighty close to me... in reality, I doubt you'd be in a positive cash flow situation unless you really watch every penny (I just don't like living that way, but some folks do this naturally).
I wonder if an acceptable alternative is:
- stay where you are: could costs be more like $1000/month?
- save $9000 over 9 months
- rent a condo for 3 months (winter months) in USVI (rent out your house if possible/practical):
------ $4500 for condo rental
------ $1200 for water+elec
------ $500 for TV, internet, phone
------ $900 for food
------ not sure what to do about car for 3 months (there have been threads on long term rental - I haven't followed it)
If $2,000 is going to be your entire monthly income, no, you cannot live comfortably here on that amount of money, even if you own your home. You are going to need at least twice that amount to live, especially if you plan to travel back to the states every now and then.
This is just my opinion; I think it costs less to own a house then a condo. I own my house on STX, do not have a mortgage on it. Myself and many people I know (and I mean big houses also) who do not have a mortgage on their houses do not have hurricane insurance. Thats what brings up the cost of the insurance, and one reason the condo fees are so high. Yes I know its a risk to not have wind insurance but I'm willing to take it, The house has been fine through all the hurricanes since Hugo. (yup, if we get another Hugo I may be in trouble but it was rebuilt after Hugo to the new code. Some people would not take this risk, I'm comfortable with the decision. I have regular home owners insurance just looked up my last bill-- 956.00 for the year. Taxes are way lower here then in the states. I've owned a condo on STX also, I felt the fees were to high but yes you will have hurricane insurance unless you are in one of the condo associations that self insure also. So if these people want to move down here and can buy a house outright, I think they can do it. I think it will be tight, but I think it can be done I think some of the figures above are high . My electric bill with the pool runs under 300.
I think they should be more concerned with their health insurance and their medical needs as they age. I personally would not want to live on that amount, but we all have different comfort levels.
I agree with Linda J. $2,000 is to low if you want to have a life. If you have been living in NY or Chicago on $2,000 and have a life style that suits you then maybe you can get by on $2,000 on STX. Everything costs more here and maintenance on everything is expensive.
The grocery estimate of $300 is low unless you plan on living on Mac & Cheese. $5 a day per person for food won't buy you much on STX.
I'm blown away on the condo fee as that is the deal breaker! If condo fees were closer to a $300-400/mo it is doable. Outrageous.
Thanks for all your help. I guess I need to start learning Spanish and consider Latin America.
I've also heard of people retiring to places like Vietnam... lots of countries looking for that "gray gold"; and cost of building, living and health care may be much lower. Let us know what you find, can you?
Excellent Health care should be somewhere in your decision making process. The VI is far from having excellent health care.
Stateside I would look at Florida or Arizona where "Seniors Rule".
Housing Sales price in both of these states is at an all time low and your purchase power will go further in both of these states than in the VI.
I question whether there's ANYWHERE two Americans could live "comfortably" -by US standards- ...or even frugally by US standards, on $2000 a month. Live -yes, but "comfortably"? Doubt it. And getting sick would definitely nail it. My 80 yr old mother was showing me her out of pocket medical bills last month, and I was surprised. And she has medicare plus a supplemental policy.
The car insurance/maintenance/fuel line item quoted above is too low.
$70 a month for basic 'beater' liability.
$70 a month for two tanks of gas.
$50 a month towards a modest budget for repairs (especially on a beater).
I'd also add:
- a minimum of $100 a month to go out and eat. ...and that would only buy you 3 times a month around here 😉
- $50 a month towards a plane ticket budget, unless you never want to visit anyone ever again.
I am also looking at Uruguay where housing on or near the ocean is very reasonable. Of course it has the 4 seasons, but winter is mild and the summer isn't extremely hot. Currently in Florida because of the hurricanes, property insurance is over $5,000/year. Too much for my finances, and of course, it is Florida (if you know what I mean). I have discovered a person can't obtain a Medicare Supplement Policy in USVI. Uruguay also has a low crime rate, a stable democracy, no income tax on $ earned outside the country. a easy to obtain residency visa, cheap food but a 23% VAT and a 60% tax on imports over $60. I guess one can't have everything.
Don't go to Florida to retire!!!
Traffic is terrible in S Florida.............Hummers every where...........fake boobs, faces lifted until noses are on foreheads, botox injections start at birth, doctors have gone "private", meaning you'll only be able to see them if YOU pay THEM $15,000 up front for a year of service & pay ALL office visits & procedures on top of that. Prop values/taxes are off the hook !!! And fraud is lurking in every corner, especially senior fraud!!! And English really is the second language.
Retiring here if you own a small home, small car, cook at home................it could be done. Health care is the primary concern, however the hospital here on STX isn't so bad. I know several folks that have had recent surgeries there & lived to tell about it. ....lol.
If you have never spent any time here, I would suggest try it for 6 mons or longer...............many come, few stay.
Just remember upon landing here............remove brain & insert rock..........cause if it makes NO sense.........it makes perfect sense here!
I think there's another related issue that hasn't been considered: are you willing to work to supplement your income?
Locals, I didn't get any hits, searching for "employment for seniors"... is there work for newbie seniors? It sounds like there is work in fields like real estate (although not likely for newbies) and book keeping... anything else open to seniors?
Islandtyme....Florida is a huge state..... You need to get out more!
"Don't go to Florida to retire!!!
Traffic is terrible in S Florida."
I have a home in Florida for when the time comes and what you state is not indicative of the entire population of Florida.
Many of the condos include water and cable TV in their fees. Yes you can find some places that have lower condo fees. But they usually don't have nice views, neighborhoods, or breezes.
Yes I agree with Cody in that I think it might be cheaper to own if you don't have a mortgage and don't need wind insurance. In our case, we won't be moving there full time, only splitting our time so there is the upkeep factor and security when not on island. However with owning a place, there is a lot of upkeep to contend with.
WAPA bills will be high IF you use an A/C. Where our condo is, we never use our A/C as we always (90% of the time) have a nice breeze. However some of our neighbors always use theirs as they don't like the humidity. Their bills $600 yo $800 a month, ours $125 per month. I don't mind the humidity as long as there is a cool breeze ( 87* is cool to me, coming from AZ).
I "personally" would not want to invest what little money I have in a place out of the US. I have heard too many horror stories of people losing everything.
My condo fees run $200/month + about $200/month for insurance assessed by the Condo Assoc. I wouldn't attempt to live here on $2K a month. I couldn't do it & my condo is paid for. You might also look into central Mexico. I know people who have relocated there & live cheaply.
There is work for seniors just very few special govt time programs for them. There is no offical retirement age in the usvi so locals here tend to work longer then stateside. To me it feels like there is less agism here then stateside. If you have good qualifications you usually won't have a hard time finding a job, it may take longer then stateside (2 to 6 months for speciality fields) or it may happen right away.
Yeah Tippi the weight of this moss covered rock I hide under has caused me to go delusional..................Altho my life has taken me many paths in my short lifetime, I've had the pleasure of living in many states & neighborhoods & diversities . Be that said, I only lived in S Florida for less than a yr................Worked retail in one of the bigger malls, lived in a very affluent neighborhood, that had nightly helicopter spotlights in my yard searching ( bad boyz bad boyz) .............um another plus is a suspected serial killer running loose.............teenage girls die under the knife of breast surgery..........gators in the canals behind your house sizing up FiFi (snack? entree?).
Seriously, Florida isn't all bad. It's very beautiful & has tranquil waters at sandy beaches and swaying palm trees. You get to meet alot of nice people from all over, just like here. But for me it was tooooooooo materialist, overpriced, flat, crowed & all about the me me me syndrome. Sorry if I offended you & your Floridian Paradise. Gulf side isn't as bad & I think it's much more laid back, perhaps that's where you're from. My mom lived in Tampa for yrs & I used to visit quite often. It too is slowly becoming too materialist.
So each to own, that's one of the beauties of where we live........freedom & a voice to express it.
".............Hummers every where..........."
islandtyme: Some people really like hummingbirds! 😉
Lots of work for seniors! Ric and I are both in our early 60's and found work easily 4 years ago. Anyone who has basic skills and shows up every day is a treasure!