wanting to move  

 

toyjeg86
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February 10, 2015 2:44 pm  

Hello everyone. My family and I are wanting to relocate to St. Croix this year and have a few questions. We are by no means independently wealthy or highly skilled so when we arrive we will be looking for non-professional jobs that will support us. I have a BA German and TEFL certificate. We would be moving without a job and would have about $10,000 to hold us over during the job search. How is the job market? Would I find a job that will meet our needs (around $40000/year or so--we aren't high maintenance and can live off of less) easily? For example we can live comfortably and happily in North Carolina on about $30,000 / year. I know most of you wouldn't recommend moving without a job, but do we at least have a decent shot of finding employment upon arrival? And I know I have more questions to ask, but they're not coming to me right now. I'm sure you'll see me posting again.

Thanks for your help!


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speee1dy
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February 10, 2015 3:31 pm  

have you been here before? please read through this forum and do specific searches for cost of living, crime, health care etc. there is plenty of information there

you should have no problem getting a server job or some type of job in the customer service area. will you make 40 thou a year? i doubt it-not in that industry. you might have to get 2 jobs or so. you live off of 30 thou a year in the carolinas comfortably. cost of living is way cheaper where you live now.

do you have children? health issues?

do some reading and come back and ask more questions.


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OldTart
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February 10, 2015 3:47 pm  

Hello everyone. My family and I are wanting to relocate to St. Croix this year ...

"Family"? Coming here as an adult single or couple is vastly different from coming here with children or other dependents. Have you ever been here, come for a PMV, read all the information on the scroll-down menus top of this page?

I personally know and stay in touch with five couples who've left here after many years as residents to live in NC where their income stretches WAY further than it does here. 😀


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toyjeg86
(@toyjeg86)
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February 10, 2015 4:18 pm  

Hey to the both of you. I have read through this forum and all of the info on this website. Cost of living is high, crime is high, availability of goods is low, etc. etc. I recognize the negative aspects of island life, but then I believe the positive aspects may outweigh the negative. Then again I may be wrong. If we find out we don't like STX, we'll hang out a year then move on. For us, life is about adventure and we are curious to see what the Islands have to offer. We have never been and considered coming down on vacation for a month or so to check it out, but we are prone to making spur-of-the-moment decisions. I've lived a lot longer than a year in places that I have hated. I imagine STX will be nice.

There will be four of us moving. Myself, my wife, and two sons (newborn and 3 year old). I would like to stay away from service jobs for obvious reasons, but was looking for entry-level work that would pay decent. German teacher, distillery work, entry-level admin jobs, etc. Jobs of this nature or almost impossible to obtain without being there in person, that's why I want to move without a job offer beforehand. We'll be waiting forever.

We don't want to move and get rich. We want to move and enjoy a slower pace of life, enjoy each other, and appreciate being in a new, beautiful location with new adventures. I understand there is an extremely high attrition rate for newcomers and we may join the statistics. Or we may not. Only one way to find out.

So to come full circle, job market in STX for a BA-educated man wanting to work?


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toyjeg86
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February 10, 2015 4:21 pm  

oh, and to speedy. Your comment reminded me of another question. I have been trying to find info on the Affordable Care Act in the USVI, but haven't found much. Do you or anyone you know have experience buying health insurance on STX? Rates? None of us have serious health problems, but I do have prescriptions I take.


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fdr
 fdr
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February 10, 2015 4:29 pm  

If we find out we don't like STX, we'll hang out a year then move on.

Keep in mind that for the "moving on" bit, you'll likely spend at least two-thirds of whatever you spent to move here.

Since one of the reasons people often move away from the islands is an inability to keep up with the cost of living here, you will want to make sure you earn enough to rebuild that cushion.

I'm not trying to be discouraging; I just know too many people who feel "stuck" here because they can't afford to save enough to move elsewhere.


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STXBob
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February 10, 2015 4:39 pm  

The Affordable Care Act does not apply to the USVI like it does to the states. There is one company that I know of selling individual health insurance in the USVI: Healthcare International, and they exclude pre-existing conditions (it's health insurance for the healthy).

There are several threads about it: https://www.vimovingcenter.com/talk/search.php?4,search=healthcare+international,author=,page=1,match_type=PHRASE,match_dates=0,match_forum=4,match_threads=0

Getting health insurance through an employer may be an easier way to go. Or create your own group of two (you and your wife) by starting a company.


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OldTart
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February 10, 2015 4:41 pm  

oh, and to speedy. Your comment reminded me of another question. I have been trying to find info on the Affordable Care Act in the USVI, but haven't found much. Do you or anyone you know have experience buying health insurance on STX? Rates? None of us have serious health problems, but I do have prescriptions I take.

There is no Affordable Care Act here - the US territories (including the USVI) couldn't make it cost effective so opted instead to receive additional Medicaid funding. There have been several threads on this forum related to individual health insurance but the bottom line here is that it's VERY expensive. Some larger employers offer a group health insurance plan but you usually have to contribute a healthy sum to it and wait for 6 months to a year with the company in order to even qualify. With two young children that should be a huge concern for you.


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toyjeg86
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February 10, 2015 4:43 pm  

You are correct about expensive health insurance being a huge concern. That could be a deal breaker. I will search through the forums and find those on health insurance. Thanks again for your help!


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Afriend
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February 10, 2015 5:24 pm  

How easy or difficult it will be to find a job on St. Croix or any of the Virgin Islands is much the same as it is anywhere. It all depends on your skill set, your background and the level of experience you have in that skill set, whether or not there is an employer(s) seeking someone with your background and how many others are applying for that position. Sorry but I have no idea how much in demand there is for a German teacher. You'd probably have to contact one of the institutions of higher learning to find out but i don't suppose there's a big demand.

As others have already mentioned Health insurance is expensive and may not be at all what you are use to having back on the mainland so I won't just regurgitate what has already been said.

You mentioned that you are "looking for entry-level work that would pay decent" - that could prove a difficult task because salaries in the USVI are lower than for comparable positions back on the mainland and since everyone's idea of "decent" pay is different it's hard to put how much you and your family will need for living expensive in perspective. Suffice to say, the cost of living in the USVI's is going to be higher than it is back in North Carolina.

A $10,000 "moving fund" is not a very big cushion. You can easily spend 1/3 of that just to walk in the door of a modest apartment (you'll need 1st, last and 1 month Security Deposit). You'll also need deposits for utilities, money for food and groceries, transportation, and the incidentals.

One thing in your favor is you and your souse are young and up for adventure. As long as you realize that living in the Caribbean is not just sitting under a palm tree drinking pina coladas you should be able to make a go of it, at least for a while, if you are willing to alter your lifestyle "downward" until you find employment that pays what you consider a decent salary.

Last comment - I'm always intrigued when people contemplating a move to the Caribbean say they are seeking a "slower pace of life". Life in the Caribbean isn't really "slower" but rather things take longer to get done. For instance, when your air conditioner (or other appliance if you don't have a/c) goes on the fritz and the repair man says he'll be there tomorrow. It doesn't always mean tomorrow - it means not today. Tomorrow may mean in a few days and when he finally comes you find out the part you need has to be brought in from Florida which will take another week unless you are willing to pay twice as much as the part is worth to have it sent by Fed-Ex. If that's the type of "slower pace life" you are seeking you'll be quite happy. For me, it's a very frustration part of the Caribbean lifestyle.

Anyway, I've gone on long enough. Good luck planning your move. I hope it works out the way you expect.


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Linda J
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February 10, 2015 7:34 pm  

If both you and your wife work, you may be able to make $40,000. I doubt you will be able to find such work, at least not immediately. You should plan on finding any work to keep you going until you can make the necessary connections to find a job in your field. I always suggest The Buccaneer as a place to apply for work. They usually have a variety of positions available.


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speee1dy
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February 10, 2015 7:36 pm  

good post afriend, especially about slower vs taking longer.

but seriously. it is almost impossible to get health insurance unless from a job. the casino is usually always looking for dealers-pay is not what you might be expecting. home depot, office max, radio shack , kmart and att store are all here-might be possible to get a job at one of them?

careers.vi
usvidol and this site

they all have job listings. others might have other ideas of where to look.

but it does sound like you guys would have fun. just do it and have fun


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Alana33
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February 10, 2015 8:00 pm  

Family usually consists of kids? How old are yours? Will they be in school? Have you budgeted for tuition?

$10K budget isn't very healthy when you have to buy a car, register and insure it, maybe fix it, furnish a rental, as even if a furnished rental which costs more, it may not come with linens, towels, cleaning supplies, microwave, TV's, dishwashers, pots, pans, utensils, etc.
Not to mention groceries! There's costs of utilities and all sorts of miscellaneous expenses you have not yet even considered. $20K would be more realistic with a family.

Just be prepared for the cost of living here as money goes very quickly but is hard earned.

There's a great link from A1andA2 about what the expenses were when they moved to STT a little more than a year ago and her boyfriend had a job when he got here. It puts things in perspective.
They adapted quite well. (No kids, tho.) Not everyone does. Just do your homework and be realistic in your expectations.


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OldTart
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February 10, 2015 8:10 pm  

Family usually consists of kids? How old are yours? Will they be in school? Have you budgeted for tuition?

OP said, "There will be four of us moving. Myself, my wife, and two sons (newborn and 3 year old)."


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denvertired
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February 10, 2015 8:28 pm  

I'm not sure I bet on Radio Shack right now


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speee1dy
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February 10, 2015 9:55 pm  

well, hope ours stays


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OldTart
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February 10, 2015 10:34 pm  

well, hope ours stays

No USVI branches appear to be on the list of closures.


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denvertired
(@denvertired)
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February 10, 2015 10:39 pm  

they are closing 17 in PR, but I didn't see VI on the list. Denver and Aurora are losing most of their stores


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IslandHops
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February 11, 2015 11:21 am  

they are closing 17 in PR, but I didn't see VI on the list. Denver and Aurora are losing most of their stores

They probably forgot they still have a store on STX. 🙂

But to the OP, I'd echo the other posts above regarding employment. Wages here are far below the stateside equivalent, and a 40k job with insurance - those can be somewhat rare.

You sound as if you have the right attitude - adventure - and 10k can be stretched to get you started as long as you are resourceful and adaptable, and can live without the consumer driven luxuries that are the staple of mainland living.


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rnblade
(@rnblade)
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February 11, 2015 1:01 pm  

Just moved here about a month ago and so far Island life is all that I hoped it would be. I will say the cost are higher than I expected and I did come on a PMV. Food is a big cost here compared to the south east expect it to double. Things do take longer here but I came with the mindset "That's just the way it is" and so far it has served me well.

There are service jobs available here I'd expect to grab one while you are looking for work in your field. I moved with 15k and it was a comfortable number but I didn't bring kids either. What ever your expectations on cost are based on reading the forums I'd add 50% to it to be safe. If you can live based on that you'll probably be okay.

You definitely need to be aware of the negatives mentioned on the site but by no means should it deter you from making the move if it is something you want just prepare yourself properly and they really aren't issues. Like you said if you find you don't like it you can always leave. (if you can afford too) Overall the people are friendly, the weather is nice, the scenery is great, the water is warm.


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speee1dy
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February 11, 2015 7:00 pm  

rnblade, great reply


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