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Gumbo
(@Gumbo)
Advanced Member

... Yeah we have been toying with the idea of renting to get a feel for each... I'm just one who hates renting... When I was young I said never again... Throwing money down an empty hole...lol. I do see your point about about maybe renting for a few months to ensure I'm making the right decision.

... I have Cigna health care....... Obamacare affect you all?

Briefly, do NOT purchase real property until you've lived here for at least a year - preferably two or three. Many people I've encountered over the years have made that decision to regret it most deeply. The attrition rate of newcomers is (no exaggeration) huge and for a huge number of reasons. There are rarely quick turnovers of real property here.

There is no coverage here under the Affordable Care Act and once you establish residency it's unlikely that your Cigna plan will cover you. Cigna offers plans for expats but you can't qualify for any such plans as a US citizen. Right now, affordable individual health insurance is a pipe dream. This should be a major concern for you, particularly as a retiree and even more so if you have any major health issues. We have "adequate" medical facilities but you should know that many seniors who've lived here for many, many years opt to move stateside for more accessible, affordable and state of the art care.

Just a couple of things to mull over. Good luck!

Yeah I'll have to check that out, good tip, I never thought about it too much, but I'm sure I can figure something out for health care as it will be insurance as a retired Fed. And I'm sure they have insurance for the Feds that actually live and work in VI.

But that is interesting that the turnover rate is so high... I would expect if you did your research (not on tourist sites, but pages like these) you would get a good feel for what you are getting into...

To be honest the reason I'm looking at places like VI is simple...
Warmth
Location for photography
I want a slow, laid back life style.

Plus
Getting tired of watching everyone, I mean everyone with their hands out. Over the last 6-7 years the number of people looking for handouts here in the mainland has shot up drastically.... People have just given up... And I'm not talking about 1 or 2 but by my best guess 50% of America seems to be on government assistance... The true numbers, but that doesn't count those to cheat the tax system. Even the ones who work, try to limit their hours so they qualify for government programs. I just shake my head.... This kills me to watch... And you can't avoid seeing it anymore... It has started to affect middle class America, It's getting close to a time for a serious change of scenery. I would rather watch waves from my porch, while reading on my iPad...

Like I said before I severed in the military for a little over 10 years, it's hard for me to watch so many people "give up" and just bad mouth the US, because they don't give them enough free stuff.

It seems like I'm one of the few who doesn't cheat the tax system... It's Hard to watch..., hard to watch....

Wow! We need eight more years of failed leadership!
Go! Hillary!

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Posted : December 17, 2015 9:58 am
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

You don't necessarily need to be in a gated community and your budget probably won't allow it if you're looking for a residential property. On STT, at least.

Your budget sounds ample for your lifestyle as long as you don't need to run your AC 24/7 in the whole house. Even with WAPA rates coming down, that can put a serious dent in the monthly budget.

You don't necessarily need a jeep. A nice SUV will be fine.
A vehicle with good ground clearance is good to have due to the potholes which pop up on our roads. STT has much more mountainous terrain and some driveways can be interesting when wet.

A whole house generator is very nice to have as WAPA treats us to more outages than you're ever likely to experience, stateside. Even during perfect weather. Depending on the situation, especially with storms, it can take quite awhile to get power back so it's always best to be prepared.

As for the solo thing, it just depends. Doing everyday activities or going to most beaches or places, not a problem. Exploring off the beaten track which we all love to do, maybe not the best and that's true of all 3 islands, unfortunately.

We do not have access to Obamacare here in VI.
Health insurance, or lack thereof, is an issue for many unless you work for VI Government or a company that provides it.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 10:29 am
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

tired of watching everyone getting government assistance-and you want to come here?

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Posted : December 17, 2015 10:41 am
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

To be honest the reason I'm looking at places like VI is simple...
Warmth
Location for photography
I want a slow, laid back life style.

Plus
Getting tired of watching everyone, I mean everyone with their hands out.

It seems like I'm one of the few who doesn't cheat the tax system... .

Warmth and location for photography can be found in many, many places.

The "slow laid back lifestyle" sounds idyllic but when translated into everyday life it's a complete downer for many after a while. Tradespeople and repair people who just don't show up for an appointment and don't call; waiting in line at government offices, banking institutions, the post office and checkout lines in stores - the list is endless. Of course nowadays you can do a lot of the tedious stuff online but then you miss out on interacting with real people.

There have always been those who "cheat the system" but the reality is that a large percentage of our population lives hand to mouth and needs government assistance just to make bare ends meet. The middle class is disappearing as fast here as it is in the contiguous states. Despite what you may assume there's a large percentage of the population here which works two and three jobs to keep the wolf from the door.

Finally, in reference to, "But that is interesting that the turnover rate is so high... I would expect if you did your research (not on tourist sites, but pages like these) you would get a good feel for what you are getting into... ' a pretty good indication of that reality is that the majority of those who penned all those moving stories are long gone!

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Posted : December 17, 2015 10:43 am
Finatic
(@Finatic)
Advanced Member

tired of watching everyone getting government assistance-and you want to come here?

You beat me to it.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 1:12 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

lol finatic

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Posted : December 17, 2015 2:47 pm
Rambo
(@Rambo)
Active Member

tired of watching everyone getting government assistance-and you want to come here?

You beat me to it.

Lol so I take it there are a lot of people there on government handouts?

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Posted : December 17, 2015 3:17 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

you could say that. look at ots response above. our economy has yet to recover from hovensa closing on stx. stt does a bit better because of the tourists they get.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 3:23 pm
Rambo
(@Rambo)
Active Member

To be honest the reason I'm looking at places like VI is simple...
Warmth
Location for photography
I want a slow, laid back life style.

Plus
Getting tired of watching everyone, I mean everyone with their hands out.

It seems like I'm one of the few who doesn't cheat the tax system... .

Warmth and location for photography can be found in many, many places.

The "slow laid back lifestyle" sounds idyllic but when translated into everyday life it's a complete downer for many after a while. Tradespeople and repair people who just don't show up for an appointment and don't call; waiting in line at government offices, banking institutions, the post office and checkout lines in stores - the list is endless. Of course nowadays you can do a lot of the tedious stuff online but then you miss out on interacting with real people.

There have always been those who "cheat the system" but the reality is that a large percentage of our population lives hand to mouth and needs government assistance just to make bare ends meet. The middle class is disappearing as fast here as it is in the contiguous states. Despite what you may assume there's a large percentage of the population here which works two and three jobs to keep the wolf from the door.

Finally, in reference to, "But that is interesting that the turnover rate is so high... I would expect if you did your research (not on tourist sites, but pages like these) you would get a good feel for what you are getting into... ' a pretty good indication of that reality is that the majority of those who penned all those moving stories are long gone!

On the photography front..... Yes but not really. If you want that blue water feel.... Then cut it back to places that are within the US governing bodies.... You have PR, VI, FL Keys, HI and maybe some parts of CA..... And if you really want to go like no distance maybe GU or AS(a little too remote for me).. Now the cost of property in each location, looks to go about like so (low to high) PR, VI, then HI & FL Keys followed by CA.

So now the biggest bang for the dollar might be PR but seems to be followed closely by VI. True on the flip side it's the harder places to "get to" but that is not nessarily a bad thing when you are looking for a remote location to shoot.... It's one of the things that orginally got me and the wife thinking about places like VI, PR and Costa Rica.

Cost of living doesn't seem to terrible there... I mean a starter home here in Seattle close to work is easily $600k+ and a 3 bedroom condo $400k+ so in the grand scheme of things, PR and the VI start looking really affordable, and a good bang for the buck.

So it will come down to cost of life.... What do you all pay for the basics?
Gas? $2.20 a gal here right now
Electricity? My monthly bill is about $300 to $400
Grocery for family of 4? Right now we pay about $800 month
Water sewer and other basics? $250 a month
High speed internet $50
Cable $100 depending on package
Cell $100 for 2 lines
Sin items? Cigarettes $9 a pack and whiskey $25-$40 a fifth, wine $5-$25 a bottle and higher.
Auto insurance $1200 a year
Home insurance $1000 a year

I think these are the items that will separate all the locations the most.

Basically it sounds like power issues there are a lot like at our lake condo in Idaho.. Storm rolls in, power goes out... And it seems to happen about once a week or every other week.

As far as the laid back lifestyle... I like it, it was one of the only things I liked about living in the Middle East, "no problem abi"
We would ask "when is this going to get done?" Our answer we get back "no problem abi" and it was the same answer for anything... Basically they were saying, they will get to it when they get to it... So no need to worry.

I don't mind people taking the time to do a job... Because at least they are doing the job.

Like my neighbor owns a landscaping business... So I hire him whenever I need trees cut or trimmed. He gives me a ok deal... And I give him months to complete the job... Works out for everyone. I get a decent rate, and he gets work for his guys when things are slow.

So yeah I don't mind things a little laid back 🙂

Thanks again for the info

Sam

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Posted : December 17, 2015 4:13 pm
Rambo
(@Rambo)
Active Member

you could say that. look at ots response above. our economy has yet to recover from hovensa closing on stx. stt does a bit better because of the tourists they get.

Why did they close the refinery? What has that done to cost of living? Long term affect? Damn shame... You hate to see jobs disappear

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Posted : December 17, 2015 4:19 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

Kim Lucan

Kim Lucas in case you are looking.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 4:50 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

closed a few years ago. a lot of those who had jobs were able to go to the states and work. a lot of the shops downtown are closing. i think it employed about 2000 people, the majority of those left. our unemployment rate is pretty high. things were in an upswing when i first got here, now a huge downturn.

now your cost of living stateside????

Gas? $2.20 a gal here right now 2.69 here
Electricity? My monthly bill is about $300 to $400 what do you use? ours is about 200 and we have no air conditioning at all, no dryer and no dishwasher. just the basics
Grocery for family of 4? Right now we pay about $800 month family of 2 here, we pay more than that for groceries usually
Water sewer and other basics? $250 a month we dont pay for these
High speed internet $50 same
Cable $100 depending on package dish-same
Cell $100 for 2 lines about the same-att recommended
Sin items? Cigarettes $9 a 5-$40 a fifth, wine $5-$25 a bottle and higher. pack and whiskey $2cigs are cheaper about 27 a carton-not sure on booze
Auto insurance $1200 a year how many vehicles? i have 2 vehicles i think i pay less than that-not sure.
Home insurance $1000 a year dont know

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Posted : December 17, 2015 4:50 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

So it will come down to cost of life.... What do you all pay for the basics?

Gas? $2.20 a gal here right now - $2.999 here in STT - regular

Electricity? My monthly bill is about $300 to $400 - Depends on your usage especially in summer with AC usage.

Grocery for family of 4? Right now we pay about $800 month -Probably more.

Water sewer and other basics? $250 a month.
Most stand alone residential homes have their own cistern for water collection and septic tanks and leach fields.

High speed internet $50 - I pay BBVI $99.95 for HS Internet.

Cable $100 depending on package _ I use Dish Tv - no movie package, expanded runs $88.90 per mo. but have 3 receivers between upstairs and down.

If you bundle with Innovative, you may be able to save on a phone, tv, internet service. Unfortunately, you're dealing with Innovative. (And, yes, OT - we know you love them.)

Cell $100 for 2 lines - AT+T cell. One line, less than $50 per month. normally.

Sin items? Cigarettes $9 a pack and whiskey $25-$40 a fifth, wine $5-$25 a bottle and higher.
Carton of cigs depending on brand runs about $25 and up. Whiskey, probably cheaper here than there. Ditto for wine depending on brand

Auto insurance $1200 a year - depends on policy. Probably about same for new vehicle. Not sure, so maybe someone else can answer.

Home insurance $1000 a year - homeowners insurance with the necessary windstorm protection is going to cost you a heck of a lot more here than $1000 especially on a $5-600K property. I'd be thrilled to pay $1000 instead of the $6750 I pay annually.

Then there's property taxes and other taxes and fees for various and sundry stuff.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 4:50 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

tired of watching everyone getting government assistance-and you want to come here?

(tu)

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Posted : December 17, 2015 4:55 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

Sin items? Cigarettes $9 a pack and whiskey $25-$40 a fifth, wine $5-$25 a bottle and higher.

You know what they say for a VI Rum and Coke, The Coke costs more than the Rum.

Home insurance $1000 a year

Apples to Apples it's going to be more than that in Hurrycane country. Most of my monthly condo HOA is for insurance.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 5:06 pm
Scubadoo
(@Scubadoo)
Trusted Member

... Yeah we have been toying with the idea of renting to get a feel for each... I'm just one who hates renting... When I was young I said never again... Throwing money down an empty hole...lol. I do see your point about about maybe renting for a few months to ensure I'm making the right decision.

... I have Cigna health care....... Obamacare affect you all?

Briefly, do NOT purchase real property until you've lived here for at least a year - preferably two or three. Many people I've encountered over the years have made that decision to regret it most deeply. The attrition rate of newcomers is (no exaggeration) huge and for a huge number of reasons. There are rarely quick turnovers of real property here.

And even with all that the owners selling residences are not as apt to do much negotiation on asking price. That being said there are good deals out there on STX.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 5:13 pm
monogram
(@monogram)
Advanced Member

tired of watching everyone getting government assistance-and you want to come here?

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Posted : December 17, 2015 5:34 pm
Alana33
(@alana33)
Expert

Wow! $2.69! Your gas is now cheaper than ours on STT!
Ours has been $2.99 for months, at select stations, without change.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 5:39 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

(tu)

funny or not funny-some people chose not to work others just cant find a ( good or otherwise ) job down here

i liked the clip though monogram

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Posted : December 17, 2015 6:28 pm
CruzanIron
(@cruzaniron)
Expert

Many of us have learned to never shop for food on the first day of the month. Ever.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 6:55 pm
Spartygrad95
(@Spartygrad95)
Trusted Member

I dunno.. I try to just worry about what's going on inside the walls of my house and not others..

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Posted : December 17, 2015 7:12 pm
monogram
(@monogram)
Advanced Member

(tu)

funny or not funny-some people chose not to work others just cant find a ( good or otherwise ) job down here

i liked the clip though monogram

I think your comment was the POST OF THE DAY. You win a gold star. Hilarious.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 8:53 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

Rambo: This thread is/was about why people leave... some leave because they
THINK they are coming to a place that is laid back, and they find the opposite. You go to K-Mart on a busy day and only 3 cashiers are open out of 10 stands. You decide you want/need xyz for dinner only you can't find it anywhere. You take the day off to wait for the repair person who never shows up, etc. It is a culture with a different time sense, but that isn't always comfortable.

I hope you spend some time reading the on line newspapers: http://stthomassource.com/ and http://virginislandsdailynews.com/. You will find that the territorial government is basically a welfare system, jobs for people who need money but don't really have any marketable skills. LOL. The government owns and runs the horse racing track, the grave yards, the hospitals, and most services. They don't own all the roads and they don't do trash pick up at the curb (in general). It's a very odd place to live.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 9:56 pm
Rambo
(@Rambo)
Active Member

Rambo: This thread is/was about why people leave... some leave because they
THINK they are coming to a place that is laid back, and they find the opposite. You go to K-Mart on a busy day and only 3 cashiers are open out of 10 stands. You decide you want/need xyz for dinner only you can't find it anywhere. You take the day off to wait for the repair person who never shows up, etc. It is a culture with a different time sense, but that isn't always comfortable.

I hope you spend some time reading the on line newspapers: http://stthomassource.com/ and http://virginislandsdailynews.com/. You will find that the territorial government is basically a welfare system, jobs for people who need money but don't really have any marketable skills. LOL. The government owns and runs the horse racing track, the grave yards, the hospitals, and most services. They don't own all the roads and they don't do trash pick up at the curb (in general). It's a very odd place to live.

Good tip on the newspaper... That is interesting.... Own the horse track? Hmmmm

Thanks EE

Sam

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Posted : December 17, 2015 10:15 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

For the people who are still living there but have cited many negative attributes that drive away transplants....what keeps you living on the islands?

For me, a big part of it is that I no longer fit in in the states. I don't like how people don't look at or greet one another. I don't like cookie cutter anything. I don't like keeping up with the Jones. I don't like gigantic grocery stores. It all just feels strange and overwhelming to me now.

just reading this topic for the first time. could not agree more!!...and it gets harder and harder to go back to the mainland.

Yep. I really hate to go back to the states. SO funny.... I recently went to Costa Rica. When we landed back in the states this broad on the airplane - late 50s I'm guessing - was pushing her way from the back PASSING everyone waiting to get off the plane. She got to me and I stood right in front of her and didn't let her move. Truth be told I tripped standing up and kinda fell in front of her. She flew off the handle at me and was like excuse me I would like to be next to my husband - who was 5 people in front of me and who she didn't sit next to on the plane. I decided not to argue and just said out loud - "Welcome back to the "rude of states I guess". The entire airplane busted out in cheers. I hope she was mortified for her childish and rude behavior. She exited three people ahead of me. It gets harder for me to go back every time and I get gitty like a schoolgirl every time we land back on the rock.

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Posted : December 17, 2015 11:59 pm
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