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Yet another, moving thread

 
stevenahas
(@stevenahas)
New Member

Hey Everyone,

First and foremost, thank you to everyone for contributing to this site. It really inspired the confidence my wife and I needed to make this move happen. A little about ourselves: We're two working professionals from California (Los Angeles area). We absolutely hate the congestion and hectic madness in this city. We live about 20 mins from Malibu and we frequent the beach just about every weekend. I am 33 years old and my wife is 27. We are an interracial couple and are very fun loving, but we also work very hard to support ourselves. We were recently married (last year), and we want to be in a place that we love and can see our kids growing up the type of life we wish we had.

My questions are mostly like everyone elses. I've read through a ton of the discussions and I have a good idea about the costs of everything and the availability for work. Our expected move date is mid October or early November. We currently work for a national bank and have done so for the better part of a decade. I have seen the VIDOL site and did notice that there are some openings for candidates that fit our skill set but to be honest, when we touch down, I will take any type of work possible. I have no aversion to being a server or bartender, a busser or anything at all for that matter. I just want to make sure we don't get anywhere close to depleting our savings and moving funds. So if anyone here knows of any job opportunities, please let me know :).

Our goal is to really plant our roots in St. Thomas.

I'd also like to get the experience of a recent transplant, if possible.

How was your move?

How long did it ACTUALLY take you to find work after touching down?

Did you get any employers that were turned off by the fact that you were new to the island?

Were you able to find housing without confirmed employment?

Those are my real major concerns and questions. Depending on what happens in the next 2 months; we will either have 4 months of living costs or close to 7-8 months living costs. As long as we can find jobs within 2 months, I will feel comfortable in our financial position.

Any advice/suggestion/comment will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you all in advance and we can't wait to be a part of your amazing community.

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Topic starter Posted : August 7, 2015 8:46 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

i live on stx. when i moved here i did not work for a couple of months. i was called for a job, left that one and a day later i got another call for a different job. left that after a year and was out of work for a year, got a job that lasted 3 left that and now have a job i love that i have been at for over 5 years

that gives you a bit of an idea on stx what i went through-not saying this is typical

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Posted : August 7, 2015 11:29 pm
Afriend
(@afriend)
Trusted Member

Conventional wisdom says the larger your nest egg the easier it will be to make your transition to island life. While everybody's experience is different most contributors here will advise you to have about 6 months living expenses saved up BEFORE you make the move. You've indicated your nest egg could cover between 4 to 8 months of your living expenses so financially your "in the ballpark". Just keep in mind that money disappears quickly in the Caribbean.

Now, finding a job in the VI's is not much different than finding a job back on the mainland. How long it takes you to find adequate employment depends on your skill set, how each potential employer views your employability, how well you handle yourself during the interview and availability of jobs in your chosen field. Some people find jobs in a few days, others take weeks and still others take months. Some people find jobs quickly but the jobs themselves turn out to be less than desirable (poor work environment, difficult bosses, bad hours, low pay, etc.) There's no "pat" answer to that question.

Many employers are use to hiring new transplants - that pretty common down here.

Good luck with your planned move.

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Posted : August 8, 2015 12:29 am
kakalee
(@kakalee)
Advanced Member

The time it took to find work was eight months & that was not traditional employment. At about 7 months my husband announced his skills on craigslist & individuals who had big issues with their houses started contacting him. For a time that made him seriously overworked, but finally he has been able to cut down from a 6 0r 7 day work week to a 4 day one. Yes, we could rent a condo without guaranteed employment. One we actually like? NOPE. One bit of luck in your favor is that being used to the high prices in Malibu, you may have a bit less shock about prices here.

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Posted : August 9, 2015 1:28 pm
stevenahas
(@stevenahas)
New Member

Thank you all for the replies and sorry for the delayed response. Great information here! We definitely want to make sure we come out there with as much reserves as possible but planning this move has really shown me how expensive things can get in a hurry. My hope is to get to work right away, I just wasn't sure if that was feasible.

As far as the cost of living, I don't think it will be very much of a shock at all. My wife and I pay about $2,200 total housing costs (including utilities and cable + internet). We're fine with downsizing and have seen housing at about half of what we're paying now. We don't have kids yet, but we do have 2 small pups (about 15lbs each) so I'm expecting a bit of a challenge in finding a place.

Work is my biggest concern. I basically just want to hit the ground running- which I'm sure everyone wants in our position.

Any tips or hints anyone can provide to help better my chances of finding immediate employment??

Thank you all again for your input.

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Topic starter Posted : August 12, 2015 4:22 pm
speee1dy
(@speee1dy)
Expert

in regards to the dogs-make sure the airline you choose to use will ship your animals cargo-if they can not be with you as a carry on, can be shipped on that airline and whatever time of year you plan on . also you will need a record of shots updated to within 10 days of move.

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Posted : August 12, 2015 4:39 pm
ms411
(@ms411)
Expert

Other than banking, what other skills do you have? If you have good water sports skills that expands your options.

My suggestion is to have several functional resumes that focus on different skills and job experience. You can distribute them to compatible businesses.

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Posted : August 12, 2015 11:44 pm
mtdoramike
(@mtdoramike)
Trusted Member

First off, have you ever been to the Islands or done a premove visit? Secondly, thank you for the back ground info, but I hope I will be alive long enough that no one will have to mention "Interracial marriage" to explain their situation because it will not be noticed. Lastly, coming from California, you shouldn't have any issues as far as expense goes. I figure the cost of living is about equal.

I always like to point out to couples looking to move to the tropics that problems will not disappear here, they magnify and most of the couples that I have known over the years come to the Islands together, but leave separately. Temptations are many, so you will need a strong constitution to make it.

With that being said, I hope you enjoy your new adventure.

mike

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Posted : August 13, 2015 10:53 am
STXBob
(@STXBob)
Trusted Member

most of the couples that I have known over the years come to the Islands together, but leave separately.

Your friends' mileage may vary. Of the many couples we know who moved here together, over 90% are still together. We've been here 10 years, and most of our friends are middle-aged, if that matters.

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Posted : August 13, 2015 5:22 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

Hey Everyone,

My questions are mostly like everyone elses. I've read through a ton of the discussions and I have a good idea about the costs of everything and the availability for work. Our expected move date is mid October or early November. We currently work for a national bank and have done so for the better part of a decade. I have seen the VIDOL site and did notice that there are some openings for candidates that fit our skill set but to be honest, when we touch down, I will take any type of work possible. I have no aversion to being a server or bartender, a busser or anything at all for that matter. I just want to make sure we don't get anywhere close to depleting our savings and moving funds. So if anyone here knows of any job opportunities, please let me know :).

Our goal is to really plant our roots in St. Thomas.
>> You'll love it. The honeymoon stage is the BEST ever!!

I'd also like to get the experience of a recent transplant, if possible.
>> 3 years now - recent enough?

How was your move?
>> Amazing but I did a PMV and had a 4 inch binder with facts and figures... and 10K saved to spend. Im a nature nut and an ocean nerd to the core. I fit right in with no makeup and tank tops - I don't own a skirt.

How long did it ACTUALLY take you to find work after touching down?
>>Two months. Found part time work for a dive shop and worked from home doing websites. You can find a serving job easily.

Did you get any employers that were turned off by the fact that you were new to the island?
>>No. But they seem to assume your temporary until you prove you're not. 2 years.

Were you able to find housing without confirmed employment?
>>NA - my fiancé had a job right away so cant help here.

Those are my real major concerns and questions. Depending on what happens in the next 2 months; we will either have 4 months of living costs or close to 7-8 months living costs. As long as we can find jobs within 2 months, I will feel comfortable in our financial position.
>> Bring 10K if you dont have kids. You'll use it all in three months... if you rent furnished then maybe it'll last 6. You'll need TWO cars. Don't try to do it on one - you'll be miserable.
Cost of living in STT to start = $13,000. You'll need first last and security at approx $1500. maybe you find a 1 bedroom for $1000 ish. Furnished even better. Likely you'll be in the $1500 range unless you're really ok with a shoebox - in that case you can go way cheaper. You'll need two cars = provided you can find island rides at approx $3500. 2k for started stuff - like filling the fridge turning on WAPA and internet. More if you need furniture. Adds up quick.

Any advice/suggestion/comment will be greatly appreciated.
>> Have fun - take three weeks off when you get here and go to the beaches. Just chill. This isn't about moving its about living... and don't forget... bring 10K LOL.. I know I said that twice but it REALLY helps. You can totally do it on less or none BUT you want be having FUN and not worrying about money. 10k in the grand scheme of things is nothing really. Looking back on your life and saying I lived in a place people only vacation.... priceless. (end visa commercial).

Thank you all in advance and we can't wait to be a part of your amazing community.

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Posted : August 14, 2015 1:26 am
Spartygrad95
(@Spartygrad95)
Trusted Member

Those are my real major concerns and questions. Depending on what happens in the next 2 months; we will either have 4 months of living costs or close to 7-8 months living costs. As long as we can find jobs within 2 months, I will feel comfortable in our financial position.
>> Bring 10K if you dont have kids. You'll use it all in three months... if you rent furnished then maybe it'll last 6. You'll need TWO cars. Don't try to do it on one - you'll be miserable.
Cost of living in STT to start = $13,000. You'll need first last and security at approx $1500. maybe you find a 1 bedroom for $1000 ish. Furnished even better. Likely you'll be in the $1500 range unless you're really ok with a shoebox - in that case you can go way cheaper. You'll need two cars = provided you can find island rides at approx $3500. 2k for started stuff - like filling the fridge turning on WAPA and internet. More if you need furniture. Adds up quick.

I'm either really lucky or a wizard because I brought a wife and baby with me with far less than that. Was able to buy a car. Find a rental. Buy furniture and housewares. I also must be the luckiest person at finding rentals too. We are moving into a one bedroom, furnished, A/C, wapa, water, cable, Internet, washer dryer in Peterborg for $1000. No last required. Our previous place was a stand alone cottage in Lerkenlund with wapa and water for $775. They are both around 600sq ft. Not giant, but not a shoebox either. It is a good idea still to have a large buffer, but you may not need it... We didn't.

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Posted : August 14, 2015 2:10 am
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

Peterborg for $1000? - yes you are a wizard. And as I mentioned you can do it for less. I chose not to work right away and enjoy getting to know the island and buy new things. Personally I BELIEVE thats why I assimilated so well to island life. It just made it all easier and more fun. I also wanted new furniture once I started looking at "furnished places" - all the "furnished" rentals looked really shitty. I was shocked to see what passes as a "couch". Dog marks and mystery stains? NO THANKS. I have an irrational fear of bed bugs so I prefer unfurnished. In STT that was easy to find in STX most seem furnished but we found a cool little spot thats unfurnished. Im kinda picky that way I guess. I also want a VIEW. I mean a GOOD view. I wanted to be able to see VG on a clear day... and I could from both my STT rentals. Nothing like down island views with morning coffee working on the patio. Miss that view 🙁 I also need a 2 bed two bath... two bath is non negotiable lol. No kids but we have a lots of guests and big family so always someone staying with us. I also feel that one bathroom kills the magic for couples LOL. Im old fashioned like that. As far as he knows I don't use the bathroom. 🙂 HAHA. Most rentals on northside are $1500ish giver take $200 either way. Your peterborg is lucky. I'd be interested to see pics of the $750 place. It all depends on what THEY can live with a and without. Me - I need my views, spare rooms, and up high. I am not high maintenance but I work from home so I need it to be my happy place. Im assuming you were on Magens side of Peterborg? What was your WAPA bill. did you have AC?

You likely spent more than you think to move... let say $3k for the rental (first last and security) how much was the car? $2 at least? Thats 5k. Then to set up all your services $500? Then that first fridge stock.... with a kid I can only imagine $500? Thats 6k.. not that you cant add 🙂 So 10K isn't that far off... add two months rent in case they cant find work and you're getting closer to that 10k. Toss in two oh s*hit one way tickets back in case all hell breaks loose too.

Somehow I make less than 20K a year and afford to travel to Africa, Paris, Costa Rica in a few months and Thailand in December - not to mention all down island. Sometimes I have no clue how I do it. I am GOOOOOOOD at budgeting and paying attention to the small stuff. Hell I've spent nearly 7K just moving from STT to STX BUT the man wanted a king temperpedic bed and some nicer not home made furniture items. Beds and rugs - I will never understand why they're so expensive.

Sorry for so many edits eyes are bugging out and fingers wont work right.

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Posted : August 14, 2015 3:37 am
Spartygrad95
(@Spartygrad95)
Trusted Member

1500 for rental.
4000 car
1000 furniture
Just cable to turn on.
I did move here with a job already and one month of rent paid so I know my situation is different than most.

We are in Lerkenlund now. Great view of Magen's. We do not pay Wapa or water. It is $775. The place in Peterborg we are moving to we aren't paying wapa either and it faces Magen's and has a/c. I'm so glad we didn't get 2 bedroom right away. We had so many family and friends saying they were coming to visit and in first year we had 1 visitor. Ha. Now visitors can stay at a hotel/condo etc. we know eventually we will need a 2 bedroom with a little boy. We want to milk out paying significantly less as long as possible. Mom can be stay at home mom for now which is most important thing for us.

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Posted : August 14, 2015 8:20 am
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