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Old 02-05-2012, 03:25 AM
 
Location: Nanjing, China
6 posts, read 32,747 times
Reputation: 21

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My wife and I are 3 1/2 years from retirement. Our total retirement income will be approximately $4,000 of which I only want to spend about half on living expenses.

We have:

No kids in school so I really don't care what the schools are like.

Both native born US Citizens and don't mind multicultural areas. We are currently teachers in China and will continue doing that until we retire.

I am a US Treasury Department licensed Enrolled Agent so I would set up a small business doing tax returns and light level accounting work.

Since our kids are all grown, we don't need a huge house. At my age I don't even want a huge house. 3 Bedrooms is fine, 2 baths. Budget $75,000 so a Manufactured home is fine. No Community Associations. No Neighbor Nazis. We had our fill of them when we lived in Arizona.

I speak Spanish as well as English (and Japanese and Mandarin).

Wife is a teacher with 25+ years experience and is NOT looking to work - at all - but may be willing to do some volunteer work.

I like salt water fishing. She likes coffee Klotches. (yes, we are both Jewish).

We are tired of being cold and want a place where "winter" is an unknown concept.

OK, convince me that either Puerto Rico or Guam is the place to retire to and where.

Last edited by Flyingifr; 02-05-2012 at 03:36 AM..
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Old 02-22-2012, 02:58 PM
 
2,982 posts, read 4,155,883 times
Reputation: 1654
Usvi hands down
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:58 PM
 
Location: New Orleans
1,477 posts, read 2,503,472 times
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What about a foreign country? Your money doesn't stretch the way you think it would in US territories. Mostly everything is shipped in on an island.
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Old 02-23-2012, 02:15 AM
 
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 17,275,631 times
Reputation: 7678
I surely wouldn't want to live in a manufactured home in the USVI - heard of Hugo? I don't know a thing about Guam, but I'd assume there are the same issues there.

aab7855 is correct - general living expenses can soar on an island. Everything is shipped in, utilities can be outrageous, and St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John have experienced an upsurge in housing prices recently. I'm not saying it can't be done on your budget, but I'm saying I wouldn't want to try it (again). I also personally would rather stay under the U.S. flag, although I realize there are a large number of retirees choosing to do it differently. We lived on St. Croix and one reason we returned stateside was that as we got older, the myriad of medical services simply were not available. Should you decide to make the move you might look into air ambulance insurance as well - and be aware of what you are buying. Another discussion for another time.

I would give you the same advice any resident or former resident of the islands would give - go and stay for at least a month, but preferably 2-3 months. Rent an apartment in a resident's home and live like you live there for 60-90 days. Glorious weather aside, look at daily chores, schedules, and challenges. Life goes on, even on an island - island time is a reality that is charming on a vacation and sometimes a hair-pulling extravaganza in real life. I know it sounds expensive to do this, and it may be - but if you have an actual apartment you can really do the grocery shopping and not eat at all those cute tourist places....find a barber, find the coffee shop, blah blah blah. You obviously have some experience at moving to another culture by virtue of living in China, so you know how it's done and most likely you will adapt.

FWIW - Spanish won't do you much good on STT, STX, or STJ.

Crazy question, but what about Florida? Housing prices have dropped in some areas and there are bargains. You don't have to live in a gated community - I feel your pain on the Nazi neighbors! Florida, or any of the Gulf states way down south...Texas? While winter isn't totally unknown, it surely is cut short in those areas.
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Old 03-06-2012, 02:55 PM
 
6,061 posts, read 14,061,033 times
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Gosh! No kids, $4k a month, and still earning some with your small tax/accounting biz - if I were you I'd retire to Hawaii. Kona coffee for your wife and all the salt water fishing you could want.
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Old 03-18-2012, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Hawai'i
1,392 posts, read 2,808,084 times
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St. Croix, USVI is something you should definitely look into. It's relatively rural in most parts of the island. I far prefer it to St. Thomas which I find to be crowded and touristy. STX does not have a huge tourist influx compared to STT.

The big oil refinery, Hovensa, is closing April 20. Housing prices have been plunging for a while, but expect people to be giving homes away at fire sale prices in the near future as they need to leave the island in order to find work. My spouse is losing his position and found a great job elsewhere...luckily for us, we rent a large home so we won't be hurt.

Also expect a glut of cars and trucks, furniture, boats, etc. for sale, you won't need to bring much with you. Supply and demand...a huge supply of things that people won't want to pay to ship off island, and a small demand as the population will decline significantly after April 20 and through the summer.

Price of shipping anything to an island anywhere will be expensive, but we've learned who will ship cheaply and who won't, and I often have things shipped with free shipping to mainland friends, who repackage into flat rate priority boxes for us.

Groceries are very expensive, but we have learned to "eat local". Electricity per kw is possibly the highest on the planet, but we've taken major steps to get that cost down as well. It's a casual lifestyle, dress to impress is not the way here.

The people are very friendly and the diving is great. The terrain is very diverse, from desert on the East end to rain forest on the West.

My spouse has been here for decades and we are only leaving because he can't make as much money if he stays as he'll be making in our new location. If you're retired, income isn't an issue.
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Old 03-18-2012, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
16,791 posts, read 44,875,635 times
Reputation: 9433
Quote:
Originally Posted by DebbyDiver View Post
St. Croix, USVI is something you should definitely look into. It's relatively rural in most parts of the island. I far prefer it to St. Thomas which I find to be crowded and touristy. STX does not have a huge tourist influx compared to STT.

The big oil refinery, Hovensa, is closing April 20. Housing prices have been plunging for a while, but expect people to be giving homes away at fire sale prices in the near future as they need to leave the island in order to find work. My spouse is losing his position and found a great job elsewhere...luckily for us, we rent a large home so we won't be hurt.

Also expect a glut of cars and trucks, furniture, boats, etc. for sale, you won't need to bring much with you. Supply and demand...a huge supply of things that people won't want to pay to ship off island, and a small demand as the population will decline significantly after April 20 and through the summer.

Price of shipping anything to an island anywhere will be expensive, but we've learned who will ship cheaply and who won't, and I often have things shipped with free shipping to mainland friends, who repackage into flat rate priority boxes for us.

Groceries are very expensive, but we have learned to "eat local". Electricity per kw is possibly the highest on the planet, but we've taken major steps to get that cost down as well. It's a casual lifestyle, dress to impress is not the way here.

The people are very friendly and the diving is great. The terrain is very diverse, from desert on the East end to rain forest on the West.

My spouse has been here for decades and we are only leaving because he can't make as much money if he stays as he'll be making in our new location. If you're retired, income isn't an issue.
This is an excellent recommendation, one I would seriously consider. I found some nice topographic maps of the virgin islands here. Outdated as far as settlements go, but great for getting a feel for the terrain.

U.S. Virgin Islands Topographic Maps - Perry-CastaƱeda Map Collection - UT Library Online
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Old 03-19-2012, 08:01 AM
 
35,317 posts, read 46,732,863 times
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Dont like Florida? seems lots of people retire there.
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Old 03-21-2012, 12:39 PM
 
25,058 posts, read 25,538,659 times
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Would recommend to retire in Florida, unless you don't mind paying one of the highest utility rates in the nation. Unless you use the A/C during off-peak hours, your electricity bill will skyrocket. Electric rate during peak time is at least 25 cents per kWh in the San Juan area, compared to about the 8-10 cent rate in Florida and most of the US. I also assume that health care would become an issue at some point, if it isn't already. Healthcare is very cheap in Puerto Rico, but leaves something to be desired compared to the mainland.
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:05 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 64,753,572 times
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I'm with SamIAm and wholeheartedly disagree with St Croix (or the US Virgin Islands in general) as a retirement option. The trend here is for both locals and longtime residents to leave upon retirement! If the previous poster's assessment of PR's "at least 25 cents/kWh" electricity rates got you thinking, how does the USVI's 48 cents/kWh sound? The very high COL along with limited medical facilities unsuited for the often emergent care needed by seniors is a major negative for retirees. The majority of seniors who leave here seem to go predominantly to Florida and North Carolina where their money goes way further than here.

Your $75,000 home budget is a third of what's realistic here for even a simple property and $2K in "living expenses" will go nowhere.

All the best in finding the right place!
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