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Old 01-08-2008, 10:36 AM
 
2 posts, read 4,987 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello All,

I need some information on Puerto Rico please. My best friend recently got a job offer to work for Ericsson in Puerto Rico with descent salary (40k-50k). He is an US immigrant living is California and none of us are sure what the implications are if he takes the job. Can someone who has lived and worked there help us here a little bit? I am posting some questions below…
  • What kind of living expense is he looking into when compared to mainland states? Please provide some example like gas price, grocery price etc.
  • Any idea how this affects his becoming US citizen down the road?
  • His work will provide accommodation but if he needs to rent can you provide some ballpark figures please?
Any other suggestions will be highly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

nmkhan
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Old 01-09-2008, 12:47 PM
 
Location: Buffalo NY
41 posts, read 186,866 times
Reputation: 32
Hi I actually reside in Puerto Rico and yes with a 40 k or 50 k you can find a decent place to live down here. Also the gas prize is about 75cents a liter right now but that varies from week to week due to the high prize of the crude barrel. Food is fairly prized compared to other states. To give you an example a Mc Donalds combo comes out into a 4.00 dollars compared to 6.00 or 7.00 dollars other place. Movies for 6.00 dollars a ticket and so forth. You can pm if you like for other details or post your concern and i will respond. Actually i am looking to move some place else after 35 yrs residing here because utilities have gone up 100% water, electricity, taxes, plus now we pay 7% of every dollar as a tax which did not exist before. good luck!
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Old 01-12-2008, 12:08 PM
 
582 posts, read 1,854,309 times
Reputation: 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by nmkhan View Post
Hello All,

I need some information on Puerto Rico please. My best friend recently got a job offer to work for Ericsson in Puerto Rico with descent salary (40k-50k). He is an US immigrant living is California and none of us are sure what the implications are if he takes the job. Can someone who has lived and worked there help us here a little bit? I am posting some questions below…
  • What kind of living expense is he looking into when compared to mainland states? Please provide some example like gas price, grocery price etc.
  • Any idea how this affects his becoming US citizen down the road?
  • His work will provide accommodation but if he needs to rent can you provide some ballpark figures please?
Any other suggestions will be highly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

nmkhan
40 - 50k you will live like a king.when i was younger i worked at a hotel in PR and made about 15k a year and never had any problems with expenses, of course my wife worked also.but combined we made about 35k.we also had 2 little ones and i could say those we're the best times of my life we always the necessary and a little more.
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Old 01-14-2008, 09:46 AM
 
59 posts, read 344,037 times
Reputation: 55
Just a suggestion but you might get more responses if you changed the title of your post to something more descriptive - for example, Request cost-of-living info for Puerto Rico. You should also mention the name of the city he will be living in within your post since obviously there would be a noticeable difference between San Juan versus some smaller city elsewhere.
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Old 01-16-2008, 09:15 AM
 
1,772 posts, read 4,072,697 times
Reputation: 4740
Not to rain on what your friend may think is vacation for the rest of his life, but what mythspell said. There is a big difference between living in the San Juan metro area and living on the rest of the island. There is just no comparison. You could be misled by old statistics suggesting the median home price in PR in 2000 was 75K. If you only look at the San Juan metro area TODAY your median price goes way up. No US census data is available past 2004 but I'd say 250K. That's not the kind of market a person earning 50K a year can live like a king in. 150K homes down there are de facto section 8 housing, and as a non-native, good luck moving to these neighborhoods. San Juan metro area is a block to block affair, you better know where you're moving, although I think you could figure it out really quick. You can find rentals but you won't find the quality of apartments you find up in the states. See, you have to prepare to shift your working reality. Construction is mainly concrete, properties are dated, '60s-'80s, and newer construction is expensive for the square feet. There are not many apt complexes as we know them up here, most rentals are single unit homes, so it gets pricey since the nice ones are 250K+, which you'd always be better off owning than renting anyways.

I make 45K in Louisiana and my dollar goes way farther here than back in the island. I pay about $60 bucks electric in an apartment here, maybe $80-120 if I owned a 3bed/2bath home. My parents pay $250-$300+ a MONTH in electric on a good day, they have seen $400+ one summer month. "Pillos" are rampant. That's the makeshift lock people put on the electric meters so the wheel doesn't turn and they can curb the bill at the end of the month. This is on bona fide "middle class" neighorhoods mind you. I pay $10 for water. They pay $100+. Cable and internet is comparable @ $100ish. I'd say cost of living is comparable to those living in Hawaii. Also the tax quetion plays a part. You pay more to the PR coffers than state and federal combined here in the CONUS. I pay about $0.20 on the dollar, down there you pay .27-.33 on the dollar.. OUCH. Sales tax was incorporated recently, but that makes it about comparable to the states at 7%. Of course, it hurts when you were already paying 33 cents on the dollar on income tax. So you're effectively making 10K gross less if you normalize to CONUS tax and cost of living for a 40-50K gross salary. As to gas, comparable at 2.85-3.00 week to week. I took my Indiana born and raised fiancé down to PR for springbreak one summer and she about flipped when she saw 0.75 at the gas station. Then I told her to look again...oh liters..yea... lol

Look, the majority of college graduates in PR under the age of 30 live at home with the parents. Culturally it is commonplace and not as shocking as it would be up here, but believe me all my ex-classmates are not doing it because the like to, they don't have a choice, the housing market is steep for people making under 75K and rentals down there are just not worth the downgrade when living at home is somewhat socially acceptable. This is a big paradigm shift for people who are not natives, so I would tell ericsson to find me a position in the CONUS. There is no reason one should take a position from a domestic company that takes you to PR for less than 6 figures when one can come out ahead economically in any other state without having to re-culturalize.

Good luck, I'd suggest yout friend visits PR before commiting, but me personally, having the benefit of being from there, would not advise anybody who did not grow up there to move down for a job that doesn't pay 80K or above...otherwise you won't beat cost of living for the same job in the CONUS, with the exception of certain cities and some West coast locations. I did some googling and other salary websites quote pay differential for san juan as 20% less for the same job versus average national salary on the CONUS, I buy that as a ballpark.
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Old 01-17-2008, 05:01 PM
 
2 posts, read 4,987 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you all for all your kind help and suggestions. My friend has landed and went to first day of work. Everything turned out great. He got condo, car, gas, food all paid for by the company, so I think he will do fine.

Just one question, is there a good place where he can go and buy a new laptop (i.e: bestbuy?). Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks again all for your suggestions.

Noor
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Old 01-18-2008, 10:07 AM
 
582 posts, read 1,854,309 times
Reputation: 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by hindsight2020 View Post
Not to rain on what your friend may think is vacation for the rest of his life, but what mythspell said. There is a big difference between living in the San Juan metro area and living on the rest of the island. There is just no comparison. You could be misled by old statistics suggesting the median home price in PR in 2000 was 75K. If you only look at the San Juan metro area TODAY your median price goes way up. No US census data is available past 2004 but I'd say 250K. That's not the kind of market a person earning 50K a year can live like a king in. 150K homes down there are de facto section 8 housing, and as a non-native, good luck moving to these neighborhoods. San Juan metro area is a block to block affair, you better know where you're moving, although I think you could figure it out really quick. You can find rentals but you won't find the quality of apartments you find up in the states. See, you have to prepare to shift your working reality. Construction is mainly concrete, properties are dated, '60s-'80s, and newer construction is expensive for the square feet. There are not many apt complexes as we know them up here, most rentals are single unit homes, so it gets pricey since the nice ones are 250K+, which you'd always be better off owning than renting anyways.

I make 45K in Louisiana and my dollar goes way farther here than back in the island. I pay about $60 bucks electric in an apartment here, maybe $80-120 if I owned a 3bed/2bath home. My parents pay $250-$300+ a MONTH in electric on a good day, they have seen $400+ one summer month. "Pillos" are rampant. That's the makeshift lock people put on the electric meters so the wheel doesn't turn and they can curb the bill at the end of the month. This is on bona fide "middle class" neighorhoods mind you. I pay $10 for water. They pay $100+. Cable and internet is comparable @ $100ish. I'd say cost of living is comparable to those living in Hawaii. Also the tax quetion plays a part. You pay more to the PR coffers than state and federal combined here in the CONUS. I pay about $0.20 on the dollar, down there you pay .27-.33 on the dollar.. OUCH. Sales tax was incorporated recently, but that makes it about comparable to the states at 7%. Of course, it hurts when you were already paying 33 cents on the dollar on income tax. So you're effectively making 10K gross less if you normalize to CONUS tax and cost of living for a 40-50K gross salary. As to gas, comparable at 2.85-3.00 week to week. I took my Indiana born and raised fiancé down to PR for springbreak one summer and she about flipped when she saw 0.75 at the gas station. Then I told her to look again...oh liters..yea... lol

Look, the majority of college graduates in PR under the age of 30 live at home with the parents. Culturally it is commonplace and not as shocking as it would be up here, but believe me all my ex-classmates are not doing it because the like to, they don't have a choice, the housing market is steep for people making under 75K and rentals down there are just not worth the downgrade when living at home is somewhat socially acceptable. This is a big paradigm shift for people who are not natives, so I would tell ericsson to find me a position in the CONUS. There is no reason one should take a position from a domestic company that takes you to PR for less than 6 figures when one can come out ahead economically in any other state without having to re-culturalize.

Good luck, I'd suggest yout friend visits PR before commiting, but me personally, having the benefit of being from there, would not advise anybody who did not grow up there to move down for a job that doesn't pay 80K or above...otherwise you won't beat cost of living for the same job in the CONUS, with the exception of certain cities and some West coast locations. I did some googling and other salary websites quote pay differential for san juan as 20% less for the same job versus average national salary on the CONUS, I buy that as a ballpark.
you don't need 250k to live in a nice area.my in laws own a home that's worth about 160k and it 's a beautiful home in a good area.50k is plenty of money in p.r. i make 65k in mass the most expensive place in the u.s and live very well.you don't need 80k in p.r not even a doctor makes that kind of money down there.
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Old 01-21-2008, 01:55 PM
 
1,772 posts, read 4,072,697 times
Reputation: 4740
Well, we agree to disagree. A couple of points. A simple google search of 'Puerto Rico real estate' yields several MLS sites and by just scanning the first 10 pages you can easily see the price patterns. Anything worthwhile within 15 miles radially from Santurce (business core of San Juan) you're looking at 230K+. Anything decent under that is strictly condos, a whole different ball game. Some condos may be nice, but you're more likely to have to interact with the riff raff, parking is a nightmare, maintenance fees the size of my rent up here etc etc. Anything decent under 200K that's single unit homes is in the country. You know, Aguadilla, Moca, San German, Juncos, Humacao, Las Piedras, Morovis and 50 more...anything that's NOT core San Juan, Bayamon, Guaynabo, Carolina, Caguas, Trujillo Alto and Dorado, maybe more nowadays. The readers have to also understand that the once affordable older neighborhoods in the San Juan MSA are open entrance types. This is a problem for areas that have been roughed up by sprawl from the "caseríos" (the projects) where spillover crime is commonplace in spite of said neighborhood having been "nice" once. Construction is moving toward gated communities down there and most of the new construction is away from San Juan, which adds to the sick commute (2+ hours from places like Caguas!).

Doctors do indeed make over six figures routinely in PR, the idea that 80K is statistical outlier income in the medical profession in PR is ludicrous. Yes 40% of the population does not have high school education completed and only 18% has a college education completed (worst rank and 6th worst respectively if PR was a state), and median household income is 1/3 the national US income, but even on a place like this doctors do make six figures. If I were to transpose my Louisiana income and settle in San Juan I'd be encountered with (see my previous post for numbers) a 300% increase in electric bill, a 1000% increase in water, a 10% increase in income tax minimum, increase in auto insurance accordingly and a 100K increase in median house price in the metro area. I'd be living at home, period. More on that later.


The 50K in PR you speak about may be barely enough for a single professional who is not head of household and rents; for a household, FORGET IT. My cousin is 25 y.o. just passed the bar down there and she just started working as a clerk for an apellate court judge. That job is competitive and considered above average for lawyers in PR starting out without being outright connected with a corporate firm. Her salary, you guessed it, 50K. She has a new car she makes payments on and lives at home. Yep, at home. She cannot absorb housing costs down there by herself on 50K, and can only afford to get into condos or rent. My parents live in Rio Piedras, bought the property for 90K 17 years ago in one of the aforementioned older open entry neighborhoods. As I have mentioned before on the board, I never rode my bike on the street growing up, there were two attempts to steal the family car, one police chase that ended in the front of the house, and plenty of crackheads and riff raff stroll past sundown just because it's all one open neighborhood. This is by far a "decent" neighborhood in metro San Juan/Rio Piedras. I'm a grown-@ss man and my mother still makes me lock the iron works on the doors of the house (commonplace in PR construction by the way) when I go visit. This property is valued today at 257K, so don't suggest 50K is a king's ransom in PR or that 160K is plenty of property to live a comparably CONUS comfortable lifestyle. Many 160K properties in any of the above mentioned municipalities that constitute the San Juan MSA are routinely placed on section 8 (called "Plan ocho" down there). Further proof is the original poster. What did ericcson do? Yep, housing (condo what a coincidence), transportation and gas all paid for..why? Because they know 40K is not enough down there for somebody who has done their homework to leave the CONUS and break even. I don't have a dog in this fight but it just makes me chuckle the suggestion that PR is this really cheap place to live where an entry level salary in the CONUS affords you this awesome lifestyle. Listen, life in PR is considerably rougher than up here and people need to become informed of what the reality of living is down there once you drive past the airport and EL Yunque.
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Old 01-22-2008, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Buffalo NY
41 posts, read 186,866 times
Reputation: 32
Hey have to give you a thumbs up on that 2020 you are telling the truth and if anybody doubts that just give me a pm because i actually live in this island and have done for the past 35 yrs. But the reality is things are getting rough down here and I am looking to move foward even though i love the island. This alone won't bring food to the plate with electric bill increase 100% and water 200% this does not look good at all and crime just this weekend about 3 or 4 murders but thats the norm down here. If anyone needs info just let me know I will gladly give you the facts.
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Old 01-30-2008, 08:28 AM
 
582 posts, read 1,854,309 times
Reputation: 264
Quote:
Originally Posted by hindsight2020 View Post
Well, we agree to disagree. A couple of points. A simple google search of 'Puerto Rico real estate' yields several MLS sites and by just scanning the first 10 pages you can easily see the price patterns. Anything worthwhile within 15 miles radially from Santurce (business core of San Juan) you're looking at 230K+. Anything decent under that is strictly condos, a whole different ball game. Some condos may be nice, but you're more likely to have to interact with the riff raff, parking is a nightmare, maintenance fees the size of my rent up here etc etc. Anything decent under 200K that's single unit homes is in the country. You know, Aguadilla, Moca, San German, Juncos, Humacao, Las Piedras, Morovis and 50 more...anything that's NOT core San Juan, Bayamon, Guaynabo, Carolina, Caguas, Trujillo Alto and Dorado, maybe more nowadays. The readers have to also understand that the once affordable older neighborhoods in the San Juan MSA are open entrance types. This is a problem for areas that have been roughed up by sprawl from the "caseríos" (the projects) where spillover crime is commonplace in spite of said neighborhood having been "nice" once. Construction is moving toward gated communities down there and most of the new construction is away from San Juan, which adds to the sick commute (2+ hours from places like Caguas!).

Doctors do indeed make over six figures routinely in PR, the idea that 80K is statistical outlier income in the medical profession in PR is ludicrous. Yes 40% of the population does not have high school education completed and only 18% has a college education completed (worst rank and 6th worst respectively if PR was a state), and median household income is 1/3 the national US income, but even on a place like this doctors do make six figures. If I were to transpose my Louisiana income and settle in San Juan I'd be encountered with (see my previous post for numbers) a 300% increase in electric bill, a 1000% increase in water, a 10% increase in income tax minimum, increase in auto insurance accordingly and a 100K increase in median house price in the metro area. I'd be living at home, period. More on that later.


The 50K in PR you speak about may be barely enough for a single professional who is not head of household and rents; for a household, FORGET IT. My cousin is 25 y.o. just passed the bar down there and she just started working as a clerk for an apellate court judge. That job is competitive and considered above average for lawyers in PR starting out without being outright connected with a corporate firm. Her salary, you guessed it, 50K. She has a new car she makes payments on and lives at home. Yep, at home. She cannot absorb housing costs down there by herself on 50K, and can only afford to get into condos or rent. My parents live in Rio Piedras, bought the property for 90K 17 years ago in one of the aforementioned older open entry neighborhoods. As I have mentioned before on the board, I never rode my bike on the street growing up, there were two attempts to steal the family car, one police chase that ended in the front of the house, and plenty of crackheads and riff raff stroll past sundown just because it's all one open neighborhood. This is by far a "decent" neighborhood in metro San Juan/Rio Piedras. I'm a grown-@ss man and my mother still makes me lock the iron works on the doors of the house (commonplace in PR construction by the way) when I go visit. This property is valued today at 257K, so don't suggest 50K is a king's ransom in PR or that 160K is plenty of property to live a comparably CONUS comfortable lifestyle. Many 160K properties in any of the above mentioned municipalities that constitute the San Juan MSA are routinely placed on section 8 (called "Plan ocho" down there). Further proof is the original poster. What did ericcson do? Yep, housing (condo what a coincidence), transportation and gas all paid for..why? Because they know 40K is not enough down there for somebody who has done their homework to leave the CONUS and break even. I don't have a dog in this fight but it just makes me chuckle the suggestion that PR is this really cheap place to live where an entry level salary in the CONUS affords you this awesome lifestyle. Listen, life in PR is considerably rougher than up here and people need to become informed of what the reality of living is down there once you drive past the airport and EL Yunque.
if someone is still living at home and making 50k they really need to get a life thats about a 1000 dollars a week. i'm sure one weeks pay is enough to pay a mortgage.mortgages down there aren't 1500 or 2000 a month you know.unless you buy a 250k home and i doubt a single person with no wife or kids needs to be in such a home.a mtg around 900 to a 1000 should be paid comfortably with a 1000 a week.
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