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U.S. Territories Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, etc.
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:10 PM
Location: Oriental, NC
917 posts, read 2,123,485 times
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Is $1,600 a month (US) enough to live on in a decent area of PR? To rent a small, 2 bedroom place, pay for utilities, food and cell phones and have a little left for entertainment? Again,am not talking about anything fancy. Just clean in a safe area. Does anyone know if this is do-able or wishful thinking? Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-18-2008, 06:57 AM
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
24,671 posts, read 60,628,390 times
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Although I'm not in PR I would venture to guess not but it would also depend on where you are thinking of living as PR is a large territory. Have you spent any time there? My best advice to you (and I give the same advice to anyone thinking of seriously relocating anywhere) is to make a pre-move visit of at least several weeks to an area to which your research has led you. Stay somewhere simple (not a resort) and absorb the daily life and the costs involved to at least get a feel about whether or not such a move would really suit you.

The Caribbean economy doesn't look good where the next year or more is concerned as its economy is so strongly supported by tourism which of course is on a downward spiral because of the sad state of the global economy.

Again, I could be wrong but I really don't think $1600/month will cut it. Interestingly, many of my friends who have recently left my part of the Caribbean have relocated to your home state of NC where their $$s go WAY further than here and where they are settling in most happily with a disposable income far greater than they envisioned. Good luck with your search. Cheers!
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Old 11-18-2008, 05:56 PM
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In the metro area, not only no but hell no you can;t retire on 1600/mo. Asking how much it would cost to retire in PR is like asking how much it will cost to retire in Hawaii. Yes, cost of living is THAT out of control.

To give you some example, to rent my parent's upstairs, centrally located around UPR (University of Puerto Rico) for a so-so OLD neighborhood in a structure constructed in 1954 and just moderately updated it'll cost ya 800/mo. Utilities will eat you alive in the summer, surprisingly WATER will be a substantial portion of that cost. So that's around 400/mo. So that leaves ya with 400/mo for gas, food, entertainment, health care supplement....forget it. 1600/mo net in PR is college student, who lives at home mind you, budget. Like the previous poster alluded to, the SE CONUS or the Midwest offers a more economically solvent alternative to retirement on that income. You can always visit...good luck.
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Old 11-18-2008, 10:04 PM
Location: Boston
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Yes, the cost of actual goods there isn't bad at all. However, the rent and utilities are very high compared to many places. You pay a large amount for a small place. That will not leave much at all for the costs of traveling around and just food even.
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Old 11-19-2008, 08:10 PM
Location: Puerto Rico
177 posts, read 882,957 times
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I would do the research carefully. I am currently in the process of moving and have been searching the web (ex. craigslist) for a year or so. By doing so I got a good feeling what an average rent is and which ares offer best price for safety and accessibility, also I made many contacts which helped me put things in perspective. There are few important things that I have learned. First is that current economy caused a significant slowdown in the renting industry, so it is a good time to go and force a lease that is year or two long at a good price for you. Second, since PR is highly dependent on the foreign oil you should be careful about your enegry bill. However, if you choose a location such as noth shore or mountains, then you can reduce the electic use. Clearly there are tradeoffs that you must consider. Anyways, you asked a good question and that is the key first step.
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Old 11-20-2008, 01:27 AM
Location: rain city
2,958 posts, read 11,560,764 times
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Keep this thread moving......

I too have toyed with the idea of Puerto Rico since no visa or residency permits are required for Americans. No I haven't been there but dear god....it has to be better than retiring to Nowhere Arkansas because it's cheap. I didn't work all my life to spend my last golden years stuck in Appalachia because of its *affordability*

Tell us more about Puerto Rico, both sides. Good things and bad things.
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Old 11-20-2008, 12:15 PM
1,772 posts, read 4,072,971 times
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Well, the OP asked the question in the context of 1600/mo, which in the metro area is not a realistic number to comfortably retire on. It has nothing to do to what entitlement you feel working all your life gives you, if that yieled 1600/mo, guess what, you're short.

As you mentioned, the convenience of being a US territory is a plus for mainland relocators. Not having the need to deal with school issues is another plus for retirees. The climate is your standard caribbean maritime weather, so that's another plus for a potential retiree. Some food items are somewhat cheaper than in the mainland. Being retired from the mainland you don't have to pay island taxes, which is huge. So those are the pros in my opinion.

Now, cost of living is expensive, that's a negative if money is an object, particularly for the fixed income crowd. Infrastructure is poor, roads are of poor quality, traffic is a perma-grid lock, crime is widespread and makes most metro areas unsafe at night for locals, let alone transplants who stick out like a sore thumb. Housing is expensive and can be a downgrade if you're accustomed to mainland construction and architechture. In essence, many mainlanders see the all-cement construction of the island and think "flintstone houses". Rents are likewise expensive. Culture is not English-friendly, meaning they understand english but don't embrace it. So if you are to fully integrate to the local culture (a shock in itself) you must be willing and able to absorb spanish. This may or may not be an opportunity cost you're prepared to pay as a retiree. Transportation in and out of a tourist destination like PR means that those who travel there are stuck with high ticket prices almost always. Its sucks to go home paying full price with the loads of tourists who aren't going home but rather getting on a boat. Those are the main negatives as I would see it from the perspective of a retiree.

In the end, many of the things that make Puerto Rico a horrendous choice for a young working family can be transparent to a retiree with an unlimited retirement budget. Honestly, as clicheish as it sounds Florida would be a cheaper alternative at the end of the day to get all the pluses you would get out of living in Puerto Rico, while keeping ready access to the comforts of the mainland, without having to resort to retiring in Appalachia as some dramatically put it. And honestly, the Bahamas is not that unfriendly of a destination to do trade with as a retiree (albeit not as beautiful as coastal or mountain PR), it's closer to the mainland and fully english-established. good luck.
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Old 11-21-2008, 07:21 AM
Location: Rockport Texas from El Paso
2,601 posts, read 7,684,378 times
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I was there earlier in the year and for the most part disappointed. The beach was ok, I wasn't a crime victim but it was crowded lots of traffic and not especially friendly -although I do speak Spanish. I've been to Costa Rica 3 times and that's ok but its gotten expensive. Venezuela is really pretty and the people are nice. Yes they've elected a fruitcake for President but what do you think those other countries say about us the past 8 years?

There are parts of PR that seem nice -but that's just driving around them, but all but the most remote places seem to have too many cars.

I live on the coast - Rockport TX and its 24 miles from Corpus with no traffic. Many people are starting to retire here and its an easy choice - lower but not the lowest real estate taxes, Snow only once every few years - winter days usuallly 60's HOT summers which I don't care for but there is a summer breeze. Very safe - sometimes we don't even close our doors if we are in a rush. Not as diverse 80% Anglo20% Hispanic few Blacks and the Hispanic families have been here generations. Some Vietnamese but the area doesn't have a foreign feel to it like normal tourist places.
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Old 11-21-2008, 05:26 PM
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1600 a month is not as bad as these people are saying.Most people work full time for 200 to 300 a week in puerto rico and they are not starving.Manage your money and if you feel like going out to entertain yourself keep it local and avoid tourists spots......I worked as a bell hop making $75 dollars a week and the rest i had to make on tips and i my refrigerator was never empty and had 2 children to feed.My spouse did work but we enjoyed life very much in puerto rico.We also never had problems with crime as it's like everywhere else use common sense and stay away from bad areas and you should be fine. Good luck!

Last edited by flburgos; 11-21-2008 at 05:46 PM.. Reason: did not finish writing.
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Old 11-22-2008, 03:26 PM
Location: Greenville, SC
609 posts, read 1,470,275 times
Reputation: 176
Originally Posted by ocean2026 View Post
Venezuela is really pretty and the people are nice. Yes they've elected a fruitcake for President but what do you think those other countries say about us the past 8 years?
exactly why most Venezuelins would not want you moving into the country

Last edited by Sunscape; 07-19-2013 at 01:20 PM..
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