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Old 01-13-2009, 07:41 PM
 
Location: Honolulu, HI
195 posts, read 607,521 times
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So, I am advancing in my job and may be required to move. If you had to choose between San Juan or Miami which would you pick and why? My money situation will basically be the same aroud 65k in either city. I have spent more time in San Juan and know a lot of the good and bad things about it. I have been to Miami and did the tourist thing and made short stop overs, but don't konw that much about it. If I go to San juan, I will have assignment priority when its time to go; in Miami I will not. My wife will probably have an easier time finding work in Miami since she speaks little spanish. I'm not sure which to choose. I love PR but San Juan can be a pain at times. I hear traffic in Miami is just as bad though. Any input would be appreciated.
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Old 01-16-2009, 11:09 AM
 
877 posts, read 1,247,536 times
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I grew up and San Juan, and live in Central Florida now. I know Miami pretty well since I have friends and family down there and I visit at least four to five times a year. San Juan and Miami are two completely different animals. San Juan is homogenous, meaning that the vast majority of the people living in the city and the sorrounding areas are puertorrican. Miami, is a little bit more mixed; mostly hispanics, but from all parts of Latin America (cubans are still predominant). Professionally speaking, Miami would probably offer more opportunities since it is considered the gateway to Latin America and is a very important economic hub in the US. Now, it seems like you already have job offers in both, and you said you would be making 65k a year. With that income, San Juan would offer most bang for the money. Now, consider that San Juan is a big city divided in 18 wards, and some are very expensive, especially those closer to Old San Juan and Condado. Still, there are no property taxes and home insurance runs about $400 a year. Miami have gotten really expensive in the last four years, and salaries are not that high. If the job in San Juan offers you a better opportunity to grow professionally, go for it. The biggest disadvantage in San Juan is traffic, but you can avoid it if you do some research and move close to work. Crime is high in both cities. Nightlife is way better in San Juan. Hope this helps.
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Old 01-16-2009, 12:47 PM
 
1,772 posts, read 4,072,971 times
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What? No property taxes in San Juan? Wrong. Google CRIM (Centro de Recaudacion de Impuestos Municipales). As to home insurance, wrong again. Good luck insuring replacement cost on a 1950s flintstone house with a median price of 300K on $400 bucks a year. A shack in the mountains of Jayuya perhaps, but san juan MSA? Forget it.

As to the job offers, assuming the exact same salary, you're better off in Miami. Cost of living is *slightly higher* in Miami from a housing perspective, but from an income tax point of view you're taking home a LOT more in Miami than in San Juan. Digest this, in PR someone making more than 50K owes the island a 33% income bracket, not so in the states. If you're a federal employee in PR you're on the hook for federal and *PR taxes (*which are meant to be the equivalent of FED+ANY STATE), albeit the federal govt gives you a credit for taxes paid to the island coffers, since PR is a territory and not a state. At any rate, when you normalize for an apples to apples comparison you owe more of that 65K in taxes to the island than if you lived in any combination of federal/stateX in the CONUS. When you further add that Florida has no state personal income tax, then this comparison is not even funny.

As to nightlife, much more choices in Miami than San Juan, AND a higher likelihood in Miami to buffer yourself from the statistical chance of a public shooting and/or personal injury due to unrequested scuffles. That's the beauty of living in a continent vs an island; your ability to move by land to avoid elements at your choosing is much more feasible in Miami than San Juan. Even the big mall down there (Plaza Las Americas) is a sketchy proposition from a personal safety standpoint.

I'll disclaim that I find both Miami and San Juan are horrendous choices to live from where I sit, and that the beauty of looking at that I-95N sign on the road is the only reason I tolerate connecting thru Miami in the offchance I get cancelled down there, but if I had to I'd choose Miami based on the tax issues and geographical potential. When one is not addicted to the dumb idea of getting up to your eyeballs just to put a roof under one's head, one comes out WAAYY ahead as a renter in Florida than as a renter or owner in San Juan. One makes more net income in Miami and has the ability to travel cheaper (by land) without incurring in higher costs. MIA-SJU airfare round robins may be cheap, but aside that pair anything else SJU-??? will cost you an arm and a leg, trust me.

Let me give you another anectode. I just came back from the island visiting the folks and met up with a friend of the family who got married and relocated to Miami a year or so ago. She had the same gripe most people have about Miami, from a Hispanic point of view anyways. High cost of living, no good mass transportation options, racial issues among Cubans and the rest of hispanics down there, etc etc, finding no affordable housing that wouldn't put them in Hialeah (the advertised ghetto in her eyes). They are thinking about relocating back to PR because she wants to go back to school and get a masters and this would be cheaper in PR. For HER it's only cheaper because mom and dad (she's my age, around 26-28) live down there and she'd be living rent free, with the hubby in tow as an architect. In Florida the only desirable (i.e. affordable) school would be in Gainesville, and they are so leveraged with a 230K 700sf shoebox in Miami they couldn't hack a rental in gainesville while she did school. So it's PR for her for a couple of years and accepting the reality they are gonna take a hit on selling the property in Miami they have lived in for only a year. For those particular set of circumstances (plus I think for her living with family is of enough importance to put it on the same level as economic comparisons) PR works out better for them. My point to you is that's quite a narrow set of circumstances under which they make out PR as the better option. Do you have a way to live in PR and live rent free? No? Then forget it you're better off in Miami.

I found it funny that you mentioned your wife speaks little spanish, people joke about south florida that even the "gringos" speak spanish down there, it's so spanish centric. I actually can't tell I'm not back in the island when I've been in south florida, aside the [I-95N -> to civilization] sign on the highway. I presume Miami would fare a little better for your wife on that dept, but I'm not confident enough to say it would be a dramatic difference. At any rate my vote is for Miami. Good luck.
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Old 01-16-2009, 02:57 PM
 
11 posts, read 77,280 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Conroy25 View Post
So, I am advancing in my job and may be required to move. If you had to choose between San Juan or Miami which would you pick and why? My money situation will basically be the same aroud 65k in either city. I have spent more time in San Juan and know a lot of the good and bad things about it. I have been to Miami and did the tourist thing and made short stop overs, but don't konw that much about it. If I go to San juan, I will have assignment priority when its time to go; in Miami I will not. My wife will probably have an easier time finding work in Miami since she speaks little spanish. I'm not sure which to choose. I love PR but San Juan can be a pain at times. I hear traffic in Miami is just as bad though. Any input would be appreciated.
I'd love San Juan, but until the government deals with the problems PR is facing, I suggest you try a culture clash and move to beautiful Seattle, Silverdale or Bremerton WA. It's safe, beaufiful, and they pay extremely well there. Great to raise kids. My son is planning to return to Silverdale or move to Seattle. He loves it there.
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Old 01-16-2009, 06:36 PM
 
1,084 posts, read 3,307,403 times
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I've always thought that Miami and San Juan have ALOT of similarities. Sometimes they may feel like the same city, although Miami has more skyscrapers. I wish Puerto Rico would repeal their unneccesary height-limit laws when it comes to constructing tall buildings.
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:23 AM
 
Location: The Shires
2,257 posts, read 1,883,149 times
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Never been to San Juan, live in Miami. Seen pictures though and parts of it do look very similar, but I do know that San Juan offers more in the way of history and surrounding scenery (since PR is a beautiful island with actual HILLS, unlike South Florida).
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Old 01-17-2009, 12:40 PM
 
1,084 posts, read 3,307,403 times
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These are a few pictures of Miami:
http://www.sunnyislesmiamirealestate...ndos_miami.jpg
http://sofia.usgs.gov/publications/p.../miami_now.jpg
http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/r21/images/Miami2.jpg (broken link)

Now take a look at San Juan:
http://images.leonardo.com/imgs/T/T07423/T07423_OTHER_01_J.jpg (broken link)
http://www.threebestbeaches.com/cent...h01-701047.jpg
http://www.dailyventure.com/400x300/puertoRico_sanJuan_01.jpg (broken link)

The resemblance is striking.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:41 PM
 
Location: The Shires
2,257 posts, read 1,883,149 times
Reputation: 1050
Quote:
Originally Posted by Busch Boy View Post
These are a few pictures of Miami:
http://www.sunnyislesmiamirealestate...ndos_miami.jpg
http://sofia.usgs.gov/publications/p.../miami_now.jpg
http://www.usdoj.gov/ust/r21/images/Miami2.jpg (broken link)

Now take a look at San Juan:
http://images.leonardo.com/imgs/T/T07423/T07423_OTHER_01_J.jpg (broken link)
http://www.threebestbeaches.com/cent...h01-701047.jpg
http://www.dailyventure.com/400x300/puertoRico_sanJuan_01.jpg (broken link)

The resemblance is striking.
San Juan's beaches actually look a lot nicer (bigger).
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:08 AM
 
Location: Honolulu, HI
195 posts, read 607,521 times
Reputation: 114
Thanks for all the replies. I am in the military so and I permenant resident of WA state, so I actually pay any state income taxes. I am concerned about safety in both areas. In San Juan I can live in government housing in Bayamon which is guarded by security and all of that jazz, but I do not have that option in Miami. Living anywhere near where I would work in Miami will not be an option judging from the real estate prices. The commute is San Juan is going horrid based on my work as well. I will be working by that big pink customs building in Old San Juan. I wouldn't want to live down there even if I could afford it. The main reason I would like to go San Juan is that after three years, I could transfer over to Ramey base near Aguadilla. Lots of factors I have to consider.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:49 AM
 
1,772 posts, read 4,072,971 times
Reputation: 4740
You mentioned Ramey and military, which tells me you must be in the Coast Guard, as that is the only military presence at Ramey not including the army national guard, which you are probably not a part of given you implied you are active duty. If relocating to Ramey is your final goal then perhaps taking the San Juan assignment is better. I gotta tell ya though, I'm puzzled as to why Ramey. My father is from Aguadilla and I spent the better part of my childhood commuting on the weekends to Aguadilla from San Juan to see my grandmother; there's nothing much going on in that area. It's rural and slow-paced but it's also removed from the access to schools, health care and shopping you've grown accustomed to in San Juan, never mind the mainland. Short of your family being from there I don't see the appeal of relocating there.

Point noted on the Miami real estate cost, I don't know if you're officer or enlisted in the CG but even senior field grade Os would have a tough time swinging desirable Miami real estate. The commute issue is about par for the course in both Miami and San Juan, so you have your poison to pick there. As to the aforementioned "government housing" in Bayamon, I'm not quite sure what you're referring to. Ft. Buchanan is the only active base I know of in the metro area and I'm not quite sure of your elegibility, outside that the only government housing I know of down there is public housing, and you don't want to touch that with a 10 foot pole (you wouldn't qualify anyways).

Good luck either way, if Ramey is where you want to end up living at (wouldn't you have to PCS out of that one too anyways??) then I guess San Juan is for you. I would still pick Miami and suck it up for 3 years and move to a cheaper part of the country. Good luck
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