RETIREMENT in the U.S. Virgin Islands
Many people fantasize of the possibility of living or retiring on a
Caribbean island only to let the fleeting dream slip away as an
impractical objective. Yet, as the transportation system and the
communication networks have evolved, the concept of changing ones
life-style to the idyllic setting of a lush green island set in the deep
blue hue of the caribbean is totally practical.
For generations Americans have flocked to Florida and Arizona and
Southern California as a retirement setting. Now, the U.S. Virgin
Islands, located a mere three hours by plane from the U.S. east coast,
could offer a huge increment upward in "quality of life" to the couple
seeking a marked change in their life-style.
There are many profound advantages for those viewing the USVI as a
candidate for retirement, seasonal living or a simple change in life
style. The differentiating characteristics of the islands when compared
to traditional settings in Florida or Arizona or Texas would be:
One must also consider the disadvantages and practicality of
acquiring real estate and relocating to the islands. As with all things
in life there are trade-offs. Governmental efficiency is one compromise
that comes with life in the Virgin Islands. Medical care considerations
are another compromise one must make plans for. Depending on your mind
set living costs may be a factor you need to plan into your strategy.
Airfare costs to the islands are frequently high and can be an annoying
expense if frequent travel to the mainland is in your plans. Islanditis,
the concept of being confined to a relatively small geographic area can
have a definite impact on some personalities. Public Safety is a
question raised by many considering a change in life to the islands.
1. The USVI maintain almost a constant year around climate and
temperature in the mid 70 to mid 80 degree Fahrenheit temperature
range. The islands do not have the oppressive heat of Florida or
Arizona. The reason is the land mass is completely surrounded by
the cooling Caribbean breezes giving average temperatures in the
distinctly comfortable zone year around.
2. The islands are set in such a strikingly picturesque setting
that the scenery and views are in a league by themselves in
inspiring one to take advantage of the outdoors.
3. There are dozens of outdoor activities that are world class when
compared to other alternative locations: sailing-probably the best
in the world, scuba diving-clear blue waters with 100 plus foot
visability(most days) coupled with abundant and diverse sealife,
golf-satisfactory golf courses on St Croix and St Thomas, not world
class but definitely grade A, hiking-all three islands are
increasing their hiking trails, sport fishing- competitive game
fishing of most types, exploration-hundreds of beaches and islands
waiting to be explored by rubber dinghy or by trail blazing on each
island, and of course the typical outdoor activities such as tennis,
bicycling, beach jogging, and swimming.
4. Top of the line gourmet restaurants abound on each island that
can make your evenings a surreal experience in self indulgence.
5. Tax saving on a huge scale when compared to stateside locations.
This is due to the fact that there is no income tax code other than
the federal code thus eliminating the dreaded state income taxes for
those who establish residence in the USVI.
6. Usually when one considers adopting a tropical island
life-style, one must accept the disadvantage of no protection of the
U.S. flag. Not in the U.S. Virgin Islands where a US legal system
is in place and is comparable to anywhere on the mainland of the
7. If one is considering a more laid back life style than we
encounter on the mainland, the USVI offer what no state has the
culture to provide. Be prepared for a whole new approach to what we
consider the urgencies of life here on the mainland. While this
will initially be a source of frustration due to the fact that
things do not happen as fast, it will in the end slow ones tempo of
life to a more island like pace, thus achieving a benefit not
possible here on the mainland.
8. You can almost feel as though you are back in a familiar
mainland environment with McDonalds, K-Mart, the Chevrolet dealer,
the U.S. Post Office, your televison networks, AT & T, the Chamber
of Commerce, the League of Women Voters, and the instituitions we
have here on the mainland.
Island News addresses each of these areas of questions and helps you
to understand the realities of making a move to the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In each issue we have profiles of other couples who have made the move to
the islands so you can learn from their experiences. As a new subscriber
you will receive an analysis that recaps the economic and cultural
considerations that you should take into consideration when deciding
whether or not to make such a life change/investment in the USVI. Do not
expect a glowing endorsement of island life as some sort of panacea, we
give you the upside and the downside and we provide a tool to allow you
to plan for those contingencies you will face should you "take the step".
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