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FIRE in Cayman?
Old 01-14-2012, 02:56 PM   #1
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FIRE in Cayman?

We're currently living in Manhattan (NY) and I just sold my business for enough to FIRE at 35 (wife is 43). We have a 9 year old daughter and all 3 of us love NYC.

That being said, we're considering moving to Cayman for a few years (something we toyed with back in 2008 as well) and I wanted to know if anyone else on the site has done that.

Where'd you live? How did it go? Did you get bored and lose your mind? Did you have kids? Would you recommend it?
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Old 01-14-2012, 07:06 PM   #2
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Never been to Cayman although I've been to Bahamas, PR and USVI. I would think the weather would be from nice to too hot most of the time (with the exception of the occasional hurricane). Can't imagine living someplace without at least a moderate sized city nearby.

DW and I picked Oahu, Hawaii (Honolulu). Best compromise of weather and (available) "cosmopolitan" life-stye. Only you know your own mind and your needs. Just be certain to visit for a long enough period to figure out most of the surprises. DW and I visited a dozen times before moving. Still surprises!!

The first consideration for living on an island is whether you are susceptible to "rock fever". IIRC Grand Cayman is a fifth the size of Oahu. A bit too small for me. If I couldn't afford to fly off the island more-or-less whenever I wanted to, I think I would get rock fever. As it is, there is no problem. We are still actually exploring the island after 4 years. Lots to see, do, places to go, etc. With over 1.1 million people, there are lots of folks to interact with as well. Of course, YMMV

Congrats on the very early FIRE. Sounds like you are planning quite an adventure. Hope it meets all your expectations.
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Old 01-15-2012, 01:45 AM   #3
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Experiences during a short vacation can be very different from living in a place. We havent tried the Caymans, but have tried a few different cities.

If you love the urban and fast lifestyle of NYC, you might start finding any other place dull after a few weeks/months. There are huge differences even within the same Metro area - the city/downtown lifestyle being very different from the suburban.
Why not spend a few months renting an apartment or home exchange and then decide.
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Old 01-15-2012, 06:29 AM   #4
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I FIRE'd a couple of years later than you with 3 small kids (now we have 4). My main motivation was to be able to travel, and to allow for that we homeschooled our kids. We spent many a winter in the bahamas, though we never actually 'moved' their - we always had our home base in the USA

If it was upto me, I'd still be doing it(and I would have sold the house in the USA), but as the kids got older, and the need for kids their own age became more important, we have had to scale back on the extended traveling, and then ultimately put the kids back in school (were the academics are easier unfortunately, but the social aspect is better so I have mixed feelings about that)

Have never regretted the decision to homeschool, or to spend a small fortunate living on a tropical island for big chunks of time, and as soon as we can, the wife and I will be back (ten more years until the last one goes off to college).

I say go for it - I doubt you will regret it, and even if you change your mind after a few years, so what? Pickup and move back or someplace else.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:00 AM   #5
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Why not spend a few months renting an apartment or home exchange and then decide.
+1 Why make a "permanent" move that may not appeal when you can test the waters first with a few month rental. The diving in Cayman is great. I already have a trip scheduled for next November.
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:22 AM   #6
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Haven't been to Cayman but, have been to most of the other Caribbean islands. What you will find on most of them is beautiful scenery & beaches, high end resorts of some kind, and lots of poverty (by US standards). So, as nice as they are, you need to be ready to deal with that.

In my experience, there are, however, some islands where the economic gulf is smaller or at least there seems to be more of a middle class. Some of my favorites are:

St Martin: half French, half Dutch, great beaches, available real estate built to your standard, solid economy, international airport, welcoming people (read this as less left over resentment from the colonial days; my experience is that this can vary widely) good mix of expats already living there, short ferry ride to two other nice island (St Barts and Anguilla).

St Barts: it really is close to paradise, the Riviera in the Caribbean, French food and culture, stunningly beautiful, full of beautiful people but, small and expensive. However, a short ferry ride to St Martin and Anguilla.

St Lucia, St Kitts & Antigua: I've spent less time on these islands than the two above but, from what I've seen, they seem similar to St Martin (especially St Lucia and Antigua) regarding economic development, a growing midde class, and ex-pat population.

Although I could never talk the DW into living on one of these islands, I know that I could live on either St Martin or St Barts for a short time (6-12 mos). Beyond that, I'm not sure whether island fever or cultural differences would get to me.

Happy hunting!
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:24 AM   #7
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A friend of mine married a woman from the CI. Once, during a visit, they invited me along for the week.

While I had a blast visiting and even entertained moving there, I have to say that during the summer months (I traveled in August) it is... HOT. To make matters worse, our host (the woman's mother) only used room air conditioning sparingly, at night. Electricity, it seems, is very expensive... and she was a doctor.

I've only experienced heat/humidity like that in one other place - Thailand, during April.

In your research, do yourself a favor... be sure to visit at different times of the year.

Good Luck and Congrats!
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Old 01-15-2012, 08:31 AM   #8
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+1. I would just go there 2 or 3 months at a time to begin with, then decide after a couple of years.
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Experiences during a short vacation can be very different from living in a place.
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:43 AM   #9
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Island fever, look it up. I've beenn there a few times and would never consider living there. Nice jewelery stores, interesting banking rules, and neat turtles.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:02 AM   #10
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Do you want to get away from it all then Cayman Brac or Little Cayman are the place (1500 and 500 people respectively) Electricity is expensive at $.4/kwh due to being made by Diesel. Grand Cayman is where most of the action is including the more upscale places.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:17 AM   #11
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Island fever, look it up.
Island fever is real, the cure is large doses of alcohol consumed daily.
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Old 01-17-2012, 10:34 AM   #12
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If you didn't have a 9 year old daughter I'd say just do it. I wouldn't let her be the decision maker but the move would have the greatest impact on her.
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Old 01-17-2012, 12:00 PM   #13
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Another thing to consider is that the Caymans regularly get battered by hurricanes. I agree with those that say you should stay there during the different seasons to see what it is like. Maybe rent for a year before making a final decision. Since everything has to be imported the cost of living is very high.
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Love Grand Cayman, but
Old 01-17-2012, 08:08 PM   #14
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Love Grand Cayman, but

We have been going to Grand Cayman every year (except the year of Ivan) since our kids were in diapers for 8-14 nights. We love it. warm/sunny, wonderful people, safe (mostly, especially compared to other similar destinations), all the mod cons. However...

It is pretty expensive all the way around. If you are planning to mitigate that by hiding money there from the tax man, reconsider. When we first started going, most everyone we met was doing that. I asked my brother, a CPA with a big four firm and now very senior in said firm about this. He told me to go ahead as long as I didn't mind committing a felony every time I signed my tax return. I never did. Lately, the US been really pursuing this issue.

Homeschooling is OK if you are inclined and able, but if you don't do so you will find the schools to be less rigorous than in the States.

We have only gone in the "winter" when the weather is great. It does get oppressive during the "summer."

Boredom and isolation is partly what you make of it, and Miami is just an hour away by plane. I don't think Grand Cayman is more apt to be smacked by hurricanes than other places, and you almost always have time to evacuate.
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Old 01-18-2012, 11:27 AM   #15
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. I don't think Grand Cayman is more apt to be smacked by hurricanes than other places, and you almost always have time to evacuate.
I agree that Grand Cayman doesn't get hit by hurricanes any more than the other Carribean islands but sooner or later they all seem to get hit by a "big" one. The amount of loss one suffers all depends on how soundly your house is built. I have friends that live there who have sent me pictures of the aftermath of hurricanes and it doesn't look like a place I would want to live full time.
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Old 01-22-2012, 01:23 AM   #16
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+1. I would just go there 2 or 3 months at a time to begin with, then decide after a couple of years.
This is good advice. Each of us have our own tolerances for islands and tourists. I can tell you after living previously in Honolulu for 4+ years, I would never retire to Oahu or elsewhere in Hawaii full time. Too limiting as we like to travel to Europe and elsewhere, and do not like to be a the mercy of long and expensive flights. I would consider a few months a year in many places though.

Test the waters - why not?

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Old 01-22-2012, 01:54 AM   #17
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This is good advice. Each of us have our own tolerances for islands and tourists. I can tell you after living previously in Honolulu for 4+ years, I would never retire to Oahu or elsewhere in Hawaii full time. Too limiting as we like to travel to Europe and elsewhere, and do not like to be a the mercy of long and expensive flights. I would consider a few months a year in many places though.

Test the waters - why not?

SM
It's true that living in Hawaii makes travel to Europe relatively expensive and grueling flight-wise. However, Hawaii is a good (US) location to travel to the east and south (Japan, China, Indonesia, Australia, NZ, Tahiti, Cook iS., VN, Korea, RP, etc. etc.) Hawaii IS the most remote (occupied) island(s) on the planet. Can't deny its isolation. Still, it's centrally located for half the planet - think "ring of fire" nations. Not suggesting it as "better" than any other location. Just suggesting that when it comes to travel, Hawaii is "half way there" if you are heading east from the US. Of those folks I've known returning to the mainland from HI, the two biggest reasons are "island fever" and not learning how to afford "paradise". (For the most part, missing family is part of island fever.) As always, YMMV and there is no right or wrong reason to chose or reject a place to live.
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Old 03-10-2012, 01:16 PM   #18
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St. Barths hands down. It's expensive, but would be great for a couple of years and you and the family could dabble in learning French. Cayman has investment requirements in order to get a residence visa if you want to stay full time. Saying that both are great with cayman more modern. A nice choice to have.
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