Planning to Retire in Hawaii? 4 Things You Should Know
I trust you have visited the islands and fallen in love. Now you’re planning to retire in Hawaii. However, visiting here and living here are two different things. As a tourist, you probably were captivated by the beauty, but you need to take a hard look at what’s available and what’s not and put yourself in the picture before becoming a resident.
When my husband and I were considering moving here from Virginia, we visited Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island as well as Oahu. All were beautiful, but Honolulu, Oahu, had the most cultural development: Plays, galleries, churches, and the main campus of the University of Hawaii. Since Don’s pension would only provide necessities, and because he liked to feel useful, we also thought Honolulu held the best prospects for employment.
Maybe you prefer solitude, peace and quiet, so Kauai might suit you better.
2) Housing is expensive and small
The housing you settle for in Hawaii will probably be much smaller than what you’re used to. We moved from a 2200 square foot house in Virginia to a 450 square foot apartment. We had pared down our possessions before moving here, but even so we weeded out more as we moved in. We wondered if we would feel cramped, but you know what? We discovered that two people really don’t need a huge amount of room. The weather is so mild here that we’re able to go outside, take walks by the ocean or picnic in the park, almost every day. We lived in that tiny space 8 years, then moved to a condo with 650 square feet and felt like it was a mansion. Both apartments had beautiful views of the mountains, sunsets, and sunrises.
One thing you don’t have to worry about is a heating bill! And if you consider cross-ventilation when you choose your condo, the trade winds will be your air conditioning most months, making the electric bill more manageable.
My husband was delighted to leave behind the snow shovel and the lawn mower; condo living does have its advantages unless you really like cutting grass.
3) Landing a job
Many retirees want to work at least part time. If you are well-trained in a sought-after skill, you probably won’t have any trouble finding a job. My husband had run his own tax preparation business on the mainland and another tax office hired him the first month after we arrived. (He decided to work for someone else and let them worry about paying the office rent.)
I’m a writer, so I can work anywhere there’s electricity and internet. A couple years after arriving, I connected with Island Heritage Publishers who accepted my children’s book manuscripts.
We do have lots of science going on, too, mainly through the university with astronomy and biology, and with NOAA with ocean exploration. The first glow-in-the-dark mice were developed in a UH lab.
Several websites offer current job information. Be careful to choose one without fees.
4) Hawaii loves their kupuna
Kupuna, the elderly, are treated with respect here, with community centers and churches that enable friendships and activities. Seniors have reduced prices on movies, bus fares, and grocery stores.
If you’re not sure this life is for you, consider renting at first. And look me up. If I’m not in the condo at my computer, you’ll find me strolling by the beach, mesmerized by the beauty around me.