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Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

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  • akrauth
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    Aloha! Maybe you'll meet my friend Alana who also posts on here. She stay 'Ewa Beach side...

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  • owensct
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    Aloha Andrew,

    Thanks for the the thoughts we are enjoying it here, but are still trying to get sorted out. We justed entered escrow on our fourth and (God willing) final property. Once it closes and we've been in it a few months we'll have a better idea wha our true cost of living will be I'm looking forward to dreading it.

    Bt hey its Hawaii

    Surfs up and the waters warm

    Leave a comment:


  • MadRussian
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    Hey owensct!

    Thanks for good script for moving to Hawaii! You are obvious IT person!
    We planning our move too. But in compare to you I have couple factors that hold me. One of them: I have good steady goverment job. I did'n find any good job on Hawaii yet. Rest is pretty similar - IT too, about same age, and same family situation ...
    Been on Hawaii couple time. Will be on Maui in October for research on spot and ... surfing, windsurfing....

    Good luck to you with your new life! Hawaii No Ka Oi!

    Andrew

    Leave a comment:


  • owensct
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    Matapule,

    I suspect your right in general it stayed pretty close to the same.

    However, one thing I forgot to mention in my earlier post is that while my company did pick up part of the cost of moving we did have to put a lot of things on the credit cards, both for the move and to replace things that we did not bring with us, (couch, beds etc) which did increase my monthly outgo some.

    My point here is that if your situation permits, save money for the move, (unfortunately I only had 3 months notice) it will cost more than you think unless you only bring what you can get in a suitcase.

    My three rules of projects apply in this case

    1. It’s going to take longer than you think
    2. It’s going to cost more than you think
    3. Plan to bleed, (either literally, metaphorically or both)

    If (When???) we find a place of our own I suspect our mortgage will go up (3K or more) and I will have to start paying the utilities that are currently included in my rent.

    No biggie, as we knew these things when we came over here. My wife will be going back to work part time to get the CC debt paid off. But all that was planned before we came, so other than a few minor snags here and there the experience so far has been as anticipated.

    One thing to bear in mind for people considering the move is that if I remember correctly some of the events listed as being among high life stressors include Moving (check), new job (check),buy or selling a home (check) plus that doesn’t include the fact that moving to Hawaii is a major life event, it’s not like moving across town or across the state, your on this tiny little dot in the middle of the Pacific ocean and family and friends are not just a car ride away anymore. Also, in many respects this can be like moving to another country, with a different culture and customs.

    The point being don’t expect to make a move like this and not experience an increased amount of stress at least in the short term. If you plan for it you’ll be better able to deal with it.

    Also, it’s good to remember you have to adjust to Hawaii, Hawaii isn’t going to adjust to you, which can be difficult for some (read type A personalities here). Just something to bear in mind especially if your type A’s like my wife and I, (are/were?) We are trying to make that type A thing past tense, but still have a ways to go.

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  • matapule
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    owensct, thanks for being so open. As I analyze your situation, your cost of living has stayed about the same overall - 16% raise balanced by $2,600 plus $175 utilities against $1,500 mortgage and $900 utilities seems like overall, about a wash. Your cost of living has gone up about 16% is balanced by a 16% increase in salary, therefore you are breakeven. I realize that $900 utility bill in the SJV is only during the summer, but I am generalizing.

    On the flip side, your quality of life has gone up immeasureably! Good for you. Statisically people in Hawai'i live longer than mainlanders because of that quality of life.

    Live long and prosper, my friend.

    Leave a comment:


  • Seeking Penance
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    welcome to hawaii

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  • Vanguard
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    Originally posted by owensct View Post
    Hope this helps.
    It does! Thank you! QEII is an interesting option, but I really wouldn't like to see my dogs cooped up for so long. This has become an quite a dilemma for me. I wish I had moved back before the flying rules became more strict.

    Leave a comment:


  • kani-lehua
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    sounds as though you have a great disposition and a great attitude--no adjustment necessary.

    Leave a comment:


  • owensct
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    I moved here from the central San Joaquin valley, (Visalia to be specific). As far as California goes it was a pretty reasonable area to live.

    Your second question is a little harder to answer. The simplest answer is that in some respects our standard of living has gone up, gone down and stayed the same.

    Now for the involved answer

    SOL (Standard Of Living): Stayed the same
    In regards to general expenses (water, sewer, garbage, electricity, high speed Internet, Cable, groceries, car insurance, gas, vet, entertainment, clothes, etc) I would say that our standard of living in that regard are pretty on a par with how we lived in California. Some things cost more here, some things less and some expenses we have eliminated altogether, (more on that later). So it pretty much evens out in the long run. Although we do have to be a little more selective about what and when we buy, looking for sales, buying a less mainstream/well known, (read lower cost not quality) brands etc.

    SOL: Gone down
    On the other hand our standard of living in respects to housing has gone down while our housing costs have gone up, way up in comparison.

    The house we sold in California was 2192 Sq Ft, 4 bedroom 2 ½ bath, 16x16 covered patio with spa, 10x10 Tuff Shed storage unit in back, 3 car garage, large office, fruit trees in the backyard, gorgeous landscaping, (not a blade of grass out of place) sprinklers blah blah blah, (you get the idea). We had it built new three years ago, and we kept it immaculate, interior, exterior and yard. Our mortgage was just over $ 1500 a month. In summer we kept the whole house at what now seems like a frosty 77-78 degrees with central A/C, although I did my share of griping about it being too hot, little did I know ;-)

    Ok fast forward to Hawaii. We now live in a 3 bedroom, two bathrooms, 1100 Sq Ft single family home, built in the 50’s. The house is in good condition, as it was renovated not too long ago. Yard suffers from neglect, weeds, stickers, bare spots, asphalt driveway is thrashed etc, etc. apples to apples it isn’t even close to being in the same league with our house in California. Further our rent/mortgage has jumped to over $ 2600 per month, (this does include all utilities, except electric for the window A/C unit and Internet which I pay an additional amount for). Only partial A/C so other parts of the house other than the living room, (Where the A/C is), gets pretty uncomfortable, (to our Haole sensibilities) during the heat of the day.

    Trying to buy a house/condo
    Unless your from New York City, Seattle, San Francisco, or one of the other mainland hotspots, your in for some serious sticker shock. Examples of some of the places we have looked at a 972 Sq foot house, older home, ok condition, but the kitchen was a disaster and needed renovation, $600K, Condo, 1300 Sq Ft, ok condition, needed work, moisture problem, electrical not up to code, etc, $435K, Single Family 1400 Sq ft, needs lots of cosmetic work, and turned out to be riddled with termites, close to a teardown in condition $ 525K.

    For us this is more of an issue partially because just as we were getting ready to put our house on the market the mainland real estate market went into a black hole, so in comparison to what we had invested to what we walked away with we actually took a pretty big hit.

    I’ve decided that the available houses/condos that one can afford in Hawaii if they don’t have a large down or lots of disposal income is like a marriage of convenience. She’s decent looking, but she doesn’t make your heart race, or your palms sweaty when she walks into the room. Buying a home is something your supposed to be excited about, but depending on your personal circumstances you may wind up settling for something that’s OK as opposed to a place that your enthralled with.

    The only things that I can’t really comment on are things such as electric, water, sewer, cable etc as these are included where we rent, although our additional electric for the A/C runs between $ 110-$175 a month. Until we have a place of our own where I have to pay all of these things I don’t know how they will compare to what we were paying in California.

    SOL: Gone up

    OK here is the important part, what has improved about my standard of living. Lots actually, although most of it is the intangible stuff.

    Much better air quality

    Slower pace of life

    The Weather: it may be more humid here, but I’ll take the humidity and 85 degrees, with variable clouds any day over skies with nary a cloud in site and 107 to 113 degrees and a cooling bill to go with it, (last July I had a $ 900 electric bill) and then lots of gloomy fog, drizzle and 35-54 degrees in winter.

    The Beach: I’m 5 minutes from the beach instead of 3 ½ hours, oh and the water is warm, clear and inviting, no 54 degrees with 10 foot visibility, (on good days). Plus if I’ve had a hard day at work I grab the dog and cruise down to the beach for a little attitude adjustment, can’t do that where we lived, (it was grab the dog and cruise around the block, grumping the whole way there and back). Plus the coast there is every bit as expensive if not more and in my opinion not as nice.

    Friendly People: People are much friendlier, (Aloha Spirit), when was the last time someone on the mainland stopped to let you out of a parking lot or moved back so you could change lanes? Here it’s a daily occurrence. In most places in California they can’t spell Aloha let alone show the attitude. Before anyone gets their feathers ruffled, I‘m speaking in generalities there are nasty mean spirited people in Hawaii too just as there are there are nice and Aloha spirited people in California.

    We love the cuisine here, esp the island grown fruits and veggies

    We’ve traded the sound of traffic running up and down the road behind our house for the sound of the bamboo forest rustling in the breeze, the sighing trade winds, chickens, roosters, pigeons, frogs, (ok Toads) and the like. Not to mention the refreshing rains. Even when I’m working from home, (hey I’m in IT, it goes with the job) I just have to look out my office window and I have a magnificent view of the Koolau Mountains.

    Honolulu: When we get tired of the slower pace in Kaneohe all we have to do is drive over the mountains to Honolulu for world class shopping, clubs, ballet, symphony, opera, restaurants etc.

    For some people the fact that most of what I consider as raised standards of living are “intangibles” would negate them, but for us they are part of the whole package.

    The only thing that really bothers/depresses us is the housing issues. When we start to get bummed and frustrated we remind ourselves that we live in Hawaii and that 99% percent of our friends and family would trade places with us in a heartbeat and take Hawaii warts and all without batting an eyelash. It helps us keep things in perspective.

    From a percentage standpoint my income went up approximately 16%, and if you remove housing costs from the equation it amounts to a moderate raise, if you consider the whole package, the buying power of my dollar here versus pay and buying power of my dollar in Visalia versus pay I took a moderate pay hit, but we think it was worth it and then some.

    For us ultimately it really a glass half empty/half full kind of thing.


    Hope that helps.

    Leave a comment:


  • matapule
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    What general part of California do you come from?

    With your new salary and your expected cost of living in Hawai'i, do you expect your standard of living to go up, down, or remain the same compared to California?

    Thanks for sharing information.

    Leave a comment:


  • owensct
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    The cruise ship was a no go for us. The only ship that cruises to Hawaii that allows pets is the Queen Elizabeth II. Your dog stays in a kennel aboard the QE2 and you can come visit as desired. The killer is the cost, QE2 is a luxury liner and the cost of the cruise was high, (can’t the remember the dollar amount). The other thing was that she leaves from the East coast so for us it was not only the cost of the cruise, but the flight from California and the length of the cruise as well.

    Cargo ship with limited passenger capacity is one we never considered, but it would certainly be worth looking into.

    As far as the change on rules, when I originally looked into it there was no problem because ATA allowed animals in the cabin, but shortly before the wife was due to come out they went belly up. The other carriers don’t as a rule allow them in the cabin, not because it’s an FAA issue or anything at least that’s what they told me, but because they need to ensure you get the animal to the quarantine station etc. The woman I spoke with basically said it’s just a hassle for them and they don’t want to deal with it.

    As I mentioned I did find some info on charter flights. Basically they are services that get a group of people together to share the cost of a small plane flight to a location like Hawaii and allow pets in cabin. I didn’t get very far with this before we found out my wife could have her on the plane.

    You’ll get a bunch of hits if you do a Google search on pet charter flights.

    Also, I agree with your idea of taking the dogs overland to California then a direct flight to Hawaii. I booked my wife a direct flight even though it cost more so she wouldn’t get to Vegas etc and get the "Dog?? What dog??" thing. Once the she was on the plane and the wheels left the ground it was a done deal.

    Hope this helps.

    Leave a comment:


  • Vanguard
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    Originally posted by owensct View Post
    Sounds like we were kind of obsessive about it? Your right, but this dog is a member of our family and we afford her the same care and concern we would any member of our family. Also, nothing is worse than taking a three hour trip to the airport (friends took my wife to LA), only to have the ticket agent at the counter go DOG?? What Dog?? Or worse yet to arrive in Honolulu and have then tell you didn’t dot an I or cross a T and your dog despite your prep is going to have to spend the next two weeks to three months in a cage.
    Not at all obsessive to me. I have 2 dogs. One of them is a rescue from when I last lived in Hawaii, and she's getting a bit old now, so I'm hoping to go back with both my dogs. Not being able to take a small dog into the cabin unless it's a companion dog is news to me. I was told years ago it was possible to have a dog in a certain small carrier in the cabin. I suppose they changed the rule, that is a bit worrisome to me since my smaller dog is rather clingy. I've considered driving to California just to minimize their flight time.

    Prior to your companion dog solution, did you find any other possibility? The cruise ship option intrigues me. What about cargo ships with limited passenger capacity?

    Thanks for all your information!
    Last edited by Vanguard; August 13, 2008, 10:04 AM.

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  • owensct
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    Originally posted by Vanguard View Post
    How was quarantine for the dog, and what sort of preparations did you undergo when in California? I understand you have to do 1-2 rounds of rabies shots on the mainland before getting fast tracked for approximately 3 days of quarantine.
    Well they call it quarantine, but it really wasn’t, but it is much much better than it used to be.

    1. We had to get her micro tagged (Required in Hawaii)

    2. They then did a blood test I think it's called a rabies titer, when they sent off to a lab back east. The day after the lab got the sample her quarantine started, (3 months). When I say quarantine I'm using their term. In actuality she spent the 3 months at home with my wife and there were no restrictions on her activities.

    3. We had a bunch of paper work to fill out and sent to the Hawaii Ag department along with the entry fee $ 165.00. We sent a copy with a tracking number to Hawaii, my wife sent me a separate copy via mail and made copies for herself to carry on the plane. They had all necessary docs in advance except her final exam. I also called them 1 week prior to their arrival to make sure they had all her paperwork and that everything was in order. They told me that everything was at the airport and waiting for her.

    3. 10 days, (I believe) prior to her arrival date here she had to have a final physical and she had to be dosed with an anti flea and tick med, (the stuff they put on the back of the neck).

    4. The airlines are another story. Prior to ATA going out of business your dog up to certain poundage could ride in the cabin, but that is not the case now, (unless other airline have changed their policy since wife and dog arrived). In that regards we were fortunate is that our dog is classed as a companion animal for my wife, so she just needed a note from her doctor and the dog was allowed to fly in the cabin with her. Otherwise, they will stick them in the hold.

    Prior to learning that a companion animal was allowed to fly in the cabin we were looking into specialty animal transport services, taking a cruise ship and even the possibility of share chartering a plane as I don’t think she would have survived the trip in the hold.

    The five keys to a successful trip for your animal? 1) Document, document, document everything 2) Have a vet that really know their stuff in regards to taking an animal to Hawaii. This made it so much easier. (3 Follow the Hawaii quarantine requirements to the letter and I mean to the letter. 4) Be nice. You’ll find a lot of times this is a new experience for some (like airlines personnel) and being polite and trying not to get frustrated with having to repeat the same stuff over and over and over again not only makes people more willing to help you but it has the added benefit of keeping your BP from spiraling out of control ;-) (5 Confirm everything not once, but twice or maybe even three times. Call and confirm receipt of paperwork, have tracking numbers for anything you send via mail. Once you get the OK for your animal to be on the flight send all your details to the airline call them to confirm receipt, then wait a while and call them again. Take down dates and names of the people you spoke to, (this is especially important since a lot of companies including airlines outsource their customer support to overseas and it’s not uncommon to get 3 different answers to the same question). If you can get a contact person at the airlines corporate office so much the better, (we did).

    If your animal is going to ride in the cargo hold I would suggest paying a specialty, animal transport service (price wise its not too bad) to handle the details as a lot of animals die or believe it or not get lost in the cargo holds, (it sucks but at this point its an unpleasant fact of life).

    MOST IMPORTANT: Do not sedate your animal!!!! Many airlines won’t take a sedated animal and the tranquilizers can have unexpected affects at altitude.

    Sounds like we were kind of obsessive about it? Your right, but this dog is a member of our family and we afford her the same care and concern we would any member of our family. Also, nothing is worse than taking a three hour trip to the airport (friends took my wife to LA), only to have the ticket agent at the counter go DOG?? What Dog?? Or worse yet to arrive in Honolulu and have then tell you didn’t dot an I or cross a T and your dog despite your prep is going to have to spend the next two weeks to three months in a cage.

    I know it sounds like a lot of work, but once we got the details down it really wasn’t that bad and everything went off without a hitch. My wife walked off the plane with our dog took her to the quarantine station for a quick checkup and 45 minutes later the three of us were in the car headed home.

    This link will also take you to the Hawaii site where you can download the PDF application plus the detailed instructions.

    http://hawaii.gov/hdoa/ai/aqs/info

    Leave a comment:


  • Vanguard
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    Originally posted by owensct View Post
    [SIZE=3][FONT=Times New Roman]Pets: Dog (Shi Tzu) brought her with us. Marine aquarium in CA (not setup in Hawaii - they wouldn't allow many of my existing animals)
    How was quarantine for the dog, and what sort of preparations did you undergo when in California? I understand you have to do 1-2 rounds of rabies shots on the mainland before getting fast tracked for approximately 3 days of quarantine.

    Leave a comment:


  • kani-lehua
    replied
    Re: Just moved to Hawaii - Got questions? I've got answers (Maybe)

    aloha and welcome to the windward side of the island.

    Leave a comment:

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