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Salary versus cost of living

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msaund69
2/23/2015 08:06 EST

Hello and thanks for the add to the site.

I am currently in Bermuda for an interview, having come from Canada. Today I expect to see an offer. Research seems to indicate that the cost of living is 2-2.5 times that of home. Would I be right to assume an offer at least that high salary wise?

Moving here will entail my wife and I selling our home, cars and cutting other monetary ties with home. Although it is beautiful here I'm making the move more for financial reasons than simply a "working vacation".

Ideas?

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jk1967
10/24/2015 19:21 EST

Hello, I read your post and was disappointed that no one's replied to it. I'm walking the same road as you now as I've had a job offer which seems to leave me and my family just enough to get by. I want to move from the UK to make some money as well, not just a paid holiday. Could you please tell me how you got on with your salary negotiations? What is an acceptable salary to support a family of 4, with perhaps a tiny amount of savings to put aside and no expensive tastes? Thanks

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dcostelloe
10/26/2015 05:46 EST

Hi Just did the same try this place:
https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/870016

Close to Hamilton. The number one rule to remember as far as Bermuda is everything is imported so expect to pay more than you would in Canada. Also this is a small Island.

Great place to live I love it here and never want to leave.

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jk1967
10/26/2015 11:05 EST

Thanks for your post. Its certainly a fantastic place and I love it too - however it looks like it will cost a lot to afford to live there with my family. i have no idea how much expats earn there in order to be able to afford such expensive rentals and simple living costs, but obviously no one discloses such things even on forums - this is what makes it hard to negotiate with a prospective employer.

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skater
11/13/2015 19:02 EST

Hello mdsunf69:

Don't move to Bermuda. I moved here fora job as a single person and I have been hungry every single day. Soon returning to the states. A one bedroom apartment is $2000. A pineapple costs $8; a haircut $100 as nf God Help You if you need a new watch battery or an umbrella. Count on n me ng at least $200 k for a family or starve to death. And least you think I am dpoiled American, when I arrived I weighed 110 lbs, I am now 105. I literally cannot afford hi eat. Pretty scenery but not when hungry. stay home.

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skater
11/13/2015 19:14 EST

Hello JK67:

Unless you like to be hungry, unless you are aneorixic, stay home! You will starve to death in this country. Unless you are making over six figures. Also, if you are not bringing in. At the very least. $1000/wk per person, expect to be sleeping on park benches.

stay home

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Eve15
11/29/2015 10:53 EST

Hi there , cost of living in Bermuda is bit higher than in Canada but also is salary. Depending of what job you will be doing. Now you will be working on contract which it will be temporary, normally the most is ten years. You will need to get a car because even if the island is small the public transport is not the same as in the big cities.

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Eve15
11/29/2015 10:58 EST

You over exaggerating, Bermuda biggest expats workers at the moment are Philippines and they perform the lower jobs and most of them in a year made enough money in Bermuda to buy properties away, sure not good for Bermuda but depending on your job you can live comfortable.

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ComingtoBermuda
1/5/2016 10:13 EST

I'm in the same position as you. I have the chance to move and am currently trying to negotiate salary etc but I have no idea what the 'norm' is over there. I have read about housing allowances, but also been told that no employer offers these. So much conflicting information, and it's impossible to make an informed decision!

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dcostelloe
1/15/2016 17:44 EST

Hi,
You can expect to multiple by 3 for the equivilent costs. I have been here 6 months and I will be returning home. If you want to save money Bermuda is not the place to do it. It is a beautiful Island the people are very friendly. Just way to expensive

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dcostelloe
1/17/2016 12:22 EST

Well look at the currency form USD to PESO.. Everyone I know works almost 24/7 just to get by and 6 to 8 people live in a room and share the rent and those that are lucky enough get to live as a caregiver. They buy properties and send all the money they make here home.
Reality sucks once you been here a couple of months, great tax breaks but no end in site to the high cost of living..not to mention Hamilton just made the worlds most expense place to live. Look here : http://www.royalgazette.com/
Two shootings on my road in the last two months.
The most beautiful Island but as someone said it ain't so beautiful if you are hungry. I have no kids here I shudder to think of the costs if I did.

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dcostelloe
1/17/2016 12:25 EST

Unless you are very senior management there is no housing allowence, if you find one that does let us all know so we can work for them.

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dcostelloe
1/17/2016 12:26 EST

That was me in 2015 now ask me in 2016 :-(

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dcostelloe
1/17/2016 12:27 EST

Do your research extensivly once you are here your stuck.

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Jshank22
1/23/2016 11:46 EST

What kind of job do you have that is resulting in this pay vs cost of living detriment? Also, what would you consider to be an adequate salary for the cost of living?

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davetecsgirl
1/23/2016 13:58 EST

I think you are exaggerating...

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davetecsgirl
1/23/2016 13:59 EST

emoo is the website that most people will find a place to live in Bermuda

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davetecsgirl
1/23/2016 14:01 EST

Housing allowances are still offered at most re-insurance companies but not in other fields, especially government jobs THEY DO NOT OFFER HOUSING ALLOWANCES

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davetecsgirl
1/23/2016 14:02 EST

You are never stuck, just most contracts say you pay your own way back if you don't finish out your work permit

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skater
1/23/2016 16:28 EST

Okay. Do the research:

1. Housing: Check the listings on emoo Bermuda and in the "Royal Gazette". You will find prices for studios $900-$110, with one bedrooms ranging from $1100-$2000/month. Then ask about the cost for utilities including internet. Ask about laundry facilities and proximity to public transportation. then Google earth the property to get a good look at the neighborhood.

Guest houses will rent from month to month for $1550 per room - includes a bed and bathroom. No kitchen, etc. Feel free to google guest houses, too.

2. Food. Google restaurants and check out the menus. Then google the normal, regular grocery stores: Super Mart and Marketplace, not Miles Market where only the rich people shop. You will probably be able to find out what is on special. These are only the bargain prices. For food at least double the price of the States. Today at the normal grocery store I bought: a cup of fruit, a box of barely and oatmeal instant cereal in packets, a small salad, 4 scones in a package, and a small piece of fish with veggies. $46. Not exaggerating. I am a 108 pound female and I spend at least $200/week in groceries. Personal care products like shampoo and conditioner: Aveen0: $13.00 each. So have all your toiletries shipped from home. It is worth it.

Entertainment: Wouldn't know, I am borderline starving and dying of scurvy. Have no money for such folly.

Cabs: About $4.00/mile, maybe not so much but in this range as I don't have that luxury often.

Public transportation: Very reasonable. $69 for a monthly pass on all buses and ferries. A true bargain.

Then factor in stuff like books. I bought a N.Y. Times bestselling paperback: $20.75. Can take a picture of the price tag. New York Times Sunday paper: $9.75.

Average price of a haircut: $100. Wouldn't know about facials, manis and pedis. Ha!

Don't let Bermuda seduce you with her beauty. The island is incredibly beautiful, and so are the people: warm, friendly and lovely. There is something truly magical about this place. But unless you have a plot of land where you can plant a money tree, or you will be in misery. Can't live on scenery.

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skater
1/23/2016 17:02 EST

Skater again. I forgot to include a small jar of honey in that grocery list.

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Sandman11
2/21/2016 20:21 EST

I live in Bermuda and, with respect to Skater, I believe she is grossly exaggerating the costs. $200 per week groceries for one person is nonsense. I would estimate $125.

You can spend anything from $1,200 upwards pm on accommodation, depending on what you're after. Electricity maybe $250 per month. Internet $80 per month. We spend about $100 per month on gas for the car, regular every day useage.
For takeout you'll pay around $20 for a pizza. Eating out you'll pay around $25-30 for a main course in a normal restaurant. Plus 17% grats.

If you have kids, pre-school is around $1,000 pm. Private school is closer to $2k pm if you want your kids to go to private school.

Generally prices are consistent with the fact that people have higher incomes here. The Government of Bermuda department of statistics website has detailed information on salary levels - go and take a look to get a base idea of what you should be expecting.

There are also serious benefits to Bermuda - too many to list here. It's suffice to say that thousands of expats love it so much that they settle here and never leave. That would not be the case if they were all starving. Skater's account is not the norm.

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Fireblade
2/29/2016 09:02 EST

Well of I were you I would think twice, I came here year, big mistake wish I had never bothered. So expensive its crazy and have to be honest there is not much to do either. I am looking at leaving already cannot stand the place!

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skater
2/29/2016 18:59 EST

I agree with Fireblade. Read the Royal Gazette - a recent headline stated that groceries are not affordable for the average family. Last year, an estimated 11,000 people left the island - most because lack of jobs. It is illegal to have more than one job. It is a nightmare with immigration to change jobs. You are beholden to your employer for everything. the cost of living is absolutely ridiculous. Not convinced? Read the paper on line. You will get first hand knowledge of the prices and politics of the place. Also, there has been a recent rash of robberies and shootings, so know that Bermuda is not paradise. I have been here five months and am leaving this week. Stay away.

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Fireblade
2/29/2016 19:08 EST

Yes and just to reiterate, I'll be out if here as fast as can, just don't bother coming here. If you think you can save forget it. Tax free I think not, in fact the Govt just increased the payroll tax, oil is so cheap around the globe but guess what, they're also increasing the cost of petrol. Gone are the days of prosperity here, I wish I had never come,the sooner I am gone the better...

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skater
2/29/2016 20:10 EST

I agree with Fireblade. Can;t get out of here fast enough. Every one has a hand out. Happy I found out before investing too much time and energy. DO NOT MOVE HERE. I repeat, DO NOT MOVE HERE. Bermuda is not that great. She is beautiful, but she is very maintenance. stay where you are.

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ComingtoBermuda
2/29/2016 20:23 EST

Wow! Looks like you two don't like the place much, or at least don't feel that the cost of living is acceptable. I'm coming from the Cayman Islands, which has many of the same issues and where the cost of living is very high ($8 for a red pepper!!) so I'm not expecting too many shocks. What isn't clear is what people would consider to be a reasonable salary which would allow a comfortable life and perhaps a little saving. Are we talking about $75k, $150k, $200k or what?

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skater
2/29/2016 20:23 EST

msaund6g:

No! No! Do not move here! the prices are ungodly. Not worth disrupting your life and family. I moved here as a single person and have very much regretted it. After five months , I am returning home to Chicago. I can;t imagine trying to support a family here. A pear costs $1.49. An apple the same. A loaf of bread is $7.00. Have you checked the costs of housing? Do your research, but I would suggest to decline the offer. I have traveled extensively, and I can;t wait to get out of here. Not convinced? Read the month of the "Royal Gazette". Draw your own conclusions. Pay particular attention to the classifieds and to the "sales" for the grocery stores. I am a mother of tow, and I am telling you, it is next to impossible to support a family here. Not to mention you are stuck on a little spit of rock in the middle of nowhere, with no recourse if the job doesn't work out. If your wife isn't working, she will be miserable. Yes, Bermuda is beautiful, but don;t be fooled........

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Fireblade
2/29/2016 20:55 EST

Hey there msaund6g I completely agree with Skater, what was I thinking, the is horrendous I am so unhappy, can't wait get out of here just starting to make plans, don't expect to be here much longer myself, I have to agree do not come to this spot on the ocean, its just not worth it. All these people saying its great must be on big salaries or their employer pays for everything. Your going to need at least 250K to survive otherwise you can not live. DO NOT COME HERE!

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skater
2/29/2016 21:34 EST

How many people are you intending to support? For one person a minimum, an absolute minimum, of $50 K. and I am not spoiled. In fact, right out of a college I was a vagrant and also lived out of a car. Bermuda is ridiculous. Do not expect to have any sort of life here unless you make $100 K - that covers basic expenses and a semblance of a social life. Don't believe me? Read the Royal Gazette. It's all there. Do not move here. Not worth it. Do not be seduced by Bermuda's beauty or by your prospective employer. Do not move here.

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msaund69
3/1/2016 09:38 EST

Wow. Lots of comments.

I moved here with my wife in August 2015. I'm working for a private company and my wife is not working. My pay is 6 figures with housing allowance, vehicle and fuel. We shop carefuly (alwasy have). We have a lot less "stuff" than we did but it's a different life in a different place. Save about 1/2 my salary.

The life works for me, but I wouldn't come here without the salary or perks.

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davetecsgirl
3/1/2016 17:40 EST

I agree that there is a lot of exaggerating going on.. My hubby and I rent a cute two bedroom cottage on the water for 2400 a month, our electricity bill in the winter is around 175 a month and in the summer around the 250 mark. We spend around 200 a week for the two of us.. and still bank money and take a few trips a year, I do not work I volunteer. My husband does not work for a reinsurance company and does get a housing allowance. Government jobs DO NOT give housing allowances. Bermuda is not for everyone but there are over 5000 expats that live on the Island in all different work fields, from reinsurance, doctors, dentists, teachers, maintenance, construction, nannies, chefs, hospitality... So there are many happy expats on the Island... It is not for everyone.. but there are many of us expats that love life on the Rock

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skater
3/1/2016 17:48 EST

Dear davetecsgirl:

What is your husband's salary? Does your husband's job supply benefits such as health care? The point we are all making is that salary needs to be commensurate with the cost of living, Children add an entirely new dimension to the decision. I am here as a single person. I would never move my children.

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davetecsgirl
3/1/2016 17:53 EST

My husbands salary is just over 100,000, LIke anyone who works in bermuda they have health insurance, but we pay half and my husbands company pays half, and still have a co-payment. I know many people who have moved here with their children and pay for their kids to go to school. Every expat is different on the Island, but I still find some High exaggerating going on in the forums

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davetecsgirl
3/1/2016 17:56 EST

As a Canadian living in Bermuda, to make your move worthwhile and not to have to pay taxes back home in Canada, you must cut your ties from Canada, by not owning any property in Canada, no bank accounts, hand in your health insurance. For all this information you can contact Canadian Consulate

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skater
3/1/2016 18:14 EST

Yes, $100,000 - averaging out to $50 K per person. Plenty. That's what we all are saying. $36,000 for a single person, absolute minimum. I don't think I am exaggerating that $36,000 is absolute minimum to prevent dying of scurvy on this island.

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charlieboy747
3/6/2016 02:42 EST

100k and up minimum for any quality of life IMHO. Unlikely your wife could work unless your job could help secure a permission to seek visa from immigration. Central London cost of living but great quality of life if you're prepared to roll up your sleeves.

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kconti83
5/7/2018 22:07 EST

how much were you making? I was offered 130K to move to bermuda but your many posts of nearly starving are scaring me! I'm a single female.

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djoiner
5/8/2018 06:26 EST

It’s not as simple as that. You need to factor in the Tax (or lack of) that you pay in Bermuda and the switch from CA$ to US$. At the same time, it’s almost irrelevant what your current salary is. What you should be calculating is how much it is going to cost you to maintain the standard of living you require and then how much you have left each month after that.

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davetecsgirl
5/10/2018 22:29 EST

My husband and I are on the island, He makes 120,000 with a 1500 housing allowance and we live comfortably, and bank away a bit every month. Bermuda is expensive, but your taxes on your pay is only 10%

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davetecsgirl
5/10/2018 22:31 EST

Remember with moving a family here, you are looking at 20,000 a year per child for education. Depending if you want a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment you are looking at 3-4,000 for an apartment. Most spouses are able to get a permit to seek work, but finding a job is a different story... Best of luck

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davetecsgirl
5/10/2018 22:32 EST

Remember with moving a family here, you are looking at 20,000 a year per child for education. Depending if you want a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment you are looking at 3-4,000 for an apartment. Most spouses are able to get a permit to seek work, but finding a job is a different story... Best of luck

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davetecsgirl
5/10/2018 22:32 EST

Remember with moving a family here, you are looking at 20,000 a year per child for education. Depending if you want a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment you are looking at 3-4,000 for an apartment. Most spouses are able to get a permit to seek work, but finding a job is a different story... Best of luck

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davetecsgirl
5/10/2018 22:32 EST

Remember with moving a family here, you are looking at 20,000 a year per child for education. Depending if you want a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment you are looking at 3-4,000 for an apartment. Most spouses are able to get a permit to seek work, but finding a job is a different story... Best of luck

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davetecsgirl
5/10/2018 22:32 EST

Remember with moving a family here, you are looking at 20,000 a year per child for education. Depending if you want a 2 or 3 bedroom apartment you are looking at 3-4,000 for an apartment. Most spouses are able to get a permit to seek work, but finding a job is a different story... Best of luck

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XBDA
6/15/2018 08:36 EST

Also remember the hidden "Foreign Currency tax".

A "local" business (pretty much any business except reinsurance) must pay staff in "Bermuda dollars", which are only good on the island.

If you want to convert your salary into US dollars, there is a 1% Government tax and a 0.5% bank charge.

So, if you are being paid in "Bermuda dollars", remember that you are being paid 1.5% less than you might think.

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XBDA
6/15/2018 08:41 EST

Also don't forget the $35/week paycheck deduction for "social security" (a benefit that expats aren't eligible to receive).

Supposedly, expats can write to the government when you are 65 and ask for your contributions back (which will be worth nothing after 20-30 years of inflation). But as Bermuda's social security is massively underfunded and the Bermuda civil service simply ignores most correspondence, the chances you will ever get anything back are zero.

Just consider "social security" another hidden tax, when you negotiate your salary.

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