Advice for a “Perfect Retirement” in Hawaii

Thinking about moving from “The Mainland,” as many Hawaiians put it, and retiring to the islands?

We have only one state that’s a tropical island paradise in the South Pacific, so if that’s the kind of life you want to enjoy in your sunset years, why not head out west toward the setting sun and start a new life on the Hawaiian islands?

But before you board the next flight to Honolulu, consider these five tips for retiring in Hawaii that can make the experience even better:

1. Ship Your Car To Hawaii

There’s no need to leave your valuable vehicle behind and end up seeking to buy a car in Hawaii, where prices are often quite higher. Even on an island, you’ll find there are many places more convenient to travel to by automobile.

Use an experienced auto shipping company, like Executive Auto Shippers, that has long-standing connection in Hawaii and the equipment and expertise it takes to safely, efficiently ship a car by sea. It may cost less than you think, and you can have your vehicle ready and waiting as soon as you step off the plane!

2. Bring Sufficient Funds

Along with California, Hawaii is one of the most expensive US states to live in. Costs of living may be higher than what they are where you’re living now, so come prepared.

Make sure you have your “ducks in a row” with retirement funds, pension, Social Security, and any other sources of revenue before departure.

While pineapples may be cheaper, remember that 90% of what you buy at the local grocery store comes from the 48 contiguous states, and most other things are shipped in over the Pacific as well. And that’s going to tip the price points up a bit.

3. Save Big Based On Location

Downtown Honolulu is the most expensive place to live in Hawaii. Move even out to the edges of town, and apartment rents drop by hundreds of dollars per month. Locate off of Oahu like many retirees do, in gated communities not far from the resorts, and the price may fall even more.

If you buy a home or rent an apartment in certain locales on Hawaii’s “Big Island,” costs plummet to less than half of what they are in the Honolulu city center.

4. Consider Working Part Time

To help offset the increased costs of living relative to their original home states, many Hawaiian retirees work part-time.

Considering Hawaii’s unemployment rate is among the nation’s lowest (only 2% to 3%), you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a job. A new, part-time job will also be a new experience and help keep your alert, learning, and involved in the community.

5. Learn “Hawaiian Pidgin English”

You may not realize it, but Hawaiian is an official language in Hawaii alongside English, and there’s also a special dialect of English with its own unique vocabulary that’s developed on the islands.

You probably already know “aloha” and “mele kalikimaka,” but be prepared to hear someone say “e komo mai” (welcome) upon your arrival and maybe call you a “malihini” (newcomer.) Don’t be offended if an ethnic Hawaiian labels you a “haole” Caucasian, if you are one. But strive to blend in and acquire the status of a “kamaaina” (a longtime resident of Hawaii).

For a more “perfect” retirement in our nation’s warmest, most far-flung state, take the time to plan and prepare financially and culturally. Be ready for a new kind of existence that you’re going to love, but don’t forget to take practical steps ahead of time to help you love it even more!

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One Comment

  1. After doing some research myself: it appears that East Hawaii on the Big Island is the least expensive area to buy. I entered “Puna” into sites like Zillow and Trulia and found tons of nice homes between 200k and 250k, some even come fully furnished, so the moving part is easy! What’s neat is that it’s still only a max 90 min drive to the touristy resort areas on the Kona side, though I’m attracted to the wilder coasts of Puna myself. I’ve also read that the population on Big Island is much less dense than on the other islands and they say that people really live with Aloha in Puna: open, friendly, no rush, respectful to all cultures, even seniors and us regular, not-wealthy folks. Sigh. I’m still working on the dream.

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