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  #11  
Old 01-15-2002, 08:53 PM
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2002, 11:26 AM
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I'll answer Gatsby's questions in no particular order:

Hospitals: I don't know a whole lot about the hospital. The word on the street is that they are good for 2 things: having babies and "Bermuda road rash" (when somebody wipes out on his moped). If you need anything really complicated they will either fly in a specialist or fly you to the US. Many doctors are Canadian (thank the Canadian nationalized health care) who come here because the money is better.

Kids: As above, I have heard it is a good place to have a child. The technology may be a little behind the times as I have heard that interthecals (sp?) are not available. For infants / toddlers there are many nurseries and quite a few ex-pats have nannies. There are also many stay-at-home moms in the ex-pat community.

Other: Most people stay 3-6 years. The typical commitment is a 3-year work permit but it can usually be extended. I wouldn't plan on making it a "semi-permanent thing" - most people get sick of Bermuda after about 3 years. However, there are some people who really fall in love with the place and stay for much longer.

People: It is a very laid back island, to the point of frustration. Sometimes it can be hard to get someone to do something for you (fix an appliance, deliver something, repair the phone line). It's not a good place to be in a hurry. However, ex-pats tend to continue to move at a more US pace. It is a very social island with lots of groups and clubs and leagues you can join. There is some mixing of ex-pats and locals but you will find that many of the groups are almost exclusively ex-pats (or wealthy white Bermudians). There are also some clubs that are just for ex-pats like the American Society which holds a big July 4th bash every year that's very fun.

Housing: Basically, houses have 5 possible features (besides air conditioning - you want to have air conditioning for sure). They can be close to town or far (far means a 15-20 minute drive or double to triple that for rush hour), big or small, pool or no pool, nice view or no view, and modern appliances or old 1970's appliances. For $5,000 you can get 2 of these 5 (maybe 3 if you get lucky). For $6,000 - $7,000 you can get 3 (maybe 4 if you get lucky).

Life: I hear that once you have your work permit your spouse has an easier time getting one. With all the financial companies here, IT is always a big need but remember they will NEVER hire an ex-pat if a Bermudian is even remotely qualified. If your significant other definitely wants to work, check out the job scene before you agree to come. Many spouses temporarily give up their careers (to raise the kids, e.g.) when they come to Bermuda.

Technology: Don't even get me started. The internet costs me $82 per month for 50 hours of 48,000 speed. They have just introduced DSL but I have little faith that it will actually work and it costs about $200 or more per month. TV is a big pain. The cable service is spotty and based on whatever they can pilfer from the mainland. Many of the "basic" US channels are not available - Comedy channel, Learning channel, etc. Or you can have a satellite dish except that DirecTV doesn't service anything outside the US so you have to steal it. You get an illegal card and you will get all the channels. That sounds great, except that since we are on the edge of the satellite "cone" of service, we only actually receive about half the channels. Also, DirecTV rescrambles its signal periodically forcing you to go back to the shady character who sold you the illegal card and pay him more money to fix it for you. Oh, how I miss the comedy channel. However, I do get the full football package from DirecTV (except for one or two stations that don't come in for some reason) and most of the pay-per-view. Recently we lost all UPN and WB stations as well.

Other questions?
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  #13  
Old 01-16-2002, 03:19 PM
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  #14  
Old 01-16-2002, 08:39 PM
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I don't know what most people do after 3 years - I suppose it depends on how happy you are with your company, how flexible the company is, and what other job prospects you have.

As for what you want your new salary to be, here is what I did. First you either have to have some kind of budget or some idea of your monthly expenses. Then do the following:

1. Figure out how much you are saving every month. Don't forget to include 401k (plus the company match) and also include the amount of your monthly mortgage payment that goes towards principal (that's like investing in your house).

2. Figure out how much you will be able to save in Bermuda. Take your new monthly salary plus housing allowance plus other allowances (there may be travel or car allowances) and subtract $5,000 - $6,000 a month for rent. Then assume your expenses will be twice whatever they are now (if you live in a high CoL area). Include utilities, groceries, gas, eating out, entertainment, etc. Now tack on a little extra for good measure. Don't forget to ask your new company about its pension plan. Many companies have a 401k-like plan (except it's not a 401k because there are no income taxes) that works like a rabbi trust. The defined contribution plan may have significant employer contributions.

Basically, once you know how much you need to make in Bermuda to save the same amount you were saving in the US, every extra dollar of monthly income is approximately extra dollar of monthly savings (negligible income tax, remember?). Then you just need to decide how much more you want to be saving every month.

For $75k per year in the US, don't be surprised if your base salary in Bermuda isn't much higher. Take a look at your paycheck and imagine NO TAXES. That's a lot extra in your pocket every month. Imagine your base salary in Bermuda is the same $75k per year and assume housing costs you $1,000 net per month (after housing allowance). You have $63k left over (or $5k per month). Double all your current monthly expenses (then add a bit) and subtract from $5k to get your new monthly savings. Don't forget any pension. You will be renting your house so that's money down the toilet and don't forget you will need to buy a car - they cost about twice as much here. I have a POS that cost $25,000 although there is a pretty big used car market so you should be able to get something for less. But the cars are really small (size limit for the country - the roads are small) and expensive.

More?
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  #15  
Old 01-16-2002, 09:40 PM
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  #16  
Old 01-17-2002, 09:00 AM
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the big problem with some of those offshore reinsurers is that they're basically run by amateurs...but if you get a phenomenal compensation loaded up with stock options, then it might be worth taking a look at...jmho
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  #17  
Old 01-17-2002, 09:31 AM
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nm
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  #18  
Old 01-17-2002, 12:54 PM
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That's a tough one, Gatsby.

Favorite things:

The weather (obviously)
The money
The beach / pool (you can't be more than a short drive from a beach)
The money
From a certain point of view, safety. Although Bermuda has its share of crime, it's almost exclusively drug-related and generally limited to robbery / burglary or two people who are high getting into a fight at 3 AM and stabbing each other. There's not much chance of a guy walking into a McDonalds and blowing away 20 people here. Of course, there isn't a McDonalds here either. And you won't have some nut job pushing you in front of the subway. Of course, there isn't a subway here either.
Did I mention the money?
I also happen to really like my job, boss, and coworkers.

Least favorite things:
It's hard to put into words exactly but it is frustrating not to have the comforts of home (the US, that is). It's not any one thing in particular, it's just an accumulation of little frustrating things. Most of these things I mentioned in previous posts - being forced to be a renter instead of being able to buy a house and do what I want to it, difficulty arranging convenient travel, lack of cheap kid-friendly restaurants, lack of variety for shopping (both grocery and otherwise), problems with internet and TV, lack of rainy day activities (you can't just go to the mall and walk around for a while - there is no mall), all TV shows are an hour later than the east coast so you can't watch late prime time without being up until all hours, stupid little mopeds driven by maniacs and trying to get in accidents with me, everything closes at 5:00, and a general lack of the ability you have in the US to get whatever you want wherever you want whenever you want.
I miss Costco and Home Depot and Olive Garden and McDonalds and Subway and good Chinese food and good Mexican food and even Taco Bell (which has better Mexican food than you can get here) and the local pizza place where I could get an extra large pizza with pepperoni for only 11.00 and here I have to pay twice as much for a pizza half the size and the mall and the multiplex and multi-lane roads and driving faster than 25 mph and driving on the right and I miss being able to say "Fine, I'll just go across town and get it from somebody else" when the salesperson is rude or the price is too high or they don't have the style I want (you can't do that here - there is usually only one place to buy something) and I miss green money that's the right size and has pictures of dead presidents on it and I miss being able to drive a few hours to go on a vacation or to be in another state or to visit friends or relatives and I miss being an American in MY country rather than a foreigner in someone else's country.

I wasn't really that patriotic a person before I moved out here but I'll tell you one thing, living here sure makes you appreciate the good old US of A.

I don't want to seem too down on the place because it is a lot of fun but it just isn't the US, know what I mean?
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  #19  
Old 01-17-2002, 04:53 PM
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Thanks for all your valuable insights. I would be interested to find out how much a brand new ACAS is expected to make and who are the best headhunters for positions in Bermuda. Thanks again.
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  #20  
Old 01-20-2002, 05:14 PM
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