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Is Hawaii Worth It?

Paradise awaits you. Photo by Joe Gill.


Honolulu magazine asked four families to share their thoughts on the big question “Is Hawaii Worth It?” The decision was a 50/50 split. The higher cost of living can sure dent the bank account if you are not careful.

While I was reading, it dawned on me that where you are in your life might weigh your decision on whether it’s worth it or not. For example, a girl born and raised in Hawaii, now graduated from college might want to explore other parts of this giant planet we live on. Same goes for a retiring couple who has lived here for 30 years. They too might want to get off the island and see other parts of the world. However, a new family wanting diverse culture with a laid back environment might choose to live in Hawaii. Furthermore, a retiring couple living on the mainland looking to fulfill a dream of living in Hawaii would be a good candidate to move here.

For most of us, a town, city, or country is what we call home. Many of us will stay there and possibly travel around a bit. Others will move around until they find a new place to call home. My wife and I fall into that category. We were both born and raised in the Midwest, and after 35 years we decided last year to move to Hawaii. We started over. I got into real estate having zero past experience. We too, like one couple in the article, canceled our cable and Netflix. We shop less and cook at home more. These things combined with others help off set the higher cost of living in Hawaii. In return, we live in paradise and have the islands at our finger tips.

Our big screen TV is one of the many beaches only minutes away. The water is always warm and there are soft sandy beaches to relax on. Our gym consist of unlimited hiking areas all over the island, surfing, biking, or running on the beach. You tend not to spend excess money on entertainment in Hawaii.

Hawaii is expensive in many ways. For instance, electricity cost per kilowatt and hour in Honolulu is 0.35 cents, compare that figure to L.A. at 0.20 cents, and Chicago at 0.15 cents. Milk cost $5.00 in Honolulu (probably not organic) compare that to $3.00 in L.A., $4.00 in Denver, and $2.50 in Portland. A 6-pak of Bud Light will run you $8.00 in Honolulu while it cost you $6.50 in L.A., $4.00 in Denver, and $5.49 in Portland. However, property tax is much lower in Hawaii as is sales tax (General excise tax).

Obviously Hawaii is not for everyone, but neither is New York, Montana, or Florida. We all get to chose where we want to live. Hawaii is rich with culture and lush vegetation. There is a very laid back and casual atmosphere here in Hawaii. I get told over and over at work that I need to dress more casual. This is not something I am used to or comfortable with. We live on Kauai and have one main highway with a speed limit of 50mph. You are only as fast as the person in front of you, so there is no need to be in a rush.

If I would have been interviewed for the magazine article, I would have answered “yes” to the big question “Is Hawaii worth it?”. Hawaii fits the stage of life I am in. I am married with a 13 year old and a 2 year old. I can’t think of a better place to raise my family. Hawaii is my new home, and if I have to sacrifice a few things along the way then so be it. I live in paradise where many people only dream of visiting. I wouldn’t trade this life for anything. Life is way too short to live in the same place your whole life. Come and live in Hawaii for a change and see if you too share the same feelings as my family. See you soon, Aloha.

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