Aloha! We have a guest post today by Melissa Jordan. This is one topic that many readers ask me about so when I was asked if I would be willing to share this article with you, I said yes. I did make video about living on Maui and it’s pros and cons and it is one of my most visited video.  So without further ado, here’s what Melissa has to share:  

Thinking of moving to the Aloha State? You’re not alone. The interest among mainlanders has grown even more recently thanks to the Movers & Shakas program, an initiative that aims to attract working professionals from around the country to move to and work remotely from Hawaii and contribute to the local economy and community-building efforts.

If you’ve always fantasized about living in Hawaii and are seriously planning to make a big move, there are, of course, a lot of factors to consider. Before you even start packing your bags, here’s what you need to know about about pros and cons of  moving to the Aloha State permanently.

Do extensive research about the area

This step may seem like a no-brainer, but there’s no underscoring how crucial it is to do thorough research about your new area of residence prior to moving in. You have to ensure that it offers the things that are most important to you, so you can truly enjoy the move and have a great time living there. You can look up the town calendar to see what they have in store in terms of leisurely activities, map out your potential routine to figure out if it’s sustainable, and investigate more serious matters like crime statistics.

Of course, you also have to consider its proximity to your new office and to establishments that you’re going to frequent, like supermarkets and malls. If you’re keen on making new friends, check if there are lots of social hotspots where you can meet other people. And if at all possible, talk to someone already living in the area for a considerable amount of time so you can have second-hand accounts of what’s it like to be a resident there.

Organize your finances

It’s crucial to be financially prepared before moving to Hawaii, as it will define your living situation there. Considering how the economy is not exactly in its best place right now, you need to make sure that you’ll be able to make ends meet once you make the move. The last thing you want is to put yourself in the red just months after settling in.

From the get-go, you should note that Hawaii happens to have the highest cost of living in the nation with an index of 191.8. In order to live comfortably on the island, studies show that you’ll need a salary of over $122,000. Of course, it will ultimately depend on your level of comfort, so you have to make sure to that your income and realistic monthly expenses are aligned. This way, you’ll have a clear idea of how to manage your money should you decide to make the move. Lastly, make up a backup plan for part-time work, just in case you have to pull in extra money while you’re settling in during the first few months.

Find a place to live

Housing in Hawaii is vastly different from other states. For one, they tend to be pricier by the square foot, so you may want to consider moving into an apartment or condo first instead of a single-family house. Condominiums are usually the default choice for people coming from the mainland, and they come in varying sizes and layouts. They require additional maintenance fees, too. The average condo fee in Hawaii is $400 per month.

For Maui, in particular, real estate tends to be pricey, but it shouldn’t stop you from making the move. The key here is to do lots of research, and maybe even reach out to some brokers so you can find the accommodation that’s right for you and your budget. More importantly, you also have to check your credit score to see where you stand, as your chances of securing housing will largely depend on it. A Petal Card feature on credit scores details how landlords usually require tenants to have suitable credit scores before they rent to you. This is also vitally important for the long-term in the state, where credit scores among young Hawaiians are higher compared to the mainland. This just means that if you’re serious about moving, you have to work on your credit score first and get it to an optimal range so you can move into your ideal place.

Prepare for the culture of the island

The island is a very welcoming place, but it’s important to be respectful of the culture and keep in mind that you are moving to a place with a rich cultural history. There are still remnants of tension between native Hawaiians and newcomers, hence the existence of the term “Haole,” or “mainlander” which is used to describe those who relocate to the island. It’s not always used in a derogatory manner, but you should become familiar with what it is and what it represents.

The Aloha State has a lot to offer, so don’t be afraid to bask in the culture and familiarize yourself with the customs and traditions. Go ahead and explore, and you’ll soon discover that you made the right choice in moving to Hawaii.

“Hawaii is the dream world that some can stay in and enjoy for the rest of their life,” says proud Hawaiian Amy-Noelle Gallo. “When you get to Hawaii and you get connected to the people, everybody is family.”