I have been thinking about this topic of “Living on Maui” for the past few weeks.  Recently our family’s income was reduced significantly. There were moments of panic and anxiety.  Then we prayed, we assessed, we prayed again and we planned.  Bottomline, we have to change our lifestyle and live within our means, with a new budget and a new lifestyle. Both my husband and I are possibly going to take a second job while we weather this financial storm. But no worries – at least we live on Maui, right? 😉

Are you dreaming of moving to Maui?  Some of you might not be just dreaming, but actually have a plan to do it.  Some of you might be doing your research right now, weighing out your options, writing out pros and cons.  I hope this little musing of mine will help you in your research and planning, or least give you something to think about.

When someone says to me, “I have good news and bad news” and ask “which one do you want first?”. I always ask for the “bad news” first, because I like hear the good news last … sort of gives it a happy ending.  So let me start with the “downs” of living on Maui before we talk about the “Ups”.

What are the difficulties you will encounter living on Maui?

  1. High Cost of Living  – Food Cost is high.  If you are moving from San Francisco to Maui or Santa Barbara to Maui, the high cost of living on Maui won’t faze you. You are used to it.  But if you are moving from Texas or Kansas or other states and nation where prices of milk does not go as high as $9 per gallon, then you are in for a surprise.  Of course there are milk on “sale” and it can go as low as $4.99 per gallon (always check Costco), but still  … the prices of food/groceries are expensive.. Housing Cost is high. Whether you are planning to buy or rent, the prices of homes and condos are high. To get an idea of how much higher it is to buy or rent a house here on Maui, I suggest you go to Craigslist and Zillow and look up the listing under Maui. You can also check my work website at Wailea Realty.  This is a major consideration and you must always have a plan on where you will live when you come to Maui.  We have many friends here on Maui who moved to the mainland because of housing situation. Some who are moving to Maui have the means and resources and can afford to buy nice houses or condos. That is great. But for some who have a tighter budget – housing must be planned well.
  2. Far Away From Family.  If your family and relatives are living on another State or Country, and you move to Maui, being away from a family can be discouraging at times.  For those who don’t have a lot of money, there will be many times when you’d want to visit your family but can’t because the price of airfare is expensive.  You can’t just drive to visit them.  You always will have to buy a plane ticket.  Again, we have many friends here on Maui who moved back to the mainland so they can be closer to their families (for example, they want their kids to grow up near their grand parents and Uncles and Aunties).
  3. The Vog and the Smoke from the Sugar Cane Burning.  I have no problem with these. I do not have any allergic reactions to vog or smoke from sugar cane burning. But others do. Therefore if you are sensitive to fog and smoke, Maui might not be the right place for you to live. (UPDATE 2017 – No more sugar cane burning)
  4. Limited  Career Growth – Hawaii’s economy is mainly based on tourism.  There are other areas and work possibilities but the easiest jobs to find are tourism-related – hotel industries, restaurants, retail store, etc.  Teachers are always in demand but many of the teachers who moved here moves back to the mainland when they can’t keep up with the high cost of living.  The opportunities for career growth are limited on this island.  That’s something to think about.
  5. You’ll Miss Some of the The “Big Things” – One of our friends said that one of the things he misses while living on Maui is attending the ball games on a huge arena. He said he remembered doing that with his dad and wish he can do it here with his son but can’t. You’d have to fly to another state to attend a big ball game. Same with concerts, and plays.  You have to fly out to experience it – maybe go to Oahu or California or Las Vegas.  Can’t just drive. And the cost adds up when you include airfare on the expense.
  6. Culture – Although Hawaiian culture is full of “aloha”, not everyone can adapt to it.  For example, people coming from the East Coast have a hard time adjusting to the laid back culture and indirect form of communication (common in Pacific Islander culture).  And let’s not forget to mention that it’s not only the Hawaiian culture that is on Maui – you will have to adapt to the many cultures weaved in here through the people … Filipino, Chinese, Tongan, Korean, English, Canadian, Okinawan, Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, German, and many more ….  For many, “culture” is actually the “Up side” of living on Maui and not the “down side”  and so let this part be a transition and let’s move to the “Ups” of living on Maui

What are the advantages of living on Maui?

  1. The Beauty of Nature – Most of not all places on Maui is close to the ocean. There are beautiful beach everywhere. You don’t have to on a trip and plan a major holiday to enjoy the beach – to snorkel, dive, surf or whatever it is that you enjoy doing in the ocean.  The sunrise and sunsets are spectacular.  Aside from the ocean/beach – the mountains are beautiful too.  In addition to the ocean and mountain – the flora and fauna are rich.  Gorgeous tropical flowers abound in the island – beautiful sights and smell abound!  I never take for granted the beautiful nature on Maui – and I love sharing them with you on my Facebook Pages: My Own Maui and A Maui Blog.
  2. The Weather –  It’s sunny most of the time in most places (like South side Kihei, Wailea, Makena and Westside Lahaina, Napili, Kaanapali).  If you like rain, Haiku and Hana is for you. If you don’t like hot and dusty and prefer a cooler climate, Kula is for you.  There are many options. If you move here from a place where  there’s an actual four season of winter, spring, summer of fall, – you will miss “fall” (the changing of leave colors, etc.) and “winter” (we don’t have snow here. Oh, sometimes there are snow dust up top Haleakala Mountain but it melts pretty fast.
  3. Culture and People – I mentioned earlier how this can be a disadvantage. However, it can also be the advantage or attraction on why people choose to move and stay on Maui.  The people are generally friendly and laid back. The culture is filled with aloha.
  4. Generally Less Stress  – Although the things I mentioned above on the “difficulties” on living on Maui can add stress to your lives, in general living on Maui is less stressful that living on the Mainland.  Sure the food cost is high and housing is expensive – but it’s really a matter of adjusting to a lifestyle you can afford.  Once you find that balance, living on Maui is a blast!

Now do you want to know more about living in Hawaii? not just Maui but Hawaii in general? Visit LIVING IN HAWAII website and you’ll learn more.

OK, I am done with my rumbling for the day.  I know the blog post is “subjective”. I did not really give you facts and figures. They were all observations with subjective interpretations.  That’s ok because this is a blog post and not an article in a newspaper or magazine 🙂  It’s a Maui Local’s observations and rumblings.  If you have anything you may want to add – observations, insights, experience, story – write them on the comment section.  We’d love to hear from you!