When considering moving to Jamaica there are a few basic things that you need to ask yourself and they are the 4 questions Why? How? Where? What? I’ll break this down for you.
The 4 Questions
Why? – Why do you want to live in Jamaica?
This is where you have to do some really deep soul searching and thinking. This a big decision and cannot be taken lightly. This will become a life-changing experience and if done right, can become one of the best decisions of your life. You can achieve a better standard of living, better health and most of all peace of mind but it must be the RIGHT decision for you.
Now, if it’s just you then you only have yourself to think about but if you plan on taking your family then it has to be the best decision for all of you. I’m not saying your children will dictate the final decision but all will need to voice their opinions in this big step.
A good thing to do if you haven’t already would be to arrange a holiday trip or two so they can get a feel for Jamaica and I mean in a self-catering setting such as Airbnb, FlipKey or HomeAway short-term rental. The home rentals on these sites come in a range of prices from high to low, luxury to simple, apartment, house, villa or rural country cottage. This will make it less of a holiday setting like when staying with extended family and you will have to completely depend on yourself, your finances and your ability to learn how to navigate and fit in during that period of time.
I call these the test runs. Although this can add up cost-wise if not carefully monitored, it’s a very important step to knowing whether this move is really right for you and a great opportunity to research your surroundings, check out facilities, find out daily, weekly and even monthly costings so that you can start to set realistic budgets for the move.
How? – How are you going to get there?
I don’t mean just jump on a plane and move to Jamaica, I mean what plans are you putting in place to get there? So, for instance, do you have any debt that you need to clear? Have you opened a Jamaican bank account in both the local Jamaican currency and an overseas currency such as a UK/EU/US/CAN?
Have you organized all the relevant documentation for you and your family, such as applying for citizenship if needed, and applying for a Jamaican passport? Yes, you can use your overseas passport for a limited period of time 90 days/3 months if UK/US or part of the commonwealth, you’ll see the stamp in your passport when coming through immigration at any of the International Jamaican airports. For additional information, you can check out the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) for your country’s requirements.
Save, Save, Save
Do you have any savings set aside? It may sound like an obvious question but there is no point planning a move living on a pipe dream. It costs to move and it costs to live no matter where you are.
Now is the time to take a magnifying glass to your money, grab your finances by the scruff of the neck and break everything down to it’s simplest form. Yep, ALL your incomings and your outgoings, every little expense and you have got to be brutally honest with yourself. You have to be able to see if you can start saving if you haven’t already, and add more if you have started.
Some sacrifices will have to take place, some belt-tightening but you can make it fun. How can you make saving fun?
Well, first of all, you know what your end goal is and that is moving to Jamaica, right. Start a 52-week savings challenge for yourself. You may have heard of this but it works like this. Set up a compounding chart, you can access one of my FREE printables below to do this and stick to it.
You start by first saving in the first week £20/$20/€20 for example, or whatever currency you use, the second week you save £35/$35/€35, the third week you save £45/$45/€45 and the 4th week which is a big sacrifice you save £125/$125/€125. You continue like this for 52 weeks and increase the amounts each week by the same increments. You’ll be surprised and happy at how quickly it grows. If you can do more than what I have set out please feel free to do so.
You can set up a savings graph chart like a Vision Board by placing an A4 size photo of your dream destination on your fridge and attach a colour bar chart to it each month showing how much you have saved cumulatively. It doesn’t have to be listed physically in numbers if you don’t want others to know but in items. So, for instance, the first month you’ve saved $250 place a picture of an item you want to take to Jamaica valued at that amount and so on. Who knows by the time you’ve finished the year it could be a picture of your dream car or deposit for the house. Make it interesting!
Save The Old Fashioned Way
For the more traditional amongst us, there is always the pardner draw system. For those of you who don’t know what the pardner system is it is defined by the Money Advice Service as “a partnership among people to save collectively”.
In my personal opinion, I like my pardner to be a standing order set up with a reputable bank/building society as they are regulated and can’t get away with running off with your money if things go wrong. Yes, I had an unfortunate experience once using the pardner system but I also have to add that it does work for millions across the world who have a trustworthy group of people and an excellent group banker.
If you own your own home you will need to decide if you plan to sell or rent your property. Selling a property can take some time to set up so you have to get the ball rolling pretty quickly once you know you have enough saved to get started.
Where? – Where are you going to stay?
You could always stay with family but I promise you, without a shadow of a doubt that you will go over your budget. As I mentioned earlier it’s best to use the short-term rental option to be really independent and be able to monitor your finances properly.
You will also need to decide which of the 14 parishes you want to live. Where you were born or where your family is from? Do you want to live the remote country life or the vibrant city life? Do you want to live in a community that you’re not familiar with and not know anyone? Do you want to live in a gated community or a within a community where you know a lot of retirees or expats live? Do you want to live in a house with lots of acreage, or a small plot? An apartment or house/townhouse? Lots to think about, right?
All these decisions will be based on your finances, your organizational abilities and your flexibility to fit in when moving to Jamaica.
What? – What are you going to do in Jamaica?
If you’re returning to Jamaica as a retiree then you’re halfway there but again you do have to check that it’s financially viable with the pension that you will be getting. Hopefully, you would have already put things in place such as a home already built or purchased as part of your long-term retirement plan.
If you’re like me then you don’t want to wait for retirement age to make the big move. No worries, it can be done. How you ask?
Depending on where you work they might have a flexible or remote working policy. You could test run this for 3 months to see if it’s doable especially in the field of IT. In this technological age being IT literate is key. I work remotely and it’s great. I’m in control of my hours and I make sure I get the work done. I have more than one client and I communicate mainly by email or direct message through an intranet system.
You can be a Virtual Assistant, a Freelance Writer, a Graphic Designer, a Web Designer, an Online Tutor, a Travel Agent, a Call Centre Manager, a Customer Service Representative, the list is endless.
All you need is a trusty pc/laptop a good internet connection and you’re good to go. There are a long list of legitimate online job opportunities out there. But a piece of advice, it’s best to apply for the position where you are currently located as not all remote positions are available worldwide and tend to only apply if you’re based in the US/UK/Canada/Australia. I’ll go into more detail with this in a future blog.
So apply for an online job where you are and once successful and you move to Jamaica then you’re still able to fulfil the job requirements and become a digital nomad. You”ll also be paid at a more competitive rate than if you applied from Jamaica. But like anything, there are exceptions to the rules. I once had a contract for a remote company that was looking for expats from the UK/US but located in Mexico and Latin America, so you just never know.
If you have a specialist skill and you wish to work here you should consider setting up your own business as priority is given to the local population which is only fair. Do your research carefully, in-demand positions are always available just check out international recruitment agencies or international companies that you know are based here.A good example are companies like Citigroup, KPMG, Diageo.
Charity or Voluntary Work
If you have a higher-level degree in social work you should connect with the various charities such as Save The Children, for instance, and if you have worked within a government agency you can check out the websites and apply to places like the British High Commission or any of the locally-based embassies or maybe the United Nations and the many NGOs.
The other option is to come on your test run visit to scout around and see what is available, offer to do voluntary work and arrange interviews before you arrive but a word of caution, if you get an interview for paid work make clear that you understand that compensation for work to be undertaken will not be as competitive and that you’re okay with that. Just be ready to negotiate if there is a real interest.
Create Your Own Job
Another thing to do on your scouting visit is to see what is missing in terms of services and match it with your skills and abilities and start-up the business, right here in Jamaica yourself. Also don’t be put off if you already see the business set-up, what you need to ask yourself is can you do it better? Can you provide excellent customer service? Create a place where people will want to come back and do business again and again.
I hope all these points will help you in making your decision more clearer in coming to Jamaica. So remember to ask yourself these 4 simple questions.
- Why do YOU want to live in Jamaica?
- How are YOU going to get to Jamaica?
- Where are YOU going to stay in Jamaica?
- What are YOU going to do in Jamaica?
You might be interested in How To Become A Jamaican Citizen if you’re not already a citizen or What is a Jamaican TRN.
Did you find this post useful, I hope so? If you have additional ideas on how to move to Jamaica why not share them by adding a comment below. Do you have a friend or family member wanting to make this move feel free to share this article with them on any of the social media platforms or just send them the link.