12 Reasons You Should NOT Move to Hawaii!

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12 Reasons You Should NOT Move to Hawaii!2018-06-21T15:14:47+00:00

12 Reasons You May NOT Want to Move to Hawaii

Here’s where we try to talk you out of paradise by telling you some major reasons you should not move to Hawaii. Typically, nearly everything we write about the islands is through a positive lens – we talk about the amazing, the awesome, the glowing aspects of living life in the Hawaiian Islands.

IS IT ALWAYS LIKE THAT?

If you read fifty or so articles on our site, are you going to have an overly optimistic view of what life in Hawaii is all about and be surprised when you arrive and it isn’t like you expected?

Maybe.

Reason #1 you should not move to Hawaii: There’s a good chance you’ll be living at what feels like poverty

living at poverty levels is another reason to not move to Hawaii

Hawaii has a huge homeless problem

The “middle class” in Hawaii lives at what their mainland counterparts would consider poverty levels.  Many family work several jobs, live paycheck to paycheck, have substandard (by mainland comparison) housing conditions, very little expendable income and at any moment are living on the financial edge.

Put it simply, in Hawaii as of 2018 you need to be earning at least $150k a year to have what on the mainland can be had for $75k/yr. And if you have a larger family, you’ll need more and possibly a lot more income.

If you’re going to live in Hawaii, you need to be prepared to live a lifestyle of comparative poverty.  If you can stay here for the long term you can work your way up, but on day one be prepared to live a vastly downgraded lifestyle. Unless you’re already a multi-millionaire.

Reason #2 you should not move to Hawaii: One of the worst places to start a business

On various rankings, Hawaii nearly always comes at the bottom of the list in terms of starting a business. If you’ve dreamed owning a business, Hawaii is going to make it many, many times harder for you to succeed. It’s not impossible though as Hawaii has thousands of successful small family businesses.

It’s just that you will have a much, much harder time starting and running a business here than almost anywhere else.  If the business is in a regulated industry, you’ll have to deal with very long streams of red tape.  And once you get past that, you’ll need to build trust and respect in the community to get customers and that becomes a big catch-22:  You need customers to build trust and respect but you need trust and respect to get customers.

Reason #3 you should not move to Hawaii: Near the bottom in public education

Hawaii has one of the largest capacity (per-capita) of private schools in the nation and that’s because parents try to avoid Hawaii’s public schools if they can.  Hawaii’s public school system usually sits near the bottom of various national rankings.  In 2018 WalletHub ranked Hawaii #39 overall and #43 for “Quality”.

The problem with private schools is that due to high demand, it’s expensive.  In 2018 you can expect to pay around $16k/year per student.  If you have two children, you’re talking $32k/yr and that’s after taxes so about $45k-$50k/yr of your gross income will go to paying for private school.

So combine this with the $150k income to start and you’re up to $200k/yr in gross income. And we haven’t even talked about buying a house yet.

Reason #4 you should not move to Hawaii: Pay is below national averages despite much higher cost of living.

Because everyone wants to live here and is willing to work for less (admittedly this is just our guess and not a data research-backed conclusion), the result is that jobs here pay much less than their mainland counterparts. Expect a 20% cut in pay or more from what you’re making on the mainland.

So you really end up taking a double-hit: first you get hurt due to a much higher cost of living than nearly any other city and then you get whacked with a pay cut.

Many people from big mainland cities say that Honolulu’s cost of living is similar to where they live which is true, but when those people compare what they will be paid to do the same job in Honolulu they are understandably shocked by the pay cut.

Hawaii has the high costs of big mainland cities with pay scales of small isolated towns and that’s a double whammy that’s hard to swallow.

Reason #5 you should not move to Hawaii: First time home ownership nearly impossible

would you pay over a million for rainbows? some will but but many see it as another reason not to move to Hawaii

This was the view I was greeted by in the morning as I came out the door to head to work in Paia, Maui from our home in Honokowai (Kahana). Copyright Apornpradab Buasi.

In 2018 the median price of a single family home on Oahu was $795,000 and for a condo it was $415,000.  Do the math.  Unless you can put down $142,000 and carry a $570k mortgage for a home (and that’s a “median” home) or come up with $83,000 and carry a  $332k mortgage for a condo, fuggetaboutit.

So either you have to make a really high income with very little expenses or you have to already have a home that you can sell that has sufficient equity.

As a result of these sky-high prices, most middle class folks in Hawaii must rent and those rents go up every year due to ever-climbing real estate prices.

Reason #6 you should not move to Hawaii: Traffic is really bad

bad traffic is anothe reason not to move to Hawaii

Yes, even our Sunday morning drives are packed in!

Various national reports show Hawaii’s traffic as some of the nation’s worst.  We know of friends that moved to LA from Honolulu and they think Honolulu is worse.  The freeways look like parking lots during rush hours that can stretch a normally 30 minute commute into a two hour crawl. Every workday. On some parts of Oahu people have to get up at 5am to get to work by 8am. No lie.

What’s really bad about the traffic is that it’s extremely peaky.  If your travel time can flex from 30 minutes to 2 hours, what time do you leave the house to get into town by 10am?  Who knows?  This forces you to leave early and then you might arrive really early, on-time, or late.  This wastes a lot of time and makes one want to avoid driving whenever possible.

But wait, there’s more.  Here’s the real kicker:  because our mostly mountainous islands have few highways, most locations on the island are only accessible from a single highway.  When we get the occasional big highway accident, the entire island chokes on traffic. There have been some horror stories of people taking 8 hours to get home.  It doesn’t happen often but it does happen.

If you don’t like sitting in traffic, you’ll either need to live really close to where you work which typically means much higher housing costs or work near where you live which typically means much lower paying jobs.

Reason #7 you should not move to Hawaii: Fewer choices, less competition, poorer service, higher prices

Because of Hawaii’s disincentives, there is less competition for anything in our small, closed market.    Less competition is almost always bad for consumers and here it applies to much more than just high prices.  Companies just don’t have to try as hard to win your business, creating for many a “take it or leave it” approach. This lack of competition also permeates our politics: Hawaii is a single party state, featuring the lowest voter turnout in the nation.

This all contributes to an attitude of apathy for many.  For a while there was a popular bumper sticker “Ainokea!” (pronounced eye-no-kay-ah) which is local slang for “I no care”.

You would think our conditions would be ripe for change and consumer revolt, but in Hawaii our Aloha Spirit culture creates a shrug-and-bear-it type of attitude.

Reason #8 you should not move to Hawaii: You may not recover from the culture shock

If you’re caucasian (locally called “Haole” [How-lay]) and raised with traditional American / Western values you are almost guaranteed to be in for a huge culture shock.  While Hawaii is one of the United States of America, it’s about as far away from the USA culturally as is it geographically.   Consider this: Hawaii’s Statehood holiday (i.e. “celebrating” the day Hawaii became a state) is never celebrated (or even recognized!)  by elected officials at any level and is almost always met with protests by those who believe Hawaii was illegally overthrown and illegally annexed by the United States.

Once you get over the passive/aggressive anti-American attitude, you’ll then have to acclimate to a social culture which is founded on a beautiful Hawaiian value system of Aloha, acceptance, and ‘ohana (family) that combines with a strong Asian influence that brings with it an interesting mix of duty, honor, and extremely “click-ish” (not mouse clicks, but human) circle social circles.

Once you get past that, you’ll have to be forever comfortable that you’re the “low man on the totem pole” in terms of racial minorities. All in Hawaii are minorities but there is a pecking order.  Hawaiians are on the top of the heap, followed by other Polynesians, then Asians, and finally the Haoles.

In summary, if you can handle an anti-American closed society embracing pan-Pacific cultural values where haoles are the on the bottom of the social pecking order, you’ll do fine.  Most mainland haoles never get past this.  Those that do have have learned to embrace its benefits (the Aloha Spirit, the non-materialistic values, the beauty of racial diversity, and the Japanese “Samurai” code of honor) while not letting the downside bother them.

Reason #9 you should not move to Hawaii: You’ll always be an outsider

It doesn’t matter how well you’ve integrated with Hawaii’s culture; you’ll always be the “mainlander” and if you’re haole, even more so.  It won’t matter if you married “local”, have been Hanai’d (“ha-nigh”) by a local family (to Hanai is to adopt one into a family), had mixed-race children, have done countless good works for Hawaii and have lived here for most of your life. Too bad so sad you’re still a mainland haole.

Unlike the US mainland where you’re either  a New Yorker, Chicagoan, Californian, Georgian or whatevers, in Hawaii you will never be more than a Hawaii resident. The only people that will call you “Hawaiian” are those that are absolutely clueless.

What does this mean, really?  It means you will have to completely let go of your Western self and completely embrace your new Hawaiian islander self.  You must be like Lt. John Dunbar who comes in as an American soldier to a remote output and “turns injun”, becoming “Dances with Wolves” in an Native American Indian tribe and long longer speaks English or identifies by his American name.  If you can be Dances with Wolves, you’ll do fine. If you insist on remaining Lt. John Dunbar, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll need to leave.

Reason #10 you should not move to Hawaii: Everything is really expensive

If it costs money, it will cost a lot more than you’re used to paying.  Nothing here is cheap. Even locally produced goods cost a ton more.  One interview with a local cattle rancher revealed that it’s cheaper to ship calves from Hawaii to the mainland, raise them there, then ship them back for the slaughterhouse than it is to raise them on Hawaiian lands.

If you can’t buy it in the stores, you’ll have to ship it. Amazon’s free shipping has been a godsend for Hawaii (and you’ll love that Amazon Prime membership!) but not everything is on Amazon (at least yet) so for any special order items you’ll have to wait a long time and pay a whole lot of shipping costs. And even on Amazon, there are many items that only ship to the “Continental United States” which means Hawaii is out of luck.

Why are things so expensive here? It’s not because everything has to be shipped in, which it does, but rather a cocktail that consists of:

  • High real estate prices (which affects warehouse and retail costs)
  • High government overhead (taxes, regulations, etc)
  • Low competition
  • Higher than normal shipping costs due to the Jones Act which requires that all shipping from the US mainland arrives on US flagged ships.

Hawaiian islanders get used to it until they go to the mainland for a trip and only then realize the “Paradise Tax” that we have to pay.  Visitors to Hawaii need only take one trip to the grocery store or any restaurant to experience extreme sticker shock that us islanders have just come to accept.

Reason #11 you should not move to Hawaii: Everything is really crowded

traffic backs up for miles to a popular surf event is another reason not to move to Hawaii

Even with the bus system, Hawaii still gets some traffic days like these.

Anything in Hawaii that becomes even somewhat popular immediately becomes overcrowded.  This perhaps may be more acute on Oahu than the other islands but the underlying fundamentals are similar.  Find a good restaurant? You’ll have to wait for an hour. New product announcement? Lines around the block. Big concert in town? Sold out in an hour. Big shopping sale at the mall? You’ll never find parking. Big event anywhere? Traffic backed up for miles. Big surf event? You can’t get near the place.

This phenomenon is probably the result of a combination of these factors:

  • High population density
  • Little variety results in high demand for new things
  • Bored with status quo of things to do
  • Cultural acceptance of waiting in very long lines

If you don’t like long lines or crowds, this is obviously not going to work for you. The way we islanders deal with this is either embrace it by making the long camped out lines part of the fun of the event itself (if you can believe that), or if possible, wait until the craze subsides and then participate, though this latter approach doesn’t work well for short-term events like concerts. One visitor summed up their experience: “It’s hot, crowded, and expensive”.

Reason #12 you should not move to Hawaii: No road trips

one of many reasons not to move to hawaii

No road tripping here on the island!

One of many things mainland Americans take for granted is the amazingly awesome fun of a road trip.  We’re not going to go into great detail here about how much fun that is because you either know or you don’t.

The best thing you can do in Hawaii is an “around the island” trip and we put that in quotes because you really can’t go around any of the islands due to terrain. So in reality what you end up doing is driving across the island and then back.

It’s fun, gorgeous, varied, and scenic.  But it’s the same road and the same scenery each time. It’s still beautiful but you can only do it so many times.

For those that enjoy road trips, you are really going to miss this if you move to Hawaii.

Still reading? You get a bonus 2 more reasons why you should not move to Hawaii

Reason #13 you should not move to Hawaii: Visiting family on the mainland is really expensive

The high cost of mainland travel is another reason to not move to Hawaii

You’ll probably be going to the airport to pickup family than to travel yourself.

In 2018 it’s about $600 round trip to San Francisco and $900 to Chicago or New York.  So for a family of 4, you’re looking at $2,000 to $3,200 just to get off the island. Add in $200/night for hotel, $75/day for car and a 2 week vacation starts adding up to around $10,000.  And we’re not talking about any trips abroad.

Visiting family will probably cost you a lot less as you’ll end up staying at someone’s house but you’ll still have to pop for airfare, probably car, and definitely eating out.

Either way, mainland trips are something you really have to think about long and hard because it’s going to cost you. What ends up happening over time is you go less and less, growing ever more distant from mainland family. For some, that’s a great benefit.  For others, it’s heartbreaking. Over time for many, it’s a dealbreaker.

Reason #14 you should not move to Hawaii: Less food variety

Before Costco came to Hawaii this was a lot worse but we still don’t get anywhere near the food variety that you see in similarly-sized mainland cities.  Surprisingly, our fresh fruit selection is not very good. While we have good local supply of pineapples, bananas and papayas, fruit that has to be shipped in is rarely ripe and either overripe or underripe.  Peaches are the best example: we only get really sweet and juicy peaches for perhaps 2-3 weeks out of the year with substandard selection after that.

Restaurants are a problem too.  Hawaii has a large selection of Asian-centric restaurants but after that it falls off the cliff. Italian, Greek, Mexican, Pizza and the like are sorely lacking.  And don’t even try asking for locally popular foods like Philly Cheesesteaks and Chicago Italian Beef sandwiches.

If you love Asian cuisine and seafood (especially sashimi), you’ll be in heaven.  But great [anything else] restaurants? You’ll be lucky if you find a tiny handful of the rest and how many times can you go to the same Italian restaurant?

 

Should you move not move to Hawaii? Despite all that, we’re still here!

Share this page with anyone you know that lives in Hawaii and they will have little to disagree with. But, guess what? They are still here and so are we! Why?

Easy!  We love the positives and the negatives don’t matter that much to us.  This of course is an individual choice and only you can weigh out your own internal equation.

So now that you’ve read the bad, it’s time to read about the good.

Read: “50 Reasons to Move to Hawaii” now

 

Should you move to Hawaii? Find out and take the quiz.

Still here? What do you think? Have we changed your mind? Let us know in the comments below

138 Comments

  1. DoesItMatter? 08/12/2018 at 1:56 am - Reply

    Claiming “I was born/raised/live in wherever” does not grant anyone some kind of psuedo “lordship/dictatorship” of that “wherever”. It doesn’t give one a pass to “denigrate” anyone else, in fact such only dishonors yourself and the very land you claim to be so holy. It contradicts what you claim you are “protecting”, thus such claim is invalid, denial denied.

    • Justine 09/11/2018 at 8:39 pm - Reply

      I completely wholeclittilly agree witih that sentiment. It’s such BS. Like, find a hobby, or something that actually matters to busy yourself (not actually you; generic 2nd person usage) with instead of being so preoccupied with taking an emotional stand against the fact the world will continue to spin. People from Detroit are like this now too.

  2. Haole 711 08/07/2018 at 12:22 am - Reply

    Hey thanks for writing this awesome article! I enjoyed reading it as well as all the other comments, haha.

    My wife and I have been considering moving to Hawaii ever since our honeymoon to Maui back in 2014. The island defiantly keeps calling.

    Since then we have built a home and started a family here on the mainland, UT. We have two daughters, (two two and under). I have also joined the Military and can transfer to Hawaii with the Army National Guard, due to a job offer working for the Department of Homeland Security in Kauai that is lined up.

    My question to you is how do the locals view/interact with government, specifically the Military? And what’s the best way to go about renting a place to start out? I’ve looked at craigslist but want a locals advice on if there is a better way to search. Do I try to find and rent from locals or from people who own second homes there? And the last question is shipping a car? Our car is paid off but is it worth shipping over from Utah or just buying another once we are in Kauai? I’d love to hear your story of how you got over there. And appreciate your advice.

    We plan on renting our home here on the mainland to help with the cost of living in Kauai. We are SO excited and are fully invested in making this move happen and are more than happy to downsize and accept the lifestyle of the garden island.

    Also I’d love any links to the real history of Hawaii and how it became a state. Sounds like it was sorta taken against their will. Super interested in learning about their story.

  3. John Gill 07/31/2018 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    Nice article but it seems to speak almost exclusivly to a white audience. What are the relationships with other ethnic groups, African/American, Hispanic, etc? Where do they fall in the order / hierarchy? What is the relationship with the diverse military cultural base. My questions may have been answered in previous responses but my focus is primarily on your article. Also, can you speak to how the cultural clashing impacts the ability for non-Hawaiians to find employment?

    • Peter Kay 08/01/2018 at 5:40 am - Reply

      This article applies equally to all those not native born in Hawaii regardless of one’s skin tone.

  4. drutterhawaiiedu 07/21/2018 at 11:54 pm - Reply

    Hello, I’m a graduate (Class of 2014) from the Uhiversity ofHawaii in Hilo. I was born and raised in Lansing, Michigan but my heart will always be in Hawaii. I spent 7 wonderful years there and fell in love with the culture and the people. While in college, I did the research and, quiet simply, I believe the islands were illegally annexed into the United States so I sympothise with the Hawaiians on that point – the islands are simply a reflectionof the same thing the Eurpion side of my family did to the Native Americans on the mainland. I agree with about half of the things in your artical, the other half, from my 7 years of experience, appear to be based on what I call “tourist” islands like Honolulu and Oaho . Realestate is not that high in Hilo (but it is high) and the traffic was not at all heavy in Hilo. I could say more but I’ve got to go. Mahalo

    • Peter Kay 07/22/2018 at 9:00 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the Hilo perspective!

      • N. Hernandez 08/04/2018 at 10:47 am - Reply

        Thank you! Because we don’t want you here!!

  5. Kanani 07/10/2018 at 4:03 pm - Reply

    Aloha,
    I found some of the comments even more interesting than the article, as they seem to run the spectrum of opinion and perspective.
    To give context, I am quantified as 50 %Hawaiian from my paternal side, and Haole on my maternal side. Haole has never been derogatory, unless assigned some type of degrading adjective when used in addressing someone.
    Haole references anyone without 8 generations of lineage in Hawaii- for anyone!! It was started in the 1840’s by missionaries to establish the US vs. THEM parallel between the ‘civilized and the savage.’ But you won’t find many people who know that now, not even in my own community….. we are called KANAKA; Hawaiian is a legal term prescribed to us under colonization.
    I disagree with the “pecking order’ mentioned in the article. I hear white mainlanders say they are the minority here, my own husband tried to make that claim too until I set him straight that every non-Caucasian group is a separate and unique culture.

    But I’ll concede some similarities as Polynesian and Asian languages originate from Proto-Austronesean; like English, German, Romance languages originate from Indo-European. There are common practices and acceptances between the cutltures but they are all individually unique.
    Western values are almost opposite of either Polynesian or Asian and that is difficult for Americans to understand or comprehend when coming here.
    The Mainland Haole attitude is very difficult for kanaka and most Island locals here in Hawaii. American consumerism values gratification and rapid growth; the islands want slow pace and everything in its time, when its organically suppose to happen. I appreciate this but it’s not for everyone.

    I have a Haole husband, retired Navy vet who served for 22 years. He’s lived here his entire career. When he met this pro -sovereign Hawaii native girl, he didn’t always agree on my politics and vice verse. We still agree to disagree on certain issues. But one point he readily grasped is how Hawaiians can easily dislike mainland Haole who are so ignorant of our history, our beliefs, our values, and the injustices we have undergone and still go through. It took him meeting me to get an in depth knowledge of Hawaiian culture… my question was why? I think he still struggles with that realization,something that I believe singularly defines American imperialism- the lack of knowledge and true understanding of conquered cultures. And the choice to stay ignorant.

    I read some of the comments above, and I want to point out the difference; moving here and saying I love Hawaii and I love the culture is a statement almost everyone makes but less than 1% of people that move here can actually claim. Because I grew up in Hawaiian Homes/ New York City I have a unique interaction as the “go between “ betweeen my two racial halves. I see a big difference in cultural approach. It’s rude for a Polynesian to start a conversation with “what’s your name”. We say where are you from? Who is your family… it’s paramont to establish a tangible connection to create a thread between strangers that has meaning.
    Lastly, I will say some of the hostility does brew over the financial disparity. If you’re generationally from Hawaii you either have 3 jobs or live multi -generationally to afford a home. Yet, people from the mainland can swarm in and snatch them up because they come from a more exonocally viable community that pays higher wages for the same work. It’s a hard thing to swallow.
    I’m from Kauai an island that I love… I have no animosity to anyone as I am obviously bi-racial but I have to point out that people moving here – will turn into crowded Oahu and all it’s problems. At one point in time people moved to Oahu for the same reason they now want to move to my home island Kauai-to find paradise and experience the Aloha spirit. Yet Oahu changed and absorbed all the problems of the mainland, now it’s transferring to the outer islands…. paradise can’t stay paradise if everyone comes here… just something to think about.
    I live in my ansetral home where my grandparents graves were dug up by developers to install toilets, and my sacred areas aren’t considered as important as buildings with crosses. To me,the pecking order firmly puts Hawaiians at the bottom….
    but I’m starting to digress into other topics…
    Mahalo for the interesting read

    • Peter Kay 07/10/2018 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      Mahalo Nui for adding to the tapestry of comments. very well done and I so appreciate your input!

  6. Maria 06/28/2018 at 8:33 am - Reply

    Aloha! I visited Hawaii in 2007 and left my heart there. I went island hoping spending time in Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island. I have since visited Oahu several times, mostly due to affordability from the mainland. I have to say that the Big Island captured my heart due to is veratility and rustic nature.
    I live in Las Vegas (the 9th island lol) and um a single mom living pay vheck to paycheck. I have a dream of buying some land and investing in a tiny house. I love the outdoors and its something not usually accesible due to the high temperatures of desert living
    I was windering if you had any input on tiny living. I think that would be the only way for me to make it happen but not sure on how feasible that is.
    Mahalo in advanve for any input!

    • Peter Kay 06/28/2018 at 9:00 am - Reply

      I think there is a tiny house movement here in Hawaii but I don’t have details. As you know, housing costs are a huge problem

  7. Truth Seeker 06/22/2018 at 7:33 pm - Reply

    Interesting points. However, your perspective may be a little limited to life on Maui. There are quite a few more social, cultural, and political issues on Oahu than Maui.

    I think the most obvious division in Hawaii’s population is that of economic class and wealth. It is quite clear that the gap between the rich and the working class is wider than it has ever been in Hawaii. I think missing from your list of negatives is the level of corruption in Hawaii’s state institutions where universities and programs are declining while the incomes of higher administrators continues to increase.

    Is it a coincidence that there has never been an internal investigation or audit of how “state workers” in upper administration are continually paid salaries between $100,000-$500,000? Why would there be when the administration is given the freedom to monitor themselves?

    Personally, I do not think the issue is about being local or not. It is about the “haves” and the “have-nots.” You are either a rich haole/local/or person of color or you are not. Culturally how much would a person living paycheck to paycheck have in common with another so-called local who can afford to wipe his butt with $100 bills?

    On another note, the indigenous culture of Hawaii has been threatened by the colonization since the first arrival of westerners. Hawaii was never a blank canvas for outsiders to paint on? It was already a place with a unique culture and people. Even as a fourth generation “local” I still respect the fact that living here is a privilege not a birth right. It is ignorant to think you are entitled to carelessly trample over people just because you were born here.

    If you think working class “locals” are rude, you should try being being verbally assaulted on a daily basis by rich “haoles” in Hawaii? That will really make you question how good things can happen to good people.

    Just to make it clear, the term “haole” in this reference incorporates the real definition which is not a person of race but rather a person who does not show love, respect, and aloha. Haoles come in all colors, shapes, and sizes and can be homegrown or imported.

    • Peter Kay 06/23/2018 at 1:39 am - Reply

      This was based on my life on Oahu which is where I’ve lived since the 80s. Clearly this is not a complete nor exhaustive list and you’ve pointed out other issues which are problematic. My intent was to focus on “Why you may not want to move here” rather than “here are all the things wrong here”. I appreciate you adding to the conversation as most of your points are valid. Mahalo!

  8. Steven Nevius 06/18/2018 at 5:22 pm - Reply

    I agree with everything you stated and need to add one more: the dearth of intellectuals is striking. I came here three years ago (my wife grew up on Maui). I work from home and am also in an online PhD program. People come here to vacation or retire. No one comes here as a career choice. Ambition? Meh…what you mean, brah? As you said, starting a business here is extremely difficult. There is ONE bookstore on the island. NO daily newspapers (except for the local ones). Sure, I can get the WSJ MAILED to me, but… I love the weather and some of the restaurants and Maui IS a beautiful island, BUT once you’ve been to the beach a few dozen times, there’s just not much else to do. I’m planning to move back to the mainland, i.e. “civilization” in a few years and be rid of the “haters” forever!

  9. Chuck Litaker 06/17/2018 at 4:52 am - Reply

    I used to live in Hawaii on Oahu off of date st on mahiai st. It was a shoebox apt but I loved it and was always surprised at how life wasn’t much harder than in the mainland.. I live in CA now and really miss the life out there my Daughter is graduating from HPU next year and I will be able to stop back in for a few days. Maybe ill look at rents while I’m there!

  10. Mike Mayer 06/11/2018 at 5:27 am - Reply

    My wife and I visited Molokai, Maui and Kauai last year. I had been to Oahu before. While I loved all of the islands, we came away from Molokai extremely impressed and are seriously considering retiring there. It is extremely affordable (we can get a very nice 2 BR condo for about 150K and the property taxes are almost nothing (mostly because there is no infrastructure on the island). My idea of paradise is snorkeling and/or diving in the ocean every day. The people we met were very friendly and seemed to welcome outsiders as long as they were not intent on changing their island. As long as I can get reliable internet and get back and forth to the other islands intermittently, I can’t see the downside for me. Of course, we plan on going back for an extended stay (several weeks) to firm up our opinion. Also going to see the Big Island next year and are wondering if that might be a better fit than Molokai? (more to do for my wife).

    • Peter Kay 06/11/2018 at 8:49 am - Reply

      It’s really hard judge “fit” for people as it’s such a personal thing. Molokai has its own character like any of the other islands. All I would say is do your homework and make sure you have a viable Plan B.

  11. freshjyve 06/05/2018 at 10:32 am - Reply

    This article is dead spot on. I can relate with all of the items on this list. I moved to Hawaii back in 2011 having lived in California my whole life. I’m filipino and definitely can blend in with the locals with my dark complexion and asian polynesian like features. One thing I want to add to this list is the emotional desert that hawaii is. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of ohana and aloha if you can find it and if you can fit in. For the most part, people are stuck with their cliques and groups ranging from the local kids (hawaiians and japanese american kids) who grew up on the aina to japanese speaking foreigners to mainlanders feeling misunderstood because of their maka maka and the open door of people coming and going. I lived on the island for five years but finding good friends was definitely hard to find. Locals would see me as if they knew I would leave the next year and did not want to spend time invested in me….others were plain beach bums who did not want to engage in meaningful conversations…some were circles already established with frat like initiations before being blessed to associate…and most were just plain tourists exploring waikiki. I realized in the end that my crowd that I would engage in left the island for greener pastures on the mainland… I survived for five years and have many great experiences and locales which I experienced. However, I left hawaii with tons of debt and student loans. Despite making the highest hawaii salary I can possibly make as a professional, the salaries did not hack it. I moved back to California and love the Golden State more than Hawaii for the diversity of food, cultures, people, innovation, progress, and the ability to drive to just about anywhere in an hour. Hawaii is a great place to vacation but California is a great place to live. I’m grateful for the Hawaii experience, but I don’t recommend to anyone who thinks they can just move there unless they have ohana and (most importantly) real estate equity already waiting for them. I tried my best as a talented professional from California, but came up short, much short brah…. I like go back now…. shoots!

    • Peter Kay 06/05/2018 at 10:36 am - Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to share. For all the Aloha and Ohana, Hawaii is very clique-ish and you’ve put out the good reasons why.

      • Serena Surbaugh 06/22/2018 at 9:29 am - Reply

        My husband and I moved to Kauai this past March from Oklahoma City. We came for several visits and were captivated. We also looked at the Big Island because housing is less expensive but it didn’t call to us like Kauai did.

        I work remotely so my job is portable, which made our move possible. We did a lot of research before moving here.
        Once we made the decision to move we sold our home and a lot of our stuff and moved into a rental for a few months. When we found a home on Kauai we moved a 20 ft container, two cars and two dogs. It wasn’t cheap. The cars were worth shipping because they are newer and in good shape. We brought furniture that was cheaper to ship than replace and we bought the house partially furnished.
        I bought a house in a middle class neighborhood for more than I ever dreamed of paying for a house anywhere but I can see Sleeping Giant from my windows and a glimpse of the ocean.

        I pay more state tax but a lot of other things (property tax, sales tax, insurance, liquor) are actually less expensive. There’s a Costco, Wal Mart and Ross etc. but our favorite store is Big Save, a local place. Everything you need is here. I am fortunate to have the means to travel a few times a year to see family.

        Our neighborhood has a mixture of cultures and races. Some of the homes are immaculate, some have way to much stuff under the carport but who am I to judge? I just got rid of more stuff than anyone should ever own.
        Everyone has a story and a reason. I don’t judge anyone anymore.

        The chickens wake me up early, early. Everyone is outside already and busy, washing cars, cooking and hanging laundry, heading to work We keep the windows open and we can hear the daily life around us. It is like the small village I grew up in. I walk my dogs twice a day and I have met many of the neighbors. I am amazed at the kindness and open hearts I have encountered so far. We have been gifted with fruit, flowers and plants for my garden. I make cookies for the neighbors and bread from the bananas they give us. I have met people that have moved here recently, those that have lived here for many years and those that were born and raised here. I have not felt excluded by anyone, in fact I have felt welcome.
        Life is what you make of it, people are people and if you are nice they will generally be nice back.
        Maybe I am just super lucky or wearing rose colored glasses but, for me, that wonderful Aloha spirit is alive and well.

        My neighbor a few doors up is Hawaiian, She is middle aged, like myself. The first time we met she asked what brought me to Kauai and I told her the island kept calling to me. I explained how happy it makes me to be here and the way being on the the island feels like I’ve come home. I tried to explain to her that I love it here and I respect the traditions and the culture of its people, the sanctity of the land. That living here is a gift, a privilege, a dream come true for me.
        She gave me a big hug and welcomed me home- ’nuff said.

        • Peter Kay 06/22/2018 at 9:46 am

          Great story! Thank you so much for sharing! Your last line really is the secret to the whole thing: “That living here is a gift, a privilege, a dream come true for me.”

  12. Star 06/04/2018 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Great article in thinking about moving to Hawaii in a few years. Which island is better? I’m thinking about moving to O’ahu. I’m getting a little nervous with all this erosion talk? I hope the beaches are still around.

    • Peter Kay 06/04/2018 at 7:32 pm - Reply

      The best island is the one you can get a job on :) I wouldn’t worry about erosion. It’s been going on for millions of years and will continue for millions more.

      • Nurse Caregiver 06/05/2018 at 4:30 am - Reply

        I went to Oahu on work purpose. I am a nurse. While there I needed to see real local life, the real Hawaii. I still keep the picture that commemorate my shock! I understood right away how imperialism and colonization had done in Hawaii what it does everywhere! I was extremely sadened, but I did fall in love and did wish to become an ally and contribute. I surely wish I could find a family, a culture, I am an orphan of hispanic descent, the quiz said im no good match :( But I wish I could♡

        • Peter Kay 06/05/2018 at 7:04 am

          It’s not imperialism or colonialism. It’s simply really bad government policy at work. Like the quiz says, you can still make it happen in Hawaii!

  13. Gina 06/02/2018 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Great info. Do you think I would have similar challenges living in Kauai? What do you think the biggest difference would be? I’m really looking for a place where I can slow my pace down and live more closer to and be more in tune with nature. Currently living in Los Angeles.

    • Peter Kay 06/03/2018 at 7:15 am - Reply

      This applies statewide. There may be variances of course.

  14. soontoberetired 05/31/2018 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    I’m just a tourist who loves coming to Hawaii every year and when I read about the struggle to live in Hawaii for everyday people, it makes me sad. The thing is, this is a resort economy(like it or not) very much like Whistler, B.C.(I live in Vancouver, B.C.), living there would be great if you can afford to enjoy it because of the cost of home ownership or rent and living expenses.
    My first trip to Maui was a bit of an eye opener for me when in 2005, my wife & I were at The Maui Dive Shop renting snorkeling gear and the young lady who was serving us happen to mention during our dealings that she could not afford to go home(eastern USA)for Christmas(we were there for Thanksgiving)she was stuck there, a prisoner in paradise.
    This experience really made me think about living in resort communities; it’s fantastic as a tourist because you aware about your own costs during your stay, but living there could be a real problem if you don’t do your research about what it costs to live there, especially an isolated place like Hawaii.
    I’m not saying that I understand what it is like to live in Hawaii or be of Hawaiian birth, but I like to think that just knowing that the peoples here have a lot of issues deal with just as much as a lot of other places in the world do.
    I also think some tourists don’t care about what’s important to the locals, which gives us all a bad rep, “tourists treat us like crap” I’ve seen first hand how some tourists treat people in the tourism industry and it can be pretty bad.
    I hope that tourists coming to Hawaii read blogs such as this to hopefully learn something about the places they visit, the people and their culture, embrace it without embarrassing yourself or the locals and maybe leave there a better place than when they found it. I know this is wishful thinking but that is how I feel and I hope my visits reflect the respect I have for the places I visit. Even small contributions(not always monetarily) to a community can make a difference; little things like learning a few words of the local lingo, explore the culture, checkout the local papers, attend a local fundraiser, community picnic or some other local community building activity, educate yourself about the place your visiting, etc.
    It just might change your life, you never know…

    • Peter Kay 05/31/2018 at 9:20 pm - Reply

      Thank you for taking the time to write something so thoughtful!

  15. Charmaine 05/28/2018 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    I have lived here my whole life and HAWAII IS NO GOOD NOW. THE PEOPLE HERE ARE MEAN AND BAD. So much SECRET CRIME. Our police don’t do anything or even care. They will look the other way and let crime happen. Three fourths of the people in HAWAII ON ALL ISLANDS are on Marijuana and it is NOT medical needed. No one stops it abuse or even cares to stop the ILLEGALNESS OF USING IT. These three fourths of people are also using or hard drugs as well. On Oahu the whole island is becoming and looking like a third world country. All authority people will not in force the laws and they even look the other way. It is so SAD what this place has become too. The reason there is NO parking anywhere is because there is so many abandoned/derelict cars parked all of the whole island of Oahu. And the state authorities do NOTHING to fix the problem. All they do is give LIES as excuses. People on Oahu live on top of each other, no space. Every community has all these problems plus many more. So if you are thinking of coming to live here you will regret it. So you better think twice. Plus Hawaii all islands depend on tourism; so they report LIES to the outside news to draw people here. They try to make HAWAII ALL ISLANDS LOOK GOOD BUT ALL IT IS; IS PURE LIES. SO BEWARE!!!!!!!!

  16. Sherri 05/22/2018 at 4:40 am - Reply

    “Hawaii can work for you” was my test result. I am single and have a conservative job offer at Schofield . This is a very hard decision to make because the pay isn’t great but an opportunity of a lifetime. I am concerned about commuting to work 7a-5p. I am looking to live in Mililani or wahiawa. Is the commute still going to be brutal? Thank you

  17. Pomaikailanianuheleana 05/08/2018 at 9:37 am - Reply

    Okay this is a funny topic and situation. As a Native Hawaiian i am 50% and 25% Samoan and the rest are Japanese and Chinese. Nor have i ever had a problem with Haole’s yes we make it hard for you guys because of the fact that there are so many dumb Haoles here. When i was little i was taught to be rough and to work harder for what i believe in. The rent for just a studio or a 1 bedroom apartment is at least $1,100 and higher. You also are selfish in the text concerning everyone on the problems that you went through being here in Hawaii, i really don’t know what chose for you to say all those things about our local people. By the way it doesnt make you “local” if your not Hawaiian or that you’ve been living here for 2+ years, it really doesn’t matter the time you’ve stayed here it matters on the blood that makes you local. On another note “Haoles” never being excepted are no ones fault but there’s wanna know why? Its because all you guys do is stupid things you guys should really do research on some things before you come to Hawaii because you guys do things your not supposed to such as touch our ancient rocks for example Jennifer Lawrence, the real local people dont want her here because she made fun of our rocks and said her butt was itchy so she rubbed it on the rock. These values are really important to us because really all of these cultural things are all we have left. Also the racial standards that your trying to uphold is complete bull because we dont really give a crap if your a mixed family only if you get people in a heat where they get super mad at you for your rudeness or your stupidity then we will get on about your race. We are chill with most of the Haole people here as long as your not dumb or full around with people and things your not supposed to then were all good. The crowded part and so much traffic is because we have all these DIFFERENT people come here and they end up staying and then they have to expand more crap along the freeways because everyone is just coming and coming from all different points of the world. We have never had this much high rises, malls, homes, etc. My family has been waiting more than 30 years for homestead land and yet there giving leases to all Haole people. By the way you got the definition of Haole wrong its meant towards anybody that isn’t Hawaiian, the true meaning is OUTSIDERS! But its most likely used for white people, which has a different name.

    • Peter Kay 05/08/2018 at 2:54 pm - Reply

      Pretty good job of explaining the local perspective, mahalo!

  18. Ashley O 04/26/2018 at 9:07 am - Reply

    I just have to say with the exception of culture shock, these issues listed are not abnormal problems in many states. The education system, homeless people, traffic, cost of living being expensive for example. If you think this is bad add deep winter and violence/ police brutality to the mix……….I suppose people that complain about Hawaii couldn’t live in Chicago for a week. Let’s trade.

    • Peter Kay 04/26/2018 at 11:56 am - Reply

      Lol I “traded” Chicago for Hawaii in 1983

  19. Mary 04/19/2018 at 3:12 am - Reply

    I lived in Hawaii for over 4 years I enjoyed it a lot plus being from Southern California it wasn’t to much of a culture shock, I like the different cultures which suites me just fine, and the laid back spirit. I like to travel, So unless traveling yearly are in my plans I couldn’t live there to long.
    .

  20. Anne 04/11/2018 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    While there are certainly some on point items on this list there are others ….. #14 in particular. You and I clearly don’t live in the same place. A new, and very delicious Mexican place just opened up 5 minutes from my house and I can think of several other equally good ones in other parts of the island. Sure you won’t find deep dish pizza in the islands, but I’m not a fan anyway, so I’m more that satisfied with Boston’s or Roundtable. You won’t find good inexpensive Italian either but I can think of several moderate-pricey places around town. Surf & turf type places abound, as do local burger joints, roadside Puerto Rican food, I’m blessed to live close to one of the best places for Hawaiian food. Thai food trucks, Mom & Pop Vietnamese, Indians from Fiji making naan to die for, Moracan food, Korean, Japanese, and can you honestly tell me you can live without the occasional trip to L&L? But sure if you insist we’ve got terrible food options here.

    Hawaii isn’t for everyone, we may be part of the US but Hawaii will never truly be American (colonies seldom are), but when you come here with the right state of mind and reasonable expectations you’ll do fine, so in that regard I hope your site help people to manage their expectations. Hawaii is happy to welcome those who want to respect and embrace it but it can be miserable for those who don’t fit in or are hell bent on changing to to fit some imagined ideal.

    • Peter Kay 04/12/2018 at 1:25 am - Reply

      Well said! The food part is a tough one because it’s highly subjective.

  21. Tammy 04/10/2018 at 6:54 am - Reply

    Interesting article. However, the challenges that you’ve describe seem to be primarily on Oahu and maybe Maui. I agree with your views for the most part for Oahu, as I lived there as a single white woman for 10 years, no issues with respect going both ways, had a great job, housing was high but I made it work. I am now married and my husband and I are moving to The Big Island soon to a beautiful and exceptionally well maintained home on a manicured one acre of land, that will cost us less than buying a home where we are living in WA State. I understand that food costs are more, but hey Costco is not that much more expensive than our local Costco and produce at farmers markets (or grow your own if you are so inclined) is a substantial savings. Amazon Prime delivers, not in the 2 days, but usually within 7 I am told by friends who use it there, and you get mainland prices on many items. Most of all just learn where to learn where to get the biggest bang for your buck. Live within your means and humbly it can be a wonderful experience.

    • Peter Kay 04/10/2018 at 7:41 am - Reply

      Though I’ve not written about it in detail, I also lived on the Big Island. Yes, real estate prices are lower, and in some places much lower (we bought house + land for $50,000 nearly 30 yrs ago), but there’s a reason why there is high supply and low demand in those areas. All the cultural aspects I discussed in this article equally apply across the state.

  22. Rachav 04/10/2018 at 5:17 am - Reply

    Bro, you hit the nail on the head. I was born and raised on Maui. For the first time in 27years I have gotten off that rock. I live in California now and it is soooo much better.

    Hawaii is for some, but I hated it the moment I popped into existence.

    You’re gonna get a lot of hate from people that have thier heads up thier asses, but I though this article was great

    Since I got here (California)I probably say “screw Hawaii “ 4 times a day.

    Beyond it being expensive or island fever, the local attitudes to anyone and anything new are atrocious. There is no variety of food – You ask for no rice and you are giving a cultural lecture.

    You speak pidgin and people are baffled.

    The worst though is when you try to warn people about coming here and they look at you like you are crazy.

    I NEVER want to go back and live in constant fear that I’ll be dragged back to the hell hole

    • Peter Kay 04/10/2018 at 6:22 am - Reply

      Thanks for taking the time to share the pain. Everyone has a story to tell about Hawaii and clearly they are all different yet together they form the quilt of what life on the islands is really like.

  23. Karen C. 04/09/2018 at 5:22 am - Reply

    As a member of the military I lived on Oahu for four years from 1981-’85 and during that time I noticed changes in my regular stomping grounds. I lived in a beautiful valley on the west end with small farms and fruit orchards and a bit further on there were also small restaurants and a few convenience stores–some of everything. Along the roadside was the beautiful smell of huli huli chicken being barbecued for beach-goers. Nice surroundings for me. But the negatives were becoming more and more obvious. There was an ever-growing population of homeless living in tents along the beaches. Politicians had “big plans” for the island, especially the west end–more highways, farms, orchards, land all over being gobbled up and people being eventually forced out. I think most of the negatives you mentioned are true and the culpability can be placed at the feet of the politicians. Development of the entire island has been saturated to a point where one can only find one tiny spot of green space on Waikiki. I couldn’t keep up with the galloping rent increases and headed back to the mainland. Even during that time frame I realized that to live an idyllic island existence I would have to be retired, wealthy and with convenient resources on the mainland. Didn’t happen.

  24. Huey Todd 04/09/2018 at 2:32 am - Reply

    Thanks for the article. My wife and I were just talking about moving back to the islands. We both grew up there as children and moved to the mainland with our parents when we were teens but have always longed to return. Though we are both Haoles and understand what that will mean we both love the Hawaiian culture and the islands. That also means we also understand why we are called Haole and have no problem with it. We both went to public school there and have learned of Hawaii’s rich history which ignited in me a love of culture.

    • Peter Kay 04/09/2018 at 6:48 am - Reply

      What public school did you attend? What was the experience like?

  25. Katie 04/03/2018 at 5:47 pm - Reply

    This was a great read, and though I did not pass the test it didn’t deter our family’s plan to make the move in a few years! I am a nurse, my husband is an oil field worker in Alaska with a high paying job, and each time we have been to Hawaii we have fallen more in love with the culture. Being from Alaska, we are used to the feeling of being isolated, as AK is basically an island haha! We are actually wanting to downsize and simplify life. We are looking forward to this adventure.

    • Peter Kay 04/04/2018 at 10:57 am - Reply

      Excellent! Make sure you sign up for the newsletter as we’re forming an online community designed to help the right people move to Hawaii.

  26. Kuʻulei 03/23/2018 at 12:28 pm - Reply

    The way you worded your comment on culture shock comes off very rude and offensive. If you have lived in Hawaii as long as you say you have and haven’t taken the time to understand why Hawaiians ignore statehood and talk about the overthrow than that is unfortunate. You use our words saying mahalo and talking about ‘āina but how can you understand these things without understanding the people. You are a settler and will always be one but there is a way to be a good settler, to be an ally. Maybe take the time to learn about these people and this place before you speak on either.

    • Peter Kay 03/23/2018 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      How is it rude and offensive?

      • LZ 04/02/2018 at 9:03 am - Reply

        I agree whole heartedly. Unless you have done your due diligence and heavily researched the history of the islands, the gross overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy by our government after promising otherwise, and the intentional misuse of the land, you have no grounds to speak on. I am a haole that has been living here for a year and a half. I have taught in different schools and am in a program at UH now. We constantly dive into this cultural shift and after learning the background, it is easy to empathize with the Hawaiian people and even easier to commiserate with why there may be some frustration. However, I have met very few Hawaiians that treated me poorly because I am haole. If you enter the islands as a guest, reminding yourself that this is not your land, not your ‘aina, then you will be respected. Your comments are short sited and carry a dangerous privileged, colonizer approach that is detrimental to the equity and understanding of all peoples.

        • GrowUp808 06/15/2018 at 7:30 am

          King Kamehameha murdered many Hawaiians to “unite the islands” and yet that’s perfectly acceptable…to the families who survived. Those who don’t live to tell about it, I’m sure they’d have something to complain about. I wonder how many cultures and families were destroyed “uniting the islands”.

          (eye roll) Mainland people make a great scapegoat I guess….

          This sort of family/tribe mental illness of murder acceptance among like raced people is really taking its toll.

          I don’t even want to hear people complain about mainland people disrespecting the culture and island when most locals trash their neighborhoods. I never see anyone out there picking up garbage in these beautiful places. I guess that’s daddy government’s job …

          These people must be very privileged to point fingers at someone else and yet not lift a hand to take care of their home properly.

          Meanwhile, crime rates are pathetically high.

          Talk about dangerous.

          Talk about delusional.

          Only the truth hurts.

    • Visitor 04/01/2018 at 4:05 am - Reply

      Oh… your comment actually reinforces what was said in the article…

  27. Eric 03/21/2018 at 10:32 am - Reply

    “BREATHLESS ONE”, is the true meaning of Ha’ oli.

  28. Danny 03/19/2018 at 9:32 pm - Reply

    Terry, we had a constitution since 1843, and a treaty that the US broke in 1893. Hawai’i was bombed because of the US military presence, not the locals. We were taken over without any bargaining between kingdom and sugar barons/Pres. Mckinley. Bargaining should have occured, not conqueror take all. The statehood vote passed because people from the US were flown in to sway the vote. Why should we greet new residents with a smile when their homes most likely caused Hawaiian burials to be dug up and thrown away, and hardly any transplants are willing to spend time reading archived documents to understand why many Hawaiians arent American and dont respect the status quo. When in rome, do as the romans, or dont come at all. This place was conquered as the native voice and LAW was squandered…and the lands (many now avail in real estate) have been swindled by faux laws that replaced the kingdoms. We’re only a part of America under American Law, not under native or world law. Think about that notion and read what is in the archives, including free online Library of Congress access. Cultural respect means honoring the wishes of the (displaced) host culture. Most who moved here over the years simply don’t have it

    • Terry 03/20/2018 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Hey Danny, Yeah, I’m sure all of that is true and there’s a lot worse in the US Manifest Destiny of the last 200 years. However, rehashing wrongs form 150 years ago is not relevant. The net-net is Hawaii was not, under any circumstances, going to remain independent. It’s a stunning place and one of the most strategic military locations in the world. The world is what it is and always has been. The only real question you need to consider is who’s tent did you want to be in. I think you know all of this is true and also that you got the best deal possible considering the alternatives. If the US was not in Hawaii, you would be overrun in a week. It’s not derogatory, so would just about any other state. It’s just a fact.

      • KENNETH EUGEAN BAGWELL 05/30/2018 at 7:27 pm - Reply

        I think our greatest service to Hawaii was protecting her from Imperial Japanese rule. Their atrocities were legendary. Ask China about how those guys rolled. They should thank God the Haoles were there to protect them.

    • Jimmy 04/19/2018 at 3:37 pm - Reply

      The truth is not one square inch of land anywhere on earth was ever bargained for or voted on or negotiated fairly. If you are a distant relative of King Kamehameha good for you. There is a very good chance he killed a bunch of people to establish his kingdom. All countries were once occupied by somebody else and taken over by foreign invaders. Nobody is an original owner of anything so give it a rest.

  29. Danny 03/19/2018 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    Hawai’i was illegally overthrown and is illegally occupied, just look through the various archives if you don’t beleive it (actual quotes from Dole, etc, are in there.)

    Haole is pronounced how-lay, not how-lee, and means ANYONE not Kanaka Maoli, not just caucasian.

    Kanaka Maoli are not at the top of the totem pole. We are less than 10% of our population and state objectives reflect that (our kupuna bones dug up and sacred sites paved for Walmarts and golf courses.) It really is disheartening to see this daily.

    • Peter Kay 03/20/2018 at 9:03 am - Reply

      Thanks for the pronunciation correction and while I’d agree your definition (“anyone not Kanaka Maoli”) is technically correct, we both know that’s not how it’s functionally used in daily language. Nobody would ever call a local Japanese a “haole”.

  30. Christian 03/14/2018 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    This type of question is always interesting when it comes to living Hawaii, the absolute shortest way to answer this is how bad do you really want to live in Hawaii? Even then that applies to any destination, what drive’s you to make the move and are you willing to accept the compromises it would initially take to do so. Look past the fact that it is Hawaii that you want to move to because if you truly wanted to you would began adequate preparation to do so. This means that regardless of the challenges that are present for living in Hawaii, they are going to be their as they have been in the past.

    It’s really a mental state of preparation, it can be done and it has been done countless of times. Just the same many people have tried and left. At the end of the day you will never know unless you try and can then speak from experience. I say all this having made the choice and adequate preparation to move out of my house in Nevada (extremely low cost of living and tax free), accepted a lower salary which results in a lower take home pay, coupled with the higher cost of living…you get the point. It has been 4+ years since I made that choice and guess what, the same challenges that were present years before my arrival and during my arrival are still present today.

    Hawaii is in a constant flux of change, think of it this way, how many exotic island destinations make up the 50 states??? Just one, are there other exotic islands destinations in the world that present a lower cost of living then Hawaii, yes. Like anything that is exclusive in this world, there will always be a premium, that has never changed and will always be. I could go on but I hope you get the point. It will always be to each there own.

    • Peter Kay 03/14/2018 at 10:53 pm - Reply

      Well said! Thanks for taking the time to write such a great comment!

  31. Olivia G 03/11/2018 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    No Jews, no African American culture, no strong Latino presence?? No thanks, a place can’t be great without Jews & blacks. They have the richest cultures and have contributed the most to human experience. This place sounds awful. I don’t even know if I want to visit now. Many thanks for this candid info. I seriously had been contemplating moving there to start a business. Any place that discourages small business is incomprehensible to me. Plus don’t Japanese care about education? Quality of the school system is a baffling situation

    Signed,
    Kid from New York currently @ home in NOLA

    • Peter Kay 03/12/2018 at 6:45 am - Reply

      Hawaii’s definitely not for everyone and feels like it wouldn’t be the right place for you.

    • Jimmy 04/19/2018 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      Jews and blacks have the richest cultures? Wow how ignorant and racist.

  32. Leslie 03/08/2018 at 4:03 am - Reply

    Nope. You haven’t changed my mind. We are in our 50’s and own two houses here. We both grew up on Antigua …108 sq. miles, and lived on St. Croix… 84 sq. miles, until graduating high school. I grow fruits and veggies on both properties, I bake my own bread etc, and we rarely eat out. We are used to living an island life. I still wash clothes out by hand sometimes and hang on a clothesline; we’ve never lost a hold on our island upbringing. We already live a more simple life than a lot of people here do, and so do our two grown children. As for extended family, the only time I saw a few of my family members was at my brothers funeral… and quite a few of them live in the same state as we do. My husband’s family live in California.. a 5-6 hour flight from Florida. Lol, honestly, we’re the kind of people that would survive an apocalyptic event.

    • Peter Kay 03/08/2018 at 7:21 am - Reply

      Not here to change anyone’s mind. I live here and help people move here! But I am pointing out elements about Hawaii which make many people leave very soon after they arrive. I’ve seen so many people get financially ruined by making a bad move here and I’m trying to help them. So good on you that you read this and remain undeterred!

      • Carolyn Carter 03/29/2018 at 3:42 am - Reply

        I do plan to make Maui my home for a trial of at least 3 months and i can take a supply of goodies to last at least a month…
        I will come back to Atlanta Georgia every 6 weeks for my one and only hair dresser after 30 plus years of him cutting my hair i can’t change now. At that time i will be able to bring more goodies back for another 6 weeks. If i have to i will tighten my belt

        • Peter Kay 03/29/2018 at 9:06 am

          LOL if you’re going to spend roughly $1,000 for round trip airfare to get your hair and if you have to buy goodies to survive, Hawaii’s probably not the right place for you.

  33. Tami Greene 02/20/2018 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    LOVE the article. I did not pass the test – but who cares! It test where your life is now, not where you want to be. My husband and I are tired of the rat race and looking at places where we can retire in a few years. Don’t want to live in the city, don’t want a bunch of things. Not really close to any family. Love them, but not much in common. I know it is expensive, but that has a lot to do with what you THINK you need to live. You did give me things to think about and I love it! Hopefully, one day, I’ll be one of those crazies from the mainland who got right in the head.

    • Peter Kay 02/20/2018 at 5:04 pm - Reply

      Perfect attitude! Now you know the degree of change that Hawaii represents. Keep it up!

  34. Haole from Indiana 02/19/2018 at 2:23 am - Reply

    Haole from Indiana. My Great-Grandmother was Hawaiian.. doesn’t matter. I look and talk like a haole from the mainland (and I’m sorry, but I cannot completely change who I am overnight!). I’ve been in Hilo for 3 years. Came here with a decent savings account, but I’m heading back to Indiana. WHY? Because unless you REALLY get in with the right crowd, you’ll end up working at Wal-Mart or Home Depot 3/4 time. Half-Hawaiians (I say this because most here are NOT full-blooded Hawaiian, but they act like they own the mofo) will be nice to you when you have a dime to spend- but after that you’re just a haole from the mainland and they have no use for you.

    Most neighborhoods are just jam-packed with houses- one on top of the other. This means that you have no privacy. Our $250k house (2 bd, 1 ba) had eight other houses immediately around. I could literally throw eight rocks and hit each house. And most neighbors have two kinds of animals: CHICKENS AND DOGS. SOOO… all day and night you’ll hear cocks crowing (many of which are bred for fighting- HUGE on the islands), and many MANY dogs barking endlessly.

    Speaking of neighborhoods, most people here keep MUCH trash and junk in their yards. It’s just astonishing to see so much SHIT on small lots!!! They just do not care! Rusty cars and old appliances? Who cares? No effort to even TRY to make their places nice.

    The weather is just beautiful. I love and will miss surfing at Hololi’i every day (*when* the locals LET me get to the point and catch the good waves!). I really LIKE poi, starfruit, papaya, and so forth. Dining at Hilo Bay cafe or Huggos in Kailua-Kona is a treat (vacation like!). Electricity is just CRAZY expensive (I put all LED bulbs in my house, keep lights off as much as possible, only turn on the hot water heater when needed), and it’s still 200+ a month!. Yeah, we have Costco, Target, and Home Depot, but it’s still not cheap (thought understandable since I’m on an island).

    The Japanese own eh-every-thing… THEY OWN THE ISLANDS. THEY hold all of the political offices. So if they don’t like you, fugettaboutit. And since it’s a blue-state, it’s VERY socialistic- the Micronesians are the welfare queens of the islands. They are trying to take over. They live on food stamps, welfare, medicaid. Even the Hawaiians do not like them. But they are starting to over-run everything.

    And the state seems to LOVE the homeless!! Hippies come here from the main land, KNOWING they’ll get a free ride. SO they literally take over the parks with their “tents” (they are called “campers” by the local media), and expect food, health care, and they COMMAND to be taken care of by the government- and they get it!! Even the locals I know tell me that most homeless are addicts and thieves, so much so that their families are through with them!

    SO, If you have a good job lined up, and have found a decent home with an easy commute, you’ll have a decent life here. There is so much beauty it can make you weep. There is adventure around every corner. But be prepared for much sacrifice and expense to be here.

    • Peter Kay 02/19/2018 at 10:23 am - Reply

      Thank you so much for posting this. It is your story and I’m grateful you had the courage to post it. Unfortunately I do not see anything you’ve written that is patently false.

  35. Katarzyna Wolwowicz 02/12/2018 at 3:33 am - Reply

    Hi everybody! I love this page. There is mot many pages about living on Hawaii compering to other destinations! I live and work as Psychologist in Europe. I would love to move and work on Hawaii. I know it can be difficult to fing a job as Psychologist in short time, but I can do other things, if they allow me to pay the bills. I would like to come with 2 kinds and my mother to look after tchem when I am at work. So I am lookind a job before I come to minimalize costs. Do you know any good job agences for foreigners? The problem is that on most job offert they write that the offert is only for Hawaii citizens…:(

  36. Josh 02/09/2018 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    I was nervous to read this but really glad I did. It made me feel better about moving there actually. I also passed the quiz. I have immediate family who just relocated there and started businesses and are doing great. I’m a young architect living and working in Miami. After an apples to apples comparison of Honolulu to Miami, the cost of living is nearly the same and salary is actually significantly higher in Honolulu (per salary.com) for my line of work. I have a good chunk of savings and can stay with family until I get on my feet. I also have a couple potential job connects I can utilize. I really think I can make it work! My only concern is that I’ve never owned a home before, I’ve rented the last 10 years since college. I’m confused by your math on reason #5. If median home price is $712k, are you saying 20% of that is the average down payment? You can pay 3.5% down with good credit in Miami.
    Anyway, great article. Planning to the move by next year. Mahalo!

    • Peter Kay 02/09/2018 at 3:15 pm - Reply

      Glad you liked it! I can tell you are a planner! Point #5 is more rule of thumb rather than strictly authoritative. Go to a Bank of Hawaii (boh.com) website and you can find the mortgage section for the details. Looks like you’re in a good position Josh!

  37. tom re 02/05/2018 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    Hi Peter, I really like your style here…. I passed your quiz and I’m ready for Hawaii. I’m checking online to see what I can find, and I really want to experience and hopefully live within a great mix there, even if I’m a Haole. I love their independence where they take great pride for it, and I’m very happy they weren’t destroyed by Americans as was done to the Native Americans and Africans, I really do, looking forward to be able to see how people live there in their different ways. Yes, I’m white, ha ha, and I’ll do my best.

    I’ve lived my life from Chicago/Mpls to a new wild Berlin in the mid 80s through the 90’s and to a stunning Shanghai and I’m very open for many new things. I’m a composer/musician who can do lots of things on my own and hopefully find other musicians to create, perform and record it- and especially listening to Hawaii. I’m looking for a good place there which is more quiet but not too far from some good musicians there……..research,ha ha…….

    • Peter Kay 02/05/2018 at 8:22 pm - Reply

      AWESOME! Glad you took the quiz and liked it. We have a common past in that I was born in Chicago!

  38. Michael 02/04/2018 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Hi. Thanks for the quick reply. My main question is how my part time concept relates to the cultural disconnects noted elsewhere in the list and comments as compared to full time living for longer stretches such as a decade plus, ie really moving there long term. Will this reasonably soften the cultural blow and ease of acceptance in both direction between the newcomer and long time residents.

    • Peter Kay 02/05/2018 at 8:23 pm - Reply

      ah, got it. I don’t think the partial living thing will have a significant effect one way or another. What’s a much bigger issue is how well YOU embrace the culture and the values.

      • Michael 02/06/2018 at 12:03 am - Reply

        Thank you Peter for your feedback and for writing the article/blog. The family had an offer on the table to buy their land from others and I was trying to decide if I should try to buy it personally before it was out of the family (purchased in ’58). I think I am going to let it go and perhaps in the future return to the concept of coming. The land is in orchidland estates and it seems that there are many lots there with privacy for under $50k, so it did not make sense to jump at this time, at least I think….. :) Short of your blog being down to earth and your willingness to discuss the bad with the good, I may have jumped prematurely.

        • Peter Kay 02/06/2018 at 8:17 am

          IT’s a tough call. I lived in that area of the Big Island back in the early 90s and lots were going for about $50k so not much has changed. For us, it was not a good move and we lasted here about 6 months before leaving. That’s not to say it’s not a good place for everyone, but it certainly wasn’t a good place for us. I’m happy that at least you thought through your decision.

  39. Michael 02/04/2018 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    My family owns 3 acres near Hilo and my wife and I are considering building a home to live in 1 to 3 years and then to rent it. We are not super social, but certainly want to be part of a community.we have owned land and built simple homes all over the mainland over recent decades…so I am asking about what part time living is like…live ther one year go away for 3 while we rent out property out, then come back for a year or two and so on? I am an educated builder, wife is an admin assistant. Down to earth mainlanders who live large in most places on $50 to 60k combined. No kids and life is an adventure. We have lived in tents, tipis cabins, and our homes, off grid, etc. Thanks in advance.

    • Peter Kay 02/04/2018 at 6:06 pm - Reply

      Not really sure what the question is. If you’re asking if it’s possible, I’d say yes.

  40. Jayne Davenport 02/01/2018 at 11:22 pm - Reply

    Hum, I take issue with your opinion on being a haole and never going to truly be accepted. As a hapa, my husband also a hapa and his sisters marrying haoles from the mainland, and us all having a huge mix of whites and ‘other’ as friends whom we treat all equally and they us. Why would you say such a thing? Hawaii has a lot of whites living here and I hardly ever hear any problems with any local and whites not getting along. Maybe now and again some local may do something to a military person, but in all fairness it’s usually surrounded by nightlife and drink and it doesn’t happen hardly ever.
    You forgot to mention however the incredible greed that is Hawaii, from the landlord hiking the rent every single year and heaven forbid the 80 year old roach infested dump needs repairs, the landlord will hike the rent to cover those costs too. Also, Hawaii is very dog UNfriendly. We take our dog out for lunch or any where really, just walking around the mall and we get the ‘dagger’ look. Forget renting with a dog over 10 lbs.
    You also say Hawaii has very little variety in food choices – really? You do live in Hawaii right? I lived on the mainland, Seattle to be exact for two years and honestly the choices were all the same and tasted all the same. Hawaii has a pot of amazing cultures to choose from.
    You made a comment about Hawaii offering pooper service. In Seattle I cannot count how many times I was ripped off. From having my vehicle serviced, to yard maintenance to home repairs, it was never ending. This doesn’t happen in Hawaii. Because in Hawaii we look out for each other and we go by word of mouth. It seems you have a very poor view of Hawaii so I ask you, why do you live here? You’ve basically put us down while trying to be diplomatic.
    While it is true, Hawaii is far from rosy, there is daily struggle and there are parts not so desirable, dangerous, but isn’t that in every state in America? What I know about most locals is if you don’t bother them, disrespect them they won’t bother you. Don’t move to Hawaii with the attitude you’re better, smarter, think you ‘need’ to change how Hawaii operates, locals don’t appreciate that and please, don’t move here and then try to talk pidgin because you will do that with the wrong person and perhaps get some sense knocked into you. Besides, anyone other than a true local trying to speak pidgin sounds utterly stupid. Hawaii is a beautiful place with a mixture of amazing people from all over the world, if you disagree you don’t belong here. You should never put your home and it’s people down. Shame on you.

    • Peter Kay 02/02/2018 at 9:40 am - Reply

      Thank you for your comments and I appreciate the time you took to write them. I think you misconstrue many of the factual parts of this piece to be negative when they are simply factual. The “outsider” comment is not negative; it’s a simple fact and as a mainland haole that’s been here since the 80s, I have no problem with it. Interestingly, I never used the phrase “not accepted”; you did. Your comments also make comparisons with the mainland and giving you the benefit of the doubt to accept your claims as true, they don’t make the facts stated here any less true. I live in Hawaii, love Hawaii, had my children here, and wouldn’t think of living anywhere else. This is not a negative piece; it’s a factual piece and designed to give mainland folks the reality of what Hawaii is. For me and countless others, these things don’t matter. For others, they will matter a lot and that’s why I wrote it. I truly do appreciate your feedback which is I I published your comment. Mahalo!

    • Diana Dionisieva 03/06/2018 at 5:03 am - Reply

      Welldone Jayne, I was looking for more information about the island and what I seen? A hater giving us a bad information. That some people are not like not means that I will not like or whoever.. thank you very much for what you said.

  41. Al Coholic 01/25/2018 at 8:44 am - Reply

    SO DEPRESSING! But appreciate the reality check.

    • Peter Kay 01/26/2018 at 12:06 pm - Reply

      Better know the reality than be fooled by the fantasy, right?

    • Peter Kay 01/26/2018 at 12:07 pm - Reply

      Better deal w/ the reality than be fooled by the fantasy, right?

  42. Kristin 01/15/2018 at 7:49 am - Reply

    I have to say that I have been to Oahu one time in my life. I was 9 at the time. I am now 36. My visit there with my family made such a huge impact on me, that moving there has been something I have been interested in since that visit. I am respectful that these islands belong to the natives and that they always will, however, I also know that may not be the case had it not been for the US military and the diverse make up of people that fought to protect that land on Dec 7th. The people that died there, who are still entombed there to this day, fought for it because of the love they had for it. It amazes me that the Japanese, who attacked the island, are more accepted now than those who defended it (US Heoles). I still respect why these feelings are present and out of that respect, I have started teaching my children the Hawaiian language and the Hawaiian beliefs as I have always found peace, comfort, and happiness, in the religion. I am a person who loves to learn about different cultures and I enjoy emerging myself in their practices and assimilating. This is one of the reasons I love the Aloha spirit. I still hope to live in Hawaii someday soon as I have a love for all people. Having someone treat me or feel about me the way that some people have expressed in these comments would break my heart as I would be willing to stand next to them and fight for their rights and defend their land. I certainly hope that these views will change in the future. Maybe not in their lifetimes, but someday. Aloha and Mahalo!

    • Kelly 01/16/2018 at 5:11 pm - Reply

      I understand the confusion with why people not native to Hawaii might wonder what the reason may be for some of the racism against caucasians but you have to understand the history of Hawaii’s statehood, the ousting of it’s monarch, the forced large acquisition of lands by private and government entities, and the fact that many people who visit Hawaii are from a very different culture Ie (acting like Logan Paul) and many caucasian tourist who acted in poor taste didn’t help. This along with some males in the military that don’t always behave themselves.

      As for the reason the Japanese are accepted and now a part of the culture is because of the fact that Japanese immigrants were part of the large immigration of Asians that have assimilated into Hawaiian culture. Along with the fact that the Japanese did not take over Hawaii during the war AND don’t forget…….Many ethnic Japanese were held in concentration camps by the U.S. military in Hawaii.

      Honestly, I didn’t even scratch the surface but these are some of the reasons as to why people in Hawaii are not fond of people from the mainland US. It’s actually pretty unfair to many caucasians visiting or living in Hawaii because it is a form of racism. As a non-white native of Hawaii, it really is unfair but I don’t think this will change any time soon.

      • Peter Kay 01/18/2018 at 6:43 pm - Reply

        Mahalo Kelly for taking the time to touch of some of the many cultural complexities at work in Hawaii!

  43. Ian 01/08/2018 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    This is a very solid article from a native of Hawaii. I attended BYU on the North Shore for 4 years and also attended Laie Elementary while my parents were finishing up their degree at BYU. Couldn’t agree more with the facts from this article. Good stuff. Very unbiased and true from all perspectives. It makes sense that many view Hawaii as a hot spot to visit rather than reside. Cheers Peter!

    • Peter Kay 01/08/2018 at 8:53 pm - Reply

      Mahalo Ian! That really means a lot to me as you can guess it took a lot of navel-gazing to write this. Much appreciated!

  44. Natasha Davis-Henderson 01/07/2018 at 3:01 am - Reply

    I live in Hawaii since I was 12yearsold because I was adopted from Russia. When years went by I had great time on Oahu the island I grown up then I had my daughter at 27 years old and I love the island but it got pricey offer the years…..I wish for 5tickets to get there. Not much to do either. That’s why I moved to the mainland

  45. Angie 12/27/2017 at 5:29 pm - Reply

    Dear Peter,
    What a great site and article. I have been enjoying your newsletters. We visited the Big Island this summer for the first time to visit friends who now live in Hawi. We currently live in San Diego and we were shocked at the EMPTY beaches and roads and CHEAP housing. We’re now considering making a move when our son is grown. Have considered foreign countries too and like the fact that HI seems different culture with no legal immigration issues. So do you think coming from So Cal and going to Big Island our experience would be different than what is described above? I have NO desire to live in Honolulu (too much like here), but the Big Island seems blissful. We did certainly notice the HIGH cost of food and Island fever is something to consider for any island, but I wonder if there are others who came from crazy SoCal traffic and expensive houses who find it all so much more more relaxing and even affordable since we already deal with the worst here…. Or am I being naive? If I’m wrong, please let me know. Gathering information.
    Mahalo!

    • Peter Kay 12/27/2017 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the kind words! I’d say on a general level these reasons hold true for all the islands with economic conditions varying the most, e.g. Big Island has cheap housing but there’s a reason for that due to a much smaller economy than Oahu. That said, all of these issues are surmountable by the right kind of people that are truly willing to embrace the island lifestyle which necessarily means letting go of many western cultural values.

  46. Makiko Felice 12/26/2017 at 4:30 pm - Reply

    Happy Holidays! This is a great article – I was born in Japan but grew up in Hawaii (Maui then Oahu) – I moved from the islands to FL 12 years ago because of my husband’s job opportunity. We visit my family every summer and we tell ourselves that we want to move back, but then the reality always sets in when we fly back to FL. I feel the cost of living there is always expensive and more, but my goodness, what happened to the real estate over there is unbelievably heartbreaking. We live in a fairy established area in FL (Sarasota/Lakewood Ranch) but I think the median home price is still a lot cheaper or we can get a lot more with what we pay.

    My sister works five days a week, some of my friends hold two jobs or work long hours.. They’re happy but also struggling.

    For those that already own a home are the ones that grandfathered in and passed on from their parents/grandparents, or luckily have purchased real estate before the spike. I regret that we left HI for FL because I feel we would’ve been okay had we stayed and bought a house when my first daughter was born. Now I feel like we wouldn’t be able to buy a house ( we live in a 4 bedroom/3 bath room 2700 sq ft home with a pool and a yard) that would be as big as our house now or else we would need to spend easily over $1M to live in town.

    The reason I found your post is because I googled “is it worth to live in hawaii..” – I always try to find a way to convince myself or husband to either stay in FL or move back to Hawaii. My heart still belong to the beautiful islands and my kids (12 and 10) always cry when we leave. My husband is a caucasian from NJ but he still loves Hawaii – we have many wonderful friends and family there waiting for us.

    The homelessness or struggles that every day people endure in Hawaii is something that I didn’t expect to get worse when I left. The rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer faster than any other states. It breaks my heart. I truly hope that the State can find a reasonable solution to provide affordable housings to those that so deserve.

    Meanwhile, I will continue to search for our home in Hawaii and hope we get to move back soon.

    • Peter Kay 12/26/2017 at 5:33 pm - Reply

      Thank you for the comment. Yes it’s very heartbreaking for those who have left and then discover how difficult it will be to return.

  47. Audra Le Beau 12/20/2017 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    That’s just like me telling the Pigeon, I’m native american indian don’t come to our Mainland it’s for us, we look what that attitude got use our land takin away. Yea keep that up mulehoggo, or mulalanie. From poco to you.

  48. Amy Arnold Veloz 12/13/2017 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    When I visited Hawaii many years ago, I was disturbed by the way the dogs and cats appeared to be neglected and abused. Maybe things have changed now, but I was horrified to see a dog living in a small cement enclosure in the front yard of a house. I was being driven by in a taxi and it took me a while to understand what I had seen. Were they keeping that poor dog in that tiny cement prison, as an alarm system? Did they ever let him out? It still haunts me…. I also saw dogs running around with collars embedded in their necks. I tried to catch them to see if I could help, but I couldn’t. Also, at the hotel, there were hundreds of stray cats begging for food. No one bothers to get them fixed. I hoped things have improved. It was like being in one of those horrible third world countries.

    • Peter Kay 12/13/2017 at 4:16 pm - Reply

      Hawaii definitely has a feral cat problem. The dog problem is more (IMO) of irresponsible owners.

      • Lori 12/22/2017 at 12:13 pm - Reply

        Wondering…. are there groups who do TNR there? I care for 3 feral colonies here in CA and I understand feral cat populations could be a HUGE problem where the weather is good year round. All that I care for and feed get fixed and released back into their territory. (That keeps other non neutered cats out)

  49. Ron 11/30/2017 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Aloha, Good article. I’m debating about taking a job on Kauai for about $90K which is a significant pay cut. But, I have no debt, some savings, and I am single. I miss the ocean, and I am a big surfer / paddleboarder, etc and the ocean is calling me back. I can not surf where I live now.

    Friends think I would wait until I retire, but I want to take advantage of being 41 and healthy and fit and be active while I can. I’ve worked hard in my career for 20 years, it may be time for me to chill a bit and live in paradise, but still be in my career field, albeit, not on the same upward career trajectory. Can you please offer me some advice? Thank you!

    • Peter Kay 11/30/2017 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      Glad you liked it Ron! You’re not getting any younger and if you love surfing this is of course the place to be. It really comes down to what you value more: money, or quality of life. Make sure you sign up for the newsletter as I’m forming an online community to help people move here.

  50. Stephanie Luciano 11/26/2017 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Hello Peter,
    Are you writing this as it relates to all the islands, including Maui, or just Oahu?

    • Peter Kay 11/26/2017 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      These reasons are very generic and apply to Hawaii as a state, i.e. everywhere. Each island has variances of course but there is no island where any of these reasons do not exist.

  51. Kelly 11/22/2017 at 6:54 am - Reply

    Thank you for the article, very un-biased and pretty much on point. I was born and raised in Oahu and lived there most of my life. One thing that I think people don’t realize about Hawaii is the incredibly high amount of property crime (violent crime is also on the rise) due to the meth epidemic which has only gotten worse as the poverty level along with population density has risen.

    I say this as someone who has worked in law enforcement for most of my adult life in Hawaii and the amount of thefts, car break ins, and home burglaries and even the increasing rates of violent robberies has made Hawaii feel less safe than it was 15 years ago. It’s really sad because the Hawaii now is so different from what it was in the 90’s and early 2000’s. Now it’s laden with crime, congestion, and construction with political stagnation with monorail that will probably never get finished.

    If you plan on retiring, there are many better options than Hawaii.

    • Peter Kay 11/22/2017 at 8:44 am - Reply

      Mahalo Kelly for the comments and validation. Much appreciated!

  52. Rhonda 11/20/2017 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Aloha Peter and thank you for your informative insights about Hawaii life!

    Although I have never visited Hawaii, I think I could enjoy living there. I took the quiz and it was favorable.

    Have you watched the TV show Love Yurts? it’s about a couple who build custom yurts and install them on your property anywhere in Hawaii and the South Pacific. I found some land on Oahu and would want to install a yurt on it. I would also want to install a raised garden for veggies and herbs, and grow some fruit trees.

    I grew up in Florida and want to live somewhere with a similar climate without the oppressive heat and humidity but still in the U.S. I have no family.

    My goal is to live a sustainable lifestyle and be as off-grid as possible. I have plenty of funds and would not need to work. My time would be spent volunteering, gardening, birding the islands, and general chilaxin’. I would occasionally eat out.

    Do you know of any others who have successfully done this or something similar? What are your thoughts about this plan? A couple of concerns I have are mosquito’s/biting insects (would I have to slather on insect repellent to enjoy the outdoors) and being able to grow a variety of fruit trees with the amount of rainfall common in Hawaii?

    Thanks so much for your time and kindness!
    -Rhonda
    Denver, Colorado

    • Peter Kay 11/20/2017 at 6:26 pm - Reply

      Very cool! I would recommend you take the time to rent a home here and find the right part of the island that has the precise climate and neighbors you want. There is a lot to choose from. There’s a good chance you’ll find what you want. I don’t know about the yurts but if there are others built on Oahu (I’ve not seen any myself but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any) you could probably get one built on your property though it might be better to buy a lot with a house on it already for zoning and permit ease. But those are details. Start your adventure! Get over here! :)

      • Rhonda 11/21/2017 at 9:38 am - Reply

        Thank you Peter! I like the suggestion of renting before deciding on where to live. I did the same thing when I moved to Colorado 18 years ago and it worked out very well. Thanks again!

        • Peter Kay 11/21/2017 at 10:11 am

          Good luck and keep us posted!

        • Lynn from Pa 04/03/2018 at 12:23 pm

          Took the quiz and it asked why i’m not there already! hope to be there by the end of the year. Read the comments by Rhonda from Denver, Colorado — very similar situation.
          i was thinking about tiny homes. do you know if there are many on Big Island?

  53. Armando 11/17/2017 at 6:33 am - Reply

    An opportunity to transfer within my company to Honolulu, presented itself literally yesterday. This article helps quite a bit but I think I was already aware of the drawbacks. I would be relocating from the NYC/NJ metro area which is a DRASTIC change for a family of 5 (we have 3 girls) used to mall shopping, x-mas in NYC & all that. However, the laid back island life is extremely appealing. Still mulling it over after ready & taking your quiz. Never been out there so I think a visit may be in order before making any final decisions. Thanks again for your very open, honest & blunt article.

    • Peter Kay 11/17/2017 at 7:45 am - Reply

      Thanks for the kind words. I really had to reach down deep to write this as I live here! Definitely recommend a visit. Highly recommend you rent a house in a residential area and “pretend” like you live here including commute into downtown Honolulu as if you have to be at work at 8am. It will still be a fantasy world but it will give you a pretty good dose of reality. If you have 3 girls (I have 2) do the math on private school.

  54. ERNESTO DIAZ 11/16/2017 at 5:06 am - Reply

    Great article !! Really enjoyed it…As a native of Argentina and having immigrated to the US over 30 years ago,I never thought nor knew anything about life in Hawaii . Actually this came at a ‘perfect time’, because just yesterday I aplied online for a job at a Disney Resort in Kapolei.(for which I have good chances to get contacted I might add)
    So, and to barrow the Shark Tank’s phrase; “…and for that reason I’m out..”
    My hats off to those brave souls that for the love of this place will relocate (or remain) to the beautiful island.
    Aloha.

  55. Maleko 11/09/2017 at 1:35 am - Reply

    Good article. I was born in Hilo and raised in Kona. I am hapa haole, my mom is from the mainland and my dad’s family is Hawaiian I joined the army after high school and left Hawaii. I returned about 10 years later and got a job with the federal government. I left Hawaii again with my job and have spent the last 17 years working on the mainland for the G. I just received an offer for a job on Oahu. My salary will be cut by about $4,000 if I take the position but COLA will be included that will actually be about $6,000 over my current salary. After reading this article I have serious doubts about returning home. At this time I am able to provide comfortably for my family, I am not sure if I want to return to an area that I will be living paycheck to paycheck again.

    I know a lot of islanders have moved away because the cost of living is too high or there are better job opportunities on the mainland. That wasn’t the reason why I left. Now that I am on the mainland I guess I must accept this as fact and really evaluate what is important to me. Ohana is important and I want to return to be near my family but I also have my own family now that I need to provide for.

    As for Malulani, unfortunately there are people in Hawaii who are like him who truly need to learn what the Aloha spirit is all about.

    Thank you for this article.

    • Peter Kay 11/09/2017 at 9:14 am - Reply

      Mahalo Maleko for such a wonderful comment! I really had to reach deep inside to write this piece and make it as honest as possible. You know the deal here better than most. Perhaps if you can get to Oahu first and then transfer again to Kona so you can be with your family that might work. Best of luck to you, bro!

  56. Poppa Bare 11/01/2017 at 11:55 am - Reply

    Yo Bro, if ya luv an respect the land, then ya should be allowed to live in peace no matter race or point of origin. The “native” Hawaiians all had their origins elsewhere also. Love, Peace & Aloha!

    • Peter Kay 11/01/2017 at 11:57 am - Reply

      Right on! It’s about aloha and respect for the ‘aina and her people.

  57. Katherine Stimson 10/30/2017 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Thank-you for your honesty and informed perspective. Having lived in Hawaii briefly in my early 20’s I recognise much of what you say. This includes the anti-haole response which my partner found very difficult to understand. Obviously this ‘push back’ tendency is also evidenced by the comment of Malulani, who I would presume is a native Hawaiian, above. To be clear I think that this more militant response is not necessarily out of proportion. As an outsider I find it important to consider what my presence might have on the experience that native Hawaiians have of their own land. For example inflated real estate prices which can make quality of life unachievable for most people and is something that probably needs some kind of legislative or tax-based response. As similar problem is evidenced in global cities such as London, Munich or Vancouver.

    None the less, having travelled the world and living now in the Netherlands it is my dream to return. I very much appreciate many of the values that characterise the indigenous culture and frankly I am used to being an outsider and trying to understand others reactions from an outsider point of view. Figuring out what I need to have in place to make Hawaii a realistic move is very important to me even if this means planning for a retirement in Hawaii. This article will help many people make a better and hopefully more considerate decision. Again, thanks on their behalf, you have done a good deed here.

    • Peter Kay 10/31/2017 at 12:37 am - Reply

      Mahalo for the great comment. You too did a great job of summarizing and illustrate why despite the reasons not to, here we are in Hawaii!

  58. Laura shuck 10/18/2017 at 11:38 pm - Reply

    The only real reason is the filthy bat rastard realtors creating a hostile environment due to their GAUGING and GREEDINESS of all things having to do with properties on all the islands. Ive lived on big island. The only way to go is with ohana all in one house. The realtors are killing “ALOHA” and they damn well know it too! Just wait for it all to implode?

    • Peter Kay 10/19/2017 at 8:16 am - Reply

      Those are some pretty nasty words. Realtors don’t set prices, supply and demand economics does. I’m certain Realtors would rather have prices cheaper as they could sell more houses that way. Hawaii’s problem with real estate is that on one hand people don’t want more development yet on the other hand that creates lack of supply which inevitably drives prices up.

  59. Terry and Florence Allison 10/17/2017 at 9:56 am - Reply

    My wife and I have been to four of the Hawaiian Islands several times over the years and have a really yearning to live on the islands. Yes we would be outsiders, but the simplicity and the peacefulness we feel in the island culture is worth the sacrifices you have explained.

    We’re reaching retirement and don’t need or want a lot of stuff. We’re ok with less and ready to contribute to the island community in some manner.

    Yes, your points are valid and certainly apply to the majority. But with wide-open eyes we’re planning towards the goal of living on living on one of the Hawaiian islands within 2 to 3 years.

    Will we? We’ll see. Your posts help keep us inspired. Not that we need a lot. It’s on our minds almost every day.

    Aloha!

    • Peter Kay 10/17/2017 at 10:13 am - Reply

      A few of my friends reviewed this page and we all agreed that while the reasons are accurate, we’re still living in Hawaii because the positives outweigh the negatives. It’s not for everyone but for those that Hawaii is for, there’s no substitute and never will be. Good luck in your adventures!

      • Malulani 10/18/2017 at 3:27 pm - Reply

        Hawaii is for native Hawaiians. no one else

        • Lori 11/01/2017 at 8:01 am

          Wow. Just wow, Malulani. I hope I don’t run into your wonderful kind of hospitality when I visit or move there. I was treated wonderfully by all I met when I was there, so maybe there’s just a small amount of rude “natives” like yourself. I could give a rats **s if people want to judge me because I have white skin or come from the mainland, really. I like everyone, no matter where they’re from or the color of their skin unless they give me reason not to. So tell me – what is the percentage of actual NATIVE Hawaiians that currently live on the islands?

        • Jo 11/19/2017 at 2:00 pm

          Lori– This is actually an attitude that you might encounter a lot if you move here. The reason many tourists are mislead to believe that there’s only a “small amount” of these “rude natives” is because many tourists only visit the touristy places, such as Waikiki or Haleiwa. These types of places are NOT what you should shape your views of the island around. They’re stereotyped and in no way represent the “true Hawaii.” (Which is both amazing and not-so-amazing).
          The truth is, people WILL treat you differently. It doesn’t matter that the percentage of Native Hawaiians (the only type of Hawaiian, actually) is one of the smallest in the state. Others will treat you differently as well. The Polynesians… Asians… trust me. I’m hapa-haole, a child of a white mother and a Japanese father (from the most local Japanese kind of family you’ve ever seen). I’ve lived here my whole life, know the culture by heart, and speak fluent Pidgin, but people still make comments. Don’t get me wrong, the community is amazing, loving, and compassionate, but we have our flaws in acceptance.
          WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, your viewpoint, similar to many other mainlanders who wish to move here, is naive. You may think that you couldn’t care less about what people think of you, but trust me, it’s a factor that you won’t be able to get past so easily. You’ll be the butt of everyone’s joke, and you’ll face hostility and bias. It doesn’t matter how much you think you can deal with it. I’ve lived here my whole life, local and not even full white, and I can speak from experience.
          By all means, visit the islands. Our economy thrives on tourism, and short-term visits are enjoyable. But please, THINK before you come here. It’s not as perfect as it seems. It doesn’t matter whether or not you “like everyone,” not everyone will like you back (and if you read into Hawaii’s history, you’ll find out why the grudges have lasted so long). Malulani’s comment, although uncalled for, it a popular opinion– and as much as you think you can deal with it, you’ll be surprised.

        • Peter Kay 11/19/2017 at 5:17 pm

          Aloha Jo and Mahalo for commenting. I think it would be helpful for others to hear from locals as to the accuracy of what I’ve written here and what they can expect. I’d love to hear your feedback on what I’ve written here.

        • Terry 01/11/2018 at 5:34 pm

          Hawaii is for… oh look at that, without the US military, you just got invaded by.. just about anyone… but let’s just say China or North Korea. That would take about 2 days. I’m guessing they are not bringing a constitution. Good luck with that Malulani.

        • timber72 05/05/2018 at 6:05 pm

          What is a “native Hawaiian”…? So, the first people who manage to build a boat and get to the islands first are the “natives”…? I wasn’t aware that there were people who sprang from the soil in Hawaii.

        • Peter Kay 05/05/2018 at 10:05 pm

          Perhaps you may want to understand the meaning of the term “native” when used in this context and you’ll understand

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