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Thread: Analyzing Aruba

  1. #11
    Senior Member danadog56's Avatar
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    act1966...I think you will find that most (if not all) of us here on the forum would agree with your list of reasons to buy in Aruba....Hell, I didn't even make a list and have been on my Dh about buying a small house for us to retire to...His excuse was that he didn't think he could stay in "paradise" all year long because he would get bored (he's a farmer and always on the move)...I said "no problem, you can come and visit me anytime you like!!!"

    ARUBA....HOME AWAY FROM HOME

  2. #12
    Senior Member schexc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by act1966 View Post
    I wanted to post the analysis we used to determine where we wanted to retire and invest to counter some of the comments that have been made about the island.

    About five years ago, my spouse and I started to think about investing in a retirement property. While still in our forties, we knew the global real estate market was ripe for acquisition due to the recent financial market crash and associated down-sizing of property values.

    My family (grandparents, parents and twelve aunts and uncles) have owned homes in Florida since the early 1970s so that was the baseline from which we measured some of our selection criteria.

    For context: Were both Canadian, educated (post-secondary graduates), well-traveled, good income, no kids and are definitely not winter people.

    Selection criteria:
    Weather: the preeminent reason in our selection good, constant, dependable sunshine; little to no hurricanes: this ruled out quite a bit of the Caribbean, North and Central America. Many is the time I've spent weeks in Florida without even a hint of sun.
    Easy access (i.e. direct flights): this further narrowed down where we would purchase.
    Stable government: some of the more popular retirement destinations were recently under quite a bit of political strife (e.g. Central and South America) so some of the countries that are getting a lot of press as hospitable to retirement investment, we shied away from.
    Good infrastructure: somewhere with an established legal system similar to North America, banking, hospitals/medical care, good roads, electricity, safe water, good shipping for staples, relatively safe, good restaurants.
    Language: English would be nice but we didn't insist on it as a prerequisite as were fluent in French, some Spanish and seem to be able to learn to get by language-wise

    Where did we look and why did we rule them out?

    Mediterranean: love this region of the world but, until we retire, access was an issue as flights were a minimum of seven hours (and that was just major cities never mind if we had bought somewhere out of the core urban environments) and jet lag devastates us both. Wed still love to live in Spain for part of the year when we retire.
    Caribbean: BVI, USVI, Cuba, St. Lucia, Martinique, Saba... all are beautiful and have their benefits but the hurricane potential ruled most of them out. And some have really abject poverty for the locals.
    South and Central America: some beautiful countries but the newly democratized regions are still forming and it would take just one more recession to slip some of them back into dictatorships.
    United States: Arizona, California, Florida, New Mexico. None worked weather-wise and some had tax structures that were unappealing. The gun issue really turned us off investing there as well. NOT a criticism of gun-owners but the number of deaths from shootings relative to Canada is really jarring.

    So, after extensive research and travel, we landed on Aruba. All the above criteria boxes were checked to a certain extent and, relative to other locations, it just had the most appealing weather. We knew that, if any major medical issues arose, wed be able to get back to our home country relatively easy.

    We knew we were rolling the dice on any real estate investment outside of our own country but, with Arubas Dutch/EU influence and tourist-driven economy, we felt confident in our choice and have not regretted it once.

    Another driving factor was the average per capita income of the locals relative to other Caribbean islands: Aruba has a stable, safe environment because of that factor. The Natalie Holloway murder aside, the island has a good, solid history of safety.

    Yes, we've been reading some of the challenges people have around customer service, rental issues, restaurants (ha, ha) etc but these pale relative to some of the horror stories we've heard from friends/colleagues that have purchased in other areas of the world.... and that includes Canada and the US.

    Is Aruba perfect? No. But its pretty damn close when you look up in the sky.
    Could we have bought somewhere cheaper/closer? Yes... but one of the other criteria would have suffered.
    Do we wish things moved faster? Sometimes but Im also not interested in recreating the urban environment we exist in while working... its good that we need to slow down and go with the flow.
    Added bonus: weve met some fantastic locals who, while shy at first, have become really great friends who are even more of a draw than the weather... I think that was the most surprising part to us!

    I dont work for the Aruba Tourist Board but wanted to give a perspective about some of the measurements we used to assess our choice.
    There are reasons why NOT to choose Aruba but I hope this gives an objective, contrasting view.

    I welcome any debate!
    Well said and thoroughly enjoyed, as this has been our sentiment all along, even though we've only been to the island six times. Every trip we make brings us closer to a purchase, as we just can't find enough reason to not make one.
    We've noticed a few things that have been more of a concern over the last few years, which maybe aren't warranted, as we make our way around the island though.
    We've noticed a larger Police presence this past year, and if we hadn't been warned so sternly about the increase in car breaks ins, we'd of thought how much safer we feel, not that it was more of a necessity.
    The news in the press about government spending and budgeting caught us off guard, as we often viewed the self sustaining energy systems, water desalination, as a smart economy.
    In retrospect, these observations are not so much as fear of the island, but fear of the island becoming like our own backyard, where there's crime on every corner and government spending is out of control.
    We return for our seventh trip in four weeks. Hopefully we find a place that suits our needs.

  3. #13
    Senior Member lizzardo's Avatar
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    We made that exact list. A family member lives in Holland. Had a place in St Croix that didn't work out for varying reasons. We thought it was the best place too - even tho Costa Rica was someone's choice. The money is based on the dollar which was good too.

    But I will say that analysis verses experience are not particularly related. There are many problems in Aruba - as a tourist you don't see these thngs
    much. Living there is a different experience. I will give you an example - when you move to Aruba you will go through a hard adjustment period - "things ARE so different" "How can I meet people" "why are women treated differently?" , Can that be in your analysis - nope and I think would be for moving anywhere.

    So Logic is good - A better suggestion is come here - stay for 6 months - apply to Dimas for temp residency. And see how it works out.
    I now believe this is the BEST way to choose a spot to live. Can some people have the luxury to do this - no. But if you can - check it out.

    I love Aruba. But just like I don't like stuff in the US, I don't like stuff in Aruba. It's a life thing, One person may love a place that
    someone else hates - again life.

    If I ever get my house back from my renter will I be happy to return to Aruba? Yes but I have some emotional trauma about the place
    that I will have to face. This place used to be my "happy place" but the greed and almost con of our renter has used his "connections"
    to make it hell to get our house back for logic we do nor understand at all. Do other places have different laws - why yes they do. You better learn what they are was one lesson I missed. I depended on someone who convinced me that all was taken care of. Did I like this person and
    consider them close - yes. Did I get screwed and will she do anything to help me? screwed yes / help no

    That's all I got to say folks. Moving anywhere - we have no idea where we would live if it was in the US. Again - we would stay there and
    check it out first.

    Hope Andrea is okay with this. I'm a very logical person and that's why Aruba can drive one crazy. But just had to put this in the equation.
    Aruba Kitten Rescue www.arubakitten.org

  4. #14
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    Andrea J.'s Avatar
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    ok with it!

  5. #15
    Senior Member act1966's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lizzardo View Post
    We made that exact list. A family member lives in Holland. Had a place in St Croix that didn't work out for varying reasons. We thought it was the best place too - even tho Costa Rica was someone's choice. The money is based on the dollar which was good too.

    But I will say that analysis verses experience are not particularly related. There are many problems in Aruba - as a tourist you don't see these thngs
    much. Living there is a different experience. I will give you an example - when you move to Aruba you will go through a hard adjustment period - "things ARE so different" "How can I meet people" "why are women treated differently?" , Can that be in your analysis - nope and I think would be for moving anywhere.

    So Logic is good - A better suggestion is come here - stay for 6 months - apply to Dimas for temp residency. And see how it works out.
    I now believe this is the BEST way to choose a spot to live. Can some people have the luxury to do this - no. But if you can - check it out.

    I love Aruba. But just like I don't like stuff in the US, I don't like stuff in Aruba. It's a life thing, One person may love a place that
    someone else hates - again life.

    If I ever get my house back from my renter will I be happy to return to Aruba? Yes but I have some emotional trauma about the place
    that I will have to face. This place used to be my "happy place" but the greed and almost con of our renter has used his "connections"
    to make it hell to get our house back for logic we do nor understand at all. Do other places have different laws - why yes they do. You better learn what they are was one lesson I missed. I depended on someone who convinced me that all was taken care of. Did I like this person and
    consider them close - yes. Did I get screwed and will she do anything to help me? screwed yes / help no

    That's all I got to say folks. Moving anywhere - we have no idea where we would live if it was in the US. Again - we would stay there and
    check it out first.

    Hope Andrea is okay with this. I'm a very logical person and that's why Aruba can drive one crazy. But just had to put this in the equation.
    While I can certainly appreciate your situation, the intent of this posting was to, as objectively as possible, characterize reasons for our choice of Aruba.

    I should point out that my spouse and I have lived/worked, for extended periods of time, in North America, the UK, Europe and the Middle East so we’re pretty well-versed in those areas (particular countries/cities) and the pros and cons of each. We've traveled extensively in the Caribbean, in particular, USVI, BVI, Martinique, St Maarten and the ABCs.

    To clarify, this was more than a “list”: there was a significant amount of empirical/statistical analysis done to compare Aruba to other destinations but I didn’t want to show stats and comparatives in the posting... not everyone is a data wonk like me.

    We compared data (where available) around historical weather patterns, political stability (both domestic and nearby), foreign exchange curves, tax structures, banking, government systems (and expenditures), standard of living, population, airline flight routes (current and historical) crime rates, real estate rates of return, infrastructure investment, poverty and mortality rates, pension fund investment programs etc.

    I’m in the lucky position of having access to a myriad of geopolitical data stores and get a little obsessed over these things.

    Data tells an objective story with a modicum of interpretation; experience is subjective: we can’t paint an entire country by an individual’s experience because, if we did, we’d all be homeless.

    As for some of the subjective generalizations, I’ll subjectively respond...

    “things are so different”: yes, we were looking for that... we didn't want a North American-centric experience as we both grew up with that and, having lived in other countries, we knew we wanted a blend of cultural and “other-ness”. Things are slow, opening a bank account takes forever, people are shy, the infrastructure isn't perfect etc. That’s all in Aruba (and, trust me, elsewhere) but we don`t let it overcome us.

    “how can I meet people”: after quite a few trips, we've met quite a few people local, Dutch, South and North American, and that was without trying. We haven’t experienced issues making friends/acquaintances anywhere we've lived so it wasn't a concern for us (and that includes making friends in the decidedly stilted UK!). Added bonus: my spouse comes from a Dutch background with an obviously-Dutch last name so it’s always a good starting point in conversation.

    “why are women treated differently?” I’m now going to offer a piece of advice: avoid the Middle East. I could make the argument that women are treated differently in every country and that includes North America where women make $0.70 to every dollar a man makes (generally); reproductive rights are a constant battle and when you add in domestic and sexual violence rates, well, you get the picture. And I’m sure I don’t have to regale readers about what’s going on in India, Africa, the Middle East etc. Even other islands in the Caribbean are horrendously misogynist so I’d really examine that issue before making the choice of another place to live.

    I can’t emphasize enough the importance of the Aruban weather: not just because it makes me “feel good” but because I've watched a generation of my family extend their lives by getting out of the cold, Canadian winters; by way of anecdote, the relatives that went south (to Florida, Arizona, Palm Springs) lived and continue to live well into their eighties and those that didn't go toward the sun have all had severe medical complications that I’m positive were exacerbated by harsh, Canadian winters. I can guarantee that the winter certainly didn't help them... especially when it came to fragile hip bones.

    And when you throw in hurricane insurance rates for hurricane-prone destinations, it’s a pretty steep delimiter in choice of destination.

    We also looked at it through a different lens: we’re only going to live in Aruba for six months of the year (with the balance in Canada) at retirement; it’s a restriction due to our universal health coverage BUT we still might apply for residency. We’ll see.

    I can certainly understand your frustration given what you've written about regarding your particular situation but I also look at other postings on the forum to consider some of the good things people are saying about THEIR experience. And that`s why we`re going to give Madam Jeanette`s another spin (ha, ha).

    One final thought: if you look for the bad in any situation, you’re going to find it. Your reaction to it is the only thing within your control.

    That and the amount of tequila you put in your glass!

    Good luck in your search and future home country!

  6. #16
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    We have just returned from our 6th or 7th trip to Aruba (hubby and I can never agree on which it is) and each trip makes our decision to spend 6 months a year there in retirment more of a sure thing. I have never made a list like the one above but I am so thankful you did. It proves that our feelings all along are right on. The main reason I want to do it is I am a much happier person when I am in Aruba. After we returned home my husband said you're back to your old self, I didn't know what he meant. He said every time he looked at me while we were in Aruba I had a smile on my face, whether I was in the water, reading a book or just walking along the beach there was always a smile. Each trip we have met wonderful people both tourist and local. I am praying that our dreams come true in 5.5 years the money is already savied all we need is continued good health and our future in Aruba will be ours.

  7. #17
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    Good luck

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