I am still years away from retirement but I will not deny that the thought has already crossed my mind. My recent return to the UK was a major wake-up call about where I want to live for the foreseeable future. As someone who has spent much of the last 3 years living in Jamaica, I do have experience and opinions about living here.
Pensions and Retirement Age
Living and working in the UK most of my life I witnessed the retirement and pension age steadily rising, with experts claiming that I will have to wait until I am 67 or 68 to receive full state pension. When I do receive my State Pension it may equate to between £84.45 (US $140) and £110.15 (US $184) a week, which I would be expected to live on in London….Mmm! I’m not sure that would be possible. The facts are that even as a homeowner in the UK, with no mortgage, the cost of living is high and it is possible that the figure I would receive each week would be the same as my monthly heating bill alone.
Thoughts of the huddled, hunched up figures moving around padded with clothes, their scrunched up ‘sea faring’ faces turned away from the cold air, that I had seen in London last month, crossed my mind. Brrrr! There are many pensioners in the UK suffering hardship and it is now becoming more common for this group to pool their resources and buy a property with their grown children and their families in order to live a more refined life in retirement. Plans for holidays in the sun become more and more enticing, but it is always back to the cold for the majority of the time.
Retiring in Jamaica
There really is ‘something about Jamaica’ that will tickle your taste buds. It will leave you wondering if there is a way that you can live long term or retire in Jamaica. ‘Jamaica’ conjures up the sun making everything twinkle and glisten in its warmth, the endless blue sky and sea and the light breeze that brings the sounds of birds singing. Scents of pineapple, mango, coconut and barbecued food tickle your nose, whilst the chink of ice in your favorite drink replenishes and cools you down.
Now consider this is a way of life in your future, if you were to take the same UK State Pension of between £84.45 (US $140) and £110.15 (US $184) a week and exchange that to Jamaican Dollars JMD$ at today’s rate you would expect to get between JMD$15,284.51 and JMD$19,935.93 a week, or between JMD$66,232.87 and JMD$86,389.03 a month to live on. Not bad when you consider that many a Jamaican live on a wage of JMD$12,500.00 (£69 or US$115) a week or JMD$54,166.66 (£296 or US$495) a month. While it may not be a luxurious lifestyle you could live a comfortable and relaxed life in the sunshine on your UK State pension (or US Social Security).
Depending on where you rent you can find a one bedroom apartment for between JMD$30k(£164 US$264) to $50k(£273 US$456) a month in Ocho Rios or any big town on the north coast. Houses can cost JMD$80k(£437 US$730) a month or more if you are in a gated community or in the best areas in Kingston. You can purchase a house for around JMD$9,000,000(£49,242 US$82,186) and up. A gated community 2-3 bedroom house would cost $14,000,000(£76,600 US$127,846) and up.
There is 1/2 acre of land for sale in Ochi Rios for JMD$56,000,000(£306,400 US$511,383) but you can find the same size in Runaway Bay for $2,500,000(£13,678 US$22,830) and in the country for $600,000(£3,282 US$5,480) it really depends on where the land is situated. Depending on how big you build on your property you can expect to pay from $2,500,000(£13,678 US$22,830) for a one bedroom house.