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StevenMcDormick  
#1 Posted : Monday, January 7, 2019 11:16:48 AM(UTC)
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I'm a very boring person that thinks about money and stability. My current contractor job pays very well and has afforded us a middle class life style with kids, a house, and max out our retirement savings. Suddenly after 2 years of applying, I got an interview and then an offer for a Federal job...but it's in Hawaii. It would mean we will have to uproot, rent out the house, take a 30K paycut, and go live in a more expensive state. Being a boring, stable person, all of this sounds very scary. But the wife is very excited and it has gotten me to also day dream about warm weather and beaches every weekend!

Part of me want to YOLO / Carpe Diem this opportunity but my extended family tells me I have kids now and too old to these things.

What would you do?
Nice to day dream but not practical?
How easy is it to transfer back home after becoming permanent?
Why did I apply to Hawaii? - Just to test the black hole that is USAJOBS.gov
GWPDA  
#2 Posted : Monday, January 7, 2019 11:56:46 AM(UTC)
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Been there, am doing that.
Here are a few things that might be clarifying. First off, is your offer for O'ahu, the Big Island, where? Secondly, is the job permanent? Thirdly, how are you losing $30,000? Fourthly, we actually get this weird little extra bit of money each paycheck, not taxable, meant to defray the high cost of living. It's separate from the locality pay. Fifthly, depending on your Agency, things can be less expensive than you might think. If you're DoD you have the easy option of living on base, which cuts your rent in half pretty much, pays your utilities. Here's a key tho - are you being offered moving expenses? Your ability to transfer "back home" is your ability to change jobs - and that's something no one can predict. If you're working for DOD and find a comparable job for which you qualify, apply for it and find out.

Honolulu is really, really crowded and bustling. It is very nice to live here. The drawbacks are pretty much the same as any place where the population has expanded rapidly and brought strains with housing, cost of living and that sort of thing, with the addition that as an island, things have to be shipped out, adding to the cost. It just took me a week and a half to get an auto part sent out from California - it's the way it is. Milk is $3.50/gallon. Eggs are $4.50/dozen. No, unless you're military, you don't get to buy at the commissary. But then, you don't have to buy winter clothes, so it's a trade off.

Have a nice time deciding. What's wrong with a little (highly circumscribed) adventure in your life?
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SD Analyst on 1/10/2019(UTC)
StevenMcDormick  
#3 Posted : Monday, January 7, 2019 12:10:27 PM(UTC)
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That's so cool you did this! It is in Oahu, can you tell me how to apply for DoD housing?

The pay cut is the difference between my current job and the federal job + COLA. I do not have relocation assistance.
GWPDA  
#4 Posted : Monday, January 7, 2019 12:28:17 PM(UTC)
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http://www.ohananavycommunities.com/ - Navy housing, O'ahu
https://www.hickamcommunities.com/ - Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam housing
https://www.islandpalmcommunities.com/ - Army housing, O'ahu

DOD civilians as well as other federal agency employees and local and state employees are now eligible to apply for any of the various housing areas. DOD civilians take precedence over Hawaii State employees, military take precedence over everybody. Navy housing is the newest, and is mostly off base. JBPHH housing is variable - they have custody of the largest section of Historic Preservation properties in the country, built mostly in the 1930s and updated, along with another big section built in the 1990s which is not horrible and another section which has a poorish reputation for upkeep and such. Army housing is centered at Schofield Barracks with a new section just finished at Fort Shafter. Variable quality. Pretty much everything costs the same, altho the Navy is priced 100-300/month less than Hickam, for unknown reasons, and you'll pay half your utilities there. 2br/2bath 1700sf on Hickam, with fenced yard, separate laundry room/pantry, breakfast room, lanai, carport, massive storage, around $2500/month.

For food costs, an easy way to see is to call up the weekly Safeway ad for Honolulu. Another standard cost - just paid my car registration - a 10 y.o. beater I bought from a Marine going TDY back to the mainland - $395. No, you don't want to ship your car.
FedCivServ  
#5 Posted : Monday, January 7, 2019 12:52:15 PM(UTC)

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Well, one thing to consider is that places that are great for vacation may not be so great to live in. As GWPDA says, it's expensive and lots of traffic, which i'm sure swells in the tourist season (although i think that is probably close to year round there). Does your spouse work or is it possible for her to work? You will probably need 2 incomes especially w/ taking a pay cut. Your lifestyle will definitely change; you say you have extra pay now to max out retirement and i would assume you like to go out to eat & do things like most people... those things may be impacted with less income and higher prices. And if your whole family is still on the mainland, you will be spending a lot of $ coming home to visit on your vacations (they say they will come see you, but many won't). I am not trying to be a Debbie Downer or a dream killer, just offer some perspective. If you think you can swing it financially and are willing to make the necessary sacrifices and everyone in your fam wants to go, do it! But go in with a clear idea of what you are giving up and what you will be getting and then nobody will have any bad surprise. Best of luck no matter what you decide.
StevenMcDormick  
#6 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 7:19:51 AM(UTC)
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Yup you're totally right about vacation and reality. I am dreaming about the warm weather, beaches, and the stability of Federal employment.
GWPDA  
#7 Posted : Tuesday, January 8, 2019 2:29:11 PM(UTC)
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My personal favorite awful local Hawaii problem - rat lungworm disease. We get TV public announcements about it all the time. Also, you might want to re-consider 'the stability of Federal employment' just at the moment. Couple of days anyway....
StevenMcDormick  
#8 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 7:58:24 AM(UTC)
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Are you talking about the furlough? Last time I see it Congress back paid everyone so it was like a free vacation.
FedCivServ  
#9 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:00:26 PM(UTC)

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But many were in a world of hurt because they didn't have an emergency fund. Look at what's going on now... nobody knows when it will end... so hopefully everyone learned last time and got a little nest egg. Only you can decide what things are most important to you and how you and your family want to live. Have you priced out the cost to move yourselves? Are they willing to give a relocation bonus maybe? not sure if they do that w/ new hires or not...
StevenMcDormick  
#10 Posted : Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:39:52 PM(UTC)
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We are fortunate enough not to live paycheck to paycheck and hopefully Hawaii doesn't make us live that way. I have looked at rent prices but don't know the total cost of moving. It's a lot of unknowns for me so I might chicken out at the Firm offer...but federal employment sounds so exciting!

Edited by user Wednesday, January 9, 2019 1:42:38 PM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

Endless Summer  
#11 Posted : Friday, January 11, 2019 4:24:27 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: StevenMcDormick Go to Quoted Post
We are fortunate enough not to live paycheck to paycheck and hopefully Hawaii doesn't make us live that way. I have looked at rent prices but don't know the total cost of moving. It's a lot of unknowns for me so I might chicken out at the Firm offer...but federal employment sounds so exciting!


Well, I'm late to the party but I think it's worth considering. If you don't do it, you'll always wonder... It sounds like you would be keeping your current house and renting it out. That gives you a base to return to. Yes, Hawaii is stupid expensive, but so is DC or San Fran.

I recently took a job in DC for a huge raise. It worked out that I was living paycheck to paycheck even with the raise. I did two years and had the time of my life, no regrets.

I'm now in a much lower cost of living area and have moved on to my next chapter. I hope you'll consider the position if it isn't too late.
StevenMcDormick  
#12 Posted : Friday, January 11, 2019 7:33:29 PM(UTC)
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I am awaiting the firm offer so it's not too late. I finished on-boarding forms but haven't heard anything yet...I'm guessing Holiday delays. I also asked for a bunch of stuff so hopefully they don't get mad and pull the offer.

I think I will commit, it sounds like an exciting opportunity to expand my horizons!
GWPDA  
#13 Posted : Friday, January 11, 2019 7:43:28 PM(UTC)
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Aloha!
someoldguy  
#14 Posted : Friday, January 11, 2019 9:20:28 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: GWPDA Go to Quoted Post
Aloha!
You can't put a price on Aloha

DISCLAIMER: You read it on an open internet forum :)
Pegasus  
#15 Posted : Monday, January 14, 2019 8:17:40 PM(UTC)
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Crushing traffic, homeless issues everywhere, expensive flights back home, schools for your children are sub-par, great place to have a day off if you just want to go to the beach.
GWPDA  
#16 Posted : Tuesday, January 15, 2019 6:34:16 AM(UTC)
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No question - it's absolutely dreadful. Nothing at all like Huntsville or Bellingham or Rock Island. Why, there aren't nearly enough people I already know here. And there sure are a lot of problems that aren't anything like those I'm familiar with and don't understand. Better just to stay home and never do anything other than exactly what I do right now. Safer.

Endless Summer  
#17 Posted : Tuesday, January 15, 2019 3:19:25 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: Pegasus Go to Quoted Post
Crushing traffic, homeless issues everywhere, expensive flights back home, schools for your children are sub-par, great place to have a day off if you just want to go to the beach.


Yeah, DC has HI beat hands down.

And all that sunshine? Skin cancer anyone? You'll be dead in a week. There's zero chance of overexposure when it's 10 degrees outside.

Stay warm people!
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GWPDA on 1/15/2019(UTC)
Pegasus  
#18 Posted : Tuesday, January 15, 2019 4:36:41 PM(UTC)
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Having experienced both, the upside is DC has options to use public transportation or kiss and fly, plus a stipend for government workers to use the rails or buses. Biggest downside of Hawaii is if one has school-aged children who cannot attend the on-base schools. Hawaii educational systems is notoriously poor. Even the private schools do not measure up academically to what you will find on the mainland. Don't forget the sales tax, income tax, low wages for spousal employment. For someone who is fiscally minded, Hawaii won't check many boxes. However, it is beautiful in many places. Not saying don't go, just be aware that paradise isn't always what it seems. At the very least, live on the same side of the island you will work on and where your children will attend school.
GWPDA  
#19 Posted : Tuesday, January 15, 2019 6:55:09 PM(UTC)
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There are no "on base schools". Try again.
Pegasus  
#20 Posted : Tuesday, January 15, 2019 8:08:30 PM(UTC)
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As a Marine family, there were DODs schools on base when we lived there. We currently live OCONUS and still have DoDEA schools and our children are long grown, so my apologies. You seem to have a history of shutting down opinions that differ from yours so I'll let you take it from here. I thought the individual who started the thread was looking for input from those who have had experience living in Hawaii, not just your input. If you allow it, I'll just state that I would not choose to put my child in the Hawaii school system. Feel free to denigrate this post as well. 3, 2, 1... go
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