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A Puerto Rican Retirement: Glenn Shares His Thoughts

Category: International Retirement

Updated August 4, 2014 — Editor’s Note: In 2013 one of our Members, Glenn, shared his thoughts with us about his extensive travels in Puerto Rico. We think they give an interesting perspective about what it might like to retire there. A slightly edited version of his comments is published below. At the end of his comments we’ve added a few our our own, and then in August 2014 Glenn provided yet another update (see Comments) And Thanks Glenn!

I have been visiting Puerto Rico about every three years from 1989 to 2012. I live in the Bronx with a wife of Puerto Rican descent, though she was born here in U.S. I am about as white/Anglo-Saxon as they come, growing up in a Queens, N.Y. neighborhood. When I moved to the Bronx to work for Social Security nearly 40 years ago, it was like moving to another country. I met many beneficiaries from Puerto Rico and learned much about the people of the island from my professional and personal contacts.

We wanted our children to learn much about their culture so we took a few to Puerto Rico every three years, especially to see Wanda’s dad in Arecibo (in the north,northwest of the island); he died two years ago at 90. We saw the wonderful family cultural attachment in their “campo”, what I define as a gathering of houses as a very small town where most everyone is related and has been for years.

Wanda also has an extended family outside of San Juan (north, northeast). Besides staying with some of them, we were given the use of the family’s condo on Luqillo Beach (northeast) and a country house in Aguadilla (northwest). People who know about P.R. usually know about the beaches and glitter of vacations in San Juan or ownership in the well off area of Dorado. We are more interested in its history and culture and the pleasures of the people and the terrain. From the families’ bases in Puerto Rico, we explored every island site we could, from the large cities to the small villages, from Old San Juan to the mountains and oceanside beaches.

I’ve travelled from Texas to Florida and to each state in between and north from Toronto to Boston. Camuy caves (southwest of Arecibo) were as spectacular as anything I have seen in the States. I remember instinctively commenting that it impressed me as much as my first sighting of Niagara Falls. Likewise, the beach hidden behind Cabo Rojo Lighthouse (extreme southwest) is the most beautiful I have seen, and I have been to and used the beaches near Miami and Clearwater.
We especially like beaches and all the fun they allow for. We rented, just for the two of us, a Hobie Cat sailboat in 1989 along with its trailer and drove it around the island. Each time we saw a site worth launching from, usually a beach, we unloaded it and took off. Despite the giant waves in San Juan Bay and the roaring winds of El Combate (in the southwest corner), every site and each launch was like paradise. Up at El Combate the giant sea turtles rising out of the water made up for the surprising roaring winds.

There are, too, the usual sites of the Arecibo Observatory, the surfing beaches of Aguada and Rincon and the El Yunque Rain Forest (it was fun to jump in the pool at the bottom of a path down to below a waterfall). One could spend a lifetime here and seem to see something new every day. We look for beaches since my brilliant wife discovered I could continue doing my now limited watersports by snorkeling. Our last vacation of 10 days in August, 2011, was spent discovering 14 beaches along the northwest coast. They were each different and thrilling and it all got topped off with the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse (southwest corner) beach which took our breath away.

Beach near Rincón, courtesy of Wikipedia

I retired in 9/11 and Wanda in 4/12. We can’t believe we are still trying to get the house into shape and closeout all the open projects and involvements which were put on the side while bringing up 6 kids. When we get it all done, we hope to get to P.R. and spend more than a two week vacation rediscovering and discovering all of it.

I must also include how wonderful I have always found the Puerto Rican people I have known in my neighborhood and as beneficiaries in my job and, especially, those I have met in Puerto Rico. It seems you can’t go into a town without someone telling you to come in and have dinner with them. Believe it or not, this is even true here in my Bronx neighborhood. Despite their sometimes meager circumstances, they are the most caring and generous people. God bless them.

Sorry to add even another point but I highly recommend that anyone interested in just looking at houses all over, though mostly in the east of P.R., should go to the website for Ricardo Casillas Realty. I am unsure how I got hooked into this site, but they absolutely do not ask you for anything and it is a pleasure to look at some of the features of P.R. homesites. Look at the left side of the site for “Home Finders” and register without worrying that you have signed into something you won’t like.

Thanks Glenn. We are very glad to get your perspective on Puerto Rico. Members can see reviews of Humacoa and Rincon in our Puerto Rico Directory. We should add that in looking around the Internet we see a lot of mixed comments about Puerto Rican retirements. There are those like Glenn who love the country. And then there are many others who are, shall we say, not so keen on the idea.

One big plus for Puerto Rican retirements is that as a U.S. commonwealth there are no visa restrictions for U.S. citizens. It uses the same currency, even the road signs are the same. On the down side many people mention the crime rate, which is high because of drugs. The roads are not usually that great. If you don’t speak Spanish you will be at a disadvantage. Some say it is not that cheap – you might actually get a more comfortable retirement in Central Florida on the same budget. You can see a lot of actual comments from people who have retired in Puerto Rico in this Expat-bog Forum.

There are many tax advantages to retiring to Puerto Rico. For one thing there is no income tax (except on federal employees) or inheritance tax. PR is actually trying to appeal to the rich to move here with a new initiative that eliminates taxes on interest, dividends, and capital gains under some circumstances. The program is aimed at not just any rich folks, but billionaires like hedge fund managers. The commonwealth hopes that the well-healed people the proposal attracts will help increase employment and move the economy forward. Here is a link to the NY Times article which discusses this proposal: “Sunshine and Tax Shelters“.

Comments: Do you have experience with Puerto Rico, particularly for retirement? If so, please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

For further reading:
10 Best Places to Retire Internationally

Posted by Admin on April 1st, 2013


  1. I never realized that my comments to John would get “published” but I appreciate his dedication to his public by helping inform them of my limited knowledge. I know John’s comments about my shared thoughts are accurate but I thought I would comment on his subjects from my own experience.
    I drove extensively over the years throughout the island and found a very good road quality. I have two 4-wheel drive autos here in the Bronx but never used but a two wheeler in P.R. and was easily able to go over any rustic roads, along the beaches or in the mountains. I barely can think of a time when I was on other than a well paved road so I am surprised that others had problems.
    It’s true that prices are somewhat similar to an inexpensive area of Florida and I might agree that you would have a more comfortable life in central Florida. But my experience staying with family all over Florida from Miami to Clearwater and central Florida and their environs left me getting bored with the plain flat land and no seasons, usually excessive heat limiting your activities, and only costly nightlife. P.R. is a land of multiple beaches and cool mountains, a rich and rewarding culture you feel in everyday life, along with the nightlife, if you choose it. It’s a different lifestyle but something to be involved with every day, if you choose to, with memories worth remembering.
    I do not speak Spanish but also can barely think of a time when I couldn’t find help, when needed, to communicate. It seems half the population has lived in the States (and then decided to return to P.R.) and they converse well in English.
    We have always been warned by our relatives there and by others to be concerned with crime. We know here in New York City that there are areas not to go to or to go only at certain times. We found the same true in P.R. On the main streets of the large cities, you’re warned not to stop at red lights after dark. But in the outskirts, you’ll find families with young children frolicking on the beaches after dark. Likewise, you’ll find adults gathered in the widespread town squares talking or playing dominoes through the evening. It’s a condition similar to any U.S. region. To be a bit extreme, but realistic, you can be having dinner at the President’s home here in his home State and ten blocks away a gang member is involved in a shooting. Like anything, you choose the time and the place to benefit the quality of your life.
    Most of my relatives live in North Carolina, Florida and upstate New York. I love so much about these places, too, but overall, the everyday quality of the Puerto Rican people and their land and its variety are uncommon in many other places of retirement.
    Thank you, again, John for teaching us all about each other.

    by Glenn — April 1, 2013

  2. Glenn and John,

    Thanks so much for your information. Really appreciate the perspective you bring to the topic.

    by Tay — April 2, 2013

  3. Just one caution, the financial position of the Puerto Rican government is precarious. Their Govt. pension system is 94% underfunded, yes, that’s right only 6% funded, it will probably go bankrupt sometime in the next few years.
    The Govt. has also $67 Billion in debt outstanding with a population of 3.7 million, GDP of $98 Billion and unemployment is around 14%.

    by JB — April 3, 2013

  4. This is a great, fact-filled report on the benefits of Puerto Rico, and I thank Glenn for it. I have just one quibble with his account, which includes a statement that Florida bores him “with the plain flat land and no seasons.” I’m sure Glenn knows that there are no seasons in P.R. either; the temps are within a 20 degree range the year around. (That’s a plus for me, but I thought that should be noted!)

    by Tom Woodall — April 3, 2013

  5. Glen’s observations are wonderful with regards to frequently being a tourist in Puerto Rico in particular, the Caribbean in general. Let me say though that after living for almost a decade on the nearby island of St. Croix, also a US territory, there is a HUGE difference between visiting and living there, even when those visits are frequent and extended.

    I can’t begin to tell you how many times we prepped our house for a major hurricane, or evacuated for one. Preparation was multiple times a year. Public water and electricity could be out for months afterwards, and it was not unusual to pick a roofing nail up in your tires when driving your car. Debris goes everywhere. And as NJ found out during Sandy this year, no power means no gasoline, atms or credit cards accepted. You have to prepare for disaster.

    Though it is less of an issue on a bigger island like Puerto Rico, on our small island of St. Croix produce was very expensive and mostly flown in…even bananas which I grew in my backyard. You had high cost tourist boutiques to shop in, or Kmart and Kmart, along with the drug dealers et al. Missed a drive by shooting by minutes with my car load of kids. There is no separation of living space on a small island. Liquor was cheaper than the juice and soda you might put it in and much abused, it was not illegal to drink and drive, there is no drinking age.

    After a while, we learned not to go to the lovely more isolated beaches we loved. They were also frequented by gangs picking up the drug drop an off islander had delivered by small boat and buried in the sand. Don’t bother locking your car, since all that did was make someone think you had something worth stealing in it. Better to leave the window down and let them rifle through. At least that way you don’t have to fix a smashed window. Home invasions were not uncommon, particularly after payday. You will hear none of this in the papers, since it is a tourist destination, and a great one if you are willing to stay with the crowds on the resorts. But we like to hike into the rain forest looking for ripe mangoes and take the stunning hike where the waves crashing over the high rock natural wall create a lovely swimming hole. I wanted to be a resident, not an eternal tourist.

    No local taxes, it is true, but because your “Federal” taxes stay on island you lose the right to vote for POTUS. And communication between the USVI and Federal tax bureau is spotty at best. Fortunately we were warned by co-workers to drop off our return in person and get a copy officially stamped as delivered. The IRS was quite confused when we returned to the mainland, wondering where we had been all that time, and when they contacted the Dept of Taxation on island they mysteriously could not find a record of us. More likely, they didn’t bother looking. Lots of issues with corruption.

    Don’t get me wrong…many people love to live there. Please rent for a year before you make such a huge change so that you can get to understand the ins and outs of the culture. Sure, it’s officially part of the US, but frankly I found Europe to be more like the mainland than the USVI or Puerto Rico was. Take your time and do your due diligence BEFORE buying a place.

    by Julie — April 9, 2013

  6. Julie’s comment is clearly not about Puerto Rico. It is about her experience in the US Virgin Islands and I wish this had been entitled under that subject and not here as it is very misleading.
    I look forward to comments about the subject of PR as I want to learn even more about it. I’ve mixed together here some comments about JB’s, Tom Woodall’s and Julie’s comments.
    First, want to reiterate that after careful rereading, I realize Julie’s comments are clearly not about Puerto Rico. I also need to establish that I don’t know where it might have been indicated that I knew anything firsthand about the Caribbean. My initial comments, above, only referred to Puerto Rico. Finally, I wish Julie had not grouped the USVI with PR. To my knowledge, nothing that Julie said was recognizable to me in its regard to PR. This was clearly her insight into the USVI, the content of which I am sure all of us are sorry that folks like her had to endure. But again, it is not the story of PR and I wish it had been put under a title referring to the USVI.
    I was initially sometimes confused about Julie’s comments. Julie, did you live in Puerto Rico and for how long and in a city, suburbs or the country? Much of what was said was unknown to me from my and my relatives’ experiences, so I was initially unsure what was germane to Puerto Rico rather than USVI.
    For example, two of our relatives work for the IRS in PR and we used to compare tales of activities they experienced and I, in my work for Social Security. There seemed to be little difference in the interactions of the people and government in both locales. People were the same in their dealings, good and bad, with the Government. I realized after rereading, that Julie must be referring to the USVI.
    We just heard again from some cousins that crime is getting worse in PR. More murders of people not related to criminals, etc. Again, sounds too much like the US, e.g., Chicago, unfortunately. Again, have to be careful where you go and when. But our families in the outskirts of PR find no special problem, though they also come in by dark and lock their doors, too. Most of that is because they need to get up early; PR is 70% rural. And, who doesn’t do that in most parts of at least the highly populated areas of the US.
    It was interesting hearing about the preparations for hurricanes in what I thought she was suggesting about PR and/or USVI (again, I was unsure what Julie was referring to since there is quite a difference between PR and USVI (The size of the USVI is 133 sq. mi. and PR is 3,425; more importantly, PR is mostly mountainous with a mountain range down the 110 mile length and heights of 4,390 ft.(the cause of what I referred to in my initial comments, above, of why there seems to be seasonal changes and variations in temperature and humidity all over PR but little in FL, which is on average 98 ft. tall and 345 at its highest) while the height of the USVI is only a few hundred ft. with a high point of 1,710). As an aside, Tom Woodall indicated, above, that the temps vary by 20 degrees year round in PR but they actually vary from the nighttime 50’s in the mountains (I have been there then) to the high 80’s. I mention all this about the different sizes of PR and the USVI because it creates a vast difference in a hurricane’s impact. PR houses are built of concrete and suffer little structural damage from weather.
    And, believe it or not, there are very few hurricanes in PR; and very few tropical storms of consequence.
    I certainly have to agree, however, with Julie about a hurricane’s impact on services, though with some limitation to her statement. Like everything I refer to in my pieces here, everything depends on where you are and how you adjust/prepare for your surroundings. That and some dumb luck, I am sure, make the difference in impact. What follows is a short story you might enjoy about how we are prepared for a hurricane here in the States as compared to PR and how our situation compared quite differently from Julie’s report.
    Wanda and I were staying by ourselves in one of the relative’s houses in the country (for the first vacation without any of the six kids) in Aguadilla (northwest PR) in 8/11 when Hurricane (it was really a very strong tropical storm) Irene hit. We got a call from a cousin in Cupey (south of San Juan) to hurry back to their place because the country house we were in would lose electricity, though not the toilet nor the hand water pump, when Irene arrived in a day or two. We packed up and took care of a few things on the drive back (almost all of which was on an “autopista” (never been on a better highway)), which delayed us just enough to have us have to unpack at their place as the downpour began (listen to your mother when she tells you to do something on time). We lost the power for three days there, as did all of metropolitan San Juan, which also runs the water and the toilet, too. After three days, the power came back on but it was time to fly back to NYC. The country house in Aguadilla, incidentally, had their toilet and water working throughout, though power was out as long as the City.
    We returned to our house in the Bronx just in time for Irene to hit us here too and we lost power for 3 hours!! A week later, we were hit with Tropical Storm Lee. There was no loss of power in PR for months as described by Julie about the USVI and the people in PR are always prepared for the common strong weather with only a usual small disruption to their lives. If the USVI is worse, that is truly unfortunate, but Julie’s rendition of the consequences of a hurricane there is not appropriate to PR.
    The damage to my neighborhood on a small peninsula, Clason Point, here in NYC from Sandy six months ago was horrific. All of my neighbors’ properties were damaged and some thoroughly inundated. We are on a small hill and though there was miraculously no damage to our house, we had no power for a week. Not much different, relatively speaking, to PR.
    Those I know in PR are relatively unharmed (we lived by candlelight and torch rather comfortably and refrigerated food was used up) even in that rare major hurricane of Irene. Many of the inhabitants have generators for such occasions to keep food fresh and somewhat illuminate homes. I guess my point is that one must prepare for the occasional powerful weather event wherever you live but because of their location, the Puerto Ricans seem to be naturally even more keenly prepared than we here in the States.
    I read the remaining paragraphs of Julie’s comments and they clearly were referring to the USVI and not PR but I was surprised at the description of events at the rainforest because I thought Julie was referring to PR again. I looked online and learned that there is a rainforest in the USVI and that they have mangoes so, again, this does not refer to the beautiful rainforest in PR, which I referred to in my initial piece, above.
    To digress again, JB’s comments got me looking at just what kind of shape governments are in. I know what he says is absolutely right. What he notes about PR is deplorable; but if you were to use that as a model of a government’s poor financial situation, we here in the States don’t seem to have much to brag about either. States’ local and state governments’ fund only 70% of their pension funds. The federal government has two plans. The newest one is funded while the other is in what’s commonly called terrible shape; I know, it is my retirement plan. The latest statistic I see for PR in one area is even worse than JB’s stat. PR’s debt to GDP ratio is now 103%; but the US is 101.6%!!! PR uses 15% of its annual budget to pay back their national debt. Our “rich” country only needs to use 6%. I’m not sure which is worse given the relative abundance we have here in the US of knowledge and resources, etc. Seems the stats don’t offer much praise for us, either. Guess I’m getting a little too much political but although I truly agree with JB, just want to make the point that objectively analyzing statistics sometimes can, unfortunately, bite us in the backside.
    Again, we all thank John Brady for teaching us, among other things, to rent first before we buy and we thank Julie for, among other things, reminding us to do so no matter where we go.

    by Glenn — April 15, 2013

  7. “Julie’s comment is clearly not about Puerto Rico. It is about her experience in the US Virgin Islands and I wish this had been entitled under that subject and not here as it is very misleading.”


    I am sorry you had such a hard time understanding that most of my anecdotes were about my experience in the USVI. I thought I had stated that clearly.

    However, both my husband and I have worked on Puerto Rico and experienced daily life there. I assure you that while my time on PR was much shorter in duration, (which was why I chose to discuss the USVI instead,) it was long enough to see parallels to the USVI, and certainly enough to caution people that life seen through the lens of someone on vacation is not the same as one exposed to life day in day out, year after year. While these places are part of the US, they are culturally very different. Also remember that most people looking to relocate to the Caribbean will do so cold, without relatives to guide their way into social acceptance or understanding of how things work locally. This is not a small hurdle.

    With the right frame of mind, these can be wonderful places, but yes I urge caution when it comes to extrapolating a vacation experience, even multiple extended ones, to how it must be to live there.

    by Julie — April 16, 2013

  8. Julie, your post could not have been any clearer that you were speaking about St. Thomas and USVI; can’t think why Glenn needs to complain about it. It is perfectly clear and the point you are making seems valid, that seeing any of these islands on a vacation is insufficient data to decide to live there. I have been to both St. Thomas and Puerto Rico but would never consider moving to either place without spending at least 6 months there. All I have seen is what they want you to see.

    by Ginger — April 17, 2013

  9. Hello:
    I am not a member but I wish to give some input to “A puerto rican retirement”.
    I read about the negative and positive points, these are present anywhere you go on this earth, if you know how to live being conscious of the environment you are in you will not have any problems. I retired at 59 years old and have been living in the south west of Puerto Rico for almost 4 years. I was born here but raised in the U.S. since age 5, I lived in Chicago 40 years and Miami almost 20 years.
    Puerto Rico is truly a beautiful place. Like any other state, it has its ugly places but life here is much slower paced than back at home in the U.S. The cost of living here is lower, there is more freedom ( by that I mean that there is not someone waiting around every corner looking to see you don’t break the rules). There is law and order here, just not as strict. The people here are very friendly, you will notice they smile at you when you look at them and say “buen probecho” (like bon appetite) as they walk by when you are eating. You are in a U.S. territory so the same papers you have at home are valid here. There are many places to go to relax and enjoy. Many beaches, some hidden, much history to learn and many fun places where people congregate to have a good time.
    I believe, if you are planning to live here to come on a trial stay for several months to see if you will like the environment.

    by Charles — May 1, 2013

  10. Re my Puerto Rican comments last year, this is especially addressed to John Brady. Since last year, I have kept up with reading comments to the article and comments I wrote in the blog you indicated above but have just been too busy to respond with enlightening comments. I was pleasantly surprised, however,to see your 8/2/14 “Admin” reference to my last year’s blog article and it prompted me to send along a limited response, as limited as I get, unfortunately.

    Wanda and I returned to PR in October, 2013, for six weeks and incidentally decided to look around for a house. Wanda wanted to check out condominiums around Luquillo and found almost everything she wanted. However, small town life is more for me so Wanda went online and, almost immediately and fortunately, found a house, which we bought in January, 2014, three blocks from the beach in Rincon, which is on the very west coast. As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, we’ve visited the entire island and Rincon was always one of our favorites.
    We lived in the newly bought house from the end of January until June 1st and, despite having many excellent experiences in life, this was, next to my marriage and my children, and in support of my comments last year, the best time of my life. You would think I would say this because I was “on vacation” but Wanda and I spent all but the last two weeks, 24-7 working on the house, along with workmen. We don’t have much money but the investment was minimal ($135,000, bought with a mortgage, for a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom house with many extras (marquesina, cabana, small office space, porch, etc.) and $20,000 for fix up and new appliances). The last two weeks of the five months was bringing our youngest of the six, ages 21 and 22, down for a vacation and though they were both reluctant to come, didn’t want to leave by the time it was over.
    I have so much to say about the comments I’ve seen on the blog, and those on the Expat-bog Forum you referred to, and to try to explain what I see as misconceptions by the bloggers but, as has been true for the past year, I feel reluctant because I don’t see minds being changed. It is really a shame and so much a loss for those put off by the negative comments because I think that the approach of others is too narrow. Outside of the San Juan area is like another country. For example, the population of Rincon is about 15,000 but 3,000 are what is called “North Americans”. It was extremely rare when I could not communicate with someone with my English. I speak zero Spanish. I was treated as family by everyone, I mean everyone, I met for five months. I did have a very limited area of travel because, as I indicated, we didn’t really go anywhere this time because we worked around the house every day. But we had multiple workers and only two of the ten workers did not fully pull their weight. Incidentally, the quality of the work was always good and very often excellent. Yes, they quit at 1:30 but they started at 7 and worked straight through.
    I didn’t really want to get started writing here because I have so many good things to say and the few points I have made here aren’t necessarily even the most important. I also like to give examples rather than just editorialize and I just don’t have the time to do it justice just now.
    So, I should really wait until I have the time to write up a good review of the many aspects of our five month adventure owning a snowbird house but, as in my last blog article/comment when I ran on, I just can’t help myself but again to expand on my theme with yet another example. This one is the best that I can think of off hand and maybe the most valuable for readers.
    We closed on the house on 1/29 and moved in on 2/1. A few days later, I noticed a movement of light in the bottom and right side of my right eye. Two days later, I noticed I could not see in the bottom 45% of the eye. Rincon is 10-15 miles from Mayaguez, PR’s third largest city at only 88,000. I happened upon a referral to an ophthalmologist and he saw me immediately upon my walking in, despite a crowded waiting room. He did a battery of tests on the spot, saw the problem and diagnosed it as ischemic optic neuropathy and referred me to a neurologist who I saw two days later. He prescribed four tests (MRI, doppler carotid artery, echocardiagram, halter monitor) which were administered and reported on over the next two weeks. He agreed with the diagnosis. I called up to the ophthalmologist I see annually in the Bronx where I live the rest of the year and he told me that the doctors in Mayaguez had done everything he would have; he is a teaching physician at a prestigious Bronx medical school. He told me there was no reason to return for better medical care to New York. But when I returned in June I went to New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, rated as one of the world’s best eye care facilities, and they told me the specialty care I had received was excellent and the same as what they would have done. Mayaguez is not by far the medical capital of PR but I never saw so many specialty doctors’ offices. Besides this enlightening experience into the quality of medical care, the cost of the care was unbelievable. I had a few blood tests. The cost was 25 cents each. Yes, cents not dollars, and the doctors’ costs were equally excellent. Besides this, every doctor took Medicare and my copays were never over double digit figures! Yes, Medicare is accepted everywhere.
    If you own only one house in Puerto Rico, your taxes are “exonerated”; you pay no real estate taxes. Sales tax is around 7%. I found only the cost of cars and food is about the same as the States.
    I think I also did not write about my new experience because I don’t want anymore North Americans to come to Rincon, or any of the small towns around the island, outside of San Juan where I am sure the comments from the bloggers are more appropriately aimed. 75% of the population lives around San Juan. If you want to live around a city in your retirement, don’t come to PR and if you want to live in semi rural bliss, please don’t come to my town unless you want to smile, say hello to everyone you meet on the street and sometimes even be invited into dinner as you’re walking by someone’s front door.
    I’ll get back to you again when I finish cleaning up this house in the Bronx and get down to sitting on the beach three blocks from the PR house, the calmest, most natural little beach around, where a few locals go to enjoy life with their families and enjoy the sunset. It’s like a country town.
    Thanks again for indulging my carrying on, and at my usual too much length.

    Editor’s note: Thanks Glenn for the helpful update!

    by Glenn — August 4, 2014

  11. This is a very informative blog with an excellent variety of information. I’m an early retiree with just over $1000 in SS income monthly, plus a little over $100k in investments. I’m 63. I don’t require an extravagant life-style. I want quality of life not luxuries. I do want a comfortable and safe rental near town and beach. A car possibly, but I’d prefer to not have the expense. Otherwise I’m looking for somewhere I can afford to eat out on a modest budget at least a couple of times a week; have a coffee or beer most afternoons and watch the world go by. Sounds like ‘retirement’ to me!

    I’ve read different reports about if this can be done. I think I meet the minimum pension requirements but not sure whether my investments.

    Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge and experiences.



    by Evan — December 30, 2014

  12. I have lived in Puerto Rico for over 15 years. In fact, I live in Vieques which is one of the two islands off the east coast of Puerto Rico which are still Puerto Rico. I have loved every minute of my life here, and I don’t really like hot weather and am not a beach person even though we have some of the most beautiful beaches in the world on our island. Vieques is a paradise away from the main island of Puerto Rico and accessible by either ferry (which can be unpredictable) or by plane. I have been accepted and greeted ever since I first arrived years ago. Every one on the streets smiles and says Buenas Dias and are very polite. The population of Vieques is about 10,000 and many are those of us from the states originally. I had no Spanish before I came and still do not communicate a lot in Spanish even though I can always get my point or question answered with the few words I know. I have had a lot of good laughs communicating with the locals who do not speak English. Somehow we communicate though. We are a community, and we look out for each other. Almost everyone knows everyone else even if we don’t know each other by name. I am almost 70 and have a number of specific health issues and no family here, so I have my house for sale and plan to move back to the states only to be closer to relatives who can help me. I actually rarely leave our little island of Vieques because I am so comfortable here. Many people from the states enjoy the beauty and tranquility of our island and are a big part of this community. I suggest the comment from someone who lives in St. Croix be removed. That is not Puerto Rico, and for them to comment in this forum about Puerto Rico does not make sense.

    by June — September 7, 2016

  13. Puerto Rico is the best tax haven for U.S. citizens. Better than Panama, Portugal, etc. There is a good analysis on

    by Anne Schuller — February 8, 2019

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