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Young accountant - to make a move or not?!

Young accountant - to make a move or not?!

Old May 16th 2014, 9:54 am
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Default Young accountant - to make a move or not?!

Hi All,

I have the opportunity to work in Cayman for a two year contract. As a 25 year old female making the move alone from the UK is very daunting. My main incentive is to go for a few years for experience, and come home with some savings.

Would love to hear from people who have made the move across and how they are finding it.

My main issues are:

- how easy it is to meet people? Is the nightlife good?

- Cost of living - on a salary of $53k USD how realistic is it that I will be able to save money.

- What is the work/life balance like on the islands? I know working in audit will be long hours during busy season, but are working weekends expected all year round?

Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated? I would most likely be moving in October.

Thanks
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Old May 16th 2014, 7:27 pm
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Default Re: Young accountant - to make a move or not?!

Originally Posted by Ruthie14 View Post
I have the opportunity to work in Cayman for a two year contract. As a 25 year old female making the move alone from the UK is very daunting. My main incentive is to go for a few years for experience, and come home with some savings. Would love to hear from people who have made the move across and how they are finding it.

My main issues are:
- how easy it is to meet people? Is the nightlife good?
- Cost of living - on a salary of $53k USD how realistic is it that I will be able to save money.
- What is the work/life balance like on the islands? I know working in audit will be long hours during busy season, but are working weekends expected all year round?

Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. I would most likely be moving in October.
First, to answer your "main issues":
- very easy! And: I'm too old to know at first hand, but I believe so. Cayman is a very sophisticated little place in respect of entertainment
- US$53K is CI$44K; no Income Tax, of course, though Import Duties on everything. You should be able to save quite a bit, if you don't go crazy on the nightlife!
- pretty near perfect; and no.

We've lived here for 36 years, and can sincerely recommend the life. The most unattractive side of life is the Im****************cracy and its exploitation of low-paid migrant workers. Too much like the Good Old Days of slavery, for my liking, but it sure makes life comfortable for the rest of us.

Here are a few selected blog-posts of mine that will give you the flavour of what it's like here.
"Catch & Release" April 2014, about crime
"Cayman's Boat People", February 2014
"More trouble in Paradise", December 2013
"Free labour vs Slave labour', November 2013
There's a lot of earlier posts, too, and some of them might be interesting.

I'm happy to answer any further questions. Fire away!
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Old May 23rd 2014, 3:12 am
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Default Re: Young accountant - to make a move or not?!

Hey,

I moved here in January and am really enjoying it so far.

I found meeting people pretty easy. There is a big ex pat community and everyone is very welcoming. Most people move here not knowing anyone so people are always happy to have new friends.

Nightlife is good, there is always plenty going on and people are very sociable. Only downside is everything shuts at midnight on a Saturday which takes a bit of getting used to!

It is expensive to live in comparison to the UK but your higher salary compensates. Also you can save money on rent if you don't live on Seven Mile Beach.

I think it is pretty busy Jan - Jun in all the audit firms but the rest of the year seems to be a lot quieter.

Give me a shout if you have any questions.
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Old May 23rd 2014, 3:23 am
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Default Re: Young accountant - to make a move or not?!

Originally Posted by Gordon Barlow View Post
We've lived here for 36 years, and can sincerely recommend the life. The most unattractive side of life is the Im****************cracy and its exploitation of low-paid migrant workers.
I don't know what went wrong with this post, and there doesn't seem to be an "Edit" button. The asterisks somehow mutilated a reference to the government's immigration-control. Sorry!
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Old May 23rd 2014, 8:34 am
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Default Re: Young accountant - to make a move or not?!

Hi,

Thanks for both replying. Do you find the higher salary compensates enough? And is there much crime on the island-do you feel safe?

Have you ever regretted making the move Gordon? Do you ever feel like the island is too small and get cabin fever as such?! Does it take a while to adjust to island life?

Where are the best places I should look for house shares? Which area would be best value, but also safe.

Thanks!
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Old May 23rd 2014, 5:28 pm
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Default Re: Young accountant - to make a move or not?!

Originally Posted by Ruthie14 View Post
Do you find the higher salary compensates enough? And is there much crime on the island-do you feel safe?

Have you ever regretted making the move Gordon? Do you ever feel like the island is too small and get cabin fever as such?! Does it take a while to adjust to island life?

Where are the best places I should look for house shares? Which area would be best value, but also safe.
In answer to your first para:Yes it does. Yes there is quite a lot of petty crime these days. When we first came here a girl could walk down any street at midnight in a bikini and get home safely. Not any more. Now, there are some no-go areas. My blog-post of a couple of weeks ago called "Catch and release" is the most recent of my commentaries on the topic; earlier ones are usually identifiable by their titles. Overall, though, it's still worth coming.

In answer to your second para: No, not really. There were some difficult years (blogpost "Confessions of a subversive" in October 2012) when the local politicians tried very hard to deport me for the crime of opposing the government's plan to introduce an Income Tax. I was Manager of the Chamber of Commerce at the time. But in the end, I won, so yah boo sucks to them! Expats who keep a low profile are safe from deportation. You'll find out about the censorship rules when you get here.

And to your third para: Well, you're best to wait till you get here before deciding where to live and not to live. Your employer will put you up in a hotel for a week or two, to suss out accommodation, car, etc.
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Old May 28th 2014, 3:01 pm
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Default Re: Young accountant - to make a move or not?!

Originally Posted by Ruthie14 View Post
Hi,

Thanks for both replying. Do you find the higher salary compensates enough? And is there much crime on the island-do you feel safe?

Have you ever regretted making the move Gordon? Do you ever feel like the island is too small and get cabin fever as such?! Does it take a while to adjust to island life?

Where are the best places I should look for house shares? Which area would be best value, but also safe.

Thanks!
My advice is - don't regret anything.. it all adds to experience. If you don't like it you can leave whenever you want. I came for an 8 month contract and stayed 14 years.. You'll love it. Cabin fever? yes - that is what Miami is for! Takes about 2 days to adjust. Good luck.
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Old May 30th 2014, 12:24 am
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Default Re: Young accountant - to make a move or not?!

Salary wise i'm definitely better off than I would be back in the UK. Even with the higher rent and cost of living I save money each month. Just out of interest, has your salary of 53k been confirmed? I think as a qualified accountant you could get more than that so it might be worth looking around?

There is definitely crime on the island but i've never not felt safe. From what I can tell most of the violent crime seems to be gang related. You can go along way to keeping yourself safe by being sensible - i.e. not walking home alone after a night out / avoiding particular areas / not leaving vauables unattended etc.

Yeah it can get a bit claustrophobic at times, always a good idea to get off island every few months. One advantage of living here is Miami is an hour away on the plane. You adjust really quickly, and there are definite advantages to living on an island, no long commutes etc.

With regards to regretting the move, definitely not. I think if you asked pretty much everyone who has done it they would all recommend it.

The best place to look for a flat is - www.ecaytrade.com. Lots of 1 bedrooms / house shares etc.

Area wise, anything on Seven Mile / George Town / South Sound are worth a look. I'd personally stay away from West Bay but I know some people who live there and haven't had any issues.
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