An idyllic location coupled with minimal tax and accelerated career progression – how does that sound?
Bermuda, along with the Cayman Islands, and other offshore locations across the Americas and Europe, is one of the most sought-after relocation options for accounting, finance and insurance professionals. Over the past four years, Hanami International has placed many candidates into the Atlantic archipelago. Here they catch up with one of their previously placed candidates to get some honest feedback on island life.
How would you describe the lifestyle in Bermuda?
It’s fantastic! Summer is the best time you will have in your life! The days are long, you are never more than a few 100 metres from the beach, there are a lot of water sports and activities and, on weekends, it’s very common to organize boat parties. Needless to say, you tend to not remember large portions of these expeditions! They are a lot of fun. During the week, it’s common to leave work around 5pm and head to the beach to play volleyball or just tan and swim.
The best weekend on the island is Cup Match Weekend where different sides of the island, St Georges and Somerset, compete in a game of cricket. Taking place each August, the heated match is followed by concerts, beach parties and plenty of great food and drink!
Because the island is small, there isn’t a huge number of bars, restaurants or clubs. But it’s more the company you are with, rather than the location, that makes the difference. In Winter, it’s common for people to just get together at someone’s house and have a BBQ.
How do you find your morning commute?
In Bermuda, you are only allowed one car per household, which is an expensive option!. Most expats use public transport or they buy a scooter. Public transport is ok and there are enough buses to get you around, but waiting can become frustrating, especially if all your mates have scooters. There are a lot of taxis on the island. The taxi rates are expensive, and they only take cash, but they do come in handy after a long night! I would recommend getting a second-hand scooter. You can buy a really basic one for around $500 -$800, or something a little fancier for $1500. It’s a bit daunting at first, but you get used to it very quickly - one of the main things that I miss from Bermuda is my scooter!!
Have you had the chance to travel?
Absolutely! The island is an hour’s flight from New York and close enough to most of the East Coast of the US (Florida is a great option). You can also travel to South and Central America, Canada, as well as the Caribbean. It’s also only six hours from the UK. It’s very common for people to go away on weekends.
Did you have the chance to meet many of the locals?
The locals are very welcoming, and it’s considered a sin on the island if you do not say “Good Morning”, “Good Afternoon” and “Good Evening” to each person you pass on the street. The locals take greetings very seriously! There's a strange perception on the island that locals don't socialise with expats outside of work, but this was never the case with me; I met a lot of locals who became good friends. A significant percentage of Bermuda’s population are expats, principally from Canada, the West Indies, South Africa and the US – meaning you are able to meet a lot of people from different backgrounds and cultures.
Is the weather in Bermuda everything you expected?
It is, it’s very good. It’s relatively warm in Winter (ranging from 10-18 degrees). However, there is lots of rain and it does get a little chilly (especially in the mornings and evenings). In October and November, it becomes very windy and wet; if the island takes a direct hit from a hurricane, it can become a little nasty. However, it does provide a great opportunity to host a “hurricane party” at your house!
In Summer, it’s hot but rarely exceeds 30 degrees. The problem is the humidity if you rely on public transport and if you plan on walking around a lot. That’s one of the reasons I would highly recommend a scooter!
What is your opinion on the cost of living in Bermuda?
It’s the one downside! Rent is expensive and most expats live with one or two housemates to split the cost. I was living in a house with two other mates, and we were paying $1,500 each per month. Food and drinks are also expensive and eating out can set you back financially if you do it too often.
Saying this, individual salary in Bermuda is one of the highest in the world and you pay no income tax. So, it evens out in the end and if you are smart and careful, you can actually save a lot of money on the island whilst having an amazing experience.
What would you say is your favourite thing about Bermuda?
The lifestyle and the people you meet. Whenever someone asks me to explain Bermuda to them, I always say it’s like Neverland. You never really grow up there!
For more information on Hanami's Bermudan and other offshore Audit, Tax and Advisory opportunities, speak to Adam Nelson on +442070487880.