One of the first things that many ask us about when considering a relocation of this nature is the relative cost of living.
There is no denying it – Bermuda’s cost of living is fairly high. However, in order to develop a true picture, we recommend constructing a budget to examine what you will earn relative to your expenses on the island. While costs will ultimately vary based on one’s personal situation, wants and needs, there are a few factors that will tend to be more universal and should factor into overall calculations:
Salaries offered in Bermuda are quite competitive in the global sense and generally factor in both change in cost of living and tax rates. The Bermudian dollar is set to a fixed 1:1 exchange rate with the US dollar so for Canadians and many others, the exchange rate can be quite favourable.
Nearly tax free earnings
One of the other obvious financial benefits offered is the very low payroll tax (income tax) rate in Bermuda as follows:
Less than or equal to $48,000 – 4.00%
$48,001 – $96,000 – 6.50%
$96,001 – $235,000 – 7.75%
$235,001 – $900,000 – 8.75%
For most of us from Canada, the UK and many other locations, this represents a huge drop in tax obligation and you’ll notice a large difference in net pay on your first pay stub. The reduction in taxation is certainly one of the major incentives for those that choose to pursue a career opportunity in Bermuda.
Cost of housing
Without doubt, renting accommodation in Bermuda will be your single largest expense. As you can likely imagine, the cost for housing varies depending on factors including location, size, furnished or not and what facilities are available. Generally speaking, the closer to Hamilton, the more expensive it will likely be. However with the island being so small, it’s relatively quick to commute in to the city center from other neighbourhoods. Some rental examples are available on the local classified site emoo.bm
Day to day items
Most products are imported to Bermuda which tends to increase the cost of day-to-day items when compared with similar products back home, though again there are other factors to consider: There is no retail sales tax in Bermuda which helps to bring the prices down quite a bit (eg. no 13% HST or VAT added to the sticker price). Some of the local supermarkets publish flyers online so if you’d like to comparison shop that can be a good starting point.
You can (largely) do away with car expenses
Also to be considered in your calculations is the lack of need for most to own a car in Bermuda – which for most of us is a huge monthly savings. Scooters, walking and/or public transit are all comparatively inexpensive and easy ways to travel in Bermuda.
Keep in mind that many of the unique extracurricular activities available in Bermuda at your doorstep are free. Spending time at the many beautiful beaches, soaking up the sun by the ocean, swimming and other activities don’t cost a cent. Of course, your mileage may vary depending on your interests and hobbies!
For more information
There is some current cost of living information and figures offered in the Bermuda New Resident Magazine and we are always happy to answer questions on an individual basis. Your future Employer will also likely be very happy to help put cost of living into context as well during the interview process.
All in all, living and working in a subtropical paradise such as Bermuda comes with added expense but truly represents an exceptional career and life opportunity for those who are able and choose to do so.
At the end of the day, even with the increase in cost of living, these opportunities normally allow for an increase in earning potential. While it’s not a get rich quick scheme, many find that they are able to come back after a few years with savings to go along with a lifetime of memories made – no doubt a large reason why there are so many Expats living and working in Bermuda!
Author: Jason Squires