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Got Some Extra Money? Then Maybe A Private Island Is For You!

August 24, 2010 · 27 comments

in Commentary, Personal Finance, Travel

Sometimes, when my brain has nothing to do, I think about the future and how I would like to spend it.  I ponder where I would like to retire, or if maybe I would like to stay where I currently live for the warmer months, and maybe rent something in a different locale for the winter months.  (I believe I would then be deemed a ‘snowbird’.)    I envision trying a different location each year so I can see all parts of the world.  I would be a world traveling trend setter!

When my brain clicks back to reality, I think about how much money that would cost.  Sure, it is possible, but it would require a lot of saving.  In my imagination though, my options are limitless.

However, one idea that has never crossed my mind, no matter how bored my brain may be, is buying my own personal island.  That is, not until I read an article on  Kiplinger’s website.  The article includes a slide show of islands that are currently for sale, along with other information about owning a private island.

When I came across the article, I viewed it as completely ludicrous.  Where I live, people are fighting for their jobs, experiencing pay cuts, and basically trying to get by.  Buying an island seems so outside the realm of possibility that I questioned why an article like that would even be written.   I then realized that not everyone lives where I do, and that some people truly are fabulously wealthy and may actually want to buy a private island.

So, I read the article, which stated some positives and negatives to owning a private island.  (Downsides:  weather, development issues, etc.  Upside:  You own a private island!)  After evaluating the pros and cons, I still decided that owning an island would be ludicrous, at least for me.  All the logistics of actually getting to a private island sounds like a nightmare. Plus, when I am on vacation, I want good restaurants, entertainment, and access to good hospitals- not total isolation.  Who would cook on the island?  Me.  Who would bring all the supplies to the island because you can’t buy anything there?  Me.   Who would be pedaling the bike-powered-washing-machine?  Me.  Who would be driving the boat to the mainland at midnight to get an emergency pack of Ho-Hos?  Me.

Considering all the hard work involved with existing on an island, it just is not my idea of retirement paradise.  Therefore, I will not be bidding on any of those 12 islands that are up for sale.   However, if there was an inexpensive ocean-front condo within walking distance to downtown up for sale, I might be in the market (in 20 years…).

Does a private island sound like paradise to you?  Am I just an unimaginative curmudgeon at the age of 42???

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Nicole August 24, 2010 at 9:09 am

If it comes with all the money for upkeep and to transport you and your own cooking supplies and gourmet chefs etc… then sure!

Heck, one could even start an NGO there or something and do charitable work. Maybe a boarding school.

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Kris August 24, 2010 at 3:13 pm

Nicole, I hadn’t thought about having someone do all the work for me…. 🙂

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Vicky August 24, 2010 at 11:12 am

Why buy the island,you can rent an island for a week of vacation. That sounds better to me! No hassles of upkeep. Some of them come with a private chef for the week. privateislandsonline.com

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Kris August 24, 2010 at 3:14 pm

Vicky – Very true, I would probably tire of my island if I owned it. I am going to look at that website to see how much it costs to rent an island as now you have me curious!

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Budgeting in the Fun Stuff August 24, 2010 at 11:40 am

I try to avoid as much upkeep as possible, so no, no private island for me. 🙂

Now, if I was uber-wealthy, I might visit a billion places for a week here and a week there…

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Kris August 24, 2010 at 3:14 pm

BFS – Sounds like you will have a very lengthy lifespan! I agree though, I would want to see everything in the world I could if I had unlimited financial resources.

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Khaleef @ KNS Financial August 24, 2010 at 3:13 pm

I think I would love to travel with my wife. We could spend a month in a different country for a year or two.

As far as the island, I wouldn’t want to deal with the upkeep and security (saw an A-Team episode where criminals went to various unsecured islands and terrorized the people). Traveling would be enough for me.

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The Biz of Life August 24, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Unless you have nearly unlimited funds like a Richard Branson you’re better off putting a pond in you backyard with a little island on it.

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Kris August 25, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Biz – a nice pond in the backyard does sound real nice!

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Financial Samurai August 24, 2010 at 7:04 pm

I’m thinking too much work… who’s going to cut the grass?? 🙂

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Kris August 25, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Sam, I think one of your many gardeners will cut the grass I guess…

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Suba @ Wealth Informatics August 24, 2010 at 7:27 pm

I can’t even keep my 1 bedroom apt clean all the time, an island? nah too much work…

I read a sad/funny story about insurance somewhere. Apparently you can’t get insurance for these type of purchase. A man came “home” to find his island missing. It went under the sea when he was away. He was suing a lot of people including the website he used to buy that island… His wife was pretty mad at him because he has put a lot of their retirement money hoping to retire there… I know it is very sad, he lost a lot of money, but it was funny too! I am evil I guess!

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Money Reasons August 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm

I guess the moral of this story is… “Don’t put all of your eggs on one Island” 🙂

I wonder if storm tides tore the surface sand away during a storm… How incredible disappointing that would be!

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Kris August 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Suba – that is a terrible story! But I guess that is the risk of owning an island, the ocean and weather are very unpredictable. I could not imagine retiring on an island though, I would be incredibly lonely!

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Money Reasons August 24, 2010 at 8:30 pm

No island for me, even if I were rich! I like your idea of ocean front property close to a nearby city 🙂

Your idea of being a Snowbird sounds interesting! I think traveling to different location during the winter months sounds like a great idea in retirement. Heck, I bet if you plan it right, you could get a cheap place in a foreign country that could be like paradise on a dime! Then other years go to countries that you want to go to. Who knows, you might find a country on a dime that you might really, really like for those three or so months! Then again there is always camping or getting a camper and sticking to the continental USA for your “Snow Bird” months! Then again, I always wanted to travel when I was younger…

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Kris August 25, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Money Reasons – I would love to have enough money to be a snowbird. However, I am guessing I will probably end up ‘vacationing’ alot wherever my children end up. (Not many people can find jobs around where I live after college, so I am sure they will all end up in different places, much to my chagrin…)

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Kevin@InvestItWisely August 24, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I’d go for an ocean condo, but not a whole island… and somehow, I can’t get the scene from that movie where the guy’s whole family gets gunned down on an island. If you’re rich enough to afford it, better make sure you have the security to go with it!

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Kevin@InvestItWisely August 24, 2010 at 8:42 pm

On the other hand, pirates of the Caribbean does make it seem romantic… with nothing but the palm trees, coconuts, and bottles of rum. Might be fun for a few days 😉

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Kris August 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Kevin – Getting down on an island, now that is a terrible image! True though, would probably be pretty easy to get away with.

An ocean condo would be my dream. I would walk the beach every single day. I can’t imagine the cool storms that would blow in. (Not the hurricanes, I mean ordinary storms, of course.)

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Squirrelers August 24, 2010 at 10:51 pm

If I were super wealthy (fun to imagine, isn’t it!), I could see “renting” a private island for a week or two, to get the experience of having a whole island to ourselves.

My preference would be to travel to a variety of places – some to sightsee, some for entertainment, and some for chilling.

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Kris August 25, 2010 at 1:14 pm

Squirreler – I agree, a week would probably be nice. But who knows, maybe I would fall in love with it after a week, but I doubt it. I would need a Gilligan to handle all my chores, and a Professor to figure everything out.

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