Back from Hawaii

Well, I am nursing some jet-lag but am working on a post for later this week on the alleged CIA secret overseas prisons.  This is one of those issues where my pragmatic frequent-flying persona is all over Jenifer Garner violating the crap out of terrorist civil rights to protect me, but my intellectual-libertarian persona knows better.  If you want a preview of where I am going with this, you can see this post on immigration, noting the argument that our individual rights pre-date, rather than flow from, the government, and therefore citizenship shouldn't matter in assessing what rights a person has vis-a-vis Uncle Sam.

I had the opportunity to look at some land while I was in Hawaii, thinking about maybe having a retirement home in the future, at least to escape the Phoenix summers.  My wife and I would like to be on a coast.  I don't like the Northeast, and neither of us like the Gulf coast or Northwest coast.  That leaves SoCal and Hawaii (if you limit it to the US).  What worries us is that though we expect some appreciation in our real earnings over the next decade, we fear that waterfront property in these areas may appreciate even faster, leading us to the conclusion that we may be able to afford a nicer piece of land now than when we retire.  We worry about bubble pricing but being willing to hold an asset for 20-30 years alleviates some of that problem.  The Big Island seems to be a better value than the other islands, but even there, its freaking expensive.  Sigh.  Maybe if it was a big enough lake, that would do?


  1. Melissa:

    While my husband and I have never priced property in Hawaii (we honeymooned there), we have had many of the same thoughts as far as land values now vs land values in the future. We keep thinking it would be nice to buy something now before it gets even more expensive than it already is and we're making less.


  2. Debbie:

    Actually owning property in Hawaii will probably appreciate, and as you said long term will likely eliminate the bubble worries. Before you try that though, make very sure you can live with Hawaiian culture. I do not mean Kamehameha et al either. I lived there for 5 years and I have never lived in a more frustrating place. I will go visit, but even if I eliminated the cost of living vs. wage issue that was my biggest problem, I would never live there.

    Problem 1: Nepotism. Tough place to move to or away from due to geography. As a result, most people who live there can figure out how they are related to nearly everyone else who lives there with about a 10 minute conversation. That is someone they have never met before in their life. If you are a newcomer and have not married into a Hawaiian family, you are cut out of a lot, socially, economically and buerocratically. Most Hawaiians are very friendly people, but understandably family comes first, and most everyone around you is family.

    Problem 2: Massive bueracracy (sp?) This is the place that gave me an option of violating one of 3 laws to register my car with no recourse. This is also the place where a police officer had his driver's license revoked over someone else (massively obvious it was not him) using his name in a traffic stop in California. (California bears no small part of the blame for their part in putting this violation on his record while making no effort to check identity) In short, a libertarian nightmare, the bueracracy is out of control and I am a big believer that this is one of the key ways governments grow and run amok.

    I have entertained countless people with the fleshed out versions of the stories above, plus more on just how messed up a place Hawaii is. Let me know if you want the full versions.

    All of this was on Oahu, the Big Island may be better, but I seriously doubt it.