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Relocating To Honolulu, Hawaii in 2019!

Started by Sam, January 27, 2019, 08:14:37 AM

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What locations are you considering? We applied for Seagull Schools for our son, but the closest location they have to you is Downtown, so might be too far for you.

It seems like prices/number of houses sold across the island in general.

In case you don't already know, there are a few realtors here who offer buyer rebates, for as much as 50% of the buyer's commission (so I think that comes out to 1.5% of total purchase price).

Our family prefers mainland banks to local ones for the interest rates (Discover and Lake Michigan are our two favorites), but we do have a few local ones for the perks.

Hawaii State: free checks, free notary services
Other credit unions: whenever we jump for lower HELOC rates, we open an account
American Savings Bank: open during weekends/holidays (we have tenants deposit rent directly to our ASB accounts and keep their deposit slip as a receipt of payment); they have had some enticing account opening bonuses that we've taken advantage of in recent years

Not as big a fan of waterfall hikes as I am of ridge ones, but here are some suggestions in order of decreasing kid-friendliness:

Likeke Falls, Kaneohe - half an hour, easy
Kid-friendly due to short length of trail, but there may be some parts that you may need to carry your son.

Lulumahu Falls, Nuuanu - 1 hour, easy
Kid-friendly if you are a baby wearer; not suitable for your son to hike on his own.

Waihe'e and Hamama Falls, Kaneohe heading towards North Shore - 1-1.5 hours, easy
Kid-friendly since most of the trail is a gravel road up. It might be at a steeper incline than a little kid can handle, so kid may lose stamina on the way up.

Jackass Ginger Falls, Nuuanu - 1 hour, easy
I did this a while ago and don't remember it being too difficult, so I would say it's kid-friendly, but don't hold me to this.

Naohia Falls (Ice Ponds), Kalihi - 30 minute, easy
NOT kid-friendly due to one stretch of steepness to get to falls.

Kaau Crater, Kaimuki - 4-5 hours, hard
NOT kid-friendly at all
Best combo of ridge and waterfall. Total of 3 waterfalls if you get through the entire hike.

Other hikes that aren't waterfall ones but I'm including 'cause they're awesome:
Makapu'u Lighthouse, Waimanalo - 1-1.5 hours, easy
SUPER kid-friendly; City & County of Honolulu paved the place, put concrete benches/rails at scenic points, even has a port-a-potty.

Hanauma Bay Ridge, Hawaii Kai - 1-1.5 hours, easy
Kid-friendly up to the end of the road to the cell phone tower. Incline might be kinda tough stamina-wise for your son to walk the entire thing.

Koko Head, Hawaii Kai - 1-1.5 hours, medium/hard
Best cardio in 30 minutes or less.

Pu'u Ma'eli'eli, Temple Valley, Kaneohe - 1.5-2 hours, medium
If you're pretty fit, you could baby wear your son on this trail, otherwise, not really kid-friendly due to steepness of some parts.

Mokoli'i (Chinaman's Hat), Kaaawa - 2-3 hours, medium
NOT kid-friendly. Kayak to the island then hike to the top.

Olomana, Kailua - 4-5 hours, hard
NOT kid-friendly. The best hike ever.

I started a general lifestyle blog in late 2017 with the intention of building it enough to quit my job when I plan to have baby #2 so I could stay at home. Have been getting a pretty steady $2000/month, but that's not nearly enough money and hard to scale because income is mainly traffic-based (87% ad income, 12% affiliate, >1% product income).

Trying to start another blog (with my sister) that's more niched to nurture a more targeted audience. Will most likely end up keeping my job and building this on the side. Thank goodness for our retired parents to help watch our young son. And kudos to you for being able to find a way to work while being able to be at home with your son, in high-cost-of-living area, nonetheless, as that is not easy.


Quote from: Sam on February 06, 2019, 11:36:19 AM
Quote from: eplusk on February 06, 2019, 09:44:05 AM
If you want your kids going to private school there are a few feeder preschools that will increase your chances. I don't have an exhaustive list but you should look into St. Clements, Unity, and Central Union also. I think Waiokeola is a feeder school also.

Regarding Kahala, the market is soft because there's a neighborhood called Kakaako where a lot of luxury condos are being developed. A lot of Kahala residents (older and wealthy) are downsizing to Kakaako condos. The same goes for Kahala-adjacent neighborhoods like Waialae Iki.

I can also give you the scoop on private schools (my wife and I both graduated from different ones), differences in local banks, and PCP/dentist/ophthalmologist recommendations via email if you're so inclined. Up to you.

Fascinating about Kakaako. Had no idea!  The homes on Waielae Iki have great views and are nice. Not as expensive as Lahala either.  But after living on top of a hill for the past five years, we want to live close to the beach so we can just walk there with our boy. Our favorite beach is in Kahala too.

I would love for him to attend Punahou or Iolani, but it seems quite competitive of course. My aunt and two cousins went to Punahou. Does that count as legacy? Probably not.  I like how the school is cheaper than the schools in San Francisco, and you can stick with it from kindergarten all throughout 12 grade. That's stability sounds wonderful to me.

Which preschools would you think our feeder schools for those two great schools? I have someone different advice here in San Francisco regarding getting into the top grade schools. My friends say that it is better to go to a non-target feed preschool because these schools want diversity. Thoughts on this?

Btw, are you working in Honolulu? What's your background again? Thanks

Feeder schools for those 2 schools are St. Clements, Unity, Central Union, I believe Waiokeola, and not sure what else. My list isn't comprehensive but I could find out for you. I don't think Iolani or Punahou are necessarily looking for non-target feeder preschools. Never heard that before, at least.

I work in Honolulu and also have an e-commerce business that's locally registered but basically all the business is done nationally. Lived and worked on the mainland for over a decade before coming back to Hawaii a while ago.

I'm pretty private when it comes to providing personal information on the internet. Any additional information I give would be pretty easy to narrow down who I am (I'm not someone special or important, but do have a unique background which makes me easy to narrow down online). We need more talented people here and I want people to have more exposure to digital-based career opportunities, which can overcome some of the liabilities created by being on an island in the middle of the ocean.

Your blog provides a ton of value to me so I'd love to help you out with better info if I can. If you're interested, send me an email or create a burner email account and PM it to me and I'm happy to share my contact info and background since I can't directly PM you. You can decide if you want to follow up further or not. I know I'm just some random person posting on your forum so I totally get it if you don't want to also.


Hi Sam,
FYI, Maryknoll school just announced that they are expanding their Chinese Immersion Program to K - 12.  If you have access to, check out the article on 2/9/19 front page and Page B1.  Students enrolled in the program spend half a school day learning regular courses in English and the other half learning in Mandarin.  Punahou is a great school attended by more privileged kids but Maryknoll may offer a more diverse experience for your son.  Just something to consider.


Correction:  Maryknoll is expanding their Chinese Immersion Program from K & 1  to  K - 6  (not K - 12).


Aloha Sam,

I came here 6 years ago and haven't looked back, glad you're making it out this way.

* Golf - I'm an 18, favorite courses are Turtle Bay Palmer course, Ko Olina, Kapolei, Ewa Beach and Royal Hawaiian

* Hiking - I prefer the ridge hikes out here. Less people, views are great and it's one heck of a workout. Hawaii Loa Ridge, Mt Olympus, Kuliouou, etc

* Foodies - Mexican - El Ranchero, Ramen - Agu, Sushi - Sushi II, Burmese - Rangoon, Indian - Himalayan Kitchen, Breakfast - Orchids, Poke bowl - Temura's, Italian - La Cucina and Kalapawai

* Finally, is it me, or is the luxury property market super soft? Looks like it's across the board soft, I purchased my last rental October 2018 and was able to purchase 15% lower than asking



Quote from: waynetang on February 11, 2019, 10:20:13 AM
Hi Sam,
FYI, Maryknoll school just announced that they are expanding their Chinese Immersion Program to K - 12.  If you have access to, check out the article on 2/9/19 front page and Page B1.  Students enrolled in the program spend half a school day learning regular courses in English and the other half learning in Mandarin.  Punahou is a great school attended by more privileged kids but Maryknoll may offer a more diverse experience for your son.  Just something to consider.

Great heads up! Thanks!



Hi Sam!

Great blog, still learning, but love the topics & discussion. Keep doing what you do!

Welcome back home... my family live in Punchbowl, my hubby is local, I'm a southern Cali girl, but I've always felt this is home, in spite of the high COLA. We adjust. ;) We have a 4-year-old.

So to narrow down areas where I can respond:

* Have their own online businesses and are entrepreneurs - working on mine right now, an online course.

* Foodies - we love food, my husband is a pretty decent cook at home. Recommendations:

Hawaiian: People's Cafe (downtown), Yama's (Young St), Highway Inn (Nimitz Hwy), Tamura's generally has good poke
Japanese: Yanagi, Sushi Murayama (can be pricey but onolicious, Chef is so cool), Tokkuri Tei (Kapahu/Diamond Head) lots of smaller shops all over Honolulu if you are willing to explore
Indian: Cafe Taj Mahal

* Best/favorite banks? We do business with Bank of Hawaii & Central Pacific Bank. no issues with them.

* Best dentists, pediatricians, opthalmologists, optometrists, primary care physicians?

I love our OB-Gyn, she speaks Mandarin and English, a go-getter. Right balance of "knows-what-she's-doing, matter-of-fact" yet super-personable. Her daughter takes singing lessons with me. Dr. Lynette Tsai.  We go to Uchida Dentistry in Kahala, two twin sisters and their dad run the place.  We like it.  I'd recommend Dr. Chen and Kuo- husband and wife (Ala Moana Building).  Dr. Chen, have had him for 15 years. He speaks Mandarin, too. ;) but he's solid in English. Youngish dentist. ;)

* Thoughts on great preschool recommendations and Mandarin language immersion preschools? We're aware of Punahou, I'olani, and Mid Pacific for K-12th.

Not versed on the Mandarin Language immersion element. 

But feeder schools for the Big 3 (based on parents I've known when their kids got in)
  -- Hanahauoli (Makiki area)
  -- Maryknoll
  --Hongwanji Mission School (HMS). ** (Nuuanu area)

I will be teaching at HMS in the fall, but what I do know (as I've interviewed directly with HMS Head of School) is that this school has solid academics, a sound program, and great teachers.  It's not a "fancy" looking school, but it definitely gets the job done (without the big price tag). HMS students who take lessons from me (I have my private studio) have gotten accepted into Punahou and Mid-Pac. Not all had "ties" or strong connections, although I'm sure it helps. Sometimes you just gotta be persistent. As far as preschool, yes, they do have 40 seats available for PS-PK at HMS, but lots of applicants, so I'd apply sooner if available.

Hope this helps... !


Very helpful Bela! Thanks!

I think we're going to arrive at the end of June or sometime in July. It'll be fun to have a meet up.



Anybody in Honolulu want to grab a beer? Arrived for a quick trip to take advantage of mango season!

Flying back on red eye on july 29.



Let me know if you end up getting a FS meetup going while you're out here on your quick trip. Always down for a frosty pau hana beverage.



 Looks like there's about 13 people going to the surfing pig off Waialae Ave at 1pm on saturday.

I'm going to meet up with another reader there today at 4:45 PM. I'll wear a Financial Samurai Hat. Let me know if you plan to join.





Are you in town at all for the rest of the year? Would love to take you to coffee as a thank you for your post on Healing Back Pain.