Rising Cost of Living

Chris

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Oct 21, 2002
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The IMF World Economic Outlook that came out a day or so ago considers that the US economy is not going to be too healthy, and this will certainly impact the remissions and tourism to the DR. Caribbean economies are being cautioned to brace for a significant slowdown in economic growth over the next two years as well as an inflationary spiral seen in the increasing food prices.
With the value of the dollar tanking a little every day and crude oil hitting 112 dollars yesterday, are people planning any lifestyle changes to hedge against possibly lower incomes?
Is DR property still a good bet?
Are new prospective DR expats taking the changing cost structure into account when planning to move to the DR?
 

Squat

Tropical geek in Las Terrenas
Jan 1, 2002
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Are new prospective DR expats taking the changing cost structure into account when planning to move to the DR?
I don't know about folks moving here, but for us, long timers Gringos, it looks a bit worrisome...

-Maybe it is finally time to start planting a survival crop in those little piece of lands ?
(only half joking... might end up`doing it...)
 

reese_in_va

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Feb 22, 2007
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This is a concern. Prices are continually rising on a lot of things. Oil is a monopoly, it runs the world. We need to find an alternative for energy, we as in human beings all over the world.
What I am trying to accomplish here at my finca is too become self-sufficient, self-sustaining. This is not an easy process. It takes almost all of my time. This has become a major lifestyle change, but I am less reliant on "the outside world". Unfortunately I still need gasoline and diesel fuel for making this happen. I wish there was a different way, than to give big oil more money.
The median between the multi-rich and the multi-poor is getting wider. To be in "middle class" now means that 20yrs. ago you would be considered "well off".
I am getting a bit worrisome too. With the US economy as it is now and as it is projected in the near future, we will feel the impact here in the DR. Aren't we already?
 

Lambada

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Mar 4, 2004
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Not worried for us (planned our changes 18 months ago when we could see dollar about to tank & moved to euros ;) ) but very concerned for locals with limited resources. Recent price increases feature prominently in conversations on the street, in the papers etc; an example from Puerto Plata Mercado here:
Puerto Plata Digital
despite certain parts of the Government saying it is all a fallacy & being 'talked up' by the opposition. Yeah, right!

Are new prospective DR expats taking the changing cost structure into account when planning to move to the DR?

And not just for them. They need to be aware that they will be moving to a country where the gap between rich and poor is getting visibly wider.
 

Zurichguy

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Apr 10, 2008
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But Mr. President said last night in a speech delivered to the young entrepreneurs that it would be one of the priorities of his government to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor in this country. How can he act -even if he would have that intention - against a world wide tendency ? Above all in a country known as the one showing the biggest differences in income between the rich and the poor in Latin America. Who can believe such an unreal statement and empty promise ? Electroral rhetorics !
 

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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Well fortunately for most of us, we can probably just tighten our belts and cut out a lot of luxury items to make ends meet. In fact this is what is happening in the States too.

As far as the solution to what is going on in the States, it will be a great help if the FDIC can get the agreement passed throught with some of the mortgage lenders to back their ARM loans if they take a certain percantage and convert them to fixed rate. Also, I have a good friend who works in international development, and he tells me that while the banks are being really tight about lending money, the word is out that the private equity investors are waiting for the market to bottom out and then really start backing major developments by the end of the year. Of course, this is only good news, as this will restart the construction industry again, which means jobs and what not. In this respect, what is good for the States is good for the DR.
 

Matilda

RIP Lindsay
Sep 13, 2006
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In Juan Dolio we have a lot of local Haitians and Dominicans feeling the pinch. Chicken has gone up a lot, plus oil which is causing problems. However, there is a lot of work here in construction, but it is amazing how many Dominicans are refusing to work in it. The basic wage for non professionals is 350RD$ a day but they say it is not enough and would rather starve, or borrow money than work. As usual we have a lot of men who have left their womenfolk with kids and they are the ones who are really suffering as the fathers are not giving them any money.

matilda
 

Adrian Bye

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Jul 7, 2002
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RD $350/day for 20 days/month is RD$7k/month.. If there are a few people in a household combining resources I would imagine it would be enough. I'm surprised they are turning it down. Is what I write accurate?

how much does a dominican household need to live cheaply now?
 

Skippy1

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Feb 21, 2008
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I think I read in the paper the breakdown of the DR national debt the worry being that a large part is underwriten by the Government with I think I remember correctly nearly 70% on variable rates to US and European banks. The credit cruch could hit hard here if it all goes pear shaped, as we say in UK.
Might even get some ministers complaining the cash cow is drying up.

Dairio Libre I think, last week if someone still has one or can remember.
I am glad I am on a foriegn contract paid in Euros.

Skippy1
 

Chirimoya

Well-known member
Dec 9, 2002
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A year or so ago, the basic family basket was RD$18,000, or more than three minimum wages. Considering that (a) a large proportion of households do not even earn the minimum, and (b) prices have gone up, one wonders why things aren't even worse than they are. Once the election is over, who knows?
 

Ringo

On Vacation!
Mar 6, 2003
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Heating oil for my mostly closed down house in New Hampshire. Today @ US $3.99 per gallon.

Glad we planned this move starting 12 years ago.

Regards, Ringo
 

Skippy1

New member
Feb 21, 2008
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Ringo you want to check out the price in the UK nearly 6 dollars a gallon
Gasoline over 8 and still rising
 

DrChrisHE

On Probation!
Jul 23, 2006
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How they turn down 350 in exchange for zero???

In Juan Dolio we have a lot of local Haitians and Dominicans feeling the pinch. Chicken has gone up a lot, plus oil which is causing problems. However, there is a lot of work here in construction, but it is amazing how many Dominicans are refusing to work in it. The basic wage for non professionals is 350RD$ a day but they say it is not enough and would rather starve, or borrow money than work. As usual we have a lot of men who have left their womenfolk with kids and they are the ones who are really suffering as the fathers are not giving them any money.

matilda

Matilda is right about the scale and the trends. For example, our housekeeper (a 19 yr old with two kids) and "technically married" to the father of the kids, works for $350RD/day at our house (plus we supply her family with medicines and some food). The husband works as a golf caddy and most days gets NOTHING. They are 100% reliant on tips as caddies yet he won't leave that job for a guarantee of 350-400 RD/day. I say technically married because there isn't a whole lot from my perspective that he does as a husband or father--ie. no $ for household (any he does earn goes to cerveza & chicas) and he NEVER takes care of the kids (if they are sick--she is the one; if they up at night, she is the one.) Yes, this pattern isn't unique to the DR, but OMG is it pronounced.

What I don't understand is how these guys can turn down a guaranteed 350-400RD/Day (once they get on with the same construction site, a lot of the Dominicans get beyond that base 350 relatively quickly--from those I've spoken to, frequent small raises are used to keep them from jumping ship if they are hard workers) in lieu of a CHANCE to maybe earn 400-500RD. It's not like the tips are 1000 RD or anything and that the gamble pays off. Maybe once every 7-10 days they will get a 500 peso bill. Is it the fact that they can think of themselves as "white collar" workers-literally (as in the caddies wear white)? If someone can explain this, I'd love to hear the rationale. TIA!
Paz y salud,
DrChrisHE
 

DrChrisHE

On Probation!
Jul 23, 2006
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I just turned down a job. It looks like a good job. It pays well. But looking at it deeply, it would enslave me. Perhaps that's why! ;)

Yes, for you that WOULD be enslavement...but you are literate, articulate and clearly skilled (which in SPM should get you a job for anywhere from 750 RD-1000 RD/day). The folks we are talking about are perfectly nice people but UNSKILLED and can't read or write beyond a 5th grade level (I'm being generous) in even one language. To give you an idea, all words that in Spanish begin with a "v" in reality get a "b" or due to hearing lazy SPM Spanish, NO "s's" are in words; "h" is omitted before all words like Haber; and verbs get an ending of "l" instead of an "r." Most of these people do not have computer skills as you clearly do and only know one language. So, I really don't think it is a fair comparison.

The other part is WOULD YOU TURN DOWN that same job if it meant that your kids were going to go out and eat trash? That is exactly what happens to many of the kids in Los Conucos. I'm aghast whenever I go in and see the kids right next to the rats taking food out of a rotting pile with more flies than one could count, right next to opened poopy pampers. People who have children have a responsibility to them. I don't see it as justified to turn down a paid position to in turn work on a golf course for free while one's kids (12 months-5 yrs) roam the "streets" competing with vermin for food. I don't see how someone can pay 1500 pesos to have their hair done and then say they need to borrow money for food for their family (ies). If that means I'm being ethnocentric, so be it. However, this country is never going to get through problems like amoeba, Dengue, Malaria and Leptosporosis until the people having kids start taking basic responsibility for them.

The day that man didn't wear a condom and got his wife pregnant, he made a decision...he needs to live up to the responsibility of the "Fun" he had by providing at least meager subsistence support even if it encroaches on his "fun and freedom."

Feel free to attack...I know this will irritate some of you but all I'm reporting is what I've seen. And, unfortunately, I see WAY too many "orphans" who are NOT orphans...their parents have either refused to care for them, can't or are incompetent. We have 160 at NPH ranging from age 1 to 17--each with a story that would rip your heart out.
 

BushBaby

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Jan 1, 2002
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Forgive my interjection Moderator & OP but I thought this thread was on "Rising Cost of Living"! I will therefore only request the previous poster (ChrisHE) start a thread on how/why caddies work the way they do & I will respond. If she wishes to 'Attack' the Dominican male culture on a seperate thread, I (& I am sure many others) will respond there too!! Similarly the desire to discuss 'Responsibilities', 'Vermine & children vying for food', 'The fact that it takes TWO to tango where safe/unsafe sex is concerned', 'why Dominicans (educated AND less well educated) pronounce THEIR language in a way that contradicts HER idea of how it should be spoken according to the way it is written'. Whatever would she have Dominicans pronounce 'LL' or Spaniards pronounce 'SS'?? Shouldn't GeeDubya be forced to say Gee doubleU? ALL of these should have their own seperate threads.

It might be interesting to the context of this thread to know if the price of soapboxes has increased dramatically in the last 18 months/2 years!!?? :cheeky: ;) :surprised ~ Grahame.
 

bob saunders

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Jan 1, 2002
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Actually Spanish V is pronounced very much like a soft b. Growing population and increased ability in countries like India and China to buy more meat( which takes a lot of energy to grow), increased move to Urban areas away from farming, less ability for a farmer to make a living, increased fuel and fertilizer prices, despots like Mugabe that have made productive land unproductive, climate change, bio-fuel...man ,the list goes on forever. Farm subsidies in Europe and USA,..... A lot of productive land in the DR is also taken out of production to build houses on.
 

DRob

Gold
Aug 15, 2007
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It does seem like we have a lot of folks that seem to harbor a secret desire to be English (or perhaps that's Spanish) teachers in here. But the need for certain expats to impose or inflict their notions of what is correct on another group of people is more appropriate fodder for another thread....

Prices are up across the board. In the U.S., for example, higher fuel costs have slowed what's left of the manufacturing sectors, and prompted farmers to grow corn instead of other crops, which caused produce to become more expensive. The corn is turned into ethanol, but in turn created a corn-as-food shortage. Less corn meant higher prices for beef and sugar (as a substitute for high fructose corn syrup). As almost every kind of processed food over here has HFCS, those prices were driven up.

So, in addition to spending more to get to the supermarket, you're raked over the coals once you get there. Which, in an economy with fewer well paying jobs, meant you had to work harder to keep your quality of life level constant, which required more energy, which requires more oil. And on and on the spiral goes....

That's not even taking into consideration the fact that, thanks to our experiment with cheap, easy credit, the value of the dollar continues to fall, making exported goods increasingly expensive in the states. Which is why we're seeing so many "moving to DR!" posts these days.

Now put all those products, people (and problems) on a ship, pay to send them to DR, impose tariff and transportation fees to get things to market, and you start to get a feel for why things are so expensive.

Complicate that with the fact that Dominicans like nice things (just like you do), and want more money to afford a better quality of life. Or did you think your maids and golf caddies were going to let you get away with paying next to nothing forever? (geez)

Meaning, the real problem for some isn't the "rising cost" so much as the fact that they can't get everything for virtually nothing anymore, which may be putting a crimp in what, in their view, was formerly a "poor man's" paradise.
 
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rio2003

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Aug 16, 2006
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The IMF World Economic Outlook that came out a day or so ago considers that the US economy is not going to be too healthy, and this will certainly impact the remissions and tourism to the DR. account when

Certainly from a British point of view a holiday to the DR is good value at the moment, as are most of the long haul destinations because of the weak dollar. The current exchange rate of 65 pesos to the pound is a lot higher than it was 6 - 12 months ago.

Whilst costs of living are rising world wide at least here in the UK there are opportunities for overtime or a second job should income not meet outgoings. For many Dominicans, if they actually have employment, wages seem to be staying the same or even decreasing whilst the cost of living is steadily increasing. A very worrying situation - both for them and for those of us who care about them.

I also wonder how this will affect present retirees to the DR who are on a fixed income i.e a pension - will they at any point consider returning to where they came from originally?