I’ll say it: Hawaii is an amazing place to live. And I mean it — year-round great weather, an exceptional culture, and beautiful scenery make for an extraordinary life.

BUT before you pack up and move, make sure you do your homework, especially when it comes to articles/blogs that promise “Hawaii will pay you to move to paradise” (Woman’s Day has published similar articles, and the New York Post told readers, “Hawaii will pay you $50,000 a year to work in paradise”). Many articles even describe work as a second-tier priority to surfing, hiking, and sightseeing, among other Hawaii activities.

Here’s the truth: In the VAST amount of cases, Hawaii will NOT pay you to move to paradise, and the misleading articles/blogs are causing a big headache for the Hawaii Department of Education, since most of the content promises teaching jobs in Hawaii, even for those who don’t have any experience.

two people in a hammock on the beach

Photo: Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson

Sure Hawaii can be relaxing! But locals usually have to work long hours to make enough money to live well here.

For example, according to Civil Beat, accredited teachers’ salaries here run from $44,538 into the low-$80,000s for highly educated teachers with decades of experience. But although Hawaii may be in the middle of national rankings for average teacher pay, when the cost of living is factored in, teachers’ salaries in paradise drop to dead last.

Some articles/posts have been shared 190,000 times, which means the Hawaii Department of Education is being flooded with applications. Civil Beat reports that the department received more than 600 inquiries last weekend alone.

What’s worse? Our schools really need permanent teachers, not those looking for an extended vacation. Yet Civil Beat quotes an article by Melissa Locker in Travel + Leisure as saying, “The move doesn’t need to be permanent, either, but an extended working vacation.”

Bottom line? For those looking to move to Hawaii, I highly recommend taking the plunge (I did three times!). But it’s unlikely the state will pay you to move here and hand you a job without any education or experience. So read the articles/blogs with caution — and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!


  1. Before I would even think about it, I would most probably take a couple more vacations that would include exploring the possibilities of being there full time and not just in “vacation mode” I would also make very sure I had specific skill set as well. Something that would “travel” well i.e. bookkeeper, something like that.

    Not anywhere near this at the present. Would maybe consider this if I were to peruse a semi-retired /work part time life style? at least 10-15 years from now, maybe. For the present, I would just concentrate on saving up to come back and enjoy the Aloha Spirit again and again and again .

    • I’ve moved here three times, and it’s no small thing to pack-up and move to Hawaii. That’s why it’s so disheartening to hear about all these articles saying how easy it is! You have the right approach. Make sure island-life is for you, and make sure you have a skill-set that will translate.

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