Pro: The Island’s Natural Beauty Is Stunning
That gentler pace of life also leaves a lot more room to enjoy Guam’s stunning landscapes. Postcard-perfect beaches, leafy jungles, windswept mountain tops, stunning coastal overlooks, and vibrant coral reefs are all waiting for you on Guam—a huge perk of living here on the island.
If you love getting outdoors to explore, you’ll love living on Guam. Between snorkeling, hiking (we call it boonie stomping!), diving, kayaking, paddleboarding, and more, you’ll find plenty of ways to keep yourself busy. Plus, staying active can also be a great way to meet new friends when you explore with groups like Guam Boonie Stompers, Inc.
But the best part of Guam might be the fact that you’ll be living on a tropical island, where you’re able to enjoy these activities year-round.
Pro: You’ll Enjoy Beautiful Weather All Year-Round
When you move to Guam, you’ll have to toss out the concept of four, distinct seasons. Guam basically has two seasons:
The Sunny Season
Fanumnangan in Chamorro
The Rainy Season
Fanuchanan in Chamorro
If you’re worried you might miss the seasonal change, remember the upside: Temperatures stay balmy year-round, hovering between the mid-70s and the mid-to-high-80s. No more thick sweaters. No more shivering in a winter coat, and no more shoveling snow. The weather is one of the big reasons people move to Guam, and it’s easy to see why!
How Rainy Is the Rainy Season on Guam?
For the most part, you can expect passing rains that stop and start (unless there’s a significant weather system developing nearby, which might bring more rain). Life doesn’t stop on Guam for the rain. People continue to go about their business. After a heavy rain, though, hiking trails can be slippery and runoff can make water cloudy. Stay flexible, and you’ll find plenty of ways to enjoy Guam, even during the rainy season.
Con: It’s Not the Heat, It’s the Humidity
Speaking of that tropical weather, let’s talk humidity. The average humidity on Guam hovers around 66%, and that number can rise into the 80s at night. If you love the idea of living in a warm, balmy paradise year-round, this might not feel like much of a con to you. However, because humid air prevents sweat from evaporating quickly, high humidity can leave some people feeling clammy, hot, and simply uncomfortable.
If you see yourself in this description, you might want to think twice before relocating to Guam. Alternatively, if you still decide Guam is right for you, prioritize a living situation with a good air conditioning system—knowing that electricity prices will be a bit higher than you’ll see within the contiguous 48. For many, though, a climate-controlled environment is more than worth it.
Con: You’ll Need to Stay Aware of Approaching Typhoons
Finally, the other weather-related item you’ll want to note is that tropical storms and typhoons can affect Guam any time of year. Technically, “typhoon season” runs from late June through December, when they’re most likely to impact the island. However, living on an island like Guam means staying vigilant about typhoons—just in case.
To help residents prepare for approaching typhoons, Guam has instituted a Typhoon Condition of Readiness (TCOR) system. Reviewing it will give you a sense of what you might need to do if a storm approaches the island. Being aware and ready is the best way to stay as safe as possible in the face of a serious storm—a reality of life on Guam.
Pro: You May Keep More of Your Paycheck
Once you establish residency on Guam, you’ll start paying your taxes to the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation.
If you’re moving from a state that charged personal income tax, we’ve got good news for you: There’s no separate “state” tax on Guam. Instead, you simply pay the same rate you’d pay for federal taxes to the Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation—no additional local personal income taxes.
This could mean money in your paycheck, practically instantly.
Does Guam Have Sales Tax?
There’s also no sales tax on Guam charged directly to consumers. However, businesses pay a 5% privilege tax, which they can pass on to buyers by building that expense into the price of goods and services. Although a bill to institute a 2% sales tax—and reduce the privilege tax to 3%—was proposed, it was never made law. As a result, when you buy items on Guam, you won’t get charged a sales tax at the register.
Con: The Cost of Living Is High
If you decide to move to Guam, you’ll want to take any tax break you can get. As you might have guessed, the cost of living on Guam is higher than in many parts of the continental U.S. Just how high is it? Check out our article on the cost of living on Guam, and we’ll break it down for you.
At the end of the day, most everything has to be imported to Guam, so anything you buy will naturally be more expensive. Take a look at a few sample costs at Island Choice Grocery to start to get an idea:
(Source: Island Choice)
So how much money do you need to live on Guam? Our cost of living article will give you a head start on making a budget so you can figure out if the numbers will pan out for you.
Pro: You’ll Need Less “Stuff” Than You Think
For many, the increase in cost of living on Guam is outweighed by the fact that you just don’t need as much “stuff” on a tropical island. Fancy clothes, formal shoes, and high-end accessories just don’t get as much use on Guam. Additionally, expensive homes and cars aren’t as prominent as they are in some parts of the continental U.S.
Add to this the fact that a lot of online stores don’t ship to Guam, and you may simply find yourself buying less. (Although we can help you get items to Guam from retailers who don’t ship to Guam!)
In other words, your spending might change significantly once you move to Guam. As a result, you might not notice that cost of living increase as much as you think.