Cost of Living in Bermuda
While Bermuda is rated as the most affluent country where average earning of a person is the highest in the world, there is a flip side to the story. Bermuda's cost of living is also one of the highest in the world. Which means, you will end up spending a lot more than what you think.
World Bank economists have estimated that overall living cost in Bermuda is near four times that of US, three times of UK and two times of Canada. A World Bank study in May 2014 revealed that Bermuda is the 3rd most expensive country in the world behind Switzerland and Norway.
So you got to earn a lot more in Bermuda to enjoy the same lifestyle or living standard. While many of the Recruitment Agencies talk about enticements like there is no income tax, wealth tax and other direct taxes in Bermuda, the fact is you will actually end up paying about 20% of your gross salary in indirect and some direct taxes.
If you are coming to Bermuda to work and live as an expatriate, you should negotiate the Job Terms & Conditions
properly with your employer to make your salary more meaningful. Otherwise you will meet with unexpected costs and will need to compromise with your lifestyle to meet all ends.
Update April 2017: The UK based news media Independent has recently published a report showing Bermuda is the most expensive country in the world. Factors such as apartment rent, cost of groceries, dining out, transports, bills etc were used to calculate an index score. The index for New York was used as a benchmark and assigned a score of 100. Any country above that score would be more expensive to live than New York. Bermuda topped the list with a score of 126.34 followed by Switzerland with 90.68 while Bahamas was in 7th position scoring 73.63.
Living Costs in Bermuda
If you are planning to live in Bermuda, then depending on your pay, consider the following living expenses as you plan your lifestyle - Updated April 2016, all prices are indicative and in US$.
House or apartment rent in Bermuda
In world's one of the most populated countries like Bermuda where you have over 3,000 persons per square mile, it's expected that the accommodation will be expensive. In fact it is one of the highest in the world.
An average one-bedroom apartment rental would be $2,700 per month in a place like Hamilton, $2,000 outside Hamilton.
A two-bedroom apartment would rent for about $4,000 per month in Hamilton and $3,200 outside Hamilton, and
3-bedroom apartment rental would be about $6,500 in Hamilton and $4,200 outside.
Ocean facing houses with private garden and swimming pool can be easily over $15,000 a month.
And of course there are even more expensive ones depending on the location and type. A thumb rule is, you should try to keep your house rental within a maximum of 30% of your monthly salary.
As an expatriate you are not allowed to own a house in Bermuda unless you have a Bermudian spouse. There are exceptions only for few who are privileged by their ranks and influence, and it's limited to the top 5% properties at an overly high price.
Eating out in Bermuda
Food from any grocery stores will easily be twice the cost compared to the USA and Canada, and will also be more than UK.
An average meal for two persons in a mid-range restaurant (3 course) would be $120.
In a budget restaurant, a meal would cost around $30 per person.
Take away snacks like fish sandwich, burgers etc would be $11-15.
Small beer or one spirit in a budget restaurant would cost around $10 (this is the lowest it can go).
Regular coffee: $5-7.
Soda (like Coke or Pepsi): $3.50 per 300ml.
Grocery Prices (Average)
Rice (1kg): $6.00
Eggs (12nos.): $5.00
Milk (1liter): $3.00
Loaf of white Bread (500gm): $6.00
Chicken (boneless, 1kg): $20.00
Meat (1kg): $17.00
Potato (1kg): $3.00
Onion (1kg): $3.50
Apple (1kg): $12.00
Banana (1kg): $6.00
Half a watermelon: $11.00
One 12 pack of soda: $14.00
One pack of cigarettes: $12.00
Public Transportation (Bus, Ferry, Taxi)
Self owned cars and gasoline prices
If you are planning to buy a car in Bermuda, it would be at least two times the price in USA, Canada or UK. The unusually high price is mainly due to the high import duty. Note that only one car is allowed in Bermuda per family. Also the annual car license fee in Bermuda is huge and is much more than in USA, Canada or UK. License charge for a mid sized car will be around $500 per year. For a large size vehicle, it will be around $1000 annually. The gasoline cost is also over 3 times of US and Canada, and about the same as UK. The gasoline price in Bermuda is $2.1 per liter, and Diesel is $1.88 per liter.
Electricity & Internet charges
The electricity in Bermuda is provided by BELCO, a government approved monopoly company. No wonder the cost is over three times of US and Canada. There is also a hefty fuel surcharge added to the cost since electricity in Bermuda is produced by fuel gas.
Basic utility charges (including electricity, water, garbage etc) for an 85 sq.m apartment would be around $325 per month.
Internet charges would be around $140 per month (10mbps, unlimited).
Rate of cooking gas in Bermuda is more than 3 times of US and Canada.
Clothing & Shoes
A pair of jeans: $70
A pair of formal shoes: $150
School fees in Bermuda
There are private Schools in Bermuda
which are generally preferred by the expats for their children. They are relatively of better education quality compared to the public schools. The annual fees in the private schools can be quite heavy though. The annual fees at some of the top schools like Saltus Grammar is about $21,000, Bermuda High School is about $20,000 and that of Warwick Academy is about $18,000. Also note that scholarships or any such educational aids are applicable for Bermudian children only and not for expats' children.
Update October 2014: Bermuda Health Council recently released a report which shows that an average annual spend on healthcare in 2013 rose to $11,000 per person compared $7,000 in 2007 (a rise of about 60%).
Update January 2014: Household Expenditure Survey 2013
700 houses in Bermuda across all 9 parishes were surveyed starting from September 2013 to get an average household expenditure in the island. The last such survey was done in 2004. The survey covered expenditure for housing, food, beverages, education, healthcare, electricity, transport, appliances, furniture etc. Here are the highlights of the findings (note that these are per household figures and not per person):
Average total monthly expenditure per household is $8,092 in 2013 which is about 20% higher compared to 2004.
Average total monthly income per household is $11,068 in 2013 which is a 35% increase compared to 2004.
Average number of persons earning per household is 1.21
Average number of persons per household is 2.21
Average weekly food & non-alcoholic beverages expense per household is about $229
Average weekly healthcare/medical expense per household is about $198
Average weekly housing expense per household is about $520
Average weekly education expense per household is about $86
Average weekly transport expense per household is about $117
Average weekly fuel & power expense per household is about $75
Average weekly clothing & foorwear expense per household is about $50
Average weekly entertainment & recreation expense per household is about $200
1) Check out Bermuda Jobs
to know how to find a job in Bermuda.
2) Check out Bermuda Economy
to know about overall economic conditions of Bermuda.
Visitors' Reviews & Comments
Mao Duch (October 2018)
Raj, I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on a salary estimate based on the price of living in bermuda. The salary is $100,000/yr in US dollars. If it's just me moving there will it be enough to be comfortable and possibly save some money. Thanks for any feedback you can give.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) October 2018
Hi, yes it should be good enough. Try not to take an apartment in Hamilton... that will help save good amount of money.
Yassine (February 2016)
Hi Raj, My name yassine I'm Canadian, I'm french teacher, I applied for a teaching position in Bermuda, currently I teach here in Canada I have 4 children I'm asking if the government pay for Teachers from abroad accommodation and health insurance, and do you think 90.000$ as annual payment is a good salary or not. Thanks in advance.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) February 2016
Hi, usually accommodation and health insurance are not covered by the employer unless it's an exception. If you need to take care of education of your children, then $90K is unlikely to be enough, otherwise doable but will be tight with 5 members.
Rachel (May 2015)
Hi a job opportunity has come up for my husband as a vehicle technician for VW which includes accommodation. We have 2 sons, one at secondary school and the other taking GCSEs at present but wanting to continue education A levels. What Would be the cost of education please? £34,000 seems a good salary compared to £24,000 in uk for my husband but education and health care are free in Uk. After reading all the information on this website I don't think it would be a good idea? This lifestyle I think is more suited to a young individual with no family ties earning a lot more than 53,000 USD. I await your thoughts, thank you for your help. Kind regards
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) May 2015
You got it right. It won't be a good idea for a family of four moving to Bermuda with that salary. Cost of living is very high in Bermuda. You won't be able to make all ends meet (considering education fees for two).
Xavier Pol (April 2015)
Hi, First many thanks for all the info on your website! I am hoping for some advice from people who lived in Bermuda. I have recently been offered EUR 50,000 net of tax (approx 50,000 USD according to exchange rate) plus house allowance to cover house rental. I thought that was a lot of money but then I realized the cost of living is really
high ! So, what is your feeling: is it possible to relocate with my wife and baby? Thank you,
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) April 2015
Hi, If your house rent is fully covered, then annual salary of $50,000 is okay. But don't plan to save a lot.
Xavier Pol (April 2015)
Hi Raj, Many thanks for your answer. The house allowance doesn't cover electricity, gas, insurance, ... Do you think we can enjoy some restaurants times to time and some entertainments on the island or is it the minimum to buy food, personal care, cloth, baby care, electricity, car insurance, ...?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) April 2015
Hi, Plan things out properly and you can have your own piece of good times. As an example, for transportation always buy the quarterly pass if you plan to make use of the bus and ferry regularly. A pack of 15 tickets may be handy and economical for your wife who doesn't need to travel frequently. There are relatively cheap eateries where you can enjoy as much as in a flashy looking restaurant with inflated rates. Try the 'Best Cheap Bermuda Restaurants' search and you will find my page to scan through some of those great inexpensive way of dining in Bermuda. You mentioned about car insurance ... that would come into play if your company is giving you a car, otherwise it won't be wise to plan a car with such package, not even a used car. Bring baby care, cosmetics and other stuffs of day to day use as much as possible. These things are very expensive in Bermuda as almost all such things are imported.
To give you an idea about average pay packages, a Bermudian performing role of an accountant gets an average (median) annual salary of about $85,000. You seem to be in that slot. So like them, you too should be able to manage. The only difference is, Bermudians are allowed more than one day jobs, expats are not, and many Bermudians take up couple of jobs to earn more.
Harshul Taneja (November 2013)
Hi Raj, I just want to know how costly Bermuda country is? How much it costs for 1 meal outside in the Indian\ Bermudian restaurants and how much is the local transportation cost. My company is sending me to Bermuda for 3 months on Business Visa and they will bear the expense for the hotel accommodation which they will provide. And whether Breakfast is included in the Hotels usual package? They will hardly pay me 60$ per day, so say if I live there normally like having food outside 1 time and going out on weekends to explore Bermuda, how much will I be able to save from 60$ per day? I know I m firing questions on questions to you in a single mail, I'm really sorry for that. Hope you answers all my queries. Warm Regards
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com) November 2013
Hi, Hotels in Bermuda support various plans like EP, CP, MAP etc where breakfast or other meals may or may not be packaged. It'll depend on what your company offers. $60 per day with Hotel stay will be very tight in Bermuda. Note that Bermuda is very expensive and much more than US or even UK. Virtually everything is imported here. Unless you are eating out of lunch wagons (available only in Hamilton and other limited areas) or picking up deli food from the super markets, it'll be difficult to manage three proper meals with that amount, even in a budget restaurant. But if you research and plan it out well, it may be possible. If you are staying around Hamilton, there will be lots of eating options.