7 Strategies for a Long and Healthy Life

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By Tom Sightings | U.S. News

To some extent how long we live – and how healthy we are – is beyond our control. A lot depends on the birth lottery: How long your parents lived to a large degree determines how long you will live. Meanwhile, there are all kinds of studies and controversies surrounding the value of diet, exercise and a host of other behaviors.

Still, while there are no guarantees in life, these are seven strategies that most health experts agree can have a major impact not only on how long we’re likely to live, but on how we feel as well.

  1. Eat a good diet. You’ve probably seen lots of fad diets come and go. But the real answer is no secret. In general, people who live the longest, and feel the best, are those who avoid too much saturated fat in the form of meat or dairy products. They restrict the amount of sugar and salt in their diets. Instead, they drink lots of water, tea and coffee and perhaps a small amount of alcohol. They also consume lots of fruits and vegetables. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that any diet rich in fruits and vegetables is linked to a reduced risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

  1. Get plenty of sleep. Various studies have determined that a good night’s sleep leads to lower blood pressure and boosts your immune system, making your body better able to fight off infection. Other research suggests that too little sleep might be linked to an increased risk for stroke and a higher risk of cancer. Some studies have even suggested that sleep deprivation affects the brain, leading us to make poor decisions that are detrimental to our health.
  2. Get some exercise. Experts argue over how much is enough, but everyone agrees that some exercise is better than none at all. The CDC recommends sweating our way through aerobics for at least two and a half hours a week. We also should engage in at least some moderate strength training, such as lifting weights, doing sit-ups and push-ups, digging in the garden or practicing yoga. The important thing is to pick an activity that you enjoy, that you will keep doing and that will help you sleep at night.
  3. Drive safely. We sometimes forget in this age of seat belts, airbags and crash zones that traffic accidents are still a major cause of death among Americans – some 40,000 deaths in 2016, according to the National Safety Council, the most in ten years. So wear your seat belt, obey speed limits and other traffic laws and watch out for aggressive drivers. Also, try to drive during daylight hours, plan your trips ahead of time and ask your doctor or pharmacist about side effects of any prescription or over-the-counter medications you take.
  4. Maintain an active social life. People who enjoy a close family life or have plenty of friends often live longer than people who are lonely. The protective effect of having fulfilling relationships is comparable to that of quitting smoking or losing a significant amount of weight. Nobody knows exactly how the health mechanism works. Some experts have suggested that being engaged in a community gives people a sense of connection and security, may promote healthy behavior such as exercising and eating well and helps people avoiding self-destructive habits like taking drugs or drinking too much. You might find it easier to stick to a healthy diet, or keep to an exercise program, if you’re doing it with family or like-minded friends.
  5. Stay involved and engaged. Mortality tables show that death rates for older men who are still working are half of what they are for men of the same age who are fully retired. The mortality trends for women are similar, though less pronounced. Researchers have concluded that it’s not working that makes the difference, but staying engaged in life and involved in something bigger than your own personal problems. Self-sufficiency is not the key to a longer life. Staying connected to a community is the secret.
  6. Go to the doctor. Flu and pneumonia comprise the seventh leading cause of death among older Americans. We should all get the pneumonia vaccine at least once and the flu vaccine every year in the fall. We should also keep up with recommended screenings, such as colorectal tests like the fecal occult blood test and a colonoscopy that can find polyps in your colon before they turn into cancer and while they can be safely removed. The CDC points out that over 60 million Americans have high blood pressure, yet fewer than half of them have it under control. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and the leading cause of illness and death among older adults. So we all need to get our blood pressure checked, take our medications as prescribed and make the necessary lifestyle changes that will make us healthier and happier.

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Lake Chapala Real Estate – Mexico Retirement At A Lower Price

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By Realestate eye

Why retire on Lake Chapala, Mexico? There are several compelling reasons; a relaxing lifestyle on one of the most beautiful lake locations on this continent, astounding views of that lake and the surrounding hills, the beautiful nature all around, perfect for relaxing drives, bike rides, or walks along the lakefront, and the quaint, traditional Mexican villages of Ajijic and Chapala are only a few of the reasons why Lake Chapala Real Estate is ideal for retirement. One of the best things about Lake Chapala is that it’s very affordable – both in terms of lifestyle and in terms of real state.

While soon-to-be retirees in the U.S. and in Canada choose to live in Mexico because of the low cost of life, Lake Chapala is the Mexico Retirement Community which offers the best balance of an established community of American and Canadian retirees, excellent services and conveniences, and a low cost of life.

The cost of day to day items, restaurants, attractions and activities is, in fact, so affordable that the area is advertised even for middle-class Mexicans as a cheap destination. On the other hand, many of Mexico’s beachfront destinations, while offering an excellent quality of life at a price that’s accessible to foreigners, are considered to be inaccessibly expensive by many Mexicans. (Another wonderful thing that many retirees comment about their life in Lake Chapala is the positive relationship between the American and Canadian community and the Mexican locals and visitors.)

Considering that Ajijic and Chapala are cheap even for Mexican visitors, this means that retirement savings will last that much longer here. The first time retirees will notice their savings, both compared to back home and to the rest of Mexico, is the property prices. Most cities that are established as favorites for Americans and Canadians have home prices starting around $250,000 US, and this would usually be a “fixer-upper” – something you have to put into shape before you use it.

In Chapala decent homes for a comfortable retirement can be found staring as low as $150,000. Of course, the Lake Chapala area offers homes considerably more expensive ($800,000 US and up) for those who prefer higher-end luxury, but this just means that the buyer will be getting that much more luxury for his money, compared to other locations. The cost of living, including day to day products, health care services and shopping is likewise very affordable in Ajijic, Chapala and the surrounding villages.

The fact that the Lake Chapala area is cheap, however, does not mean that it is any way second best. The area offers several miles of beautiful boardwalks and many miles of Lake Front, with tennis courts, volleyball courts, and many other facilities for enjoying day to day life. There are also great restaurants and many, many social clubs organized by the Americans and Canadians who are already here.

Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city, is only 60 km away. On the Chapala-side of the city, there is an international airport, which has a wide range of direct flights to all major North American destinations. Some of Mexico’s highest-reputation state-of-the-art health care is available in Guadalajara at prices considerably lower than prices north of the border. The city also provides more opportunities for shopping and site-seeing for anyone who needs a break from relaxing.

According to many visitors, Chapala is an ideal place to spend a couple of weeks, a weekend or just a few hours; imagine actually living in this beautiful, relaxing place for entire retirement!.

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Happiest Place to Live – Mexico

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By Real Estate Trendy

Are you looking for the best place for a second home or for your retirement? Mexico’s pristine beaches, delicious cuisine, and the promise of adventure are waiting for you. One of the most desirable vacation and retirement destinations in the world, Mexico offers so many benefits that give travelers and expats so many reasons to keep coming back and even consider the country as a place to set up home or to retire. As one of the happiest places to live, the people of Mexico are sure to put a smile on your face and make your decision to live in Mexico one you will never regret.

Mexico Offers Many Reasons to Smile

Mexico News Daily recently published an announcement claiming that Mexico is now the second happiest country in the world after Costa Rica. The ranking was based on research conducted by reputable organizations such as Gallup, New Economics Foundation, the Happy Planet Index, and the World Happiness Report, publishing findings for 2017.

General Well Being in Mexico

When it comes to the well being of its residents, Mexico ranked higher than other neighboring countries, even with its relatively low income compared with that of the United States. This proves money cannot guarantee happiness and satisfaction.

Sense of Satisfaction is the Secret

Defined as “the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy”, well being is a concept that can be used to describe the overall feeling of satisfaction with your life. According to the research, generally speaking, the people of Mexico have learned to enjoy their lives even despite the problems that may come their way. It would seem that our attitude towards happiness and satisfaction has a lot to do with our sense of well being.

Living longer lives

Mexican residents enjoy a 76.4 average life expectancy. Long and healthy lives are normal in this happy country. One important factor that leads to this statistic is the availability of affordable healthcare in most areas of the country. Also, with a healthier attitude towards life’s problems comes less stress. Less stress leads to fewer health problems resulting in longer life expectancy.

Happy attitudes

We cannot deny that having enough money is essential to our well being and sense of happiness, but many would agree that the goal of becoming rich is not the most important thing in life. According to the article, this is true among the people in Mexico. Even on modest incomes, you will find living in Mexico very comfortable and satisfying. The cost of living here is very affordable with all the utilities such as food, housing, and other essentials relatively less expensive compared to other countries.

Peace of mind

Mexico is most famous for its “mañana” laidback atmosphere, which is, perhaps one of the most appealing part of living in this happy country. Some people may find the slow-paced lifestyle frustrating, but this unhurried lifestyle makes for happier people. Healthier lives are results of having less chaos and less stress. Even with the majority of Mexicans working six days a week, they always find time to relax and to enjoy life to the full.

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Everyday Pleasures are My Favorite Things in Puerto Vallarta

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By Marcia Gage | International living

From the vibrant colors of nature and local artistic creations, to the sounds of wildlife, roaming musicians, and multilingual conversations, Puerto Vallarta on Mexico’s Pacific coast is teeming with life.

If you are already content or perhaps even happy, your mood will intensify with a walk along Banderas Bay on the city’s famous malecón (esplanade). If you are facing a life challenge or just not feeling 100%, immersing yourself in the landscape and culture is sure to lift your spirits.

There are so many intriguing tours, activities, and places to go in Puerto Vallarta. But when considering my favorite things about my Mexican home, I find it is the everyday pleasures that make it an exceptional place to live.

I love the fact that you can see donkeys and roosters just steps away from cabarets and fine eateries. It is wonderful having the culinary variety of food similar to what you may find in New York City…from street vendors to impeccable white tablecloth service. Whether you opt for a hot dog, taco, homemade pasta, seafood, or a succulent steak, your meal will likely not cost even half of what you would pay in any U.S metro area.

At Sapori di Sicilia, I can have homemade pasta with a savory Bolognese sauce, all the fresh baked bread one could possibly want, an excellent glass of merlot and house made limoncello for dessert, all for about $18 or $19. The same meal at one of my favorite Italian restaurants back home would be at least $40.

At Diablos Fusion Gourmet, just down the street from us, my husband, Judd, loves the steak they have there for about $13. He loves it even more on Wednesday when it’s half price. You would be lucky to get a steak of similar quality anywhere in Minneapolis for under $30.

The street musicians and other performers can be very entertaining—I especially love the families with the little kids singing their hearts out.

I appreciate the way the Mexican people not only tolerate my efforts to speak Spanish but even encourage it. Yet if you are looking to have a conversation in your native tongue, you will not have to look far, especially if you speak English or French. There are all kinds of expat organizations and clubs, but even if you spend some time in a coffee shop, bar, or just at the beach, you may soon find yourself in an interesting conversation before you know it.

But my very favorite thing about living in Puerto Vallarta is the Pacific Ocean…or more specifically, the beautiful Bahía de Banderas (Banderas Bay). We live in a two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment for $1,150 a month. An apartment in Minneapolis in a comparable area would easily cost $2,000 a month. We are in a very residential, art-oriented community. When you walk down the adjacent street, it is just a couple of minutes to the bay, so I try to get my daily fix.

In the summer, a walk along the malecon right after rainfall in the early morning is incredibly peaceful, and the gray and brown hues of the water and the Sierra Madres mountain range is sometimes a welcome change from the usual brilliant colors.

From seagulls to frigates, it is also a joy to watch the birds. My favorite birds are the large brown pelicans. They seem to synchronize their dramatic dives in search of their next meal. I have even seen the occasional whale in the distance or once an entire pod, traveling with a purpose along the bay.

Perhaps moving to a new place teaches us that the most meaningful parts of life are those available to us on a daily basis.

 

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Five Places to Live in Mexico and Three to Avoid

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By News 9

Mexico is not only the nearest destination abroad for U.S. and Canadian expats, it is also one of the most popular, attracting the largest concentration of North American expats anywhere in the world. In fact, more than a million expats are estimated to live in Mexico full- or part-time. It’s understandable when you consider that Mexico offers just about any climate, geographical landscape, and lifestyle an expat might want. As a result, there are expats scattered all over Mexico. But some places have proven to be especially popular, with an appeal that makes them stand out from the crowd.

And right now, the dollar-to-peso exchange rate (nearly 20 pesos to $1 at time of writing) makes living here now even more of a bargain.

InternationalLiving.com reports on five Mexico destinations where the living is affordable and easy any one of which could make an ideal expat home. (Plus a few places that haven’t made the cut with most expats.)

Riviera Maya

For many North Americans, say “Mexico” and it’s white-sand beaches that come to mind. That’s not surprising. Mexico has nearly 6,000 miles of coastline, much of it beautiful beach. For those looking for life on the water and under the sun, Mexico offers a lot of choice.

For classic white-sand beaches and turquoise waters, it’s hard to beat Mexico’s Riviera Maya. This 80-mile stretch of coast runs along the Yucatán Peninsula from Cancún to Tulúm. Little beach towns are scattered all along the coastand one—Playa del Carmen—has grown to become a city. One of the fastest-growing destinations in Mexico, Playa, as it’s known locally, offers a laidback beach vibeand the upper-end shopping and restaurant scene of a larger city.

“Living in Playa can be very affordable,” says International Living’s Roving Latin America Editor Jason Holland. “A typical couple can expect to maintain a budget of between $2,000 and $2,500, although it really depends on lifestyle. If you live more like a local, sticking to local markets, typical Mexican restaurants, and Mexican neighborhoods, you can pay much less.”

To enjoy small-town (but upscale) beach life on this coast, head to Tulúm. Once the domain of backpackers, Tulúm today attracts fashionistas and other trendsetters who come to get away from it all. In Tulúm, there are rustic, palm-thatched palapas alongside gourmet restaurantsand a beach that’s considered one of the world’s most beautiful.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, has been an international beach resort for more than 50 years. Once a small fishing village, today the greater Vallarta area stretches for nearly 30 miles along the shores of Banderas Bay, one of the world’s largest bays.

This area offers pure First-World living, with shopping, restaurants, and real estate at every price point; an international airport; and a large, international expat community. Beaches and a long malecón (esplanade) border large swaths of the city. And Puerto Vallarta offers plenty to do—from zip-lining and horseback riding in the hills, to fine dining and recent film releases in town.

Merida

For big-city life with the beach a short distance away, there’s Mérida. Capital of the Yucatán Peninsula, this city of nearly a million residents lies about 30 minutes from the Yucatán Gulf Coast. It’s a cosmopolitan center filled with grand colonial homes and known for its great restaurants and rich cultural offerings.

Close by, small villages dot the placid coast along the gulf. This is where Mérida’s middle-class families have summered for generations. Today expats have joined them, but many towns still have a family-oriented feel.

“You’ll find plenty of it in the city, but don’t look for boutique shopping or dining here on the gulf coast,” says International Living Mexico Editor Glynna Prentice. “If, however, you’re seeking a laidback beach life at still-low prices, you can find it along this quiet stretch of sandy coast.”

Mexico’s Central Highlands

Not everyone wants to live on the beach for temperate weather and Spanish-colonial style, then Lake Chapala or San Miguel de Allende, both in central Mexico, may fit the bill.

Lake Chapala has an enviably near-perfect climate—spring-like almost all year—and a large, diverse expat community. And being near Guadalajara, Mexico’s second-largest city, means easy access to its international airport and excellent medical facilities.

San Miguel de Allende, about three hours north of Mexico City, is a beautifully preserved Spanish-colonial town that offers art galleries, gourmet restaurants, a wealth of arts and crafts, and a large expat community.

Places to Skip in Mexico

“No country is perfect, and Mexico has gotten more than its share of knocks,” says Prentice. “But yes, some parts of Mexico should be avoided, while others are just not worth your time.”

Some Mexican states bordering the U.S.—notably Tamaulipas, Coahuila, and Chihuahua—have vast, empty interiors where expats can be at the mercy of accidents and bad weather. For those who want to drive down into central Mexico or farther south (and many expats do), consider checking routes through other Mexican states like Nuevo León, Sonora, and Baja California.

Acapulco was once one of Mexico’s top beach resorts, but age and scattered violence has dimmed the city’s glitter. “If you want to stay on the beaches of Acapulco’s home state, Guerrero, head north to Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo,” Prentice says.

Finally, Tabasco may be a famous hot sauce, but the Mexican state is largely humid, low-lying land. It’s the boring, often wet stretch travelers pass if driving from central Mexico to the Yucatán Peninsula. Tabasco’s capital, Villahermosa, is a major business city, headquarters of Mexico’s oil industry and home to several museums.

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Is U.S. Medicare Available in Mexico?

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By Mexperience

A frequently asked question by Americans contemplating a move to Mexico is whether their Medicare coverage is valid here.  The simple answer is no, but there are some caveats. Medicare is only available to US Citizens and permanent legal residents of the USA who are of a certain age (or with specific medical situations) and who have been living in the U.S. for at least five continuous years prior to eligibility

Outside of the 50 States and the District of Columbia, Medicare is only available in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa.

Medicare may pay for specific types of medical care in a foreign country if a foreign hospital is closer to the nearest U.S. hospital if a medical emergency arises while you’re in the U.S., or traveling through Canada between the continental U.S. and Alaska; or if you live in the U.S. and the foreign hospital is closer to your home than the nearest U.S. hospital that can treat your medical condition.

If you’re traveling on a ship, Medicare might pay for medically-necessary services provided the vessel is not more than 6 hours away from a U.S. port.

In all cases, Medicare drug plans don’t cover prescription drugs you may buy outside the U.S. You can get full details about the policies and coverage on the U.S. Medicare official website. As an alternative to Medicare, some foreign residents in Mexico opt to take Mexico’s government-sponsored IMSS health coverage under a voluntary program that costs about US$50 per month.

Private medical insurance is widely available in Mexico, with policies priced depending on the coverages you seek, your age, health, and medical history. If you’re only in Mexico for a while, you might consider medical evacuation plan to help you get back home in the event of medical emergency.

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RETIRING ABROAD? HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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By Casey Dowd | Fox Business

Many current and soon-to-be retirees still struggling from the Great Financial Crisis have decided to pack their bags and spend their golden years overseas, according to a new survey.

Travel Market Report, an online business publication, reports as many as 3.3 million American Baby Boomers are planning to retire abroad.

According to the Social Security Administration’s annual statistical supplement about 350,000 American retirees receive Social Security benefits outside of the United States. The hot spots they have chosen most often include Canada, Japan, Mexico, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Sally Balch Hurme, author of Get the Most Out of Retirement: Checklist for Happiness, Health, Purpose, and Financial Security discussed with FOX Business what you need to know about retiring abroad.

Boomer: How do I find out about health care in another country? Will my Medicare benefit cover me outside of the U.S.?

Hurme: Your Medicare coverage will not be available outside of the United States. Medicare supplement (Medigap) plans other than Plans A and B will cover 80 percent of medically necessary emergencies that you need within the first 60 days you are abroad, with an annual $250 deductible and a lifetime cap of $50,000. Also, if you discontinue your Medicare coverage you may not be able to pick it back up, or you will have to pay significant increases in your premiums based on how many months you did not have coverage. Private insurance is available for international coverage, but be sure you understand any exclusions from coverage. Compare terms and prices among all available “expat” plans to get the coverage you need and can afford.

Depending on where you locate, if you become a legal resident you may be able to join the public health system or any private health system. Find out the options and requirements at the embassy before you leave. The embassy should have information about availability of care for chronic conditions, such as diabetes, as well as treatments for cancer, strokes, heart attacks and dementia.

Boomer: Is it hard to establish residency, and what is the cost of living like in other countries?

Hurme: Each country has its own requirements or restrictions on foreigners who wish to establish residency. It may depend on why you want to come to the country (to work, study, or retire) and how long you plan to stay. Some may welcome foreigners with special “retiree” visas; others may have restrictions on working or purchasing property. Some countries may require a health examination or criminal background check. You may need a written statement from a financial institution showing that you have a regular source of retirement or investment income. Countries typically require a minimum of $2,000 per person per month, although the amount could be higher or lower, depending on the country. Panama, for example, requires retirees to have an income of $1,000 to receive its Pensionado (Retired) visa. England requires those over the age of 60 who want to live there to have £25,000 annually to obtain an Independent Means Visa.

Other countries have different requirements. If you plan to stay more than 90 days in Germany, you should obtain a residence permit before you leave the United States. Germany requires a bank statement covering the last three months plus proof of medical insurance and a copy of the rental agreement where you will be living to obtain a temporary residence permit. This permit must be renewed annually. Later on during your stay you would apply for a settlement permit, which requires you to demonstrate basic knowledge of the German language, political system, and society, plus other requirements. Check with the embassy for the specifics.

Boomer: Will I need to pay taxes? If so to which country?

Hurme: You will need to pay federal and state income taxes in the United States on U.S.-based income, even while living abroad. You may get credit for the taxes you pay in the other country, but it is complicated. In addition to income taxes, find out what other taxes you may have to pay in the new country, such as property, sales, utilities, or municipal taxes. Be sure to get expert tax advice from a CPA or Enrolled Agent who specializes in international taxation issues.

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