Some more Reasons to Retire in Mexico

Higher Life Quality
It may sound cliché, but living in Mexico really ups your lifestyle. The low cost of living means you will be able to hire house help daily, which will give you more free time for yourself. Walks on the beach (or park), yoga, time to sit down and enjoy a book by the beach, waking up slightly later and going to bed earlier. Everything you do will help you increase your life quality.

Healthcare and Medical Services

Mexico has increasingly become a popular medical hotspot for its high quality services at a much lower price. From dental procedures to surgeries and treatments, many people from the USA flock down to Mexico for medical attention. Hospitals and medicines are cheaper than in the north and the quality of the service is equal or better. Many doctors, dentists, surgeons, and others, received part of their training in the United States so they are well trained. Costs for simple procedures can be half the price that you would normally pay back home. And the ultimate plus of medical care in Mexico (specifically the Riviera Maya) is recovering by the beach!

Culture, Tradition, Diversity and History

Mexico is a rich cultural country. From Mayan, Aztec, Olmec (and other) heritages, to deeply rooted religious traditions, this country is sure to offer a variety of traditional festivals and cultural events. Mexico has over 40,000 archeological sites – including a Wonder of the World; it also has 9 out of the 11 ecosystems that exist around the world: desserts, mountains, beaches, forests, jungles, and more. The history, the culture and tradition, and the diversity of Mexico, makes it a magical place for expats to explore and enjoy their retirement in.

By: Thomas Lloyd.

Retiring In Mexico’s Riviera Maya: One Expat’s Experience

When expat Donald Murray and his wife Diane first decided to retire overseas, they moved to Ecuador, but after two years the couple decided to move to Mexico, where Don could receive top-notch medical care for a heart condition.

“Our retirement plans were in serious trouble in the U.S.,” writes Donald. “I had suffered my second heart attack in 2009 and soon after I lost a good job and the health insurance that came with it. I was unemployed, uninsured and the medical expenses were stacking up.”

After deciding to leave Ecuador, it didn’t take long for the couple to hone in on Cancun and the Riviera Maya along Mexico’s only Caribbean coast. They both knew the beach was a “must have” on their retirement destination bucket list, and Mexico offered easy access to everything they were looking for and more. Since moving to Cancun nearly a year ago, the couple has never been happier, since most people speak at least passable (if not excellent) English and the region offers more adventure – not to mention every modern amenity – than anywhere else on earth, and for a fraction of the price.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that Cancun is an international city with strong Mexican overtones,” shared Donald. “Though it retains its Mexican flavor, it’s a vibrant, modern and sophisticated city.”

Known as the Riviera Maya, this stretch of the Mexican Caribbean runs south from Cancun all the way to Belize. Today, the region has become known worldwide for its sugary, white-sand beaches, gorgeous tropical weather and ancient Mayan ruins.

“The lifestyle here is nearly impossible to replicate,” shares Richard Houghton of Investment Properties Mexico. “It’s laid back, sophisticated and modern, yet also incredibly rich in tradition, ancient culture and history at the same time.”

In addition to the ancient Mayan ruins found throughout the area, the world’s second largest barrier reef system lies just offshore. The reef provides easy access to a wide variety of world-class recreational activities and adds to an environment where opportunities for unforgettable adventures abound.

Cancun itself is a rather modern city that began development in the early 1970s and has evolved into one of Mexico’s most active resort destinations. As such, Cancun is home to a large international airport, which provides easy access to the entire Riviera Maya region from every major city in the world. Cancun is home to large shopping malls, hundreds of fantastic restaurants and modern infrastructure, along with a large number of grand resorts, hotels, condos and vacation homes. Of course, there are also several major hospitals, a variety of schools, English language movie theatres and plenty of non-touristy options to explore.

“The open markets at Mercado 23 and Mercado 28 are two of our favorites, with hundreds of stalls and booths seemingly arranged as a maze that winds through several blocks,” writes Donald. “We recently watched an artisan hand-make piñatas in all shapes and sizes, applying layer upon layer of wet newspaper and glue to wire frames.”

Of course, there’s plenty to discover farther south down the coast as well, including the chic city of Playa del Carmen, the quaint fishing village of Puerto Morelos and the ancient seaside Mayan ruins in the eco-chic town of Tulum. Cenotes (pronounced say-note-tays) are also plentiful in the Riviera Maya. These underground lakes of crystal clear water are typically accessed by sinkholes on the surface and are an excellent place to snorkel, swim or dive.

“These days, when tourists ask, ‘Why Cancun?’ I don’t rush to answer,” Donald shared. “Instead, I take them to a leisurely lunch with Diane and explain all of the reasons above – and many more – over cochinita pibil tacos and guacamole with one of the local cold beers.”

By: Investment Properties Mexico

Baby boomers, Rejoice! 65 is the new 45

Members of our generation were each named twice as babies — once individually by our parents and once collectively by our society.

Whether we like the name or not, we are called “baby boomers,” and there have turned out to be 80 million of us, the largest generation this country has ever known. We were born between 1945 and 1964, which means we are now all in our 50s and 60s.

We boomers control the lion’s share of the wealth and influence in this country. We are major consumers and thus catered to by the producers and marketers of goods and services. We have grown accustomed, at each stage of our lives, to having how-to strategies and handbooks for everything from investing to parenting.

It’s about time we had a strategy for the autumn of our lives — a guide and a template for fully appreciating and applying who we are and what we know.

We should be reveling in this stage, not resenting it, because most of us still have plenty of time left to parlay what we have learned into a real legacy — and even to reconcile and resolve things that are not yet the way we want to leave them.

But as we move into the years we have been conditioned to think of as “old,” too many of us are still thinking in the outdated terms of “decline” and “retirement” and “past our prime.” But these notions no longer make any sense. They are simply inaccurate.

In fact, the opposite is true. The prime of life has moved. Prime should be defined as the time when we have the most freedom, the most options, when we know the most and can do the most. And that prime is now — 65 is the new 45.

A couple of generations ago, 45-year-olds thought a lot about their next 20 or 25 years and how they would make it the most full and productive time of their lives. The problem was that they didn’t always know enough to make it happen. But at least they were asking the question: “What do I want to do with the next 20 years?”

Today, it is 65-year-olds who can and should ask that question, because we likely have another 20 or 25 good years, and we now know enough to make the most of them.

Of course, there are uncertainties and health and circumstantial unknowns. But generally, this “autumn” of our life should be our richest season, and we have the power to make it so. It can be our finest time in terms of our accomplishments and in terms of our relationships. We should think of our first 50 or 60 years as a run-up and a preparation for this prime time when we pull it all together and make it all happen.

Think of your life as a mountain, steep and rocky and hard to climb on the side where you started, but now gently sloping and gradual on the downward side. View the horizontal as the measure of how far your life will take you. You covered some distance on your way up that rugged front side during the first two-thirds of your life, but that horizontal distance is nothing like the vast stretch now ahead of you on the long, gently sloping plateau that is your future.

The way forward is smoother and easier and as fast as you want it to be. And the wind is at your back.

There are still obstacles ahead, and some will surprise us — a spouse with Alzheimer’s disease or a child who makes a major bad choice. But we are better equipped now to deal with difficulty.

Thinking this way is wonderful and optimistic, but it’s not easy. It is proactive, mental work that involves planning and thinking ahead. But now is the time to do it.

Earlier in life, many of our decisions were made out of necessity. Choices were made for us by circumstances and limited opportunity. Now we often have a little more control and the opportunity to creatively figure out how we can best spend the bonus 20 years that no other generation has ever had.

By: Linda & Richard Eyre

Wearable technology may one day boost baby boomers

The latest exoskeleton technology doesn’t need an outside power source to boost your strength. It harnesses the power of your own muscles to put a spring in your step instead.

And soon baby boomers could be using it to keep hiking and jogging just a few years longer.

The new devices, described in Nature, are still just in the prototype phase. But the researchers who created the inexpensive, easy-to-wear exoskeletons believe they could be ubiquitous in another decade.

They’re quite unlike the hulking, “Iron Man”-like suits that others have created to help people walk more easily. These little braces don’t require any outside power, and they make walking 7 percent more efficient with nothing but a well-placed spring system. They can’t support someone who can’t stand on her own like a bulkier, motor-aided suit might. But for people who can walk but have difficulty doing so, the boot-like apparatus could help create a more balanced, comfortable gait.

Just less than 10 percent less energy per step doesn’t sound like much — it’s the equivalent of removing a 10-pound backpack. According to study co-author Gregory Sawicki, a biomedical engineer and locomotion physiologist in the joint NC State/University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Department of Biomedical Engineering, people using the braces don’t really notice the difference — until it’s gone.

“I’ll tell you, it feels really cool,” Sawicki said. “There’s a comfortable sort of squishiness for the first 10 minutes. But then it becomes totally transparent. Your body just integrates it.”

And since the current iteration of the prosthetic is custom-molded, they’re also super comfortable.

“When you take it off, you’re like, ‘oh, crap,’ ” Sawicki said. “You don’t realize how much it helped until it’s gone. You feel really clunky for a few minutes.”

Sawicki and his co-author Steve Collins, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, said they think the most immediate application for their design will be to help people with partial paralysis — stroke victims in particular — who can walk, but struggle to do so.

Collins and Sawicki first started working on the idea as graduate students at the University of Michigan about a decade ago. Sawicki had created a pneumatic prosthetic that pumped air up against the ankles of the wearer to give them an extra push. But it was clunky and had to be plugged into a power source in the lab.

Once the men decided to create an exoskeleton that didn’t need outside power at all, Sawicki studied muscle physiology to come up with a better solution. The result is a sort of catapult built around a comfortable boot. A clutch allows the natural pull of your foot to tighten up a spring behind the calf, then releases it as your leg moves back and returns the energy to you.

“It’s harder to do it this way, of course,” Collins said. “Instead of adding an energy source to allow your muscles to expend less energy themselves, you’re just building a system that uses less energy as a whole. But the challenge is what drew us to the problem. After 7 million years of evolution as bipeds and some tens of thousands of hours of practice throughout a lifetime, is it even possible to reduce the energy of walking?”

Collins and Sawicki are quick to point out that their design is a prototype, not a full-fledged product. They still need to figure out how to make it in boot-like sizes instead of custom molding each piece, and they’d like to tweak the materials for mass production.

As it stands, their device costs only a couple thousand dollars to make, compared with the tens of thousands a motorized suit would cost, and they both say it makes walking easier. With that in mind, they have hopes of breaking into the baby boomer market.

By: StarTribune

Living in Mexico: Your 5-Item Checklist (Before You Go)

1. Learn What It’s Like to Live in Mexico: Read Books, Blogs, and Forums.

Explore the realities of daily life through stories of ordinary expats. Read books like San Miguel de Allende: A Place In The Heart. This is a collection of stories about true expats.

Novels about Mexico can also provide unique insights about Mexico. You may know John Scherber’s popular Murder in Mexico mystery series. The Girl From Veracruz is his latest release.

The good news is, you can find these books (and pretty much everything else you need to know) on the MexConnect blog-style magazine site.
The website covers everything from articles about living in Mexico, to travel and food. Culture and arts, history, and business. And the best part is, you can join one of Mexconnect’s many forums.

Tune in for timely advice and share with other forum members. You’ll absorb copious amounts of information from experienced expats living in Mexico.

2. Learn Spanish: It’s Your Key to Thriving in Mexico.

Don’t just speak Spanish. Live and celebrate life in Spanish. There is nothing more influential in the outcome of your expat transition to Mexico.
There are many language learning options. Choose from a number of reputable self-paced programs. Rosetta Stone, Pimsleur, and Duolingo are all popular. You can also download apps for your mobile devices.
However, if you’re a procrastinator, a self-paced approach may not work. You may be better served by registering for Spanish classes at a local venue.
Your absolute best option is to enroll in Spanish Immersion in Mexico. This style of learning ensures you will fully engage in Mexico’s language and culture.
The Spanish Institute of Puebla and Instituto Cultural Oaxaca are two highly regarded Spanish language and culture schools in Mexico.

3. Understand Mexico’s Immigration Policies: Which Visa Is Right for You?

There are many kinds of Mexico Visas. Like many expats, you may not think twice about operating long-term on your Mexico Tourist Visa. But you may be missing out on real benefits with a Residency Visa.
Do you plan to live in Mexico six months a year (or more?) If so, you should consider the benefits of holding a temporary Visa versus a permanent Visa.
There are different ways to go about obtaining a Visa. So you may want to consider hiring an immigration lawyer who knows the immigration system well. It could save you money and hassle in the long run.
Make sure you understand the apostille process. You’re required to have a certified or notarized document (apostille) for any legal action (Visas included). This process alone is arduous. You will need birth certificates, marriage certificates, death certificates, and divorce decrees.
And there may be more. An immigration attorney or an experienced apostille service can ensure you have the correct documents. And that you navigate the process as quickly (and as stress-free) as possible.

4. Understand Mexico’s Banking System

Mexico’s banking system has a volatile history. But it survived the global financial crisis and recent financial reform. The banking system emerged more stable and profitable.
Opening the market to foreign banks with new customer service technologies, employee training, and management programs positively influenced Mexico’s banking system.
But you still need to be on your toes when banking in Mexico. Watch for high multi-layered charges and commissions. Expect high borrowing rates and low deposit rates. And not-so-good customer service.
You’re still likely to experience long lines at the counter, so you may want to do most of your banking online.

5. Learn How to Shop Smart and Save Money.

Markets and trade are deeply rooted in Mexico culture. Smart shopping is buying local. Scope out local food markets and stores where locals shop. You’ll definitely pay less than if you buy name brands.
Stay away from supermarkets and imported items whenever possible. You’ll find your best deals on staples like breads, meats, veggies, and fruits at local family markets and mobile street vendors. Get to know the local butcher. Think “fresh.” And avoid mass-produced pre-packaged foods.
Avoid shopping malls, department stores and mega stores. Shop for clothing and shoes with local shop owners and market traders. They’re usually open to negotiation. They may be inclined to make a special price just for you.
Shop local crafters for home furnishings as well. Local artisans’ handmade furnishings are crafted from local woods, recycled, and other local materials. If they’re not obvious, use your best Spanish to ask locals where you can find a local furniture maker.

by: Christopher William Adach

Do All Expats in Mexico Go To Fancy Hospitals?

So, the word is out; world-class, high-quality, top-of-the-line, state-of-the-art hospitals are available in many Mexican cities, and they cost a fraction of what similar hospitals do in the U.S. The logical conclusion; all expats – including those who couldn’t afford such service back home – go to fancy space-age hospitals where they pamper you above and beyond what’s necessary.

The impression is true to a certain extent – at least to the extent that pretty much any expat who wanted to could go to this kind of hospital. And plenty do … when the feel they need it.

Reality is much more varied …

This greatly oversimplifies the reality of health care in Mexico – even health care that’s suitable for and really used by Americans and Canadians living here.

The reality is this: health care in Mexico offers a wide variety of options, many of which are suitable for expats at some point or another.

The “local” clinics

Think about this; would you feel it necessary to go to a world-class hospital with the best equipment to check out a cut for stitches or a cold that has been going on a little too long? Probably not. Even if the price is relatively low, it would just seem like overkill. And besides that, it might just be an unnecessary “trip.” Even if that hospital’s only 20 minutes away in taxi, there might be a good local clinic right around the corner from your home that can do the same for even less money.

Consider this story from Glynna Prentice, a seasoned expat at International Living:

“I once needed to see a doctor when I was staying in the colonial city of Guanajuato, where I have a small house.

“I got recommendations for fancy doctors in Leon, a major city of about 1.7 million people less than an hour from Guanajuato. But in the end, for convenience, I chose to go to a small clinic in Guanajuato’s historiccentro, a short walk from my house.

“The clinic treated walk-in patients, many of whom clearly were not wealthy. The waiting area had plastic chairs and out-of-date magazines. But the doctor, whom friends had recommended to me, was a well-traveled, middle-aged woman with a bright smile and a very professional manner. She sorted me out in no time. And her bill? Just $20.”
The Public Insurance Option

Besides the local doctor’s practices which can offer very good service, a growing number of expats are using Mexico’s public insurance (IMSS) for their regular needs. For a flat rate of about $350 per year, it covers everything, including vitamins, eye glasses and sometimes even basic dental work. While their hospitals lack the state-of-the-art equipment of the private hospitals, they are clean and cover more than just the basics; the state-of-the-art private hospitals are always there for anything very major, and for everything else the costs are kept to a bare minimum.
Variety
I’ve given two examples of different options here. But the point is that you can find basic doctor’s offices that can offer a prescription for a minor infection, or do minor stitches; some that are are small, but specialized in specific health issues; large public hospitals; large private state-of-the-art hospitals and a dozen other options, which you can choose from at any time according to your needs.

Of course, not all the clinics and hospitals are good. But the majority will deliver what they promise, and be honest when something is beyond their scope, usually quite willing to recommend the best place to seek the treatment you need. Asking around you can quickly find out which hospitals or doctors (of all budgets) are reputable.

Glynna Prentice finishes her article with this simple and important observation:

“In general, I continue to use Mexico’s high-tech hospitals and specialists for my check-ups and medical tests. But it’s comforting to know that in Mexico I have a range of options, depending on my needs. And all of it at wonderfully affordable prices.”

That’s the key – “I have a lot of options – at wonderfully affordable prices.”

-by Thomas Lloyd