Financial wellness is central to retirement planning. Balancing financial priorities is like eating a balanced meal. When preparing for retirement, it is important to make a commitment to your financial health as you would to your personal health. By looking at one’s finances and establishing healthy habits early on, the more prepared you will be for life after retirement. According to a recent study conducted by Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual), half of U.S. Latinos plan on relying more on savings than on Social Security income after retirement. While Social Security plays a role in retirement planning, there are many other funding options to consider. Here are three tips to help secure a healthy financial future:

Determine how much you will need

In order to create a solid retirement plan, it’s important to understand your current financial situation and determine how much you will need for retirement. Know your income and expenses, and the value of your savings and investments. Then define your goals, for both the present and retirement. Maybe you want to save for traveling abroad or for your children’s college education, while others prefer to have a part-time job or stay involved with the business they built. Make sure you conservatively estimate what you need with all these factors considered

Know the role of Social Security

Determining how much money you will need after retirement is the first step to knowing the role of Social Security for your overall retirement plan. Just like with healthy eating, planning for retirement is about finding the right balance for you. This means asking yourself, how will Social Security fit into your overall retirement plan? The answer: it should only be one part of your plan. While Social Security is a great supplement to your income, it probably won’t be enough on its own. So be sure to fill your plate with all sorts of healthy options for a well-balanced retirement. To help close the gap between savings and Social Security, consider other sources of income like regular contributions to your company retirement account (being sure to maximize any employer match), external investments and annuities.

Plan ahead for health care

A study conducted by MassMutual found that 73 percent of retirees in better health say they feel financially secure compared to 51 percent of retirees in poorer health, and planning for the unexpected can help maintain peace of mind. One of the biggest curveballs in retirement can be related to the cost of health care. Be sure to carefully think through and consider your options for paying for health care in your retirement, which may include but should not be limited to Medicare, Medicaid and various forms of insurance. Maintaining financial wellness after retirement is all about keeping a good balance and knowing the different options that are available for savings and income. The biggest benefit in the end will be peace of mind and enjoying a comfortable retirement that will fulfill your needs and expectations. A financial professional can work with you to create a roadmap towards financial wellness.



By:  David Bernardo,


Over the last few years Mexico has emerged as a major hub of in-migration for professionals from the U.S., the U.K., Spain, India, and China. According to HSBC’s 2015 Expat Survey, Mexico is the best place in Latin America for expat professionals looking to live abroad. Overall Mexico ranks 19th in the survey, well ahead of Argentina (35th) and Brazil (39th). Mexico is only three spots behind the U.S. (16th overall) in HSBC’s ranking. Mexico scores particularly well in the “Experience” category (9th overall) with top marks for culture and ease of integration. Overall Mexico ties for second place for ease of making friends. Nearly four in five survey respondents say they enjoy socializing with locals and 82% of respondents report enjoying cooking and eating Mexican cuisine.

Mexico’s economy is deeply divided but it offers far more opportunities for well-educated foreign-born professionals than locals born in poor, rural areas.

But as companies such as Boeing and Ford continue to build up their presence in Mexico and Spanish companies such as Telefonica and Iberdrola continue to invest, the number of expats living in Mexico looks like it will continue to grow. At the park near where I live on weekends I sometimes see basketball-playing Venezuelans and Dominicans sharing the court with cricket-playing Indians who work at HSBC. Awhile back I met up with a Spanish expat named Javier Rodriguez who found a job working for Spanish telecom giant Telefonica in Mexico City.


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By: Nancy Parode |

Medical tourism involves leaving your home country to seek medical or dental care abroad. This is often done for cost reasons. Alternatively, some people simply want to combine their medical procedures with a well-deserved vacation.

Why Are More Seniors than Ever Considering Medical Tourism?

Medical tourism continues to become more popular, and medical clinics catering to foreigners are springing up in countries such as India, Costa Rica, Brazil and Mexico. You can make medical tourism arrangements on your own or plan your trip with the help of a medical concierge or medical tourism company.

Saving money is very important, but there are other aspects of medical tourism that you should consider. Before you grab your passport and sign a contract to have a medical procedure done in another country, step back and ask yourself these questions.
Have I Done Enough Research?

Find out as much as you can about the doctors and hospital you plan to use. Read reviews, call or Skype the doctor and comb the Internet for information.

Be sure your doctor is licensed and accredited and your hospital’s accreditation comes from a respected international organization.

Learn about the procedure you plan to have; pay close attention to recovery time, rehabilitation requirements and potential complications.

Be sure you know how much your procedure will cost and whether or not your insurance provider will pay for it.

Find out whether you will need to bring supplies from home to use while you are in the hospital.

Does My Doctor Approve of My Plans?

Your trip abroad will be over in a few weeks, but your relationship with your personal physician will, ideally, last for much longer. Be sure to discuss your medical tourism plans with your doctor before signing a contract.

If your doctor objects to your trip, find out why, and take those reasons into consideration. You will need to reach some kind of compromise with your doctor before your departure date, even if it is the “I don’t approve of your treatment plan, but I can’t stop you” type of agreement.

How Will I Cope With the Language Barrier?

Even if you have been assured that everyone in your chosen hospital speaks your language, you will have to interact with people who may not understand you at airports, hotels and in other public places.

Consider learning a few phrases in the local language and writing down key words and phrases on an index card. Learn the words for your medical issues, any allergies you have, polite expressions and foods you dislike. Be sure you know how to ask for emergency help.

Will I Have Someone Available to Help Me During My Trip?

Having surgery is never fun, and recovering alone can be challenging. Ideally, you should travel with a family member or friend who is willing to spend time with you at the hospital, run errands and advocate for you if complications arise.

If you can’t find a travel companion, consider working with a medical tourism company or medical concierge. While you won’t have anyone at your side in the hospital, you will have a local resource to turn to if you need extra help.

What Will I Do if Things Go Wrong?

Even the simplest medical procedure involves the possibility of complications. Be sure you understand the risks involved with your particular procedure and know what you will do if you find yourself confronting post-operative illness or infection.

Will you have someone travel from home to help you? Ask your personal physician to talk with your doctors by telephone? Request a transfer to your home hospital? Make a plan and share it with a trusted family member or friend.

Tip: If you think you might want to be transported to your home hospital, you will need to purchase medical evacuation insurance that covers transportation to your home town.

Are the Savings Worth the Risk?

In the end, you must weigh the pros and cons and decide whether you will save enough money to make the extra risks worthwhile.


By: Kathleen Peddicord |

Mexico offers many tempting coastal options for retirement. One of the best is Mazatlán.

Mazatlán lies about nine miles south of the Tropic of Cancer on the Pacific Ocean. It enjoys sunny winters and year-round warm waters that draw visitors from the rest of North America, including from elsewhere in Mexico. But Mazatlán is more than another city by the beach. Founded in 1531, Mazatlán also boasts a historic colonial center, meaning retirees here can enjoy the best of both beach and city lifestyles.

Mazatlán’s colonial center, the heart of this city and an important part of its appeal, begins at the beach. Colonial centers in most Spanish-colonial cities are just a few blocks of colonial-style architecture, but the historic district in Mazatlán is large and diverse, offering a range of property styles and prices. The authentic Spanish-colonial setting offers easy access to the beach and provides traditional rather than resort living.

Until recently, this area was best described as seedy and decaying. This is changing quickly. Mazatlán’s historic zone is undergoing a renaissance. More of its old structures are being restored month by month, and this neighborhood is increasingly attractive and walkable. Scores of formerly tumbled-down homes have been carefully restored and brightly painted by new owners. The streets are being repaired and sidewalks are being rebuilt and widened by the city.

As Mazatlán’s historic heart continues to clean itself up and attract more attention, the city’s restaurant scene is blossoming. Hidden away among the now-restored old buildings are fine-dining establishments where chefs work hard to impress. Ground zero for the historic center’s renaissance is the square called Plazuela Machado, which is now surrounded by a collection of pleasant outdoor cafés and international restaurants. At the west end of the plaza is Teatro Angela Peralta, the city’s most famous theater, which opened its doors in 1874.

About four blocks west of Plazuela Machado is Olas Altas (or “high waves”), the nearest beach to the Centro Histórico. Olas Altas is a crescent-shaped sandy cove about a quarter mile around whose shore is lined with cafés, restaurants and a couple of hotels. Early each morning, the tables at these seaside venues fill with locals and expats who come to enjoy a good cup of coffee and breakfast by the sea. Walk just two blocks north and two blocks east from Plaza Machado, and you’re in the middle of a bustling downtown that is authentically Latin American, with hundreds of small shops, banks, businesses, produce markets and parks.

Another thing that makes Mazatlán an interesting lifestyle option is the ability to live among the locals or other expats. Mazatlán is a city of almost a half-million people. When you move here, you can choose to be part of the established American community, speak mostly English and ease your way into Mazatlán aided by people like you who’ve already made a move. Or you could opt to become part of a Mexican environment, where you’d speak mostly Spanish and immerse yourself in this country’s rich culture.

In addition to its historic downtown, Mazatlán offers almost 20 miles of beautiful beaches. The city boasts mile after mile of well-maintained, sandy beaches with warm, swimmable waters. Much of this beachfront is bordered by a wide boardwalk that is normally busy with people strolling, jogging or biking.

Thanks to the diverse community, Mazatlán offers both local shops and Mexican supermarkets, large and small. There is also big-box shopping from Home Depot to Walmart. It’s possible to find anything you might be looking for, including items that can be hard to find in most of Latin America.

The favorable exchange rate for Americans makes Mazatlán especially affordable right now. At the current rate of exchange between the U.S. dollar and the Mexico peso, everything from dinners out to a new home is a bargain. The best property buys are often priced in Mexican pesos or Canadian dollars, but many of the properties for sale are bargain priced compared with other beachfront markets around the world.

When considering the purchase of property in Mazatlán, note that desirability is gauged by the distance from Plazuela Machado. Proximity to the beach in this area, while desirable, is secondary. If you’re interested in the purchase of a home in the historic zone, also understand that changes to the façade are not possible. The city is strict about preserving the integrity of its historic properties. Any renovation work on these gems is subject to architectural review, and city building inspectors roam the streets looking for violators. Non-original homes in the Old Town don’t have this restriction.

Prices are highest in the area around Plazuela Machado, but still very reasonable at today’s exchange rate. You could own in a prime area for as little as $150,000. Outside the coveted zone around Plazuela Machado, prices drop sharply. You don’t have to go far to find houses going for asking prices around 350,000 or 400,000 Mexican pesos. At the current exchange rate, that’s as little as $20,000.



According to California based news website Mexico is the preferred destination among the ranks of America’s richest travelers, for whom money is no object and the world is at their well-heeled, designer-clad feet.

That’s according to the results of a new study that looked at the travel trends of the richest one percent of Americans.

For the report, international travel and tourism consultancy group Resonance Consultancy analyzed data from more than 1,660 travelers with a household income of at least $200,000 USD or a net worth of $2 million.

Compared to the average American traveler who takes about five trips a year, the top five percent of richest Americans take about 14 trips a year, divided roughly between business and leisure trips.

Likewise, while the typical traveler will spend an average of $1,347 per person, per vacation, the affluent traveler will spend about $3,115.

With that kind of budget, that means reserving stays at high-end hotels such as the Four Seasons and Hilton, which are the preferred brands of the wealthiest one percent.

And while the middle-class and more budget-conscious traveler may spend hours on end shopping for flight and hotel deals online, analysts found that wealthy travelers are more likely to book directly with a hotel or airline.

Here are the top 10 travel destinations among America’s top one percent:

1. Mexico (26%)

2. Canada (24%)

3. Italy (24%)

4. England (22%)

5. France (22%)

6. Germany (14%)

7. Bahamas (14%)

8. Anguilla (13%)

9. Australia (12%)

10. U.S. Virgin Islands (11%)