Retiring in Mexico: a visit to San Miguel de Allende

San miguel allende

By Paul Marshman | The Travelling Boomer

Retiring in Mexico is a dream for many baby boomers, and one of the places that has welcomed the most northern retirees is the pretty colonial city of San Miguel de Allende. So on my visit to Mexico City, I thought I’d take the four-hour bus trip to see what this retirement haven is like.

Unfortunately, I arrived on a Sunday afternoon, to find what can best be described as a tourist invasion. Every square metre in downtown San Miguel seemed to be occupied by a tourist, or several, and getting served in a restaurant was near -impossible. Ducking through the front door of my hotel, I dodged a man charging tourists to take photos with his burro.

Still, as I discovered in Mexico City, first impressions can be misleading. And the next morning, with the weekenders departed back where they came from, the city’s real charm began to emerge. And it is a charming place. The centro, or colonial downtown district, is one of the prettiest I’ve seen in Latin America. It’s little wonder San Miguel is designated a UNESCO world heritage site.

The heart of town is the central square — called the jardin, or garden, because of the lovely little park on one side. That’s where the locals, including a lot of expat retirees, spend their time watching the passing scene and looking out on San Miguel’s most spectacular asset, La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcánge. Like the Eiffel Tower, the huge church is both unique and impossible to miss. With its pink stone spires rising high into the blue Mexican sky, it adds a dramatic flourish to the skyline from blocks away.

Unlike some historic places, San Miguel doesn’t lose its charm once you leave the town square. Virtually all the streets in the centro look as if they’ve been frozen in time since the 1700s. The buildings are well-kept, and most are painted in pastel colours of pink and ochre, giving the whole town a kind of rosy glow. The effect becomes magical at sunset.

That doesn’t mean time has forgotten San Miguel. The jardin is ringed with bars and restaurants catering to the tourist crowd. And here and there, you walk through a centuries-old doorway to find yourself in a modern mall, filled with craft and jewellery shops and trendy eateries.

In fact, a love of the arts is one of the things that draws many to the city. San Miguel’s popularity began with an influx of ex-GIs who moved in after World War II to study art on their education grants. The tradition grew from there, and today art galleries and craft shops seem to be everywhere. And if you really appreciate art, you need to walk the few blocks to the edge of downtown and see La Aurora.

Once a cloth factory, La Aurora is now one of the most extensive and impressive art complexes I’ve seen outside a major city. Gallery after gallery is filled with everything from traditional Mexican woodwork and indigenous masks to sculptures and huge paintings by prominent artists. You could easily spend half a day there, and you’d likely still miss a lot.

That’s all good for visitors like me. But what’s San Miguel de Allende like to live in? Is it the place that makes retiring in Mexico a workable project? According to the 10,000 or so gringos who spend all or some of their year there, the answer is yes.

San Miguel is 2,000 metres (7,000 feet) above sea level, so its climate is ideal for those who don’t like the sweltering Mexican heat. In winter, mornings and evenings can be cool enough to require a jacket – my room was equipped with a heater, and I used it. But by late morning most days, the sun is shining and it’s t-shirt weather. (There is a rainy season, however, from May to September.)

And while it’s likely not the cheapest place in Mexico, San Miguel is a bargain compared with Canada or the U.S. Even in the tourist restaurants, a good meal with a beer costs less than $15 Canadian per person, and once you get away from the jardin, you’ll pay Mexican prices for things. You won’t go without, either: big-box food stores dot the edges of town, which are beginning to look a bit like an American suburb.

Housing? A basic house can be had for less than $150,000 Cdn, especially if you get out of the downtown area. There are lovely-looking condo developments in the downtown area, and northern-style subdivisions are springing up on the outskirts for those who really want to get away from it all. Long-term rentals start at less than $1,000 a month.

Of course, if you fancy a mansion, you can have one, and pay more than $1 million U.S. for it. There are companies in town that will design and build you one: real estate offices are a common sight in San Miguel. And if you’re living that high, you can have a maid and a gardener, too.

Medical care is a big issue for those retiring in Mexico. But Suzan Haskins of International Living, an authority on expat living, says the public and private hospitals in the area provide good care. If serious procedures are needed, big-city hospitals are an hour away in Queretaro. (This International Living article gives a little more detail on San Miguel’s advantages.)

And if you are spooked by Mexico’s reputation as a country plagued by drug violence, colonial enclaves like San Miguel are far removed from the hot spots. Still, there’s a good police presence around the downtown.

To me, one of the drawbacks of retiring to a smaller town or city is boredom: there’s just not that much to do. But San Miguel has an answer for that. Looking for a place to have breakfast one morning, I ran into Patrick, an expat from Alaska spending the winter in San Miguel with his wife.

https://goo.gl/eA7J4w

 

Own in Mexico’s Most Popular Expat Spot For $69,500

By Suzan Haskins | International Living

No matter the season, it always feels like spring to me here on the sunny shores of Lake Chapala in the heart of Mexico.

It’s the colors, I think. The robin’s egg blue sky, the soft green leaves on the trees and vines, the violet jacarandas, yellow primaveras, and the omnipresent bougainvillea in brilliant hues of purple, fuschia, and coral.

Here at Lakeside, as it’s called, we enjoy this scene every day of the year. The average daily high temperature ranges between 76 F in January, the coldest month and 86 F in May, warmest month.

It’s no wonder this area is home to the largest overseas population of U.S. and Canadian retirees—somewhere close to 20,000 are said to reside here during high season, with between 12,000 to 15,000 living here year-round.

Because U.S. and Canadian retirees have been flocking to Lakeside for 100 years now, this is a “mature” expat destination. Every product and service you might want or need is available. English is widely spoken by doctors, shopkeepers, and vendors in the local tianguis (farmers markets) and you’ll find restaurants offering a vast variety of international fare.

With today’s favorable peso to dollar exchange (about 20 pesos to US$1 and 15 pesos to CA$1), this an affordable time to be in Mexico.

I was explaining all this to friends who’ve been toying with the idea of retiring here. But they’re on something of a budget and they’d been led to believe that Mexico can be expensive.

That might be true if you live in a resort community…on the coast where you’ll need air conditioning most of the year and where most everything is priced with tourists in mind. But here in Lake Chapala, you likely won’t feel the need for either heat or air conditioning, and the economy depends on local clientele so most everything is priced accordingly.

I shared some property examples with my friends to whet their appetites…

To set the stage, foreign retirees mostly live along a 20-mile section of the northern shore of the lake—50 miles long in total and about 11 miles wide—from the town of Jocotopec in the west to the town of Chapala farther east. In the middle of that stretch is the picturesque village of Ajijic, where most expat-centered activities take place.

Because Ajijic is a desirable community to live in—close to the action—real estate prices tend to be higher. A three-bedroom, two-bathroom, Mexican-style home (think exposed brick walls and Talavera tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms) with a small, enclosed garden—easy walking distance to the central town plaza—just sold for $149,000.

If you’re looking for something similar in size but more modern and perhaps with a view of the lake, you can expect to spend $200,000 and up.

For my budget-minded friends, who prefer to live in a more Mexican-centric neighborhood and in a smaller home, I suggested a couple of options in Chapala.

The first is a charming, 720-square-foot, one-bedroom, lock-and-leave home—perfect for travelers or snowbirds, just two blocks from Chapala’s new malecon (lakeside walkway) and close to all services including coffee shops, restaurants, medical clinics, a bus stop, and more. It’s being sold fully furnished, including tasteful handcrafted Mexican furniture and appliances. Best of all, it has both an enclosed terrace and an outdoor mirador, with gorgeous views of the lake and its stunning sunsets. The price tag for this beauty is just $69,500.

But since my friends can also be partial to a more rural setting, I found another, more modern home—nearly 1,500 square feet on a beautifully landscaped 4,000-square-foot lot. It’s high on the mountain above the lake (you’d want a car here) and features an open-floor plan with a bright, cheerful kitchen. There are two large bedrooms and two full bathrooms. This one, too, is being sold fully furnished with all appliances. And it’s priced at just $109,000.

Needless to say, our friends have booked their flights and will be arriving soon for a reconnaissance visit. We expect they’ll be our neighbors soon.

https://goo.gl/EGjnAj

Mexico Voted # 1 in World To Retire 2017: Meet the Playa Del Carmen Snowbirds

 

Playa del carmen

By Johnny Punish | Veterans Today Live

Punish Radio welcomes Cynthia Bandick Temorcioglu; snowbird from Canada to discuss the reality of living in Playa del Carmen during the winter months

Punish Radio hosts Cynthia Bandick Temorcioglu from British Columbia Canada.  She’s a long time snowbird going south for the winter to Playa del Carmen Mexico.   She’s also an internet entrepreneur with Nucerity International allowing her to live a positive lifestyle that fits her ambitions and a lifestyle blogger at Time in Playa del Carmen..

Mexico has always offered arguably the easiest transition to expat life around: Low-cost, conveniently close, friendly locals and plenty of expats—Mexico offers an appealing balance of exotic foreign culture and familiar First-World lifestyle.

Over recent years, crime and insecurity across the border have made headlines—and yes, there are parts of Mexico we don’t recommend. But this is a big country…and while the mainstream media may bash Mexico, we’ve actually noticed a trend of people gravitating there. Seasoned expats, folks who have lived in countries like Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Belize, are moving to Mexico.

After all, there’s a reason over 1 million Americans call Mexico home. The cost of living is great—expats report living well for as little as $1,200 a month—and has gotten even better with the weakening of the peso against the dollar in recent years. Your dollars now buy nearly 50% more pesos than they did just a few short years ago.

The weak peso also means you can pick up great-value real estate (to buy or rent) for even less than you could a few years ago—an apartment that cost $1,300 to rent in 2014 costs $980 now. Those dollars also go even further when it comes to Mexican healthcare. You can get healthcare that’s even better quality than what you’re used to and for one half to one third the price to boot.

According to IL’s Roving Latin America Editor Jason Holland, who lives on the Riviera Maya, there are first-rate hospitals throughout the country—every major city has one. “Even paying cash at private facilities costs a fraction of what it would in the U.S. Most doctors have received at least part of their training in the U.S. or Europe…and many speak English,” Jason says.

English is widely spoken in popular expat spots like Lake Chapala and the Riviera Maya. This makes it easy for you to fit right in. And heck, you can drive down, or fly home for as little as $200 round-trip—so getting home is convenient.

This proximity also makes it an ideal destination for snowbird living, perfect for escaping from the worst of the winter weather. And the diverse selection of climates spread out across this massive country, ranging from hot weather on the beach to spring-like in the highlands, means you’re guaranteed to find weather that’s perfect for you.

“The cost of living in Mexico allows me to live a fun life on my Social Security check,” says San Francisco-native Jack Bramy. Living half a block from the beach in Puerto Vallarta, Jack’s not scrimping. “There are great restaurants and tons of cool bars on the malecón (promenade). My rent is $575 a month for a two-bedroom apartment with a great modern bathroom and nice kitchen.”

If you prefer to live in the Colonial Highlands, there are the picturesque historic towns like San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, and Ajijic on Lake Chapala.

Chicago native Steve Garcia, 67, has lived in Guanajuato for four years. “I live well here on Social Security. My expenses are $1,200 a month, including rent. I have a two-bedroom house with a terraced garden,” says Steve. “With the dollar going up I’ve got 50% more to spend.”

After you become a legal resident of Mexico, which is quite easy to qualify for, you can also take advantage of its retiree benefits. Those over 60 get discounts on airline and bus tickets, medical care, museum entrance fees, and much more.

“I love my senior discount card,” says expat Marty Kramer who lives in Playa del Carmen. “All Mexican citizens, including resident expats, can get one when they turn 60. With it, I get discounts on almost everything: healthcare, public transportation, groceries, restaurants, hotels, and even some airlines. It’s up to the business how much of a discount they offer, but it’s usually around 10%.”

If you acquire official residence in Mexico, you can get an INAPAM Card—and all the discounts that come with it. These can range from 5% up to 50%. And recent changes in the law now provide an easier and faster path than ever to permanent Mexican residence.

Most retirees qualify for residence by showing they have the funds to support themselves. And—also unusually—Mexico gives you two ways to qualify. You can show monthly income from Social Security or a pension. Alternatively, you can use assets, such as funds in a savings or investment account, to qualify. You don’t need to transfer these assets to Mexico; you only need to prove that you have them.

“Life here is easy and relaxed,” says IL Mexico editor Glynna Prentice. “And also rich and complex in sensations and experiences. People are friendly and welcoming, their warmth as genuine as the Mexican sun. And roots are deep.

“Whether you’re looking at the mighty ruins of Teotihuacan, the face of a local Maya vendor, or the cool patio of a Spanish colonial hacienda, you sense a depth of history and tradition around you.

“Mexico isn’t perfect—no place is. But its flaws pale when weighed against the vividness of life here.”

http://bit.ly/2nApbKY

 

4 Reasons Why Americans Retire in Mexico

By: Justin Walton | Investopedia

Retirees living in Mexico enjoy a low cost of living, warm climate, natural beauty, modern infrastructure and one of the world’s most intriguing cultures. Many airports throughout Mexico offer short, direct flights to the United States, making it easy to return home or to have visitors. And, of course, it’s just over the border from the U.S..

The low cost and high quality of Mexico’s healthcare system also attract many retiring Americans. With more than one million Americans living in Mexico, it is clearly not a fad.

Retiree Real Estate Developments

Many real estate developments have been built throughout Mexico specifically for American retirees. Oceanfront developments in Baja California, 30 minutes from the California border, offer luxurious amenities at a fraction of the cost of the same in the U.S.. As of 2015, a three-bedroom oceanfront condo in the San Diego area cost around $3.5 million with $35,000 in annual property taxes. A comparable property just south of the border in a specially designed retirement community could be had for as little as $350,000 with only $1,000 in annual property taxes.

Thriving Expat Communities

Many traditional tourist destinations in Mexico not only welcome travelers but also cater to American retirees. Puerto Vallarta, Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Baja California and Cancun are among the most popular with Americans. These areas provide a wide range of real estate options, from modest housing in good neighborhoods to high-end gated communities with 24-hour security.

The economies in these areas are driven by North American tourists and retirees. Most businesses have English-speaking employees, and restaurants usually have menus printed in English. Adding more familiarity, most Mexican cities have stores found in the U.S. such as Walmart and Costco.

Affordable Quality Healthcare

Certainly one of the largest factors for retirees to consider when moving abroad is the availability of quality healthcare. Many are surprised to find the healthcare system in Mexico is not only very good, it is actually world class and very affordable. Costs for common surgeries and procedures can be 25% to 50% of what is paid in the U.S. Doctors and dentists are commonly educated and trained in America and Europe, and their facilities are usually supplied with the latest equipment and technologies. Many foreigners travel to Mexico from all over the world for medical treatments or procedures. Medical tourism has boomed in Mexico because many procedures and treatments, which have proven to be successful, are either extremely expensive or not yet approved in other countries.

As of 2014 (more recent specific data not available), an office visit with a doctor or specialist cost approximately $35 to $50. House calls were around the same price. Lab tests clocked in at about a third of the price paid in the United States, and a CT scan cost 25% of what is paid for the procedure north of the border. An overnight stay in a private hospital room is under $100 on average, and a visit to a dentist for teeth cleaning costs around $30. Prices have risen in Mexico, but also in the U.S., so the general difference seems to be about the same.

Infrastructure and Communications

While not as advanced as in the U.S., Mexican infrastructure and communications systems are improving. Most populated areas of the country have good cellular coverage and widely available high-speed Internet. These factors help make Mexico a popular choice for those looking to semi-retire by managing their business while sitting on a beach with a laptop.

In 2013, Mexico announced plans to invest $320 billion through 2018 to improve its infrastructure and communications in an effort to establish the country as a true emerging economic leader in the 21st century. Improvements to highways, rail lines, airports and shipping ports will only improve the nation’s economy and quality of life.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/100215/4-reasons-why-americans-retire-mexico.asp

4 Reasons Why Americans Retire in Mexico

By: Justin Walton | Investopedia

Retirees living in Mexico enjoy a low cost of living, warm climate, natural beauty, modern infrastructure and one of the world’s most intriguing cultures. Many airports throughout Mexico offer short, direct flights to the United States, making it easy to return home or to have visitors. And, of course, it’s just over the border from the U.S..

The low cost and high quality of Mexico’s healthcare system also attract many retiring Americans. With more than one million Americans living in Mexico, it is clearly not a fad.

Retiree Real Estate Developments

Many real estate developments have been built throughout Mexico specifically for American retirees. Oceanfront developments in Baja California, 30 minutes from the California border, offer luxurious amenities at a fraction of the cost of the same in the U.S.. As of 2015, a three-bedroom oceanfront condo in the San Diego area cost around $3.5 million with $35,000 in annual property taxes. A comparable property just south of the border in a specially designed retirement community could be had for as little as $350,000 with only $1,000 in annual property taxes.

Thriving Expat Communities

Many traditional tourist destinations in Mexico not only welcome travelers but also cater to American retirees. Puerto Vallarta, Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Baja California and Cancun are among the most popular with Americans. These areas provide a wide range of real estate options, from modest housing in good neighborhoods to high-end gated communities with 24-hour security.

The economies in these areas are driven by North American tourists and retirees. Most businesses have English-speaking employees, and restaurants usually have menus printed in English. Adding more familiarity, most Mexican cities have stores found in the U.S. such as Walmart and Costco.

Affordable Quality Healthcare

Certainly one of the largest factors for retirees to consider when moving abroad is the availability of quality healthcare. Many are surprised to find the healthcare system in Mexico is not only very good, it is actually world class and very affordable. Costs for common surgeries and procedures can be 25% to 50% of what is paid in the U.S. Doctors and dentists are commonly educated and trained in America and Europe, and their facilities are usually supplied with the latest equipment and technologies. Many foreigners travel to Mexico from all over the world for medical treatments or procedures. Medical tourism has boomed in Mexico because many procedures and treatments, which have proven to be successful, are either extremely expensive or not yet approved in other countries.

As of 2014 (more recent specific data not available), an office visit with a doctor or specialist cost approximately $35 to $50. House calls were around the same price. Lab tests clocked in at about a third of the price paid in the United States, and a CT scan cost 25% of what is paid for the procedure north of the border. An overnight stay in a private hospital room is under $100 on average, and a visit to a dentist for teeth cleaning costs around $30. Prices have risen in Mexico, but also in the U.S., so the general difference seems to be about the same.

Infrastructure and Communications

While not as advanced as in the U.S., Mexican infrastructure and communications systems are improving. Most populated areas of the country have good cellular coverage and widely available high-speed Internet. These factors help make Mexico a popular choice for those looking to semi-retire by managing their business while sitting on a beach with a laptop.

In 2013, Mexico announced plans to invest $320 billion through 2018 to improve its infrastructure and communications in an effort to establish the country as a true emerging economic leader in the 21st century. Improvements to highways, rail lines, airports and shipping ports will only improve the nation’s economy and quality of life.

 

Resultado de imagen para Mexico

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/100215/4-reasons-why-americans-retire-mexico.asp

 

MEXICAN RETIREMENT VISA AND INAPAM CARDS

By Mexico Editor | Escape Artist

Many people from the US or Canada want to retire in Mexico due to its proximity to their home countries which makes it quite easy to travel back and forth to visit family and friends and Mexico’s high-speed internet and great cell phone coverage makes it the ideal place for business owners who still need to be in touch with their company but wish to do it from their retirement home in Mexico.

When you want to retire in Mexico you have to apply for a retirement visa.

The retirement visa allows you to live in Mexico but not to earn money here. You must prove sufficient resources from abroad to live in Mexico. To apply for and be granted this visa, you must:

  • have certain family connections in Mexico, or
  • apply for retirement status and prove you have sufficient monthly income (or substantial assets) to support yourself, or
  • Have 4 years of regular status as Temporary Resident (2 years if legally married to a Mexican spouse or permanent resident)
  • When you over 60 and have residency status or are a citizen of Mexico you can apply for an INAPAM card which allows you to ask for discounts.

Firms and companies are advertising the fact that they offer discounts to INAPAM card holders and even companies that do not openly offer discounts may do so when asked after purchasing goods from them.

This little plastic card, which at the same time proves that you are a resident of Mexico helps to get you up to 50% discounts on goods and services throughout Mexico.

To apply for the card you will need the following:

  • Your passport plus two photocopies of the photo page
  • Your valid FM-2 or FM-3 plus two photocopies of the photo page
  • A photo ID such as your passport or driver’s license
  • Proof of current residence in Mexico: i.e. a utility bill in your name, deed to your home, or rental lease (two photocopies)
  • Three photos in “infantil” size
  • Contact information for someone to be contacted in case of emergency
  • Two photocopies of your birth certificate

 

The benefits are plenty and include the following:

  • A discount on your water bill
  • Discounts at many, many stores—some offices will give you a booklet listing them when you apply for the card. The discounts tend to run 5-15%.
  • Discounts in some pharmacies—usually 5-10%
  • Discounts at some movie theaters
  • Discounts—usually about 10%—at many restaurants

 

Many clinics, hospitals, doctors and laboratories are taking part in the program as well.

 

http://www.escapeartist.com/mexico/mexican-retirement-visa-inapam-cards/

 

4 Reasons Why Americans Retire in Mexico

By: Justin Walton | Investopedia

Retirees living in Mexico enjoy a low cost of living, warm climate, natural beauty, modern infrastructure and one of the world’s most intriguing cultures. Many airports throughout Mexico offer short, direct flights to the United States, making it easy to return home or to have visitors. And, of course, it’s just over the border from the U.S..

The low cost and high quality of Mexico’s healthcare system also attract many retiring Americans. With more than one million Americans living in Mexico, it is clearly not a fad.

Retiree Real Estate Developments

Many real estate developments have been built throughout Mexico specifically for American retirees. Oceanfront developments in Baja California, 30 minutes from the California border, offer luxurious amenities at a fraction of the cost of the same in the U.S.. As of 2015, a three-bedroom oceanfront condo in the San Diego area cost around $3.5 million with $35,000 in annual property taxes. A comparable property just south of the border in a specially designed retirement community could be had for as little as $350,000 with only $1,000 in annual property taxes.

Thriving Expat Communities

Many traditional tourist destinations in Mexico not only welcome travelers but also cater to American retirees. Puerto Vallarta, Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende, Baja California and Cancun are among the most popular with Americans. These areas provide a wide range of real estate options, from modest housing in good neighborhoods to high-end gated communities with 24-hour security.

The economies in these areas are driven by North American tourists and retirees. Most businesses have English-speaking employees, and restaurants usually have menus printed in English. Adding more familiarity, most Mexican cities have stores found in the U.S. such as Walmart and Costco.

Affordable Quality Healthcare

Certainly one of the largest factors for retirees to consider when moving abroad is the availability of quality healthcare. Many are surprised to find the healthcare system in Mexico is not only very good, it is actually world class and very affordable. Costs for common surgeries and procedures can be 25% to 50% of what is paid in the U.S. Doctors and dentists are commonly educated and trained in America and Europe, and their facilities are usually supplied with the latest equipment and technologies. Many foreigners travel to Mexico from all over the world for medical treatments or procedures. Medical tourism has boomed in Mexico because many procedures and treatments, which have proven to be successful, are either extremely expensive or not yet approved in other countries.

As of 2014 (more recent specific data not available), an office visit with a doctor or specialist cost approximately $35 to $50. House calls were around the same price. Lab tests clocked in at about a third of the price paid in the United States, and a CT scan cost 25% of what is paid for the procedure north of the border. An overnight stay in a private hospital room is under $100 on average, and a visit to a dentist for teeth cleaning costs around $30. Prices have risen in Mexico, but also in the U.S., so the general difference seems to be about the same.

Infrastructure and Communications

While not as advanced as in the U.S., Mexican infrastructure and communications systems are improving. Most populated areas of the country have good cellular coverage and widely available high-speed Internet. These factors help make Mexico a popular choice for those looking to semi-retire by managing their business while sitting on a beach with a laptop.

In 2013, Mexico announced plans to invest $320 billion through 2018 to improve its infrastructure and communications in an effort to establish the country as a true emerging economic leader in the 21st century. Improvements to highways, rail lines, airports and shipping ports will only improve the nation’s economy and quality of life.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/100215/4-reasons-why-americans-retire-mexico.asp