How to retire better, with less money than you think

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By Andrew Hallam | The Globe and Mail

Lindsay and Darlene Abbie’s colleagues think they’re crazy. The public high-school teachers still enjoy their jobs, but they want to retire early. Darlene is 51 and can’t collect her pension until she’s 55. Mr. Abbie turns 56 in January. “Many of our colleagues say we should keep working,” he says. “They say we would be giving up so much if we stopped working now. But we’re giving up more if we stay. There’s more to life than money, and there’s still so much of this world that we would like to see.”

The Abbies know how to stretch their money. By spending part of each year in a low-cost country, they can get their travel fix and spend less. Mexico’s Lake Chapala is on the couple’s radar. They’re also considering various locations in Southeast Asia.

They first considered retiring three years ago, but the timing wasn’t right. Then, two months ago, they sold their home in Oliver, B.C. They’re now renting an apartment in the nearby town of Osoyoos. When they retire, they’ll rent a small apartment in Kelowna. “It’s going to be cheaper for us to rent,” Ms. Abbie says.

They say their home cost them about $3,210 a month. That included mortgage payments, home insurance, property taxes, heating and air-conditioning costs, as well as maintenance for their home, garden and swimming pool. By selling their home, they freed up a lot of money. The 960-square-foot apartment they will be renting in Kelowna will cost $1,950 a month.

Most financial experts would agree that the couple should be fine. Their RRSPs are well into six figures. The net proceeds from the sale of their home were more than $300,000.

Their money will go far in a place such as Lake Chapala. The region’s lakeside towns include Chapala, San Antonio, Ajijic and Jocotepec. Such towns are filled with retirees from Canada and the United States. Most of them chuckle at conventional retirement wisdom.

Kathy Sauro is one of them. The former elementary-school teacher retired when she was 57. Now 63, she and her husband, Gord, live part of the year in Bala, Ont. They spend the other five months in San Antonio Tlayacapan, Mexico, where they rent a condo. They spend less than $1,900 a month in Mexico, including rent, food, entertainment, recreation and travel costs.

“I came down to Mexico for two months in my first year of retirement,” Ms. Sauro says. “I loved it so much I returned each year.”

Among the cluster of lakeside towns, Ajijic is the most popular. That’s where Diana Friedman lives full-time. The former occupational therapist is from a small town near Victoria. It costs her just $15,000 a year, including rented accommodations, to live in Ajijic.

Jim Cook is one of the region’s most knowledgeable expats. The long-time resident, formerly from a town near Portland, Ore., says about 15,000 people live in Ajijic. But the population swells in the winter. “My ballpark impression,” he says, “is that the Lake Chapala region [including all lakeside towns] picks up 7,000 to 10,000 more people during the winter due to snowbirds and other short-time renters.”

Most of the expatriate residents love the weather, the culture and the low cost of living. At 5,000 feet above sea level, the year-round temperature averages 22 C.

Larry Laframboise used to work in Southern Ontario as a software developer, computer systems analyst and system administrator. For the past 11 years, he and his wife have lived full-time in Mexico. The couple own their own home in Ajijic. They installed a solar system to keep their electricity costs down. “We own a car and live comfortably on $60,000 a year,” Mr. Laframboise says. This affords them a much better lifestyle than what they would have had in Canada, where they estimate it would cost them twice as much.

According to, rental costs in Ajijic are 67 per cent lower than they are in Toronto. Restaurant meals cost 62 per cent less and groceries are 56 per cent cheaper.

Bill Taylor is a U.S. expat with a real estate office in Mexico’s Puerto Vallarta Marina. For the past 27 years, he has written a helpful newsletter for expats who want to retire at the Royal Pacific Yacht Club condominium development. He reports that from January to August, 2017, the average condo sold for about $334,851. He surveys residents to determine average costs of living, and couples report spending $18,940 a year.

There may be a way to retire with even less. Former political activist Kelly Hayes-Raitt spends every winter in a huge home overlooking Lake Chapala. During the remaining eight months, she visits other countries. Not all of them are cheap. When she was 47, she began to master the art of full-time house-sitting. Last month, she published a book, How to Become A Housesitter: Inside Tips From the Housesit Diva,which explains how to find fabulous homes – whether you’re looking for a short holiday abroad or seeking a new, full-time lifestyle.

International Living magazine voted Mexico the world’s top international retirement destination for 2017. But the Abbies know that other low-cost countries exist. The International Living Guide to Retiring Overseas on a Budget, by Suzan Haskins and Dan Prescher, sits on the couple’s coffee table. They’re browsing the book, checking out house-sitting sites and figuring out how to retire in style. “We’ll be able to travel,” Mr. Abbie says, “while enjoying early retirement that costs a fraction of what a full-time retirement in Canada would cost.”

Original source:



A Country Life With City Comforts in Mexico

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By Lydia Carey | International Living

When asked what kind of life they had before coming to Mexico, Susan Chamberlin of Luna Serena farm answers, “Before there was no life, just work at an office. Now it’s a full life, complemented with work we enjoy.”

These days, her partner, Victor, is feeding donkeys, giving tours, and working with Susan to manage 10 acres of olive and fruit trees. Susan is working on the farm’s finances, helping customers at their on-site retail store and giving olive oil tastings. Their life has made an incredible shift from just a decade ago, when they were working in advertising in New York City.

Susan and Victor originally wanted to buy a farm in Tuscany, after being inspired by Frances Mayes’ book, Under the Tuscan Sun, about retiring there and fixing up an ancient farmhouse. But that was in 1999, and the prices for property in Tuscany were not friendly. The couple happened to visit San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, that same year for a wedding and fell in the love with it. So, that was where they decided to buy property and start planning for a retirement they hoped would come soon.

San Miguel de Allende, because of its international community of expats and its influx of Mexicans from around the country, is a diverse and culturally-rich town. English-language theater, a local English-language newspaper, and lots of community arts and social welfare organizations make it an easy place to get involved.

Susan started living on the property in San Miguel in 1999 and Victor joined her in 2014. They decided at that point that full-on retirement was not for them. Instead they would work to make their property an agritourism attraction, and find a place in the local market to sell produce and olive oil. They had already planted various fruit and olive trees on the property in the preceding years. The gourmet olive oil business seemed a good niche for an area that had a developing local wine industry.

They now have a bustling business not only selling their products but also hosting groups on the property, giving tours, and coordinating private dinners. In addition, they make all kinds of secondary products from their fruit, like vinegars and marmalades. The farm supports not only the two of them but a local family of seven who have all come to work on the farm in various capacities. Susan says that they wished they would have known in advance how fun and fulfilling the project would be. “The benefits are a hugely improved lifestyle with plenty of exercise, lots of new acquaintances, and we get to eat very healthy food which we grow ourselves,” she says.

Susan and Victor are confessed home bodies who love gourmet cooking. “We live a simple country life,” says Susan, “but we do indulge in some local activities every now and then—a couple of special restaurants, or a concert or two.” And it’s all at a fraction of the price they were accustomed to in New York (a taxi anywhere in San Miguel is only about $3).

While real estate in San Miguel is not as cheap as it once was, great properties can still be found in the $200,000 range. Add that to the year-round mild climate and you have yourself a paradise south of the border. As Victor and Susan show, San Miguel is a perfect combination of rural tranquility, with the conveniences of a cosmopolitan lifestyle.

Original Source:

3 Top Spots For A Super Accessible Sunny Second Home Overseas

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By Valentine Fouche | Live and Invest Overseas

I’m just back at my desk from Cancún, where I was delighted to meet a new bunch of readers at our second Live and Invest in Mexico Conference

November is the perfect time to be in this part of the world… when most North Americans are starting to watch the thermostat (and I’m still recovering from those chilly days in Paris last month).

While Cancún was our meeting place, our agenda over our three days together last week reached beyond this well-known tourist hot-spot. With Lee Harrison as our Master of Ceremonies and a strong team of Mexico experts and expats by his side, we took the group on a virtual tour of this country that included: 

  • The Riviera Maya that stretches from Cancún in the north to Tulum in the south—with miles of unspoiled, Caribbean sands in between… where you can find attractive options, like Playa Del Carmen, that are quieter and more affordable than Cancún…
  • The historic town of Mazatlán on the Pacific coast that’s becoming increasingly popular with expats—and where Lee spends most of his time these days. This city on the sea has full amenities, first-class health care, and is only a two-hour flight from U.S. border towns…
  • The country’s most romantic resort—Puerto Vallarta. Surrounded by lush hills, P.V. boasts some of this country’s most magnificent ocean and sunset views… plus diverse outdoor activities and more dining-out options than you can count…

Best of all, while Mexico doesn’t offer a pensionado-style visa, it does offer one of the easiest residency paths out there today. Lee has found the process to be super-easy.

“I got my resident’s visa at a consulate in about 20 minutes,” Lee told the group, “without translations, background checks, or document certifications.

“And you may not even need to establish residency, as Mexico offers a six-month tourist stay.”

If you weren’t in the room for the full low-down on making a move to Mexico, you can still access every word of every presentation (including questions from our audience) in our soon-to-be-released Live and Invest in Mexico Home Conference Kit.

Among the 30+ sessions included, you’ll hear from:

  • A full-time Canadian expat who recently settled in Playa Del Carmen (with kids in tow)…
  • A Mexican attorney on your top visa and residency options in Mexico (it’s easy, but you have to do it right!)…
  • A local health-care representative on what to expect from local medical care…
  • Our go-to Mexico real estate expert on the top five places to invest in the country…
  • A local language school on how to learn Spanish and have a whole lot of fun in the process…

We left no stone unturned last week. As you make your way through this set of recordings—at your own pace, in whatever order you choose—you’ll also get the low-down on current real estate opportunities in our favorite Mexican markets (some that offer developer financing)… how to get involved in volunteering projects… your best options for health insurance… how to set up a bank account… and more…

We’ve compiled this conference-in-a-box to show you everything you need to know about Mexico to decide if it’s right for you…

Just imagine… just as the cold and snow are hitting the United States and Canada… you load up the car and head on down to your sunny second home in Mexico.

It really can be that simple.

Original Source:

This will make you want to visit the Riviera Maya

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By Tibisay Montilva and Edith Marrufo 

Currently, it has been talked about the incredible things that can be enjoyed in the beautiful Riviera Maya, such as its beautiful turquoise beaches and white sand, the beautiful landscapes and its archaeological destinations that always open their doors to Tourists, Retiree and Snowbirds.

Is a 130 kilometer stretch of Caribbean coastline between the resort city of Cancun in the north and the Mayan ruins of Tulum in the south. Other communities and towns that are part of this famous Mexican beach vacation destination include Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel Island, Puerto Aventuras, and Akumal. Being a part of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Riviera Maya has more to offer than its beaches. There is a rich history with many cultural influences and a diverse population. This combination has developed a cosmopolitan feel to the area with a focus on food, activities, shopping and of course, the beach life.

Riviera Maya is one of the favorite places to vacation or live the retirement either temporarily or permanently, that is why the number of visitors to this destination increases every time. Just in 2016, La Riviera Maya registered a total of 4.7 million visits, one million more than 2015.

Due to the increase in visitors and all the activities that can be done in this destination, different companies have been innovating in their services, be it hotels, restaurants, events, guided visits, etc. On this time, we will talk about Blue Cx. They are experiences consultants, transform a traditional vacation into an experience, can offer you a selection of luxury condos and houses with private pools and Jacuzzis. They organize excursions to archaeological sites, attraction parks visits, yacht tours, private dinners, laundry, cleaning, spa, massaging and hairdresser appointments (also in the comfort of your rented home). 

This agency analyzes the profile of their guests and do what is necessary to offer you experiences that fit your personality.  Even if you already have a property they will be able to assist you there too. The main focus is to increase your demand generation so your ROI (return of investment) accelerates and grows. 

They have permanent demand from exclusive guests that guaranty the growth of your occupancy even in low seasons because they fully dedicate to manage your property as if it were theirs..Controlling maintenance and housekeeping they are able to make your investment profitable under a vacation rental model business. 

Riviera Maya hides many beautiful places and services that you should know, since it is one of the best places to snorkel, see reefs and marine species, know the ancient ruins and relax. If you visit Riviera Maya I can assure you that it will be an experience that will stay in your memory forever.

Medical Tourists Retire In Mexico After One Visit

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By Jeffery | Doctours

What have you heard stories about our neighbors to the south? Tales of intrigue? Some medical tourists retire in Mexico after experiencing life there.

Medical Tourists Retire In Mexico After One Visit

Thousands of North Americans have settled on the Mexican riviera of Lake Chapala. Gringos have been living there for decades.

First of all is climate. Nigh one mile high and surrounded by mountains, Lake Chapala weather is spring-like year-round.

Further more, Mexico is not far. And lakeside is a half-hour south of the international airport of Guadalajara. That’s Mexico’s second largest city.

Most popular with expats is Ajijic, having:
* movie theaters,
* big-box stores,
* medical and dental clinics, and
* international restaurants, cafes, and bars.

Medical Tourists Retire In Mexico With Little Money

Especially relevant, your money goes far in Mexico. Most Americans and Canadians chuckle at the advice they heard back home about saving. A couple can buy housing, food, entertainment, recreation, and travel and still spend less than $1,900 a month.

Most noteworthy, costs in Ajijic are well below those in Toronto:
* Rental: 67% lower
* Restaurant meals: 62% less
* Groceries: 56% cheaper.

Hence International Living magazine voted Mexico the world’s top international retirement destination for 2017.

Medical Tourists Retire In Mexico: What’s the Attraction?

A research study found most who relocated to Mexico saw their expectations met. Also they enjoyed life more and were happier than in their country of origin.

Most expats cited three reasons: weather, cost of living, and no stress. A fourth reason was access to affordable, high-quality health care.

Expats admired Mexico’s society. Their work-life balance is healthier. They enjoy spending time with family. And they respect elders and treat them with compassion.

In conclusion, if Mexicans can live up North, gringos can live down South. If not forever, at least long enough to get well.

Original Source :

Living in Puerto Vallarta Mexico


By Banderas News

For many the thought of living in – or even near – a major tourist resort is about as appealing as a buying a condo in Disneyland. But here in Vallarta, the incredible natural beauty, combined with a small town atmosphere and the inherent warmth and friendliness of the local people, attracts foreign residents who enjoy the good life.

With a colorful blend of the old and the new, the Banderas Bay region offers an unrivaled combination of simple pleasures and sophisticated charms. Fine dining restaurants, art galleries, upscale shopping centers, internet cafes and nightclubs peacefully coexist alongside taco stands, street-side vendors and open air markets selling Mexican handcrafts, and strolling Mariachi bands.

But much of Puerto Vallarta’s magic is in the hearts of her people. Often described as “one big, happy family,” Vallartenses are known for their hospitality and for going out of their way to welcome foreign residents. And, since the Mexican people are extremely tolerant of different lifestyles, international residents and Mexican locals can live side-by-side in harmony – provided that the expatriate can learn to be creative and adaptable.

Puerto Vallarta is an unhurried refuge for people seeking more than just a beautiful beach. Those of us who choose to live here embrace the challenge of learning patience and understanding. Taking the time to “stop and smell the roses” along the road to becoming bicultural gives us the opportunity to grow – and to enjoy a more relaxed way of life.

Original Source:

7 Things to Do Before You Retire in 2018

descargaBy Abby Hayes |  U.S. News

If you plan to retire in 2018, now is the time to start planning for your transition into retirement. You will need to set up new health insurance, max out your workplace benefits while you still can and take last-minute steps to sure up your finances. Here are seven ways to make sure you’re ready to retire next year.

Figure out your stable retirement income. Take stock of any pension or Social Security income you expect to get during retirement. This stable income should form the basis of your budget, but probably won’t cover all of your expenses. This is your base retirement income that your savings and investments build upon.

Look at your other retirement income sources. Determine what you can expect to draw down from your personal retirement investments. You may want to meet with an investment advisor to develop a withdrawal strategy. If you want or need to continue working in retirement, you can also include any part-time income you expect to receive for the first few years of retirement.

Make your retirement budget. Figure out how much you plan to spend during retirement. This can help you get a handle on whether or not you actually have enough money to retire in the coming year.

One good exercise is to figure out the absolute minimum you need to get by. This means paying essential bills including health care expenses, clothing, food, transportation and other essentials. Then, determine your ideal retirement budget. If you could have the retirement you really want, how much money would that take? This lets you add in things like dining out, traveling and other luxuries.

At a minimum you should be able to cover your bare bones budget indefinitely. But it’s better to delay retirement until you can afford the lifestyle you want. Working an extra year or two might help you to finance a more enjoyable retirement.

Check into your investments. As you approach retirement, it’s a smart time to double check your portfolio allocation. You should be shifting your money into lower risk, lower reward investment options, such as bonds. You can still take some risks, if you can stomach potential declines in your investment portfolio. Just be cognizant of how a downturn in the market could affect your retirement plans.

Figure out your health insurance. If you are 65 or older you may qualify for Medicare, but you should also look at supplemental insurance policies you might need. If you don’t yet qualify for Medicare because you’re retiring early, be doubly sure you have enough cash flow to cover an individual health insurance policy.

Use your paid time off. Check into your bank of vacation time or paid time off. You should definitely use this before you retire, unless you can translate those banked days into cash at the end of your working years. If you plan to look for a new place to live in retirement, that’s an especially good use of any banked time off you have available.

Make a plan for your time. Figure out what you plan to do with your time during retirement. The transition from working every day to a life of leisure can be surprisingly emotional. The best way to fend off boredom and depression is to stay active physically, mentally and socially.

Take some time now to plan a retirement celebration, vacation or to find some volunteer opportunities you can step into as a retiree. This will help smooth the transition into your golden years.