9 Critical Issues To Consider Before Deciding To Live Overseas

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By  Kathleen Peddicord | Live and Invest Overaseas

Yesterday, we walked through the six big issues you must address as you work to make a plan for reinventing your life somewhere sunny, beautiful, welcoming, and affordable overseas.

Today, in part two of this two-part Retiring Overseas Made Easy program, let’s look at the nine questions you should answer at this getting-started stage of your grand go-overseas adventure:

Question #1: Are you planning to move alone? With a significant other? With other family members? With children?

As I said, if you’re moving with a significant other or with other family members, you must work to consider every issue and to address every question together, and you must allow all sides a voice. Making a success of a new life overseas requires energy, commitment, and a positive attitude. You don’t want to force someone into it.

If you’re planning to move with children, then at least one of your priorities is clear: The children. You’ll want to take their comfort, care, security, and education into account above all else.

Question #2: How concerned are you with what your family and friends think?

Your family and friends may surprise you (and me). They may be nothing but supportive and enthusiastic about your plan to launch a new life in a new country.

And probably some of them will be.

Others, though, will think you’ve lost your mind. They’ll forward you media links and State Department warnings to show you how dangerous and ridiculous an idea it is to think about leaving the safety of home and heading off to some exotic foreign land, where you’ll be at the mercy, they’ll assure you, of non-English-speaking thieves and scallywags. Plus you’ll be lonely… homesick…

You need to make up your mind right now that you won’t be dissuaded by any of it. Stay the course. You’re on the road to a future better and brighter than your naysaying friends could ever imagine.

They don’t get it… but that’s OK. They don’t have to get it.

Question #3: Do you want to live among the locals or in a more private, perhaps gated setting with fellow expats for your neighbors?

If you choose to relocate to an established expatriate community, you’ll have no trouble slipping into the local social scene and finding English-speakers who share your interests.

On the other hand, going that route, you might end up with little real experience of the new culture you’re adopting.

This important early decision may not have occurred to you. But I encourage you to consider the question directly, for the answer sets you on one track or another, and they lead to very different places.

It can be easier, frankly, to seek out a place like Ajijic, Mexico, or Boquete, Panama, where your neighbors would be fellow North Americans, where you’d hear more English on the street than Spanish, and where you’d have like-minded compatriots to commiserate with over the trials and tribulations of daily life in a foreign country. Ajijic, for example, could as easily sit north of the Rio Grande as south. It can seem like a transplanted U.S. suburb.

This can make it a terrific first step for some, a chance to dip your toe in the live-overseas waters rather than diving in headfirst. In Ajijic, you’re living overseas and enjoying many of the benefits (great weather, affordable cost of living), but the surroundings and the neighbors are familiar in many ways. You can shop at Walmart, meet up with fellow Americanos for bridge on Thursday evenings, and never have to travel far to find English-language conversation.

On the other hand, life in Mexico would be a very different experience residing in a little fishing village or a small colonial city in the mountains where you’re the only foreigner in town. Settling among the locals means you must learn to live like a local.

Is the thought of that appealing, exciting, and invigorating? Or terrifying? Be honest with yourself as you consider your response.

There is no right or wrong reply, and there are pluses and minuses either way. During our 20-plus years living outside the States, Lief and I have gone local, first in Waterford, Ireland, then in Paris, now in Panama. In our neighborhood here in Panama City, English is spoken almost nowhere, and I still struggle sometimes to manage effective communication with shopkeepers, repairmen, and our neighbors.

Living in a gated community, I wouldn’t face that challenge. And, living in a gated community, the streets would be kept cleaner, and the landscaping would be manicured. We’d have access to a swimming pool, a clubhouse, maybe riding stables, and a tennis court. Security at the gate would keep out anyone without permission to pass, roving guards would keep watchful eyes over our property, and our neighbors would likely all speak English just like we do.

And that could be great, too.

Great, too, but very different.

Question #4: Do you want to learn a new language?

If the answer is no, your situation is simplified considerably. You’ll need to learn to speak at least a little of a new language in most places you might be thinking about living overseas… but not all. In a handful of the best places in our world to call home, English is the official language, spoken everywhere.

If you don’t want to learn a new language, these are the places where you should focus your attention.

Question #5: Do you have a health concern?

If the answer is yes, again, your job is simplified, because a number of destinations that might otherwise appeal to you should be taken off your list. Like moving with children and being certain that you don’t want to learn to speak even a little of a new language, having a health issue sets your top priority for you.

Question #6: Are you disabled in any way?

The reality is that this is perhaps the most limiting situation of all. If you have a health concern like diabetes or a heart condition, you’ll want to be sure that you’re within quick access of international-standard medical care. That’s possible many places around the world.

However, if you have a disability, certainly if you rely on a wheelchair for getting around, your options can be fewer, depending on the size of your nest egg. Most of Europe, for example, is at least as handicapped-accessible as the United States. If you’re looking to make this move on a tighter budget, though, you must understand that most of the developing world, where your retirement funds will stretch furthest, is not disabled-friendly.

Question #7: What are the things you refuse to scrimp on? What do you absolutely not want to give up?

Make a list. Put the most important things, the things you have to admit to yourself you would be very unhappy to live without, at the top.

Then don’t allow yourself to be persuaded (by yourself, your significant other, or anyone else) to compromise on the two or three things at the top of this list.

You’ll have to compromise. No place is perfect, and no place is going to deliver everything you want. If you’re moving with a partner or with family, the challenge is greater; you’re trying to find a place that satisfies more than one “What I Want” list.

So, again, you’re going to have to make concessions. But don’t concede on your top priorities, the two or three things you identify as being most important to you.

If you do, your entire adventure could be doomed.

Question #8: Does currency risk scare you?

If so, consider countries that use the same currency as that of your nest egg or anticipated income. If your funds are denominated in U.S. dollars, for example, consider Panama or Ecuador… or perhaps Belize, which doesn’t use the Greenback but which pegs its own Belize dollar to it.

Now, you may be thinking… but what if the U.S. dollar tanks? What good will it do me, you could wonder, to be living in a country that uses dollars if the dollar becomes worthless?

You’ll be no worse off than you would be if you were still living in the States. Prices for most things will go up, just as they will go up Stateside.

In fact, you’ll have the same inflationary issues from a collapse of the U.S. dollar no matter where you’re living, in a country that uses the U.S. dollar for its currency or in any other jurisdiction.

Say you retire to Colombia on your Social Security check, and, three years later, the U.S. dollar collapses. What happens? The cost of things for you in Colombia in dollar terms will go up… just as it will in dollar-denominated markets. In Colombia, though (and elsewhere), you’ll also have currency exchange ups and downs to consider and ride out.

They key is diversification. If you have any assets beyond a Social Security check, diversify them among more than one currency.

Question #9: Are you ready to move full-time… or would you like to take the idea of retiring overseas for a test run first by spending part of a year someplace foreign?

This doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You could launch a new life overseas and still spend part or even lots of your time back home.

I make the point in case it hadn’t occurred to you already. The idea of moving to a new country, full stop, full-time, can be intimidating. Selling your current home… off-loading your car, your furniture, your lawn-care equipment… flying off to a new country where you know no one and where everyone you meet speaks another language? Boiled down like that, this live-overseas agenda can seem foolish, even terrifying.

So don’t sell your home. Keep your car if you like it. Lock the lawn mower in the garage. Pack a few bags and head off to someplace that’s got your attention for, say, a month or two. Don’t even think about buying a house or anything else. Rent small and modest. Or arrange an extended stay in a bed-and-breakfast or guesthouse. Keep it low-key and low-pressure.

This doesn’t have to be like jumping off a cliff. You can ease into the idea. Then, if you find the place you take for a test spin disappointing in some way, you can return home (remember, your car’s waiting for you in the driveway)… and begin planning your next overseas holiday. Give someplace else a chance.

You could continue like this for years. You’d be enjoying some of the benefits of a new life in a new country (a maybe dramatically reduced cost of living, better weather, cheap medical care, new friends, grand adventures, plus little luxuries you probably can’t afford now—full-time household help, for example), but you’d have a safety net. What you’ll find is that, with each foray overseas, your confidence will build. And your plan will evolve.

Next step, maybe extend the length of each overseas vacation. You could spend three or even up to six months at a time in each new place, depending on the jurisdiction’s tourist visa restrictions, thereby avoiding the residency permit issue altogether.

You could begin renting out your place back home when you’re not using it. This income would help to subsidize the expense of your retire-overseas wanderings.

You could, eventually, invest in new digs in a place you decide you like well enough to want to return to regularly. Again, rent out this apartment or beach house when you’re elsewhere to further supplement your retirement income.

Maybe, eventually, you find you’re ready to sell your place back home, because, as time passes, your connection there seems less and less important. More interesting are the new places you’re discovering, the new friends you’re making, the new adventures you’re having…

Take it one step at a time and let your go-overseas plan develop organically. Just as there’s no one-size-fits-all overseas haven, neither is there a live-overseas plan that suits everyone. This idea is infinitely customizable.

Original Source

Why Did We Choose to Move to Merida, Mexico?

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By Omni Curated

You might know I live in Mexico, but not really be sure which area!

I live in Merida which is a city in the state Yucatan. I’ve been here for 10 months now putting down roots. The Yucatan is all the way down by the bottom,  just 6-7 hours I can be in either Belize or Guatemala! In four hours, I can be in Cancun or Tulum. It’s a very warm area of Mexico but after living in South India for five years, it feels like home!

Where Ben & I Lived Before

Before we met in India, I lived in Charlotte, North Carolina for a year, and before that, I lived in Ohio all my life. Ben lived in England all his life until he moved to Morocco for a smidge, then ended up in India.

Where Else We Considered

When we felt ready to leave India, we thought a LOT about where we should go. While we have freedom with our jobs to live anywhere, we cannot just bounce around because we have our dogs and cat. It’s hard to move animals internationally – both paperwork-wise and the emotional stress on them. So we wanted to know we were moving somewhere we would stay.

We considered Mexico the most seriously. We also thought about Greece, England, Morocco, and California. Portugal was another big contender. Neither of us had a clue about that country but for some reason really considered it.

Why Not Our Home Countries

Because of Ben and I being unmarried (now we are engaged), visas aren’t the easiest. He couldn’t live in the USA as he had no work visa. It’s very hard to move to the USA without getting married – and even then it’s not easy!

I couldn’t live in England as I also didn’t have a work visa for there. We thought we might qualify in England for a partnership type relationship that is long enough that I could stay in the country, but we weren’t sure.

Then Brexit happened – and we realized that English people might not be able to just live in the EU willy nilly as they do now without a visa. It could all change. We wanted to be able to build a house and live legally with visas, so all of Europe suddenly seemed out.

Mexico was a place we were always drawn to so we felt like it just made sense the others wouldn’t work out since we wanted Mexico anyway!

9 Reasons for Moving to Merida in Mexico

1. It’s not as touristy as many other places in the Yucatan

We first heard about Merida from a friend at a time when we were ready to leave India. Ben worked with a Mexican company that was based out of Merida while we were visiting. Enrique had told us several times how beautiful, unique, clean, and safe the city was.

We loved the country from our past trip, so we decided to go see Merida to see how we’d like living there. Other areas considered were Tulum and Puerto Escondido.

We knew in our hearts Tulum wasn’t for us – we were done with the tourist beach towns that were a little lawless for the people who stay long-term. Merida isn’t really a popular travel destination in the way Tulum is. Neither of us had even heard of it before Enrique told us about it.

We love being expats and love living somewhere that feels authentic and makes each day a little bit of an adventure. However, we also wanted a place that was clean, safe, organized, had grocery stores, and all that good stuff. Merida fit the bill.

As soon as we got to Merida, we knew immediately it was the place for us. We loved everything about it.

2. Because we can build a home in the jungle and still be near the sea and city

Merida is 30 minutes from the beach. There is a small village called Cholul outside of it to the northeast. It’s still jungle – boa constrictors, tarantulas, no electricity lined up in many plots of land we looked at, wells needing to be dug… but we love how quiet and beautiful it is.

It’s 25 minutes to the beach and 25 minutes to the city center. BUT only 10 minutes to the edge of the city, Altabrisa, where we can have things we never dreamed of in Goa, like big grocery stores, malls, and all that other normal stuff.

We like that we can be near it all but go home to a place that was secluded and felt like Goa, a place we will always love so much.

3. Affordable cost of living and time to travel

We could try to get married, get Ben a USA visa, and move to California – but then Ben would be in an office working 9-5 while sitting in traffic to and from. He’d have no time for vacation. Plus, we’d probably have no money to travel because we’d be broke paying rent – never mind trying to afford building a dream house! It just didn’t make sense.

Merida isn’t actually that much cheaper than somewhere like Ohio. We pay $1,000 in rent here – but you get a better quality of life in many ways (like a kickass rental house!) and we still both work online.

merida house

4. Mexico treats foreigners fairly.

Mexico is so welcoming!

The country allows you to get residency here through a long process that requires a certain amount of money and interviews. But, if you do it all legally, it’s very fair and with residency, we can live here like we are locals. In India that was never possible.

Here we can buy land, a car, have health insurance, bank accounts, and stay in the country all year long. We get to have driver’s licenses and feel like we are really part of the society here.

We were tired of being “foreigners” forever in India where it’s harder to do things or impossible (like buying land).

5. It’s the safest city in Mexico and has essentially no violence.

This city is so safe and has basically no crime whatsoever. It’s a lazy little town and you can walk all over alone at night without any worries. The police are friendly here, and we feel so much more relaxed. I’m sure there is corruption but it’s not like India where the police want “fines” every time they pull you over for something and you don’t feel like you can trust them if you had any kind of issue to report.

My Uber drivers here wait until I get in the house before they pull away. In Goa, Uber isn’t even a thing because the taxi mafia won’t allow it – which isn’t just a Goa thing, even in Cancun it is the same. Merida isn’t like Cancun though, it’s in a different state (Yucatan) which has very good state police.

6. It’s just much easier to live life day to day.

Imagine this. You go to your local grocery store and wonder if you might get lucky and find a block of $10, mold-free imported cheddar cheese. That’s your best and only good cheese option. This was basically my experience grocery shopping in Goa.

Lunch meat wasn’t even a thing so no quick sandwiches on the go. Processed foods that line American shelves didn’t exist outside of Lay’s potato chips and Pringles. We got used to it by making things from scratch or buying things from locals, but even that can get tiring.

For example, if I wanted tacos in Goa, this meant going to the one grocery store that stocked tortilla shells. Then I had to go to the butcher for beef, which Ben then ground at home with your grinder. For pico de gallo and sour cream (which was really just hung curd), we had to call ahead to Natti’s Naturals to order it. Then I had to go to the veggie market for decent lettuce. If I wanted taco sauce, I needed to have brought it back with me from one of my trips to the US.

All that for tacos!

It was just a different way of life in a lot of ways and while it was totally fine for all those years, I can’t say it’s not AMAZING to go to a grocery store here and get meat, veg, fruit, and whatever else I need all in ONE store. Not to mention, the veggies are so fresh and you can get them all: celery, asparagus, Brussel sprouts – things we couldn’t find in Goa all the time.

It’s the same with things like malls and restaurants. It’s nice to have fast food again and be able to run to Sears to look at appliances rather than have to go to the busy Mapusa market.

I do miss India, A LOT, but life is just easier here. Errands are less, stress is less, and it’s really nice to have such an easier way of life.

7. It’s a good place to set-up for the future.

Healthcare here is amazing. For the first time in six years, I have health insurance. Ben does too! We are covered internationally, and it feels so good. I saw a great eye doctor, have been to the hospital for swine flu and seen how clean and nice Star Media is.

There are also tons of great schools, gyms, and so much going on in the city. It’s a family-friendly place, and since we are thinking about having kids in the future, it’s a good place for that kind of thing.

8. Merida isn’t a crazy party place.

When you live somewhere known for being the ultimate hippie haven, you start to tried of the crazy party scene. We’re just growing up a little bit. Goa is all about the parties, and age isn’t a thing. Merida has so much going on that isn’t party-related, and it’s refreshing to kind of get out of that. I’m not putting it down, I loved partying in Goa. I’m basically 30 now though and kind of over it – plus I was never into psytrance. There is so much cool live music here!

Goa was so much fun but since I’m not really a party person anymore, I feel like I fit in better here in a lot of ways. Although I don’t know if I can find besties here as good as the girls I had in Goa!

9. We’re much closer to our families geographically.

Ben could fly to England through Mumbai in about 10 hours total. We could see Ben’s dad in Austria in about the same amount of time. I sometimes spent 40 hours getting to the USA. I was going home just once a year. It was also really expensive.

From Merida, we can get to England in about the same: 10-12 hours if we go to Cancun via bus and fly from there. I can get to the USA in six hours on a stupid expensive flight I won’t take, so it takes me 10 hours as well from Merida to get to Ohio.

It’s nice! It’s been great this year since we are planning a wedding in Ohio and because my nephew was just born last year.

It actually just feels good knowing how close to both our families we are on a map.

Original Source

Key Reasons Why People are Relocating to Mexico

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By Mexperience

The number of inquiries we receive about relocation to Mexico is rising steadily, especially from people seeking options for retirement in Mexico.  We regularly talk with foreign residents who have made their home in Mexico and, while all gardens can never be rosy all of the time, here are the key reasons why those who have come here and settled say they are staying for the long-term:

“We’re enjoying a better quality of life.” It’s no secret that the cost of living is rising across most of the world’s advanced economies—that is, homestead and food and utilities are costing more, taxes are rising, and incomes are falling when compared to real inflation. Retired folks on fixed incomes are particularly affected by this process.  People are moving to places like Mexico where their fixed incomes stretch further because they are not paying as much for the basic necessities and their incomes are not being hit by rising taxation that they cannot avoid, especially rising property taxes.

“We’re eating better food and paying less for it.” There is an abundance of fresh, wholesome, food available in Mexico at affordable prices.  Fresh foods are available in industrialized countries—but at a premium to highly processed / non-fresh foods.  In Mexico, you don’t have to spend the whole pay-check eating wholesomely.

“Our homestead costs are much lower in Mexico.” The fees and taxes home-owners have to pay in places like the US, Canada, and Western Europe have climbed steadily over the last decade—to the point where these are now a significant line-item on personal budgets.  Rises in house and community taxes have out-stripped inflation, and maintenance costs are steep: in summary, home ownership is becoming an expensive pastime and putting a lot of pressure on people with fixed incomes. In Mexico, home owners enjoy low property taxes as well as lower maintenance costs due to lower material prices and labor fees for house maintenance services.

“We enjoy a fantastic climate.” In terms of climate, Mexico is a land of three lands. If you enjoy a year-round temperate climate, the central highland areas are ideal; if you need to be where it’s warmer/hot beside the ocean, there’s plenty of choice— and unlike the US, coastal property can be afforded by those selling their home and moving to live beside the ocean.  If you prefer cooler temperatures year-round, Mexico’s highland mountain towns could suit you.  Whether they come for the winter, or stay all year, foreign residents are able to find a climate to suit their clothesin Mexico.

“We can afford healthcare in Mexico.” Routine medical care, specialist services, and medications cost less in Mexico, and you don’t have to compromise on the quality of healthcare you receive.  Long-term healthcare in residential homes is emerging as the next boom-industry here, and it’s not surprising as monthly cost for residential care in Mexico costs between US$500-US$1,500 in comparison to the US, where the monthly costs run between US$5,000 and US$6,500. As the limitations of the US medical care system reveal themselves, people are looking abroad for the treatments and care they need—and Mexico’s geographical closeness is as attractive as the affordability.  See our healthcare section for more details and the latest articles.

“We feel safe in Mexico.” In a related article about finding your niche in Mexico, we wrote: “If what you’re seeing about Mexico on your TV screen scares and keeps you away now, your perceptions have been hijacked before you allowed yourself an opportunity to better understand these lands, and see what others here see: a country in transition, a country which is, by and large, less violent than those places where stones are so readily thrown from glass houses.” Despite the near-constant anti-Mexico news flow, foreign residents living here report that they feel safe and settled in Mexico. The drug cartels are not targeting foreign residents or tourists. People who are not involved in the drug trade have a very small chance of being affected by it.

Original source 

RETIRING AND LIVING IN PUERTO VALLARTA MEXICO

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By Puerto Viatra

Keep in mind to Retire in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, is one of the places most foreigners love to retire, and that is of the warm weather, the lovely places and friendly people.

Services and Cost of Living in Puerto Vallarta Mexico are cheaper, and Medical attention are high quality and more affordable as well as medicines and treatments, many Services are covered with US Medical Insurance making a great choice to Retire in Puerto Vallarta Mexico.

RETIRE IN PUERTO VALLARTA MEXICO BEST PLACES TO LIVE IN JALISCO

If you are at a point where you are planning your retirement, and you enjoy Living in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, a place like on the beach, this could be a good option for you, it is one of the best places to retire in Jalisco Mexico, and one of the few that still represents a good option to invest and make more of your retirement money.

One of the advantages of Retire in Puerto Vallarta Mexico is in itself the proximity to the United States, which, in case of any problem or contingency or unforeseen, one can make a short flight to the United States if necessary, when you really look for or need something that is not in place like Puerto Vallarta.

This great location may have many shortcomings, but that is why it is a good option at the time of retiring for its geographical location.

COST OF LIVING IN PUERTO VALLARTA MEXICO

Puerto Vallarta is a good place to retire in Jalisco is located in the municipality of Jalisco close to Guadalajara, could be considered very similar to the other close cities although it is smaller and more visited by tourists, which represents a great attraction.

Part of Great attraction especially if you live in the southern part of the United States, is that the climate, it has some of the best weather in the world.

RETIRE IN JALISCO MEXICO

Jalisco represents a great advantage since in Mexico the cost of supplies, food, and things necessary for daily life are even cheaper than in the United States.

The advantage of lies on the one hand in how we continue aging the need for medical services is increased, and that is not a general rule but to take it into account. so if an emergency arises and requires more and better medical care, the services that can be obtained in the United States are very close.

Puerto Vallarta Retirement Communities to Retire in Puerto Vallarta Mexico with friendly people and the opportunity to acquire a property at a very good price for a fraction of what you would get in the United States is a reality.

If you retire in Jalisco Mexico, the daily life Cost of Living in Jalisco Mexico could be said to be reduced to one third of what would be spent in any city in the United States and that we are not comparing with cities like San Diego.

Given that these places live mainly from American tourism, most of its inhabitants speak fluent English, so if you do not have a good Spanish you will not have difficulty communicating with the people who live in this town.

In addition to the large number of veterans and retirees who have lived in this place for years, you will always have someone to talk to and maybe ask for advice and recommendations to live fully and comfortably in Jalisco.

Part of the advantages being close to the border is the proximity to major cities in which one can find entertainment, places to buy restaurants parks bookstores and much more, in case you want to leave a bit of the routine of a flown as small as It’s Puerto Vallarta.

BEST RETIREMENT PLACES IN MEXICO

There are many places retirees outside Mexico loves for retiring, from Loreto, AjijicPuerto Vallarta and Los Cabos just to name a few, because almost any place is great.

The food is great, the house is low (compared to US or Canada), cost of goods are far less expensive.

You may be asking yourself if Mexico is the place for you in the matter of safety and security, right?

Because living in gorgeous beach destination with a perfect weather for a fraction of your current cost is not an issue, right?

Well, you can ask for hundreds of thousands of people living across Jalisco. larn from their experience, and why not.

Puerto Vallarta is conveniently located that you can eat down and take a weekend to experience this place, watch the place and talk to expats by the malecon.

Look for rental properties, or even better some Real Estate opportunities as a investmentor more permanent stay.

ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO RETIRE MEXICO

Is Mexico a good place to retire? Not to mention that mexican loves foreigners, they treat them as friends or like family, they are very important as visitors and withdrawals form an important part of the local economy and they will be happy to give you a very warm welcome anytime.

PUERTO VALLARTA RETIREMENT COMMUNITIES

Puerto Vallarta is one the best places to live in Jalisco Mexico preferred by North Americans and Canadians to retire in Jalisco Mexico.

Not only are the towns and best Puerto Vallarta Retirement Communities in Bucerias and San Pancho, but it extends throughout the lake shore having the most preferred places for its beauty and its environment to live, as well as its climate and warmth of the people .

All the favorite or preferred places for Puerto Vallarta Retirement Communities are usually places where they have all the necessary services, or within a reasonable short distance, like is the purchase groceries, food and goods for daily consumption in a easily and conveniently maner.

The great Jalisco Living style in towns and cities near the border with the United States, retirees can easily come and go to buy everything necessary and at better prices and even better quality compared to Mexico.

While in towns that are far from the border, they usually have commercial chain stores such as Walmart and Costco with everything necessary at good prices to satisfy any need that may show.

Original Source

Mazatlán: The “Pearl of the Pacific”

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By Janet Blaser | International Living

With a long history of welcoming immigrants, this mid-size city on Mexico’s west coast offers visitors more than the standard “golden trio” of great weather, reasonable prices, and a stunningly beautiful location. Mazatlán is one of Mexico’s few colonial towns actually on the coast, with miles of beautiful beaches, a thriving year-round cultural scene, fantastic fresh seafood, and a friendly community of local people and expats.

Recent renovations of the city have made it even more attractive, with two elegant oceanfront parks, a completely re-done Centro Historico, an easier-to-navigate path and glass-floored lookout at El Faro (the highest lighthouse in the world), and a beautified malecon, the 12-mile boardwalk along the glittering Pacific Ocean that now features Mazatlán’s first bicycle path.

Mazatlán also offers “user-friendly” healthcare, with two modern and fully-equipped hospitals as well as many smaller neighborhood clinics. Most doctors and dentists speak English, and the cost for a standard office visit is about $25. You’ll also find banks everywhere, along with familiar stores like Home Depot and Walmart (as well as a plethora of small neighborhood tiendas) and a myriad of flights operating year-round to the U.S., Canada, and elsewhere from the recently expanded Mazatlán International Airport.

The city is justifiably proud of its status of one of the biggest shrimping ports in the world, and that means you can buy fresh wild and farmed shrimp at incredible prices—and find them in omelets, burritos, pasta dishes, tacos, salads, and more. Fresh-caught tuna, marlin, swordfish, mahi-mahi, and snapper are abundant here too, and the local markets are full of a mind-boggling array of fresh tropical fruits and vegetables, including mango, papaya, pineapple, and avocado.

The majority of expats live along the coastline, within easy walking distance to long stretches of beach. Each part of the city has its own style, and whether you’re looking for a stand-alone house on a shady tree-lined street, a high-rise condo with sweeping views of the ocean and mountains, a modern home in a gated community with an award-winning golf course, or a simpler apartment or casita in a more Mexican neighborhood, Mazatlán truly has something for everyone.

Retire in Mazatlán

Retire in Mazatlán
©iStock.com/DarienP

Yes, the beaches are beautiful, the weather is perfect most of the year, and the cost of living is low, low, low. But what makes Mazatlán really stand out as a retirement destination is the cultural scene: a refined, ever-changing, and exciting tapestry of entertainment, events, and fun things to do—many of them free.

An internationally known dance and music school in the Plaza Machado guarantees a constant stream of young energy and performances, and the Angela Peralta Theater, a gorgeous, 1,200-seat theater built at the turn-of-the-century, is home to a smorgasbord of dance, theater, music, and other events. These include the annual eight-week Cultural Festival (hundreds of free and ticketed events throughout the city), Dia de la Musica (10 stages set up in the streets of the Centro Historico with free music), and the José Limón Dance Festival (a week of contemporary dance from around the world). The Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) is celebrated for two days with family-friendly parades, theater events and costumes, and bystanders are encouraged to dress up, paint their faces like catrinas, and join in the fun.

The oceanfront malecon, or boardwalk, hosts marathons that attract international runners, as does the annual Ciclotour, a week of on-and off-road bicycle races. And of course there’s the annual Carnaval—the third biggest in the world—another week of parades, fireworks, live music, and more. Admission is always reasonable, with the most expensive tickets hovering around $15.

Sitting peacefully off the coast are Deer, Bird, and Wolf islands; all are environmentally protected and home to a variety of birds and reptiles. Visitors are permitted to hike and relax on the quiet shores, which afford a different perspective of the city’s coastline. Whales and dolphins migrate through these waters, and boat excursions are particularly popular (and almost always yield amazing photos). If you’re really lucky and it’s the right time of year, you may be fortunate enough to witness manta rays leaping out of the water during their annual mating ritual.

The big, vibrant expat community is welcoming and full of opportunities for volunteering, out-of-town excursions, and special events like the seasonal farmer’s market, Comedy Club, and music festivals on the beach. Of special note are the Mazatlán Tourist Aide Volunteers, or “blue shirts” as they’re known, who set up in busy areas of the city to give information to the thousands of cruise ship passengers and other tourists who come to Mazatlán each week.

There’s so much to do—but if you’d rather just relax under a palapa with a cold cerveza and a couple of shrimp tacos, Mazatlán’s got you covered there too.

Lifestyle in Mazatlán

Lifestyle in Mazatlán
©iStock.com/Gfed

Mazatlán has several distinctive parts of town where most expats live, each with many neighborhoods and different flavors (but all boast beautiful sunsets). Centro Historico and Olas Altas front a small bay with a sweet beach and feature more than a dozen blocks of gorgeous colonial homes, tree-shaded plazas, and a bustling cultural and culinary scene; this is where the Angela Peralta Theater is, and also where the annual Cultural and Music Festivals take place, as well as Carnaval. You can walk to everything: restaurants, the central market, the beach. Most homes were built at the turn-of-the-century and have a New Orleans-flair: charming interior courtyards, original tiled floors, and high wood-beamed ceilings.

Going north along the oceanfront malecon, next up is the tourist-filled hotel zone, with all the trappings—and noise—you’d expect. But go inland a couple blocks and you’re in tree-filled neighborhoods like Lomas and Sabalo Country, where houses, duplexes, and condos have yards and driveways. Sidewalks lead to parks, churches, and small tiendas (stores), and charming coffee shops and taquerias. The beach, with Mazatlán’s trio of islands just offshore, is a short walk away, as are a plethora of restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Major shopping—Home Depot, WalMart, Sam’s Club—is less than a 10-minute drive or bus ride, as is the biggest hospital in town.

Cerritos and the Marina areas are at the far north end of Mazatlán. The long stretch of beach, although lined with condos and hotels, is still quiet and home to a great surf spot. The marina is billed as Latin America’s biggest; shopping is easy with the new Galerias Mall, which flaunts a state-of-the-art movie theater and lots of U.S. stores; WalMart is across the street, and the new Marina Hospital puts doctors and medical services at your fingertips. Condos, houses of all sizes, and more affordable duplexes in gated communities offer choices for every budget. It’s a favorite area for families, too, with private schools, gyms and athletic fields, and more new restaurants and services cropping up as more people move here.

Cost of Living in Mazatlán

Cost of Living in Mazatlán
©iStock.com/mikesatx

While costs are less in Mexico, and in Mazatlán in particular, as time passes this is changing. Like anywhere else, you’ll pay more for beachfront property or a fantastic ocean view; that said, homes and condos can still be found for under $200,000. Depending on the part of town, a furnished two-bedroom apartment or small house can cost $500 a month, plus utilities.

It’s true that beer is cheaper than water, and a massage only costs about $25. An in-home visit from a vet costs about $10; a plumber or electrician a little more. Things like eyeglasses, lab tests, and taxis are so much less than in the U.S. it can be unbelievable, and if you’ve reached age 60 you can register for an INAPAM card, which gives seniors discounts at a myriad of places, including half-price for long-distance bus travel within Mexico.

Meals at restaurants run the gamut of $2 for a fresh shrimp taco at a neighborhood café to $25 to $30 for an elegant meal at an upscale, fine-dining restaurant where you’ll be expected to dress up. (That means closed shoes and no shorts) An average lunch for two costs between $5 to $8 at any number of small restaurants, cafés, or palapa restaurants on the beach. Delicious whole roast chickens, a Sunday tradition, can be bought at small rotisserie shops for about $3, with rice, beans, tortillas, and salsa included.

Here’s an example of a monthly budget for a couple living in Mazatlán:

Expense US$
Housing (two-bedroom apartment) $500
Utilities (electric, water, gas, internet) $50 to $60
Groceries $300
Entertainment (massages, theater, live events) $100
Housekeeping $60
Transport/Public $40
Total $,1050 to $1,060

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Moving to Mexico Checklist: Everything You Need to Know About How to Move to Mexico

Resultado de imagen para mexico

By Rachel Jones | Hippie in heels

Are you considering moving to Mexico? The weather is good, the cerveza is cold, and and the living is cheap, so you’ve heard. I moved to Mexico six months ago, after living in India for five years. I did it with legal residency and set up a life here. I’m going to share how to move to Mexico, a complete checklist of things to do before/after you move to Mexico, and the cost of living in Mexico (in general, as it can range just like any country).

There are a lot of Americans living in Mexico and it’s not difficult to move here as a resident at a young age, self-employed, or if you want to retire in Mexico. There are several types of visas that you can look at to see which one will fit your needs best.

Expats in Mexico often come here for six months of the year and then go back to their home countries. Because you can get a six-month tourist visa for Mexico, if that is what you are planning, you don’t really need to go through the legal hoops of living in Mexico. If you want a home here, to stay long-term, to buy a car, or open a bank account, you’ll want to look into residency. Let’s get started!

Moving to Mexico: How to Move to Mexico

There are several things to do to move to Mexico and once you get here. I’ll start in the order that I did things when I moved here.

Visit Mexico: Choose a City to Live in, What Are the Best Places to Live in Mexico?

You need to come to Mexico first! Plan a trip, even if it’s just for a couple of weeks. You can look up the best places to live in Mexico, research them, and choose one or two to visit at a time.

Consider why you are relocation to Mexico. Are you looking for retirement communities in Mexico? Are you looking more for a laid-back beach town? Do you want a place with local vibes that is very different from home, or somewhere that is touristy and will have the amenities you love from your home country?

For me, I wanted somewhere that was safe, I could think about starting a family, a place I could buy affordable land or a home, and that had stores that I could get things I missed from the USA. I had been living in the jungle in India for years and was moving to Mexico to have a more “westernize” life. Not so much so that I wanted to be in Cancun or Puerto Vallarta which I had visited previously, and I didn’t want the tourism of cute beach towns like Tulum of Sayulita which I also visited, so I chose to live outside of Merida in the Yucatan. I am not a big city person, so ruled out Mexico City. Merida is a safe city, is hugely popular with expats (mostly retirees), and since it’s not too touristy, you can the real Mayan vibes here. I can live in the jungle in a village outside Merida (eventually, right now I’m in a rental in town while we look for land), and have the complete jungle vibes but still be to a Costco or Sephora in 15 minutes. The beach is about 30 minutes away as well. Many people like San Miguel, Guanajuato, Morelia, and San Cristobal.

I don’t know a LOT about Mexico. I haven’t had a chance to travel much here except 5 major towns so I have a lot more to see and am really happy with Merida as my base. It’s okay if you don’t know Mexico that well – you’ll have so much time to explore once you move here.

You’ll want to consider the temperature you can deal with here. It gets VERY hot in Merida, for example, and many people simply can’t bear it in the summer months when humidity also soars. I was used to this from India and didn’t mind it. Others will want a place that cools off a bit with more nature and mountains like San Cristobal de las Casas. You’re going to want to visit because sometimes online isn’t enough and you need to feel the place out a little bit. I use this website for weather comparison.

Other then temperature you want to consider how modern the place is, internet speed if you work online, if there is an expat community (if that is important to you), the crime rate, and the cost of living. You’ll spend more on rent in Mexico City and Tulum for example than Tijuana or Guadalajara.

 

 

 

 

Consider the Cost of Living in Mexico: If You Can Afford It and If You REALLY Want to

Want the real examples of the cost of living in Mexico? This website puts all major cities in order of cost of living and Mexico’s cities start at around the 400’s. While it’s absolutely going to cost you less in Mexico than the USA if you live how Mexicans live, you can still end up spending a lot in Mexico if you want to.

I live in Merida which is a big city in Mexico with 777,000 people but nothing compared to Mexico City’s 8.8 million. I pay $1,200 for my house here per month. Sound high? That is because it is, for Mexico. Most expats I’ve met here are renting for a quarter of that – but they don’t have a house as nice as mine. Some live in apartments, in small beach houses, or in colonial homes in Centro. I have a large 3 bedroom 4 bathroom house, with a huge yard a pool, that is dog-friendly, and in a very nice neighborhood of Benito Juarez. My rent includes a house-keeper once a week for a 8 hour day at $17 USD, a groundskeeper twice a week for $14, and a pool cleaner once a week for $14. Keep in mind, well these seem low, they are the normal rates here (which was built into my rent) and not something negotiated down. The minimum wage here for a full days work is under $5.

Friends in Tulum pay less in town and some pay more on the beach. Friends in Playa Del Carmen pay similar for a small two bedroom condo. The rent varies greatly in all cities and towns in Mexico just like in the USA. I lived in India before this, one of the cheapest places in the world for expats to live, and I paid $1,000 for rent while my friends paid $200 because I had an amazing villa and didn’t mind paying it. You get more for your buck in India and Mexico, both and it’s up to you if you want a cheap rent or the same rent and a kickass place you couldn’t have afforded in your home country. Do you want to clean your own house since you wouldn’t pay $120 a month back home for someone to clean? Or do you think $120 is a steal to not have to clean again? In India, a monthly cleaner would make closer to $60-70 a month to clean six days a week. In Mexico, it was basically double for ONE day a week – so we aren’t ready to splurge to have someone come daily, but still, it’s nice to have someone come once a week when in the USA it would probably be $50 for someone to come clean for the day if not more.

When it comes to food, something like McDonald’s or Texas Roadhouse is going to cost the same, while a street taco could be .50 in some towns. You could live on cheap restaurants and local food on a budget or you could go to fine dining places that are $100 per person.

Compared to the USA, movies here will be $4-$6 with VIP seating, gas is the same price, used cars are the same price, Uber is a LOT cheaper, in general, local restaurants are much cheaper, groceries are about the same, booze is cheaper in restaurants but about the same in grocery stores. Novelty items, for example, a beach chair, pool float, Kitchenaid mixer, throw blanket, decor items, are MUCH more expensive. I tend to bring these types of things from the USA. I haven’t lived everywhere in Mexico, so this is about as much information as I can give in terms of cost of living. I know that I spend a lot here in Mexico, but that is because I choose to have a higher quality of life than I would have in the USA at the same price rather than the same quality of life at a lower price. You get to make that choice too, or fall somewhere in between.

Moving to Mexico is a process that takes some time in terms of residency, so really think it through and make sure you’re really up for a new culture that YOU have to fit into. Don’t just move somewhere because it’s cheap – you need to love the food, the people, the atmosphere, the holidays, the temperature, everything about your new home!

Remember that in your budget, you should put aside money for a couple of round-trip flights home to visit family, go to weddings, funerals, or anything else you might want to come home for. It’s an added cost of being an expat.

Tie-up Loose Ends at Home Before You Leave

Ready to make the move? Chosen your dream home? You need to make sure you are ready to leave your old one behind.

  • Sell or rent our your house
  • Sell or put your things in storage
  • Cancel memberships: Anything you’re getting charged for monthly that you’d only use in the USA like that Cosmo subscription or gym membership
  • Cancel your phone bill and unlock your phone
  • Sell your car and cancel your car insurance or keep the car in storage and change your insurance to storage insurance
  • Re-route your mail to someone else’s home or cancel it
  • Get your banking in order (does your bank know you’ll be abroad?, does your card charge huge fees to withdraw money abroad, do you want a new bank?
  • Taxes: make a mental note if you are still earning in the USA or online, you need to pay taxes still in the USA unless you give up citizenship.
  • Do some last minute preventative health check-ups before you leave and while you have that $10 co-pay and great doctors who know your history. This is invaluable! Mexico does not focus on preventative care and you can pay $50 and up for a good English-speaking doctor for a check-up or dental cleaning.
  • Say bye to family and friends

I go into more detail in a blog post I wrote about moving abroad when I moved to India you can read here.

Find a Long-Term Rental & Sign a Lease: Somewhere to Stay on Arrival & Choose a Date

Now that it’s real, and really while you’re doing all that, you should be looking for a place to rent out. I really like Airbnb and that is how I found my place now. You can also look at sites like Vivanuncios, Segundo Mano, or Mercado Libre, Inmuebles 24, among others. Usually, you can message through the website and sometimes they sneak a phone number in there you can message them on WhatsApp.

This article was one I wrote one month after moving to Merida, where I look back at finding my rental property, rates, places I looked, and more. Check that out!

You will want to find a place and either take it for one month online then meet in person to take a longer lease you can sign for – OR you can take a long lease online but keep in mind the realtors who set this up often take a ONE MONTH rent fee for themselves. This is why I found a place and booked just a month on Airbnb but then had an agreement with the owner that when we arrived, we would sign a long-term lease.

You will find the prices are set as “monthly” when you search by month on Airbnb.

Why take a lease? You need a lease with your name on it, which will be signed in front of a lawyer or notario. You will need this to later get a bill in your name so you can have “proof of address” which is very important to becoming a resident here.

Start Learning Spanish

rosetta stone learning spanish

Once you find a place and are just waiting for that flight out, things are pretty chilled, and it’s time to start learning at least basic Spanish. I used the free app Duolingo for six months to practice and bring out my high school Spanish that was hiding away. I later got Rosetta Stone, you can read my review of it here and get a discount code.

Are You Bringing Pets? Family/Kids?

 

If you are bringing your kids, you’ll have to find them a school here. I don’t know much about that except for the fact Mexico has great international schools that can cost around $200 or more per month even for little kids. You can’t put them in public school if they aren’t fluent in Spanish – well maybe legally you could, but then how would they learn anything?

For pets, I brought two dogs and a cat through the Cancun airport from India. Vets here are great and there are Petco’s and all kinds of pet shops to get anything your little one needs!

Get a SIM Card

Upon arrival, you’ll want a SIM card. You can pick them up in shops all over, even an OXXO. I recommend Telcel. It’s cheap and you can top-up credit yourself on your phone with an international bank card without issue. You need an “unlocked” phone to put in an international SIM, but most are these days.

Get a Bill in Your Name

You can go to the electricity bill office, which for us (and maybe everyone, actually, I’m not sure) is CFE, and get the bill changed to your name. Take with you the following:

  • The original bill in your landlord’s name
  • You lease
  • Copy of your lease
  • Passport
  • Copy of your passport

They will change your bill over to your name and it takes a minute or two. Now you have proof of address. It can only be in one person’s name.

Shop for your home: memberships

how to open a bank account in mexico

Hopefully, you have rented a furnished home, but if you need to do some shopping and have stores like Costco or Sam’s Club nearby, you can go get memberships at a little lower cost than they are in the USA. Stock up on what you need there, Sear’s, Walmart, Chedruai, or Soriana and then chill out in your new home! You can even shop online from most of those places.

Tip: If you see something on Amazon MX compare that price to Amazon USA with the global search on and customs and shipping added in – if it’s a USA product, it’s often cheaper to buy from the USA. Example: I only found crappy $5 pool rafts here in stores, and on Amazon MX nice ones were over $50. I could get one from the USA for $20 with the customs fee sent here and it took three days. They deal with customs and estimate the fee. If the fee is higher than they have to pay, you get reimbursed.

You can get out and explore but if you’re dead tired, download apps like Uber Eats and Rappi if they are available in your town and get food delivered.

Original Source

 

 

More and more Baby Boomers are moving to Mexico for retirement

Resultado de imagen para seniors vacation

By Yucatan Times

A new “Expats In Mexico” online survey of people who are considering moving to Mexico found that 81 percent of Baby Boomer respondents said they will retire in Mexico, nearly 52 percent within two years.

“It’s not surprising that so many Baby Boomers, primarily from the U.S. and Canada, are considering retiring in Mexico,” said Robert Nelson, Expats In Mexico co-founder and author of Boomers in Paradise – Living in Puerto Vallarta. “I discovered this trend 11 years ago while researching my book and it has just continued to pick up steam.”

The Mexican government reported over 1.2 million expats were living in Mexico through 2017, the latest figure available. The 2000 Mexican census data showed just under 540,000 expats in Mexico. Americans represented over 80 percent of all expats living in Mexico two years ago, nearly 900,000.

Retirement is the main reason why Boomers and all respondents want to move to Mexico. Both groups also rated cost of living and better climate as top reasons to move.

“Mexico as a retirement destination for Baby Boomers makes sense,” Nelson said. “According to a recent report by the Stanford Center on Longevity, U.S. Baby Boomers hold less wealth, are deeper in debt and will face higher expenses than retirees a decade older than them. Why not live better in a nicer climate?”

But all is not perfect south of the border. About 45 percent of all respondents and Boomers say security issues in Mexico might be a concern for them. Lack of Spanish language skills and quality of healthcare were less important considerations.

Both Baby Boomers and all respondents selected Puerto Vallarta as their destination of choice, followed by the Lake Chapala area and Los Cabos. About 38 percent of all respondents and Boomers chose a wide variety of other locations in Mexico.

The self-selected online survey was completed by 337 respondents in January and February 2019. Respondents were primarily Americans and Canadians.

You can find more survey results at ExpatsInMexico.com, an online magazine designed for both expats currently living in Mexico and aspiring expats considering moving to Mexico.

Original Source