IS MEXICO SAFE?

Incrementa-gasto-de-turistas-extranjeros-durante-su-estancia-en-MéxicoBy Darren Griffiths | The broke backpacker

Mexico has mystified travelers for years and years. Ever since Jack Kerouac traveled south of the border, Mexico has long been in the popular psyche. Just think of the people, the food, the beaches, the Mayan history, the tradition, the food, the laid-back way of life – and did we mention the food?

But at the same time, Mexico has long been famous as a hotbed for crime. Drug cartels, gang-related violence, even kidnappings in Mexico City (and elsewhere) make it a daunting place to consider.

You may be asking yourself “is Mexico safe to travel to?”

We are here to support you and to also ensure that you know the score when it comes to staying safe in Mexico.We at The Broke Backpacker have written this guide precisely to help you answer that question.

We’ll be covering a range of topics in our guide to safety in Mexico. There’s the question of whether it’s even safe to visit Mexico in the first place, whether the public transport is safe, whether it’s safe for children – we’ll even cover the all-important “can I use Uber in Mexico?”

So if you’re worried at all about backpacking through Mexico, or even if you’re worried about the safety of Mexico for a short holiday, we’ve got you covered. Whatever your concerns, our insider guide has your back. After reading it, you’ll be far more prepared to travel to Mexico and to have an absolute blast while you’re there.

safety in mexico

How Safe is Mexico? (Our take)

Mexico is a country that’s rich in all sorts of things: food, culture, music, history, nature. Unfortunately, crime is a big specter that is always looming over the nation. Warring drug cartels have resulted in a high (and increasing) murder rate and violence. Petty theft is common and kidnappings are not exactly rare. Many first time visitors are surprised just how much of a developing nation they find themselves in.

But that doesn’t necessarily reflect how tourists are treated in this country. Gang warfare is basically just that: violence between gangs.

Tourist destinations haven’t seen anywhere near the same level of crime increase that other parts of the country have experienced, intimating that maybe the government is working to keep, at the very least, these popular areas open for business.

In 2017 Mexico was the 6th most visited country in the worldand boasted the world’s 15th highest income earned from tourism. It’s in the government’s interest to keep tourist areas free of crime, therefore.

Yep, most visitors to Mexico are unaffected by crime thanks to how removed it is from touristy destinations.

But let’s get into the facts and see just how safe Mexico really is…

Is Mexico Safe to Visit? (The facts.)

mexico safety guide

Mexico is most popular with Americans. It’s right on their doorstep, after all. Ironically though, it’s American press and media that will have you believe that it’s the most dangerous place ever. That’s not true.

Despite the murder rate increasing by 16% in 2018, Mexico is stilla very popular tourist destination. In 2016, Mexico was visited by 35 million tourists, 31 million of which came from the US alone; 513,800 UK tourists made up part of this number as well, the vast majority of whom had a trouble-free trip.

Robberies and pickpocketing (especially on public transport) are pretty common in Mexico but these are avoidable so long as you are aware of your surroundings.

It’s guaranteed that you’ll feel safe the whole time you’re in Mexico, nor that you will actually be safe – things can happen at any moment anywhere. Just being in the wrong place at the wrong time is often the worst situation for most and this can be avoided by using proper safety habits.

At the end of the day, Mexican people are friendly, family oriented, religious, fun-loving, helpful and open. It’s not all doom and gloom. But it’s always sensible to ask the question…

Is it Safe to Visit Mexico Right Now?

So as you’ve noticed by now, violence has been increasing in recent years due to warring gangs and drugs. Being situated between coca-producing South American nations and the USA (the world’s largest drug market) means it’s awash with different gangs wanting to control the flow of drugs through the country.

Drug-related violence in the northern states of Coahuila, Chihuahua, Durango, Nuevo Leon, Sinaloa, Sonora, and Tamaulipas isn’t just about rival gangs, however. It can all kick off at any moment – without warning – between security forces and drug militias. If it does, stay well out of the way.

Be cautious but also be reassured that since you’re not a part of the violence in Mexico, you’re less likely to be targeted. Unless you’re looking for trouble in Mexico, it shouldn’t come looking for you.

Mexico Travel Insurance

Get insurance! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance. Have fun while visiting Mexico, but take it from someone who has racked up thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before, you need it.

As a wise man once said, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you shouldn’t be traveling – so be sure to get your backpacker insurance sorted before you head off on an adventure! We highly recommend World Nomads.

21 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Mexico

safety in mexico

It’s generally safe to travel around Mexico, but there’s no such thing as being too careful. To make sure that you are as secure as possible, here’s a list of top tips for staying safe in Mexico.

  1. Research your destination – things can change very quickly, so make sure you’re not entering a fresh turf war.
  2. Keep windows shut and doors locked in a car – especially at traffic lights; car-jackings and robberies are real here.
  3. Use first-class bus companies – these take toll roads and do security checks on passengers as they board.
  4. Watch your belongings on the Mexico City Metro – pickpocketing is common.
  5. Use regulated taxis from official Sitios (taxi ranks) – anything else is illegal and unregulated (more on that later).
  6. Don’t walk around by yourself after dark – even near your hotel. This is just asking for trouble.
  7. Beware when taking money out of ATMs – these are good spots to rob people. Use in daylight hours or inside shops/malls.
  8. Use a money belt – they’re pretty good at fooling thieves.
  9. Be wary of scams – people who ask (too much) about your personal information will be scamming. Absolutely.
  10. Don’t wear flashy clothes or jewelry – looking rich won’t just get you robbed, it might get you kidnapped (rich people = more ransom).
  11. Comply with kidnappers – resisting is the best way to get injured – or worse.
  12. Wear plenty of sunscreen – the sun is pretty relentless in Mexico!
  13. Learn some Spanish – even just a little bit will help you get around.
  14. Toilets marked with ‘M’ are for ladies! – if you’re male, take note: M = mujeres = women/female.
  15. Think about what valuables you’re planning to take with you – do you even need them in Mexico?
  16. Mosquito repellent is a must – some mozzies have been known to carry the West Nile virus.
  17. Ask for tips at your accommodation – your hostel/hotel staff will be full of local tips about safety and where to eat, etc.
  18. Avoid drinking TOO much – you’ll want to keep your wits about you.
  19. Stay well away from drugs – the source of most of the country’s problems. Don’t contribute, don’t get involved. Not clever.
  20. DON’T travel at night – most crime occurs under the cover of darkness.
  21. Only use well-known adventure sports operators – these have up-to-date equipment and experienced guides.
  22. Don’t get involved in politics – the Mexican constitution forbids foreigners getting involved in the country’s politics, so don’t!
  23. Avoid ice in drinks – yep, it’s hot, but the ice in that drink isn’t worth what it might make you feel an hour or two down the line…
  24. Download an earthquake app – these DO happen. An app will give you at least a little bit of warning (you should also know what to do in a disaster situation).

It may seem a little extreme, but following these tips will help you stay as safe as possible in Mexico. Basically, it’s all about being sensible and avoiding any dangerous situations. Then you can just enjoy everything!

Keeping your money safe in Mexico

Petty theft exists all over the world and Mexico is no exception. If you want to keep your money, you’re going to need an effective deterrent against pickpockets. Thankfully, there is actually a pretty simple solution, really; that would be a money belt.

You’ll find a load of different money belts out there, but we here at The Broke Backpacker heartily recommend one in particular: the Active Roots Security Belt.

One of the things we like most about this belt is how much it actually looks like a belt. It’s pretty subtle, which means you don’t have to hide it. And as a major plus, it’s mercifully affordable, too.

With a money belt, you’ll have peace of mind, two times over. First of all, you’ll be protecting yourself from having your daily stash o’ cash picked from your pocket. Secondly, if you happen to lose your main wad of money or your bank card, at least you’ll have a little bit of cash to tide you over. In summation: we’re big fans.

If you need a little more room for your passport and other travel valuables, have a look at a full-size money belt that tucks under your clothes instead.

If neither of those options appeals to your refined fashion sense, don’t compromise! Opt for an infinity scarf with a hidden zipper pocket.

Is Mexico safe to travel alone?

Solo Travel Mexico

Traveling alone in Mexico can make one feel very vulnerable at times. Though nearly everyone is a target in this country, being single makes you even more appealing to opportunistic criminals.

But solo travel in Mexico can be an extremely enriching experience as there is a ton of things in this Latin American country that make it rewarding. Genuine hospitality, feeling like you’re adding a positive benefit to the country, impromptu street parties, colorful creativity… there’s a lot to discover.

If you want to travel along in Mexico, you can, but you must take some extra precautions…

  • First and foremost we’d recommend that you make friends with other travelers. Aside from remedying loneliness, it’s also a good way to appear more intimidating to attackers – criminals generally target groups less because it’s more work.  Better yet, you’ll make lots of friends who can be an absolute blast to travel with. We recommend heading along the East Coast to meet people and party – if that’s what you want to do.
  • Secondly, learn some Spanish. Outside of touristy areas, you won’t find much English spoken anyway. So to help yourself get around, it’s a no-brainer. But secondarily, Mexican people will just open up to you if you know even a few stock phrases.
  • If you check into a hostel or a hotel that doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to just check out. There are plenty more options and you may as well feel safer and more comfortable for a few more pesos. Do be aware that Central Mexico isn’t touristed as Coastal Mexico – quality between these regions varies wildly.
  • Keep an openmind. Absolutely, Mexico can be overwhelming. It’s noisy. It’s an assault on the senses. There’s a lot going on. But dismissing it or getting panicked by it is a good way to not enjoy yourself very much.
  • People are very friendly and helpful. If you find yourself lost or needing help, approach somebody in a personable, polite manner and they’ll be more than happy to assist you.
  • Walking around at night, male or female, isn’t a good idea.
  • Similarly, leaving your drink – or even your food – alone might result in your snack or beverage being spiked. This could lead to you being assaulted and/or robbed. It’s not unheard of.
  • If you use dollars, the exchange rate will probably NOT be in your favor. So it’s best to use pesos at all times.
  • Try to blend in. Looking like a tourist – wearing a sombrero, anything like that – probably won’t help to heighten your experience of traveling in Mexico. Just sayin’.
  • Do pay attention to government warnings.

Mexico might not be the most comfortable destination for a backpacker; in fact, it’s probably not the first country we’d travel to if we could start our backpacking adventures all over again. But it’s not exactly a no-go zone. With the proper habits and some extra attention, Mexico is safe for solo travelers

Is Mexico safe for solo female travelers?

Female Solo Travel Mexico

Deciding to travel somewhere alone as a female is not always straightforward; not least in Mexico. You SHOULD be able to travel wherever you want, and backpack through any country, but that’s not always the case, unfortunately.

A bad reputation should not mean you dismiss a whole country! Much of Mexico is safe for solo female travelers. Remember: many of the sensational, gruesome headlines don’t always show the full story.

When it comes to understanding how safe Mexico is for female travelers, there are, of course, things you can do to make sure that your trip runs as smoothly and as safely as possible. Here are a few pointers to help you do that.

  • Plenty of women travel alone. Meet other female travelers at hostels and see how they’ve done it. Getting their routes and their tips for travel survival is useful, but sharing stories about traveling alone as a female is a good way to connect and make friends.
  • Assaults happen. Ways to avoid situations in which this is a likelihood involve not drinking too much, only buying your own drinks (and then watching it), not traveling alone at night and only getting official taxis.
  • Know your surroundings. Here it’s not just about looking like you know your surroundings, but more about actually knowing your way around so you don’t get lost/not down any sketchy roads.
  • At the same time – DO look confident if you’re lost. Even if you have no idea where you’re going, walk confidently until you feel like you can ask someone friendly-looking, or head to somewhere official-looking to ask for help.
  • You might be surprised to know that Mexico is still conservative in many ways. It might appear to be the “Land of Spring Break,” but that’s only US tourists in beach resort areas. Observe what local women are wearing and dress accordingly – anything too skimpy is bound to stand out too much and attracted unwanted attention.
  • Smile. Might seem like an odd one, but being friendly makes you at least look from afar like a local. Mexican people are generally quite personable and friendly, so you’ll be blending in. Plus it’ll help if you need to ask for assistance.
  • Get to know people and be friendly but don’t tell them exactly where you’re staying, your address, itinerary. You never know who you’re talking to or what they’re trying to get.
  • Be aware of the threats and the dangers. Absolutely. But don’t let them overwhelm you or skew your perspective of Mexico as a whole.

Is Mexico safe to travel for families?

Family Travel Mexico

Mexico is a family oriented place. Children are a big part of society and you’ll be well looked after if you travel there with your own in tow. Having your kids with you will help break down barriers between you and locals, making for a more authentic, memorable experience.

On the whole, Mexico is safe to travel for families. For a start, you’re less likely to be traveling through the rougher and less trodden paths that backpackers would be taking.

But then again you won’t have to stick to the confines of an all-inclusive resort. Venturing out to local markets and seeing the life and color of the country is easily done with children. People will be warm and welcoming.

Make sure your children are protected from the sun.It can get seriously hot here, and children could suffer pretty badly if they aren’t smothered in sunscreen and kept in the shade. Sunhats are a good idea.

On that note, staying hydrated may seem obvious, but as we said – it’s hot!

Is it safe to drive in Mexico?

Driving in Mexico

Driving can be a good way to see the country at your own pace. In fact, many US travelers to Mexico travel across the border in their own vehicles. It’s common to drive in this country.

That being said, things aren’t always straightforward. Toll roads between towns are run by private companies and can be pretty pricey. However, these are safer to use than roads that don’t feature tolls (i.e. that aren’t on the main highway). Known as libre roads, these can be winding, less well maintained and sometimes a good hiding place for gangs.

There can be ‘checkpoints’ at random places along highways – they’ll ask to see your driver’s license. Especially in remote areas, these are not always official and will demand cash in exchange for being able to pass.

Even roads with tolls aren’t greatly well maintained – potholes and uneven surfaces are par for the course.

Sometimes there are restrictions on cars going into cities in an effort to curb air pollution. For example, Mexico City places restrictions during the day from Monday to Friday on anything that isn’t from the State of Mexico or Mexico City itself. It’s a good idea to research where you’re allowed to drive!

Generally, it’s safe to drive in Mexico, but we’d advise against driving at night. Crucially, you’re more likely to get people who are involved in unlawful activities (gangs, basically) driving around. There’s also animals on the road, vehicles driving with no lights… It’s a smorgasbord of hazards and real danger that isn’t worth it.

Is Uber safe in Mexico?

You’ll be happy to know that Uber is safe in Mexico. It’s popular in Mexico City as well as several other major cities (several = 46!) including Cancun, La Paz, and Los Cabos.

It’s really cheap. You can take Ubers by yourself or with friends. The cars are clean, the drivers are respectful, they use Google Maps or Waze, you can pay with cash if you like. And you don’t have to worry about the language barrier either since they know where you’re going!

Are taxis safe in Mexico?

Taxis in Mexico

Traveling around in taxis in Mexico can be a hit-or-miss experience.

There’s plenty of them around and they’re pretty cheap. They’re either metered, or not, and you either pay per kilometer or per zone.

Don’t hail a cab off the street after dark – that’s probably anillegal taxiGo to a Sitio (taxi ranks) to find a licensed cab.

Mexico’s taxi business used to suffer from tax-related crime but recently has become pretty safe, thanks mainly to the advent of apps designed to make taxi travel safe. At the same time, many taxi drivers opted to join the Sitio taxi rank system to avoid being targeted themselves.

Smaller towns don’t have metered taxis. If you want to use a local taxi here, have where you want to go written down in Spanish (or memorized in Spanish), agree on a price before you get in, and away you go!

Taxis are safe in Mexico! Just so long as you play by the (very simply) rules – e.g. get licensed cabs, use an app, ask your hotel for help. Do this and you’ll be getting around with no trouble at all.

Is public transportation in Mexico safe?

Public Transportation in Mexico

Generally, public transport is safe in Mexico. Don’t worry. The most you’ll have to worry about, even on the Mexico City Metro, is being pickpocketed. And that’s easily avoided with a money belt – obviously.

The metro is chaotic, we’re not going to lie, and often jam-packed with people. But it goes pretty much everywhere you’ll need to go while in the Mexican capital and it’s extremely quick since it doesn’t have to compete with the constant traffic above ground. It’s also very cheap!

It’s patrolled by police in the daytime, which is why we’d say don’t get the metro at night. There’s more likely to be pickpockets (and more) down here then.

Mexico City’s bus system is unregulated. It’s often packed and completely overcrowded – dangerously so. Avoid it, if you can.

Then there’s traveling around the country itself. Highway buses (camiones) are safe in Mexico, easy to get, and are run by reputable bus companies. They do checks for alcohol and drugs on the driver, and even check security for passengers as they get on. The buses themselves come in three classes:

  • First class is a comparative luxury, of course. You can book a seat and there’s air-con.
  • Second class buses take more stops and take longer to get their destination.
  • The last class is known as deluxe or pullman and these operate on popular tourist routes. Prices are higher than first class and they’re more comfortable, too.

Considering the huge size of Mexico, buses have to travel very long distances. You might want to opt for something more comfortable – especially if you have a chronic injury.

Mexico’s train lines were privatized in 1995 and resulted in most passenger services being pulled (except a commuter service that runs into and out of Mexico City). There are two tourist lines, too: one runs from Guadalajara (Tequila Express), the other runs through Chihuahua (Copper Canyon railway).

Is the food in Mexico safe?

Food in Mexico

Yes, the food in Mexico is safe and yes: it’s amazing!

Mexico is worth the trip for the food alone. Seriously – it’s that good.

Obviously not every cantina and food stall is going to have top-notch sanitation, so we’re here to give you a few pointers when it comes to having the gourmet experience of a lifetime AND not getting ill at the same time.

  • Street food is a must. It’s very much delicious and very much recommended. As always, go to places that look like they’re popular. If it’s popular, it’s likely to be two things: 1) delicious and 2) clean.
  • Fruit, unwashed and unpeeled, is a no-no.
  • If the meat looks like it was prepared ages ago and seems to have been lying around in the sun, don’t even bother.
  • Do a bit of research beforehand about what you want to try before you go out. You might like being adventurous, but if you order in a panic when you’re getting your street food, you might end up with something like menudo (tripe soup).
  • Make sure eggs are cooked thoroughly. Eggs that are too runny may be the perfect breeding grounds for something nasty.
  • Wash your hands with hot water (if possible) and soap before eating. Making sure your OWN hands are clean before eating is good prevention for going down with something you might attribute to food poisoning.
  • Don’t go to big tourist restaurants to eat. These lack quality and freshness and are more expensive than street food. Why would you??!
  • Lime juice, as well as chilis, are said to kill bacteria. If in doubt – even if it’s been freshly cooked – slather on a load of lima juice. It’s part of the food anyway!
  • Conversely, maybe sour cream isn’t always a good idea. Especially if you’ve got a particularly sensitive stomach.
  • Traveling with an allergy? Research ahead of time how to explain your allergy. Keep in mind that store owners and restaurant staff might not know all the foods that contain allergens, so it’s helpful to know the names of some of these too. If you’re gluten-free, pick up a handy Gluten-Free Translation Card with descriptions of Celiac disease, cross-contamination risk, and local Mexican ingredients in Latin American Spanish.

At the end of the day, food in Mexico is fine to eat. Who are we kidding, it’s more than fine – it’s amazing! Mexican people love their food and eating out is a perfect way to soak up local life. The food is usually cooked FAST and from fresh ingredients. Don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and try something new… our mouths are watering just thinking about it.

Following the usual rules of washing your hands, and only going to establishments that look like they’re doing good business, or who are cooking things freshly, you’ll be able to safely eat your way around Mexico like a true pro. It’s safe to eat the food in Mexico (for the most part) and your taste buds will thank you for doing so!

Just remember: as long as it’s hot and freshly cooked, it should be alright.

Can you drink the water in Mexico?

You CANNOT drink the water in Mexico. Don’t even try.

Only drink boiled (or bottled) water and at all times avoid ice.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t drink plenty of water. In fact, far from it. Get plenty of bottled water, make sure it’s sealed, and stay hydrated throughout the day. Mexico is hot and you don’t want to get dehydrated.

A refillable bottle is always handy if your hotel/hostel/guesthouse has a water filter in the lobby or something. Saves on all that plastic waste, anyway. We like the Active Roots Water Bottle because it looks good and keeps our drinks insulated.

Alternatively, bring water purification tablets or a Grayl Geopress to make the water safe for yourself.

Is Mexico safe to live?

is mexico safe to live in

You might want to move to Mexico to learn about a new culture, for a challenge, to learn a new language, start a new career or even just for a warmer climate and slower pace of life. We don’t blame you.

It goes without saying, however, that there are dangers involved. Living in Mexico won’t make you immune from the same sorts of crime that affects tourists. Looking less like a tourist/Westerner will definitely help you blend in. Pay attention to how locals dress and don’t wear anything that makes you seem rich.

Obviously, it depends where you decide to settle. We’d recommend being away from border towns as this tends to be a hotbed for gang-related violence.

Be especially cautious when living in Mexico City. The capital is famous for its murder rate, kidnappings, and robberies. Elsewhere, Mexico is safer to live in. Places like Playa del Carmen and other coastal cities on the Yucatan Peninsula are havens for travelers for a reason.

Of course, don’t get involved in drugs. This is an easy way to become known to the wrong sort of people and become a victim.

Mexico has a high crime rate, and it isn’t the safest place in the world to live. It’s important to remember that there are everyday people in Mexico who live normal lives. You might have to take precautions against certain things, but for what you get back in terms of the richness of the culture it’s a small price to pay.

How is healthcare in Mexico?

There’s public healthcare in Mexico. It’s a universal system (free and/or subsidized) but don’t expect the same level of standards you may be used to coming from a Western European country. It’s a complicated system of hospitals funded by various different organizations.

If you want treatment of any sort, it’s best to head to a pharmacy. Pharmacists are knowledgeable and will be able to help you with basic ailments. At the same time, your hotel will be able to recommend a good hospital to go if you have a minor sickness or injury.

However, for anything more serious we recommend a private hospital. These are better than public ones mainly because waiting times are shorter and the facilities are of a higher quality.

So in general, whilst not up to some standards, the healthcare in Mexico is generally good. A mixture of public, employer-funded and private healthcare schemes make it a well-rounded system. In fact, Americans close to the Mexican border have been known to go south for cheaper treatments and prescription drugs.

Quality of care does vary depending on where in Mexico you are and exactly what service you’re looking to use.

Helpful Mexico Travel Phrases

Below are some useful Spanish phrases for backpacking Mexico. While many people speak English in the touristic areas and cities, once you get outside these areas, Spanish will carry you a long way!

Hola = Hello¿Cómo está(s)? = How are you?

Mucho gusto = Nice to meet you

Estoy bien = I’m fine

Por favor = Please

Gracias = Thank you

De nada/Con gusto = You’re welcome

¿Cuánto? = How much?

Adiós = Goodbye

Lo siento = I’m sorry

¿Dónde está el baño? = Where is the bathroom?

¿Qué es esto? = What’s this?

Quiero un taco/una cerveza. = I want a taco/a beer.

¡Salud! = Cheers!

Final thoughts on the safety of Mexico

is mexico safe to travel in

Mexico is a highlight of Latin America. The history here is eye-poppingly ancient, the life is chill, the people here are super friendly and welcoming, the beaches are beautiful. Expect rich traditions (you’ve heard of Day of the Dead, right?), culture, family vibes, and big, long, lazy meals of some of the best food in the world. Yep, we’ll say it again: Mexican food is amazing! 

Safety-wise… well, we’re not going to sugar coat it: Mexico is still risky. Statistically, there are many more dangers involved in visiting somewhere like Mexico than there are of visiting countries like Switzerland or Japan. That doesn’t mean you can’t have a safe, enriching trip or even travel alone.

In fact, if we’re talking statistics – tens of millions of people visit Mexico each year and most travel here without trouble.

Mexico is safe to visit so long as you are aware and make the right decisions. Know the risks involved with traveling to Mexico and take the right precautions, like buying travel insurance. These in addition to all of the other safety tips we’ve given you, should be considered when and if you decide to travel to this spellbinding nation.

Sourse original

Top 10 Things to Consider Before Retiring Abroad

should-i-retire-abroad-2

By Taxslayer editorial team | Taxslayer

Retiring abroad could be the adventure of your lifetime. Here are ten things to ask yourself before taking the leap. 

What is the cost of living where you’re headed?

You’ll need enough money set aside to cover your basic needs wherever you decide to settle. If you have your sights set on a country where the cost of living is lower than your home in America, your retirement dollars will go further. Consider average cost for rent, food, transportation, medical care and insurance, for starters. A hot spot like London may not suit your retirement economics, but a quaint town in Portugal just might.

What is the average cost of medical care abroad? 

In some countries outside of the United States, health care is less expensive for individuals. Mexico and France are just two examples of nations known for their affordable health care options. If you’re expecting high medical bills (and even if you aren’t), research the location you are considering retiring to and find out what their healthcare policy is. It could save you a significant amount of money. 

Will you have to pay income tax to the host country? 

Depending on the laws of the country you move to, you may need to file and pay taxes to that government. And of course, you are still expected to file a federal return here in the U.S. The good news is, if it turns out you are required to pay income taxes to the foreign government as well, you might qualify for the Foreign Tax Credit here at home.

Will you give up your U.S. citizenship? 

You are not required to renounce your citizenship to retire abroad. But should you decide to waive it, you can’t reapply to be a citizen. The decision is permanent.  

What does giving up citizenship mean for your tax obligations in the U.S.? 

Renouncing your U.S. citizenship does not automatically cancel your tax obligations. In fact, you will be treated as a U.S. citizen for tax purposes until you file one copy of Form 8854 with the IRS and another copy with the Department of Treasury.

Form 8854 asks for general information about your host country, your U.S. tax liability for the previous five years, and your net worth on the date of your expatriation. Depending on your answers, you may be required to pay Exit Tax. 

Exit Tax, if you are required to pay it, is based on your net worth. It is calculated as if you had sold all your assets on the day of expatriation. The value is then taxed at capital gains tax rates.

How will you manage your money from abroad? 

Before you leave, make sure you have online access to all your assets, including bank accounts, investments, and other financial institutions. Double check that you won’t experience any holds on your accounts, and definitely tell your bank that you are moving in advance.  Talk to other retirees in the country you are considering to see what other avenues are available to help you manage your money. 

How does retiring abroad affect your 401k? 

Make sure you know how your 401k will be taxed in your new country before retiring abroad. Each place has different rules. Depending on whether or not you renounce your U.S. citizenship, you may also end up owing double taxes it.   

Will you buy or rent a property abroad? 

If you’re new to a country, it is hard to know what the housing market is like in different areas, and what it is will be like over time. What’s more, purchasing a home means paying property taxes – and those could be significant depending on your country of residence. Consider renting instead. Take some time to get your bearings, do your research, and save some money. Plus, if you change your mind about location, renting can make it easier to pick up and move in a short time.   

Do you need a special visa to retire abroad? 

Most countries require you to obtain a visa if you plan on sticking around for a long-term visit (more than just a typical vacation). Several countries offer a retirement visa that you can apply for. Research the laws about visas in your desired country before committing to the move. And apply for the visa before renting long-term property so you can alter your plans if you are not approved. 

Are you ready for an adventure? 

Moving abroad can be beneficial for more than just your wallet. Learning a new language and navigating a new country can be good exercise for your brain. Use this opportunity to flex your cognitive and social skills. Also, traveling during retirement can improve your mood and keep things fresh and exciting. If you’re willing to take a risk and try something new, then consider retiring abroad.

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American “economic refugees” are increasingly retiring abroad

money-2696219_960_720By Aimee Picchi |CBS news

Cynthia and Edd Staton are thoroughly enjoying retirement in their 3,000 square-foot penthouse apartment. They have a housekeeper, eat out frequently, never fret about health care costs, and indulge in yoga classes and visits to the gym. It’s a fine way to spend their golden years — in Ecuador.

The Statons said the decision to retire outside the U.S. came in the wake of the financial crisis a decade ago, when their retirement nest egg lost value and they were faced with retiring at a lower standard of living than they had expected. More Americans have followed their lead. The number of retirees who draw Social Security outside the U.S. jumped 40%, to more than 413,000, between 2007 to 2017, according to the Social Security Administration.

To be sure, that’s a fraction of the nation’s 42 million retirees. But it reflects the financial realities for a growing number of baby boomers who are hitting 65 without enough money stashed away to maintain their standard of living. The median retirement savings for people in that age group is $152,000 — the highest of any working generation — but 1 in 5 say they haven’t yet recovered from the recession and never may, according to the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies.

“It’s a slow-motion train wreck, and we are in the first car of the train,” said Edd Staton, who lived in Las Vegas before moving to Cuenca, Ecuador, in 2010 and now with his wife blogs about retiring abroad. “It takes a long time to get to the caboose. There is nothing in place that will make this go away.”

He believes more retirees may be living outside the U.S. than reflected in the Social Security Administration statistics because some, like him, deposit their Social Security checks in U.S. bank accounts. ATMs make it easy to withdraw cash in Ecuador, Staton noted.

Asia, Europe, and Central and South America are proving to be popular locations for American retirees who want to bail from the U.S. The decision often boils down to such factors as cost of living, health care options and whether there’s an expatriate community.

“Economic refugees”

Americans who opt to retire outside the U.S. are driven by different motivations, said Dan Prescher, senior editor at International Living, a publication geared to people who want to live or retire abroad. Prescher and his wife, originally from Nebraska, now live in Mexico, where they were drawn because of the better weather.

Some are baby boomers who “now can have that great adventure they always wanted,” he said. Others are what the Statons describe as “economic refugees,” or Americans who are worried about managing retirement on a limited budget.

“Their idea of what they could afford in retirement isn’t matching reality,” Prescher said about retirees who move abroad because of finances. “No one knows what will happen with health care in the U.S. — it’s hugely uncertain.”

Even though Americans who are at least 65 are covered by Medicare, out-of-pocket health costs for retirees are mounting. The typical couple will need a total of $285,000 to cover health expenses in their retirement decades, according to a Fidelity study published earlier this year. Medicare doesn’t cover all health care costs — excluding most dental work and long-term care, for instance — and it can come with co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses for doctor visits and medications.

Cheaper health care

A big issue for retirees living abroad is getting health care coverage, which can typically be gained through securing residency status within a foreign country, the Statons said. They pay about $80 a month for Ecuador’s national health system, although they also maintain Medicare coverage for when they return to the U.S. to visit family.

Overall, health care costs are significantly lower in Ecuador, with the Statons noting that a dental crown costs about $200, compared with more than $1,000 in the U.S.

Other countries have similar opt-ins for foreigners who retire within their borders. Portugal, for instance, allows legal foreign residents to take advantage of the public health care system, according to Live and Invest Overseas, another publication about expat living.

Living on $2,000 per month

Joining a national health care system in a country with lower medical prices than in the U.S. can help lighten the impact on the wallet. Overall, moving abroad can allow a form of financial arbitrage, with Americans living on Social Security and retirement savings paid in U.S. dollars, which they can spend in countries with a lower cost of living.

The Statons have a monthly budget of about $2,000, including the roughly $700 per month they pay for their penthouse apartment. The typical rent in the U.S. stood at almost $1,500 a month in August, according to the website RentCafe.

Of course, moving abroad isn’t for everyone, given the language and cultural differences, while the idea of moving far from family and friends may not be appealing to some. But both Prescher and the Statons believe the financial challenges of retiring in the U.S. will drive more Americans abroad.

“Being an economic refugee is going to be more and more popular as things get weirder and more expensive in the U.S.,” Prescher predicted. “You should move abroad because you want to try a foreign culture. The economic benefit is icing on the cake.”

Original Source

Buying Property In Mexico: A Step-By-Step Guide For Expats

beautiful five story condos on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean in Acapulco
By Omar Best | live and investo verseas
It is simple and straightforward to buy property in Mexico for foreigners. However, you need to do your due diligence and hiring a real estate professional is a must. 
You do need to have an idea about your property objectives before you dive in. Are you looking for property to live in… or are you looking for investment? The end-use for your property may dictate how you go about purchasing it.
In 1917, the government declared that all land in Mexico would be “ejido“. This means, communal land used for agriculture and farmed by locals. This implied no one could own private property. Nowadays not all Mexican land is ejido. It’s important to make sure that any property considered for sale is not classified as such.
Mexico passed the Foreign Investment Law in 1973. This allowed foreigners to purchase real estate anywhere in the country. The only restrictions being border and coastal land. That is to say, both 100 km of international borders or within 50 km of the coast. In 1993, the law amended to allow for sale within restricted areas through a fideicomiso. To clarify, fideicomiso is a trust agreement established with a Mexican bank. 
fideicomiso allows a foreign buyer to hold property with all the rights of a citizen. With a single fideicomisoyou can hold many Mexican properties. Above all, owning the properties with continuance, and will the property to your heirs. Plus, you can transfer the trust to another foreign buyer, if you want to sell.
fideicomiso is good for 50 years and is renewable thereafter (by you or your heirs). It can be held by one or more individuals or by an entity (LLC, for example). The setup ranges from US$500 to US$1,000, and maintenance fees for US$500 to US$700 per year.

Buying property in Mexico through a corporation?

Foreigners can also own land in restricted areas through a Mexican corporation. These can be 100% foreign-owned. Only consider a corporation when buying real estate strictly for investment or business. If you plan to subdivide and develop land, a Mexican corporation makes sense.
Corporations come with more restrictions and reporting requirements than fideicomisos. You need to submit monthly reports on income and expenses. After that, a certified accountant needs to complete it. Then, send it to the Mexican Department of Treasury. Property held in a corporation are considered commercial, so it’s subject to extra taxes.
 
The initial costs to set up a corporation will vary depending on the attorney. The least required is $50,000 Mexican pesos (about US$2,800 at today’s exchange). Moreover, you’ll also incur costs for the certified accountant to maintain it (US$600 to US$800 per year).
 
Always involve your attorney in reviewing the legal status of the land. Most importantly, include title search, preparation of contracts, and setting up your corporation.
Lastly, the buying process should play out like this…

Offer And Acceptance for buying a property in Mexico

Make an official offer. Mexican law recognizes verbal agreements. However, you should write both the offer and acceptance. This ensures no confusion on terms and conditions. Send your offer in the form of an “Offer to Purchase” contract. Detail the main terms of the sale. Include price, payment plans, details on an earnest money deposit. Deadline for the seller to accept the offer is usually included. These are all standard practices when buying property in Mexico.

closeup of someone signing a contract
Make sure all offers are recorded in writing to eliminate any misunderstandings or confusion

As soon as the seller has accepted your offer, make an earnest money deposit. Either by the real estate agent or the buyer’s attorney must hold this payment. You should include a clause in the offer that guarantees the deposit if either a promissory agreement or a final sales agreement isn’t executed in a certain amount of time; also note who received the deposit. If the seller requires it to be non-refundable, make sure it’s not more than you’re willing to lose.

Promissory Agreement

Once you make the deposit, the promissory agreement (contrato de promesa) will be drawn up. This binds both buyer and seller into a timeframe to execute the buying contract. Having this in place locks in the basic terms. Meanwhile, you and the seller should track down all the paperwork needed. To complete the purchase it usually takes some time. It also allows time for both parties to work out the details for the final purchase contract.
 
Under Mexican law, both parties are bound by the terms of the promissory agreement. If all the terms and conditions are met to execute the purchase contract, neither party can back out of the sale.
 
Once signed the promissory agreement, the seller contacts your bank (from your fideicomiso). This starts the trust application. Your attorney then orders a trust permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Your journey in buying a property in Mexico is half-way there.
 
During this time, your lawyer should also be verifying the legal status of the property. Above all, review the title, right of transfer, and terms of the purchase contract. He’ll also need to request documentation from the seller. Moreover, certificate of no encumbrances, a certificate of no tax liability, and a property appraisal.
 
The documentation required by the buyer is minimal. All you need is a copy of your passport and driver’s license. Plus, a recent utility bill showing your name and home address. Corporation documentation if applicable, too. Present these to a notary and file them at the public registry.
 
If everything is in order, the notary and your attorney will work with the bank. They will have the trust documents drafted and finalized.

Purchase/Sales Agreement

By now, both should be able to execute the purchase/sales agreement (compraventa). Then start the closing process, and transfer title of the property to the fideicomiso.
 
By this time, the bank office should´ve received the permit from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Your attorney will be able to start the drafts for the closing deed. Your lawyer, a notary, and a bank trust officer will then review the final draft of the deed. 

Closing And Title Transfer

Firstly, verify everything is correct. Secondly, when all the closing paperwork is ready, you will get a notice of a due date and the final closing costs due. Finally, you will sign the deeds, payments settled, and the title transferred to the bank.

Item Amount Who Pays
Certificates of no encumbrances and no tax lien US$200 – US$300 Buyer or Seller (Negotiable)
Notary fees US$650 – US$1,200 Buyer
Public registry filing fee US$100 – US$300 Buyer
Appraisal fee US$300 – US$500 Buyer or Seller (Negotiable)
Acquisition tax 2% of purchase price Buyer
Trust permit fee (50 years) US$1,000 Buyer
Foreign investment registration fee US$300 – US$800 Buyer
Attorney’s fees Varies Buyer*
Administrative and closing costs involved in a typical transaction
*The seller may use his own real estate attorney for the transaction. In which case, he would be responsible for covering this separate legal fee.
The notary then issues a notarized copy of the closing deed. This is your first proof of ownership and you can use it to put utilities in your own name.
 
Within 3 months of your closing date, the Public Registry issues the final deed. This will contain an electronic folio. In addition, a copy of all certificates, and payment of rights.
 
While buying property in Mexico, the delivery of your land and taking of title are different steps. They can take place on two different dates. This means you don’t immediately take possession of the property at closing.
Condo building with pool surrounded by palm trees and tropical landscaping. Guide for buying property in Mexico
Always insist on a personal walk-through before accepting final posession of the property to ensure good condition and that all agreements have been met.

Delivery Of Unit

Finally, do a walk-through to ensure that your property is being handed over in good condition before you take it. Once you’re satisfied, you’ll sign a delivery statement. This details the official delivery date of your property.

Keep in mind that your attorney can handle the entire purchase process. As a result, you don’t need to be in the country for every step. Lastly, by granting your lawyer a power of attorney, they can assist you through each stage of the sale. That is to say, every stage all the way up to the signing of the closing deed on your behalf. You just bought a property in Mexico, congratulations!

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Todos Santos, Mexico: Santa Fe Baja Style It could become one of the most celebrated centers of art and culture north of Central America.

Average street lined with galleries and shops in Todos Santos, Mexico.By Ron Elledge | Go nomad

Today the eclectic Mexican village of Todos Santos is Baja Mexico’s version of a fledgling Santa Fe, New Mexico. Its mystique transported me back in time and stirred up memories and feelings of Santa Fe as it was fifteen years ago.

Tequila's Sunrise Interior.
Tequila’s Sunrise Interior.

Todos Santos

Initially founded as a Mission in 1724, Todos Santos is located a leisurely one-hour drive north of Cabo San Lucas on Highway 19 and a one hour’s drive southwest from La Paz.

 Fiesta patio of Hotel California located in Todos Santos, Mexico.
Fiesta patio of Hotel California located in Todos Santos, Mexico.

                              While Santa Fe has no access to pristine beaches, it’s perfect for whale watching and surfing.Todos Santos sits on the Pacific coast side of the Baja California Peninsula and has several beaches that are close in proximity to town.Todos is replete with comparable architecture, shops, and eateries found in vintage Santa Fe.

However, today, the “warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air” has been supplanted by that of tacos, chili rellenos, and the same creative juices that made Santa Fe one of America’s premier art colonies.

In Todos, you’ll find delicious food, friendly people, and a festive atmosphere with galleries, museums, and shops tucked into every nook and cranny.

I suggest you pop into the Tequila’s Sunrise Restaurant and Bar for arguably the best chips, salsa, and margaritas on Earth.

It’s entertaining to gawk at the signatures and graffiti fancifully covering the walls. Be aware, because it is located directly across the street from the Hotel California, you will pay tourist prices at TS.

Where the Expats Congregate

La Bodega de Todos Santos – If you are looking for locals and expats, try the La Bodega de Todos Santos. The food is appetizing and the drinks are muy buenos all the time, but Wednesday night is a favorite of locals.

Bar of the Todos Santos Inn in Todos Santos, Mexico.
Bar of the Todos Santos Inn in Todos Santos, Mexico.

Wednesday is Big Red night, that’s when they break out samples of Baja wines to accompany some remarkably brilliant entertainment.

El Compa Chava -If you are looking for delicious Mexican seafood, you are looking for El Compa Chava. Here the atmosphere is laid back, the people are very friendly, and the prices are inexpensive compared to the rest of the town.

Nowhere will you find better ceviche tostadas, the crab and “descondido” ceviches are simply amazing. Be sure to try some of their home made spicy sauce.

Baja Beans-If you are wearing your tie-dye shirt and huarache sandals, your vibe is still alive and well at Baja Beans.

Tequila's Sunrise Restaurant and Bar is located across the street from the Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico.
Tequila’s Sunrise Restaurant and Bar is located across the street from the Hotel California in Todos Santos, Mexico.

It may be a short drive south of Todos Santos in Pescadero, but this is the spot for coffee lovers who long for the hippy days of yesteryear.

One can enjoy any coffee drink imaginable and a wide variety of savory pastries.

It’s a Place for Everyone

I love that in Todos the old beater pick-up truck stands proud, parked between the Tesla and Mercedes. When the drivers meet on the streets they stop and exchange pleasantries.

The atmosphere of Todos has a way of jogging the memory of simpler times and restoring balance in perspective of life.

This may be why people from all over the globe are migrating to towns and villages throughout Mexico. The Todos Santos expat community, though small, is strong and growing.

Outdoor corridor of the Todos Santos Inn in Todos Santos, Mexico.
Outdoor corridor of the Todos Santos Inn in Todos Santos, Mexico.

The first people we met on the street were a couple in their 30’s who moved to Todos Santos from Canada, they encouraged us to do the same.

Their observation was that they could feel a magical vibe in the village. They also enjoy the fact that housing and cost of living are a fraction of those back home.

Historic Hotels

Todos Santos Inn – If you surf the Inn’s official website, you will read this as their opening paragraph:

“Built in the 1870’s as a sugar baron’s estate, the Inn is the only historic hacienda hotel in Todos Santos. With an ideal location in the center of town, the Inn is walking distance to all the restaurants, shops and galleries, as well as a beautiful beach for whale watching.”

We sat in one of the Inn’s courtyards and visited with a gentleman named Scott. Scott returns to Todos every year and on every trip, he stays for several days at the Todos Santos Inn.

Scott, a US citizen, lives in Tijuana, Mexico and works in San Diego, California. He is one of the many expats from around the world who are flocking to Mexico for its climate, culture, and affordability. He recalled many of his ventures throughout the region and recommended dining and must see stops along the way.

Hotel California is located in Todos Santos, Mexico an easy drive north of Cabo San Lucas.
Hotel California is located in Todos Santos, Mexico an easy drive north of Cabo San Lucas.

We said adios to Scott and strolled through the brick and adobe-walled corridors, relaxed in the gardens, visited the bar (too early for business) and absorbed the quiet, historic atmosphere of this great Inn.

The scenic walk from the Hotel California to the Todos Santos Inn conveys one from hustle and bustle to repose and reflection, both have their place.

It has been said that if you’re in search of a peaceful location to read a good book (or even write one), you’ll find the Todos Santos Inn is the perfect retreat.

Hotel California – This is the quintessential tourist hotel which can be found around the world but entering the lobby from the street produces an unexpected change in elegance.

Lobby of Hotel California located in Todos Santos, Mexico.
Lobby of Hotel California located in Todos Santos, Mexico.

The reservation desk is stylish yet understated but the lobby area is candy to the eye. Once again we are reminded of Santa Fe by the art pop and flair of right-brained creativity.

However, walk through one door, and you find yourself in the world of commercialism. The gift shop area is a great place to get a t-shirt, very nice shirts, $17.50 any size.

You’ll find jewelry, clothing, and every trinket you can imagine. My wife purchased a beautiful bracelet, paid a fair price and enjoyed the exchange of banter making up the negation process in Mexico. I think I could have bought it for less, or been thrown out.

Step through the back door on a trek in search of the restroom and a fiesta feels imminent. Tables, chairs, decorations and center stage create the perfect place to hold a fiesta and hold them they do. The patio and bar areas make for party central in the evenings.

Interior view of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Todos Santos (Our Lady of Pilar Church) located in Todos Santos, Mexico.
Interior view of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Todos Santos (Our Lady of Pilar Church) located in Todos Santos, Mexico.

When You Go:

Whether you plan to make Todos Santos a day trip from Cabo or La Paz or stay for a week, this town is one not to be missed on a trip to the southern tip of the Baja.

Here are a few things to keep in mind.

You’ll find the vast majority of the Mexican people are muy amable – very kind, just remember you are still in Mexico. Leave any presumptions behind, and enjoy the traditions of a people who are friendly and inviting, but move to a different tempo than those in many slices of the world.

In this area of Mexico, the main highways are very good, mostly four-lane, but it’s still suggested that traveling is done during the day.

If you rent a car, be ready to pay much more for insurance than for the car itself. Many foreign policies and credit cards offer extended coverage while in Mexico.

Exterior view of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Todos Santos (Our Lady of Pilar Church,) located in Todos Santos, Mexico.
Exterior view of the Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Todos Santos (Our Lady of Pilar Church,) located in Todos Santos, Mexico.

However, it’s important to have Mexican liability insurance. It may keep you from the loss of your vehicle or a night in jail. Their country, their rules!

Last of all, come prepared to have a rewarding adventure as you enjoy the people, climate, and customs of Mexico.

How Do I Get There?

From La Paz, take the federal highway 1 towards Los Cabos which joins federal highway 19. Todos Santos is approximately 50 miles. From Cabo San Lucas, take federal highway 19 that runs along the coast approximately 45 miles.

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INTERNATIONAL LIVING UNCOVERED THESE THREE MEXICAN BEACHES WE’RE JUST DROOLING OVER

International Living uncovered these three Mexican beaches we’re just drooling overBy Jennifer Stevens | Grit Daily

Not far from Cancun, Mexico’s Caribbean coast conceals hidden gems, postcard-worthy beaches retirees can enjoy for a fraction of the price of higher-profile destinations. International Living’s new report identifies three off-the-radar havens on the Yucatan Peninsula that deserve serious consideration for vacation, part-time retirement, or full-time, bargain beach living.

North American retirees looking for the ideal beach spot that features quiet natural beauty far from the madding crowd have plenty of options in Mexico. Cancun is easy to fly in an out of, but it’s built up and often crowded. Not far from there, though, along Mexico’s long and varied Caribbean and Gulf coasts—sit quiet beach communities off the tourist radar.

International Living’s new report reveals three of the best-kept secrets on the Yucatan Peninsula, ideal for anybody searching for idyllic beaches on a budget.

MAHAHUAL

The southern part of Mexico’s Caribbean coast is a mostly an undeveloped stretch of stunning, isolated beach called the Costa Maya. Unlike the tourist-driven beaches of the Riviera Maya farther north, this length of coastline snuggles up against lowland jungle for some 62 miles and is largely inaccessible by road.

This small beachside town of Mahahual is one of only two places (the other being Xcalak, 37 miles to the south) to access this spectacular environment, and it is literally at the end of the road. Turning off the main coastal highway and driving through lowland jungle with only a few small, primitive dwellings to interrupt the sparse landscape, this small village is the idyllic image of the out-of-the-way beach retreat. No traffic noise, no high-rise condos, no hustle or bustle. Only hammocks strung between pier pilings and beach bars full of sandy floors, swimsuits, and cold beer.

IL’s Rivieria Maya Correspondent Don Murray says, “Mahahual is definitely worth your time to visit and may be your first stop while driving south of Tulum. In fact, a relatively small number of expats call it home while a group of snowbirds, seeking the peace of a small, beachside community, return year after year.”

Recent prices in Mahahual and the surrounding area remain a fraction of what they’d be farther up the coast. Five beachfront lots near Puerto Angel, just 20 minutes from Mahahual, were recently for sale for $69,000 each.

HOLBOX

On the northern tip of the Yucatán Peninsula, a couple hour’s trek from Cancún, is the tiny island of Holbox (pronounced ol-bosh). It’s known as one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks that congregate offshore from May to September.

Holbox is funky, bohemian, and laidback. Life is all about the white-sand beach and being in or on the water. Development has increased in Holbox in recent years, but there are no condo towers, gated communities, or large resorts. Construction is on a smaller scale here, so it doesn’t feel too commercialized. The island is 26 miles long but only a small portion is developed.

IL’s Roving Latin America Editor Jason Holland says, “This barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico is the perfect place to relax, with long stretches of white-sand beaches you can have all to yourself. You get around on foot, by bike, or via golf cart. I love the $10 lobster dinners.”

CHELEM

On Mexico’s Gulf Coast about 45 minutes from the city of Mérida is the town of Chelem. Once a quiet fishing village, Chelem provides the opportunity for a slower-paced life.

Expat Geoff Kent moved to Chelem with his wife and two kids in 2018. He says “We have a pretty typical life for a family with young kids. Get the kids off to school in the morning, help them with homework in the evening. It’s pretty normal.”

They are considering opening a small coffee shop or donut shop. Geoff says there are many expats doing everything from selling real estate to running restaurants.

This simple life by the beach costs $1,800 a month. A bus ride to the nearby town of Progreso is about 50 cents. The Kents report that they spend $150 each week on groceries and another $25 per month on gas for cooking and hot water.

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Retiring Overseas and Looking for New Friends? Ask Yourself These 6 Questions

By Admin| learn to simplify

That said, retiring abroad is not without its challenges. As the founder of a community of over 500,000 baby boomer women, I have heard hundreds of stories from people who have made the decision to make up and move to a new country. By far the biggest complaint that I hear is that it is difficult to make new friends.

So, today, I would like to tell you the 6 questions that I recommend to my friends when they tell me that they are having trouble making friends after retiring overseas. I hope that you find them useful as you get settled in your new home!

What Hobbies Did You Put on the Backburner as a Parent?

I loved being a mom. I still do, although my kids are both in their 30s and have their own children.

At the same time, I have to admit that, for most of my life, my kids’ hobbies were my hobbies. I spent so much time going to soccer games, video arcades and skateboarding parks, that I basically forgot that I had any of my own passions.

For example, when I was a young woman, I spent several months traveling around India. Along the way, I got really into yoga. Recently, I decided to restart my yoga practice and, while it wasn’t easy, I am so happy that I did! Not only do I feel better inside and out, but, I have also made several new friends along the way.

What did you used to love to do? Did you play tennis when you were younger? Did you love to paint? How about playing chess?

If you take a few minutes to think about it, I’m sure that you will find plenty of passions to fill your time. Once you have your list, look for groups that support your passion. Love tennis? Join a club? Like painting? Go talk with other local painters, or start creating works of art in the park. Like playing chess? There is almost certainly a chess club in your neighborhood… and, best of all, you don’t even need to speak the local language to play!

How Do You Want to Change the World?

As an older adult, it’s easy to sit around complaining about how the world is going to hell in a handbasket. It’s harder – but SO much more productive – to actually get out there and do something about it.

Best of all, the people who share your worldview often become close friends. After all, you don’t just share a hobby; you also share your desire to make the world a better place.

Are their local (or global) charities that you could get involved in? If so, what are you waiting for? If not, why not start a group yourself and start giving back?

What Do You Want to Do to Invest in Your Body?

Taking up a sport or going to the gym helps you to make friends in two ways.

First, fitness classes, sports and physical activities of all kinds are friend magnets. After all, you see the same people every week. In addition, you have plenty of time before and after each class to get acquainted.

That said, my advice is to be bold and take your friendship to another level as soon as possible. Find out what your gym buddies love to do. Then invite them to join you for an activity that you both love – even if it is just to play a game of chess before an aerobics class or to go to a movie as a group.

The second way that getting in shape helps you to make friends when retiring overseas is that it builds your confidence and gets you out of the house. In other words, when you feel good about your body, you are more likely to engage in the activities that will help you to make new friends.

What Gets You Up in the Morning? What Are Your Passions?

One of the great things about being in retirement – even if you are still working! – is that you finally have the time and mental freedom to explore your passions.

Think about it. When are the times when you feel truly happy? For me, I love walking down by the lake at sunrise. There is something about being out and about when the rest of the city is sleeping that energizes me and gets me ready for a new day!

I haven’t done this yet, but, my passion for sunrises could form the basis for a morning yoga group or a walking club. Don’t assume that your passions are unique to you. If you find something fascinating or fun, the chances are others do too!

How Can You Support Your Local Community?

I’m always amazed by how few people get involved in their communities when retiring overseas. After all, isn’t experiencing a local culture one of the reasons that you moved?

There are so many ways to get involved in your local community. For example, where I live, everyone has the opportunity to join the fire department as a volunteer. Other groups pick up trash, collect clothes for people less fortunate than themselves or volunteer at nursing homes.

The opportunities to get involved will vary by country. For example, in Bali, there are countless opportunities to get directly involved in supporting local families.

One thing is for sure; since so few people get involved, your support of your local community will help you to stand out. And, this is sure to lead to opportunities for new friendships.

What Groups Could You Start?

Don’t wait for people to come to you. They won’t. Instead, if you can’t find any groups that focus on your passions, start one… or two or three!

For example, one of my personal passions is train travel. So, about 6 months ago, I decided to start a group on Meetup for people who loved to travel by train. We’ve traveled to Austria, France and all over Switzerland. I can’t overemphasize how much a part of my life this group has being.

What groups would you start if you could build up the confidence to do so? Would you start a language practice group? How about a fishing club? Maybe you want to find other people who play darts, pool or another similar activity. I guarantee there are other people who want to find the same thing. So, be a leader and give the world something that it wants!

If you are retiring overseas, I am so happy for you! You are about to embark on an amazing adventure! I hope that these 6 questions help you to find the friendship that you deserve in your new home!

Are you thinking of retiring overseas? Which country or countries interest you? What advice would you give to a friend about making friends when retiring overseas? 

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