Author Topic: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?  (Read 5196 times)

sisto

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Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« on: June 14, 2018, 02:36:16 PM »
I've been thinking about moving to Mexico for quite some time. I recently made some new friends who just bought property and have plans to build already drawn up. Construction is supposed to take about a year. They already have family living there since 2014 and will have a place to stay while their property is being built as well as have some help with navigating everything. They have offered to help me too if I'm interested. I just thought I'd post here to find out if any of you have done it and pros/cons etc. I feel this community would understand some things differently than people I've just met.

dude

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2018, 06:39:49 AM »
I'm curious, where in Mexico did your new friends buy?

I know San Miguel de Allende has a large expat retiree community. I've known of some folks who've retired to Cozumel (including the originator of the www.cozumelmycozumel.com website).

I love Mexico and have visited many times (but sadly, bailed on a trip to Zihuatenejo recently on account of the new State Dept. "do not travel" warning). I've thought about retiring there, but the more I think about it, the less I want to be pinned down to one place. I think spending 3-6 months renting in various locations around the globe would be more my speed.

sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2018, 11:16:19 AM »
@dude They purchased in Chelem. It's right on the beach and a fishing village. It's about 40-45 minutes from Merida. Personally my research tells me I'd prefer to be near Merida, but I've never been so I'll of course need to spend enough time there before deciding. It's my understanding that crime is really not bad and overblown in the media just like here in the US. It seems that it would be really easy to live on $15K per year there. If I stay where I am in CA I'm looking at needing $50K. So it's quite tempting, plus if I sell my house in CA I'll gain $200K in equity to add to the stash.

gerardc

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2018, 01:35:39 PM »
Anyone raised their kids in Mexico? How is the school system there, for expats?

seattleite

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2018, 02:38:22 PM »
I've definitely considered it, especially before I felt like we had enough to FIRE in the US. We homeschool our kids so the schools aren't an issue. I speak Spanish and my wife is really good at languages so the language isn't an issue.

When we were last in Puerto Vallarta I was seriously thinking that we wouldn't return, though I gather that's a normal response to vacation.

I'm about 2/3 of a year into FIRE and I'm happy in the inexpensive midwestern town that I've moved to. The interesting thing about vacation is that you end up holding off the various responsibilities that an adult in the modern western world needs to do, besides work, and during FIRE you still have that stuff.

All that said, I don't have a problem with it. And I'm very open to doing it. There are some good books about the process, some of the more fun ones are about this guy who moved to Puerto Vallarta decades ago and had a time at it.

ixtap

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2018, 03:04:11 PM »
Anyone raised their kids in Mexico? How is the school system there, for expats?

The majority of middle class Mexicans send their kids to private school, so most towns will have a lot of choice

sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2018, 03:05:15 PM »
@seattleite I'm 3 years away from FIRE now, but seriously had been considering doing it anyway at least for a few years to let the stash grow. Like Dude I've always planned to do lots of travel in retirement, but CA is really expensive. I feel in many ways like Mexico would be a better alternative, but I would definitely need someone taking care of my place their while I'm away. I would also need that here too though. I figure it's much cheaper to make my home base in Mexico. I could always make sure to have enough money to return to the US if I wanted. I mean if FIRE is 1/3 of what I was expecting I should be able to have enough.

sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2018, 03:06:10 PM »
Anyone raised their kids in Mexico? How is the school system there, for expats?

The majority of middle class Mexicans send their kids to private school, so most towns will have a lot of choice
@ixtap Do you have first hand experience around Mexico that you could share?

bacchi

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2018, 03:58:50 PM »
SO's parents have sorta retired in San Miguel (they also have a house in the states). Not a lot of outdoor activities but it is a cool town/city to just hang around. Most of the expats are 60+ years old.

gerardc

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2018, 04:47:40 PM »
The interesting thing about vacation is that you end up holding off the various responsibilities that an adult in the modern western world needs to do, besides work, and during FIRE you still have that stuff.

Good point, I haven't seen this mentioned elsewhere. Before a vacation, I always plan ahead to finish stuff up (e.g. bills, laundry, cleaning, shopping, planning, fixing things, etc.) so that I can focus 100% on enjoying the vacation so of course it feels good but it's not necessarily sustainable even in FIRE. I guess I could do the same at home and set up some weeks in advance where I'll only be enjoying, no worrying allowed.

katsiki

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2018, 05:10:29 PM »
Anyone raised their kids in Mexico? How is the school system there, for expats?

No direct experience.  However, it appears that the millionaire educator and his wife are happy with living there and they have a young child.  Since they are both teachers, that may be a good sign. 

http://www.millionaireeducator.com/blog


P.S. They are in Merida which was mentioned up-thread.

ixtap

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #11 on: June 15, 2018, 06:56:53 PM »
Anyone raised their kids in Mexico? How is the school system there, for expats?

The majority of middle class Mexicans send their kids to private school, so most towns will have a lot of choice
@ixtap Do you have first hand experience around Mexico that you could share?

Well, the Ixta part of my username does come from the nickname of a Mexican volcano...

I have lived in the states of Veracruz, Puebla, Jalisco and Mexico City.  I have never lived near any of the expat communities nor spent much time at the beaches of any coast.

In general, living abroad seems to be a love it or hate it thing, with no way of knowing which it is for you until you try. I have not noticed it to be any easier for couples, but not any harder, either.

If you are renting, unfurnished usually means not even a kitchen, while furnished will often include the pots and pans.

the_fixer

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2018, 09:31:09 AM »
We go to Mexico a couple of times a year and planning to spend the first few years of FIRE in Mexico to let our money grow and if we liked it buy a place down there.

However over the last few years especially the last year the violence has increased to a level that I am not sure if I would feel comfortable buying and if we do go we will just rent as it is less risk if things continue to escalate.

Some say that the Media is blowing stuff out of proportion but the reality is that the violence used to stay out of tourist / expat areas but now shootings / robberies are taking place right on the beach in front of tourists and even a ferry that carries a bunch of tourists being bombed so while they are not targeting tourists you still have a chance of getting caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

We have a few more years to see what happens but I have started to switch to thinking about traveling for 3-6 months at a time to experience different countries / locations that are low cost but safer.

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DreamFIRE

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2018, 09:42:43 AM »

The media only picks up on a small sampling of what happens in Mexico.  It's actually worse than you would be led to believe.

sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2018, 09:09:42 AM »
@ixtap Out of your list I've only been to Jalisco and I liked it there fine, but I like Nayarit a little bit better, but probably only because I tend to not like big cities. Thank you for the info!

@katsiki Thank you for the link to the blog, did some reading there yesterday.

@the_fixer That was exactly what I was thinking in the early part of my original FIRE. Where do you usually visit? Agree about the wrong place wrong time scenario, but statistically it's my understanding that it's no worse and possibly even slightly better than the US. Of course it also depends on location too.

@DreamFIRE What do you mean it's worse? What evidence do you have? Where is it worse? I'd like the data to conduct research.

Thank you all, for all the great responses. Hopefully we'll hear from more people that have actually done it and can speak from experience.

Dicey

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2018, 11:07:33 AM »

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Anyone FIRE and movbarrier to Ere to Mexico?
« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2018, 12:39:06 PM »
Thanks for starting the conversation! I'm interested in this option as well, and will be in Mexico for a month next year (mostly Oaxaca); I'd like to learn more about health care costs for folks with a chronic condition. Health care/cost of insurance is our major barrier to ER.

the_fixer

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #17 on: June 17, 2018, 04:01:43 PM »
Mostly Yucatan been going since 1997 from Playa to Punta Allen as well as Cozumel, we like to dive so location to the Cenotes and reefs are key for us.

Really bummed, earned my companion pass so we could make some quick dive trips this year and next but that is on hold and trying to find new places to go.


Oh how I miss Mexico :(



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« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 04:10:34 PM by the_fixer »

DreamFIRE

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #18 on: June 17, 2018, 05:03:02 PM »
Quote
What do you mean it's worse? What evidence do you have? Where is it worse? I'd like the data to conduct research.

I have a good friend that lives in Mexico City.  When I talking about living in Mexico, although not really seriously, she didn't think it would be safe for me.  She knows more about it than we do.  And you can do your own research online.  Just be leary of individual anecdotes.  Surely, some places are safer than others.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2018, 07:18:51 PM by DreamFIRE »

FIREby35

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2018, 07:00:45 AM »
I've lived in Mexico City in 2007-2008. I have visited Chihuahua regularly (it's where my wife is from) and I'm about to take a road trip there on Tuesday for two weeks. I've stayed in Zihuatanejo for a max stay of two months. I have also just returned from 5 weeks in Merida and the Yucatan. I have visited many other parts of Mexico from Morelos to Veracruz.

I also speak fluent Spanish.

I have also put my kids in private schools in Merida and Zihuatanajo.

Personally, I think Mexico is great and I would definitely consider visiting/living there to drasticaly reduce costs. When I take my family of 5, we go see the best dentist in town, photographer, I buy suits and anything else we can. It can pay for the cost of the trip!

You can get caught in random violence anywhere. The murder rate in my city is higher than many places in Mexico. It is all about perspective. You know, this year I visited Merida instead of Zihua due to violence, but I wouldn't miss out on an entire country. Mexico City, for example, is so big and diverse it would be a major mistake to generalize anything. Specific parts of the city might be dangerous, but others are very safe and awesome. That is just like any major American city, btw.

As for schools, private schools are so cheap. We don't generalize about the "school system in Mexico." We look for a specific school with specific people that give us a good vibe. You can tell when there are happy, healthy teachers and children at a school. Once you are there, look for a good school just like you would in your home town.

Personally, I think buying in Mexico is probably not the way to go but, of course, it depends on your plans. I would look at Air BnB or long term rentals in any place you want to live (through a real estate agent). Just like everything else, you can rent a place for a lot less than the US. If you buy a place then it is worth while to hide your foreign identity so you don't get charged foreign prices. I'd rent until you have a trustworthy friend or hire a Mexican attorney to be a middle man. It'll save you money.

If you stay in expat communities like Zihua or San Miguel de Allende the prices on everything will be higher. Also, in Zihua, at least, there is a lot of competition for good rentals from the older crown who book way in advance and very little for families. But, it is still an awesome place!

I don't ignore bad news, but I also don't let fear control our decisions. I'd suggest you think about the distinction and find what works for you.


sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and movbarrier to Ere to Mexico?
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2018, 08:57:31 AM »
Thanks for starting the conversation! I'm interested in this option as well, and will be in Mexico for a month next year (mostly Oaxaca); I'd like to learn more about health care costs for folks with a chronic condition. Health care/cost of insurance is our major barrier to ER.
The new friends I just made that have the family already in Chelem said that they are paying $1700/yr USD for healthcare. That was supposed to be for the private higher end plan with low deductibles. They are in their 50's and I don't know about any chronic conditions. I suppose it would probably depend on the condition and treatment costs in the area you go.

sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2018, 09:17:20 AM »
@the_fixer Thanks for the pictures, very nice touch!

@DreamFIRE  I have a cousin that's married to a woman from Mexico City, in fact they are there right now visiting her family. I have only met this cousin once since my biological father always denied paternity. I've been on Ancestry for quite some time and at the beginning of the year one of my cousins got tested and showed as a first cousin match so I've just been in touch with them. I know there is more crime in Mexico City, but it's also a really big city so it makes sense more crime. The new friends told a story about Chelem where the biggest crime they had was a dispute between ice cream vendors about territory. They awoke to arguing and scoops of ice cream flying. Then the rain came and it smelled like mango and coconut for a week.

@FIREby35  Thank you for all of the great information! The reason I'm considering buying over renting is specific wants/needs. I will likely end up having my family and my wife's family follow us. We already support my mom and my Father in Law lives with us. We have other friends that want to move there with us too. So my thought is to buy land near each other and share some resources to save money. I don't want to go in together, that seems like a great way to ruin a friendship. We've lived across the street from these neighbors/friends for 10 years and we already have fun traveling together so I think it's pretty safe to buy near each other again. If a rental fits the bill that would be fine too, I just think I'd prefer to build exactly what I want. The family of the new friends are also getting into real estate and know many of the locals which should be helpful for us to find what we want. For now we need to get there and check it out.

Hopefully others that have lived in Mexico can chime in on pros/cons and provide more helpful hints.

6-Saturdays

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #22 on: June 20, 2018, 04:42:11 PM »
We are not there quite yet but my wife and I plan to retire to Mexico in approximately 11 months. We own a house in a large expat area, the Lake Chapala area in the state of Jalisco for those that are interested. We love the area, great weather, friendly people, and a relative low cost of living.

We had planned to live outside of the U.S. in early retirement partly for the adventure of it and partly to allow our stash to grow with the LCOL. While I've not lived there full time yet these are the things I have learned so far about living in Mexico successfully:

1)  Don't just go for the LCOL, If you are only going because it is cheap you are not going to be happy. Mexico is not the U.S. you are not going to be able to make it the U.S., you have to be able to embrace that it is a different country and culture.
   Don't get me wrong there are things that make me shake my head when I visit, but you for your own happiness you just need to accept and move on.

2) You need a sense of humor, things will go wrong, hilariously spectacularly wrong for you in Mexico you will need to just laugh it off.

3) Do not get caught up in worrying if you are getting charged more for something because you are a gringo. Americans have a deeply ingrained "fairness in pricing" belief. I'm not saying you can't be a bargain hunter or get quotes for expensive services but worrying if you paid 25 pesos for something and your Mexican neighbor got for 15 pesos. That is literally 50 cents U.S. life is too short and my stash is too robust to worry about 50 cents.

4) You will need to learn some Spanish. Even in the area that we are in with it's large expat community having a working grasp on Spanish will be very helpful, you can possibly get by without it, but I think you will miss out on a lot of what Mexico has to offer if you don't learn at least some.

5) Having good problem solving skills is a bonus. You may not always be able to get everything you need so being able to come up with a viable work-around may be the best you can do.

6) The pace of life can be a bit slower. Manana does not mean tomorrow it just means not today. If you are used to having everything get done on a strict timetable that just won't jive with Mexico.
 
For those with health issues. To the best of my knowledge you can find private health coverage even with preexisting conditions, but it may either be 1) more expensive than the insurance would be otherwise, or 2) they may exclude the condition from the coverage. It may take some leg work to find a policy that will work for you. Our plan is to have insurance for catastrophic things, but for our general day to day we will pay out of pocket. Typically visiting a doctor in Mexico is cheaper than my co-pay in the U.S.

For the area we are in there is some crime, mostly petty theft or break-ins, so you take the obvious precautions with locks and other things that make your house less of a target for criminals. For the most part I typically feel safer in my area of Mexico than I do in many areas of the U.S.     

sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #23 on: June 20, 2018, 05:21:47 PM »
We are not there quite yet but my wife and I plan to retire to Mexico in approximately 11 months. We own a house in a large expat area, the Lake Chapala area in the state of Jalisco for those that are interested. We love the area, great weather, friendly people, and a relative low cost of living.

We had planned to live outside of the U.S. in early retirement partly for the adventure of it and partly to allow our stash to grow with the LCOL. While I've not lived there full time yet these are the things I have learned so far about living in Mexico successfully:

1)  Don't just go for the LCOL, If you are only going because it is cheap you are not going to be happy. Mexico is not the U.S. you are not going to be able to make it the U.S., you have to be able to embrace that it is a different country and culture.
   Don't get me wrong there are things that make me shake my head when I visit, but you for your own happiness you just need to accept and move on.

2) You need a sense of humor, things will go wrong, hilariously spectacularly wrong for you in Mexico you will need to just laugh it off.

3) Do not get caught up in worrying if you are getting charged more for something because you are a gringo. Americans have a deeply ingrained "fairness in pricing" belief. I'm not saying you can't be a bargain hunter or get quotes for expensive services but worrying if you paid 25 pesos for something and your Mexican neighbor got for 15 pesos. That is literally 50 cents U.S. life is too short and my stash is too robust to worry about 50 cents.

4) You will need to learn some Spanish. Even in the area that we are in with it's large expat community having a working grasp on Spanish will be very helpful, you can possibly get by without it, but I think you will miss out on a lot of what Mexico has to offer if you don't learn at least some.

5) Having good problem solving skills is a bonus. You may not always be able to get everything you need so being able to come up with a viable work-around may be the best you can do.

6) The pace of life can be a bit slower. Manana does not mean tomorrow it just means not today. If you are used to having everything get done on a strict timetable that just won't jive with Mexico.
 
For those with health issues. To the best of my knowledge you can find private health coverage even with preexisting conditions, but it may either be 1) more expensive than the insurance would be otherwise, or 2) they may exclude the condition from the coverage. It may take some leg work to find a policy that will work for you. Our plan is to have insurance for catastrophic things, but for our general day to day we will pay out of pocket. Typically visiting a doctor in Mexico is cheaper than my co-pay in the U.S.

For the area we are in there is some crime, mostly petty theft or break-ins, so you take the obvious precautions with locks and other things that make your house less of a target for criminals. For the most part I typically feel safer in my area of Mexico than I do in many areas of the U.S.   
Glad to hear that you already own a house there. The places I've been in Mexico have all been very friendly and not just tourist areas, I like to go off the beaten path.
1. Personally I would not go there just for LCOL, to me it's that combined with the fact that the area I'm looking in is about equal for crime and natural disasters as where I'm living now and maybe even better.
2. Yes, I've had to have a sense of humor. Last time I was there I rented a mini van since there were a few of us and we wanted plenty of luggage space. We were out in the middle of nowhere when the vehicle suddenly died. I popped the hood to find the battery completely disconnected and the batter keeper up on the firewall. Apparently someone at the rental place replaced the battery, but never finished the job. I go lucky that there were some construction worker in their truck nearby that allowed me to use their tools to fix it. I gave them $100 pesos and they were thrilled, in fact they didn't want to take the money, but I insisted.
3. Agree on this and was told exactly the same from the friends of friends already there. I've heard quotes are usually very fair and not to haggle.
4. Agree with this too. I use Duolingo on my phone to learn Spanish now and I've heard that it's good to use a translator on your phone.
5. I think this applies going to any new place.
6. The pace is one of the things I'm looking forward to. I'm sure it will be a bit of adjustment, but definitely ready to get out of the fast pace and get in touch with nature more.
I think I might also just opt for catastrophic coverage, but I will do my homework first for sure.

@6-Saturdays Can you tell me about your purchase experience? Did you establish residency or setup a trust? Curious to hear more about those types of options too. TIA!

ChpBstrd

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #24 on: June 20, 2018, 09:13:53 PM »
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_murder_rate

This may help put the crime in perspective.

Note that the COL varies enormously across the U.S. - except for healthcare - and in many places it is possible to approximate Mexican-level expenses for things like housing, transportation, food, and basic entertainment/hobbies. IMO healthcare is THE reason to leave the states.

sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2018, 10:54:59 AM »
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_murder_rate

This may help put the crime in perspective.

Note that the COL varies enormously across the U.S. - except for healthcare - and in many places it is possible to approximate Mexican-level expenses for things like housing, transportation, food, and basic entertainment/hobbies. IMO healthcare is THE reason to leave the states.
Totally agree with you about healthcare! I was just having a chat about this with my doctor this morning.

dude

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #26 on: June 21, 2018, 11:00:18 AM »
You know, this year I visited Merida instead of Zihua due to violence, but I wouldn't miss out on an entire country.

Yeah, we bailed on Zihua this year, too (just last month). Had already paid for flights and hotel, but decided it wasn't worth the risk this year sadly (we were there in June last year and traveled all around the area without any problems). If we'd just planned to stay in Zihua, we'd have still gone, but our days there consist of driving from Zihua out to Playa Saladita (to surf) and back.

Went to Panama instead, which was great, but not cheap at all -- essentially, it costs the same as the States.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2018, 11:03:11 AM by dude »

Eric

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2018, 02:39:21 PM »
What's wrong with travel to Zihuatanejo?  I mean, I know there's a whole Guerrero state warning, but I assumed that was for Acapulco.  Is anything actually happening in Zihua?

FIREby35

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #28 on: June 22, 2018, 08:32:15 AM »
When we were there two years ago there were two shootings in town where they basically chased each other through town. It was not violence against tourists, but it was around town where tourists are. I think it has continued. That is two shootings in two months and none was really close to us. In my home town you hear about more shootings than that but, you know, it did happen.

I work with a lot of immigrants and aslyum seekers from Guerrero specifically (I'm an immigration attorney).

So, I'm not trying to act like Zihua is irredeemably dangerous, I just thought it better to explore another part of Mexico.

dude

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2018, 11:41:30 AM »
What's wrong with travel to Zihuatanejo?  I mean, I know there's a whole Guerrero state warning, but I assumed that was for Acapulco.  Is anything actually happening in Zihua?

yeah, in April drug gangs ambushed and executed 6 cops on the street.  Now, this was supposedly outside of the Zihua city area proper, but it was reportedly revenge for an incident that happened in the city where cops killed several gang members in a shoot out. You can follow what's going on down there at www.borderlandbeat.com -- there's some scary shit happening in parts of Mexico.

The drive from Zihua to Playa Saladita is on the main highway, and once past Ixtapa, there ain't shit out there on that highway until you get to the very small village where you turn towards the beach (and drive @5 miles down a rural road through mango and coconut groves). So you're kind of a sitting duck on that highway. Granted, there hasn't been any tourist-related violence in that area, and Canada's travel warning excludes Zihua/Ixtapa, but out of an abundance of caution and not wanting to subject my wife to the anxiety of making that daily drive to and from, we decided to bail until things improve.

dude

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #30 on: June 22, 2018, 11:51:26 AM »
Here was the particular story that, along with the U.S. State Dept.'s elevated travel warning to "Level 4 - Do Not Travel" throughout the entire state of Guerrero made us decide to put our visit off:

http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2018/04/6-police-in-guerrero-were-given-coup-de.html 

WannaGoOutside

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #31 on: July 14, 2018, 02:52:52 PM »
Here is a blog of a couple who early retired to Quintana Roo in 2016.  He is retired law enforcement from Florida and I enjoy his take on crime, budget, healthcare and more in the area they live in.  They are just a bit south of Playa del Carmen.

http://qroo.us/about-us/

Dusty Dog Ranch

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #32 on: July 14, 2018, 09:06:06 PM »
Thanks @WannaGoOutside! That blog has the most straightforward info I've seen so far on medical care costs.

sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2018, 11:03:11 AM »
Here is a blog of a couple who early retired to Quintana Roo in 2016.  He is retired law enforcement from Florida and I enjoy his take on crime, budget, healthcare and more in the area they live in.  They are just a bit south of Playa del Carmen.

http://qroo.us/about-us/

THANKS for the link!

LadyStache in Baja

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #34 on: July 18, 2018, 06:35:49 PM »
I live in Southern Baja, been here about 9 years now. My husband is from here, our 4 kids were born here.

We live in a small town and there are several private schools to choose from. We chose to homeschool, not for a lack of good schooling options though.

Pros:
-cheap delicious food (if you eat like Mexicans, so rice, beans, tortillas, tomate, chili verde, and onion, cilantro. Even bread is affordable. Peanut butter and chocolate chips are NOT affordable, at least where I am).
--immersion in a different culture. I just think it's fascinating being around people who have a different world view, so there's endless stimulation there.
--slow pace of life (this is due to a small town, i'm sure it's the same in small towns in the us)
--the beach and the lovely 70 degree winters.
--community. I married into a robust family of 7 siblings so there's a shit ton of relatives and they do great get-togethers. The expat community is also close-knit and everyone knows your name, because they are isolated within the larger culture.

Cons:
--the dust. After 9 years I'm almost used to it. You have to mop 3x a week. Your car will be filthy. This is probably not so bad in a city. I live in a place with mostly dirt roads.
--my family is far away. This is very difficult. Much more difficult than I could have imagined. However we are working very hard and very tied to the land. We are hoping to be able to step away more soon. And we are also hoping to be able to afford travel at some point soon. So if you have money and are FIRE or work remotely, this will less of an issue for you.
--no close friends. I'm not quite in with my in-laws yet. They're very nice and very friendly, but it's not quite family yet. And I haven't been able to make close friends here yet. Expats tend to come and go a lot. And many of them are in a different socioeconomic class so that just makes things a little different. I'm making an effort to cultivate friendships.
--being foreign. Everything is ten times harder than back home because you don't just know how it is. Easy things like the public doctor. Do I get a number? Are they going to call me? How come that person just went up to the nurse without being called? How do vaccines work? Oh, they're not here today, but they might be here on Friday at 9 am, ok I'll come back. I need to pay taxes on our rental property. How do I do that? I have to go to SAT. Do I need an appointment? Oh I was supposed to bring an electronic clave? No I don't have that. Can I get one? Yes, but I'll need a USB drive. Can I come back right now? No I have to make another appointment. I need more cooking gas. How do I get that? I have to call the gas truck? Oh, but he only comes to town on Tuesdays, ok. Oh, he usually comes on Tuesdays but this week he'll come on Wednesday. How come the garbage men didn't come today? Oh, it's a public holiday. My car needs a mechanic. Who do I call? Ok, he says I need a part. Ok, great, install the part. Oh, we have to get the part. He's going to the city tomorrow, he could get it for me. He needs cash now for the part. Ok, I can go to the bank and get the cash to get the part. Oh, the ATM is out of cash. Try the other ATM, yes it worked! Ok, wait for call that car is ready. Call doesn't come. Call mechanic. Oh, maybe tomorrow something came up today. These are little things, that don't seem like a big deal, but sometimes it feels like death by a thousand paper cuts. And I have a Mexican husband. I can't imagine not having him to lean on. This is the flip-side of Pro point #2.

Just do it! Does it need to be permanent? Are you signing an irrevocable life contract? You will find out very soon if you like it! Pro-tip, don't buy right away! I'd wait til the honeymoon wears off, maybe 3-5 years. There are tons of great places to rent where I live, and they're often furnished. I'd put your stuff in storage and just try it for a year. Then decide if you want to move all your stuff down.


sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #35 on: July 19, 2018, 11:19:05 AM »
I live in Southern Baja, been here about 9 years now. My husband is from here, our 4 kids were born here.

We live in a small town and there are several private schools to choose from. We chose to homeschool, not for a lack of good schooling options though.

Pros:
-cheap delicious food (if you eat like Mexicans, so rice, beans, tortillas, tomate, chili verde, and onion, cilantro. Even bread is affordable. Peanut butter and chocolate chips are NOT affordable, at least where I am).
--immersion in a different culture. I just think it's fascinating being around people who have a different world view, so there's endless stimulation there.
--slow pace of life (this is due to a small town, i'm sure it's the same in small towns in the us)
--the beach and the lovely 70 degree winters.
--community. I married into a robust family of 7 siblings so there's a shit ton of relatives and they do great get-togethers. The expat community is also close-knit and everyone knows your name, because they are isolated within the larger culture.

Cons:
--the dust. After 9 years I'm almost used to it. You have to mop 3x a week. Your car will be filthy. This is probably not so bad in a city. I live in a place with mostly dirt roads.
--my family is far away. This is very difficult. Much more difficult than I could have imagined. However we are working very hard and very tied to the land. We are hoping to be able to step away more soon. And we are also hoping to be able to afford travel at some point soon. So if you have money and are FIRE or work remotely, this will less of an issue for you.
--no close friends. I'm not quite in with my in-laws yet. They're very nice and very friendly, but it's not quite family yet. And I haven't been able to make close friends here yet. Expats tend to come and go a lot. And many of them are in a different socioeconomic class so that just makes things a little different. I'm making an effort to cultivate friendships.
--being foreign. Everything is ten times harder than back home because you don't just know how it is. Easy things like the public doctor. Do I get a number? Are they going to call me? How come that person just went up to the nurse without being called? How do vaccines work? Oh, they're not here today, but they might be here on Friday at 9 am, ok I'll come back. I need to pay taxes on our rental property. How do I do that? I have to go to SAT. Do I need an appointment? Oh I was supposed to bring an electronic clave? No I don't have that. Can I get one? Yes, but I'll need a USB drive. Can I come back right now? No I have to make another appointment. I need more cooking gas. How do I get that? I have to call the gas truck? Oh, but he only comes to town on Tuesdays, ok. Oh, he usually comes on Tuesdays but this week he'll come on Wednesday. How come the garbage men didn't come today? Oh, it's a public holiday. My car needs a mechanic. Who do I call? Ok, he says I need a part. Ok, great, install the part. Oh, we have to get the part. He's going to the city tomorrow, he could get it for me. He needs cash now for the part. Ok, I can go to the bank and get the cash to get the part. Oh, the ATM is out of cash. Try the other ATM, yes it worked! Ok, wait for call that car is ready. Call doesn't come. Call mechanic. Oh, maybe tomorrow something came up today. These are little things, that don't seem like a big deal, but sometimes it feels like death by a thousand paper cuts. And I have a Mexican husband. I can't imagine not having him to lean on. This is the flip-side of Pro point #2.

Just do it! Does it need to be permanent? Are you signing an irrevocable life contract? You will find out very soon if you like it! Pro-tip, don't buy right away! I'd wait til the honeymoon wears off, maybe 3-5 years. There are tons of great places to rent where I live, and they're often furnished. I'd put your stuff in storage and just try it for a year. Then decide if you want to move all your stuff down.
Thank you so much for this! I'm working on getting my wife on board. If it were just me I would have left already. :)

MayDay

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2018, 08:17:43 AM »
My sister lives in DF with her Mexican husband. In DF cost of living is higher but still cheap compared to, say, living in NYC on Central Park, which is her equivalent location.

It was definitely a struggle like LadyStache said. She doesn't struggle with friends so much, partially being in a bigger city, partially lots of Mexican co-worker and friends of her husband.

The safety thing is tricky. Her co-workers were kidnapped by drug people because they needed to "borrow" a car. Luckily they weren't harmed. After a few hours they let them go and gave them the car back. She's been stopped by police in scary situations where she feared for ehr safety and had to make split second bribery decisions. But overall she feels safe.

spartana

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2018, 09:59:30 AM »
Fun thread! While I'm not interested in living in Mexico myself (too hot) I have spent quite a bit of time there and think it would be a great place to retire too at any age.

 I don't know if you are a woman and single @sisto but if so there may be some places you'd feel less safe or more harassed by men if out doing things solo then in others. You may also perhaps be expected to adhere to more traditional gender roles then you would in the US (if that matters to you). But overall I think most expat communities and coastal towns are very safe and welcoming even if not as inexpensive as more rural inland towns. However I would suggest doing a long vacation in several areas before deciding to buy. Maybe rent for a few months in different places to "try before you buy".

Also, not to derail the thread, you mentioned the reason you wanted to buy in Mexico is to have an affordable Home base in order to travel from. If this is the main reason you can find that in the US so it doesn't have to be a choice between keeping the place in Sacramento or buying a place in Mexico. Or do something like @dude mentioned above and get rid of the home base  and instead travel by renting in different areas for a few months each (or as short or long as you want) in different places around the world. This is sort of what I'm doing but in the US. Sold the house, van travelled awhile, rented an inexpensive furnished cabin in a ski town for summer, and will likely leave in fall for somewhere new. No worrying about a home base or its expenses, and the ability to try new places until something clicks.

spartana

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2018, 10:32:22 AM »
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cities_by_murder_rate

This may help put the crime in perspective.

Note that the COL varies enormously across the U.S. - except for healthcare - and in many places it is possible to approximate Mexican-level expenses for things like housing, transportation, food, and basic entertainment/hobbies. IMO healthcare is THE reason to leave the states.
Murder is only one type of crime and it is mostly drug cartel related in Mexico and generally doesn't effect expat. I'm sure other types of crime like assaults, rape, robbery, burglary, etc are much higher in many place in the US compared to Mexico and Central and South America.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #39 on: July 22, 2018, 12:36:28 PM »
There's so much corruption in Mexico, including law enforcement, that I think a lot of crime is not reported and accounted for.  A friend of mine in Mexico City has experienced home invasion and a mugging where they forced to take money from an ATM and multiple burglaries of their home in an upscale neighborhood.  That's anecdotal,  but I can't think of a single person I know here in the U.S. with that history.

At least it's not hot there.

spartana

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #40 on: July 22, 2018, 12:42:27 PM »


 I don't know if you are a woman and single @sisto but if so there may be some places you'd feel less safe or more harassed by men if out doing things solo then in others. You may also perhaps be expected to adhere to more traditional gender roles then you would in the US (if that matters to you).
Just read that you're a guy with a dw and family so above probably doesn't apply to you. Although maybe your wife if she likes to go hiking or biking or longer driving trips alone.

Another option, again similar to what I'm doing, is get an inexpensive longer term rental somewhere in Mexico and do some longer trips of a few weeks or a month or 2  to other parts of Mexico to see how it is. Sure you'll be leaving your main rental vacant while gone but I think that is less worrisome than leaving a place you own vacant - especially if its an apt rather than a house. You can probably get a local friend to check on it for you. Plus you won't be locked into a long term home ownership situation in one town if some other town you discover would suit you better.

I will probably keep my rental longer even while  travel and check out other places. Its a month to month rental, I have a roommate,  its cheap and I can come back for the winter if I want. If I find a better place while travelling I just have to give 30 days notice. And the house sale money stay invested earning $$ until I find the dream hovel to buy.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2018, 12:53:33 PM by spartana »

spartana

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #41 on: July 22, 2018, 12:50:40 PM »
There's so much corruption in Mexico, including law enforcement, that I think a lot of crime is not reported and accounted for.  A friend of mine in Mexico City has experienced home invasion and a mugging where they forced to take money from an ATM and multiple burglaries of their home in an upscale neighborhood.  That's anecdotal,  but I can't think of a single person I know here in the U.S. with that history.

At least it's not hot there.
Well I'm from the LA area so that's just daily life here ;-). But I agree that both petty crimes and violent crimes in Mexico are probably under reported so hard to see how they would compare to US cities of the same size and whether non-Mexicans are targeted more, or less, than Mexicans.

FIREby35

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #42 on: July 23, 2018, 07:37:00 AM »
There's so much corruption in Mexico, including law enforcement, that I think a lot of crime is not reported and accounted for.  A friend of mine in Mexico City has experienced home invasion and a mugging where they forced to take money from an ATM and multiple burglaries of their home in an upscale neighborhood.  That's anecdotal,  but I can't think of a single person I know here in the U.S. with that history.

At least it's not hot there.

I do feel the need to defend Mexico City.

I lived there for a year and never experienced any violence or direct assaults. In fact, I have visited once a year(ish) since I left to visit all the friends I made while I lived there and, still, never experienced anything other than a taxi driver trying to over charge me by a few pesos. Mexico City is an amazing city with more history than any North American city, amazing weather and literally all kinds of human activity. Any city that size has the essential quality of possessing anything you seek - good, bad or otherwise. There are 20 million+ people who live there. I'd think of it as the equivalent to New York City - it never sleeps.

Personally, I seek out world class restaurants for incredibly low prices, world class museums and parks as well as great neighborhoods with all the services and amenities one could imagine. If 20 million people can figure out how to live there, I always assumed I had enough in me to figure it out as well.

sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #43 on: July 23, 2018, 11:05:04 AM »
Thanks for the great advice as usual @spartana

I also have to agree with @FIREby35 about Mexico City. My cousin is married to a woman from there and they go back often with their small children. He would not do that if he didn't feel safe. Then again he lives in Chicago so it probably is safer by comparison.

gerardc

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #44 on: July 23, 2018, 04:30:41 PM »
Personally, I seek out world class restaurants for incredibly low prices, world class museums and parks as well as great neighborhoods with all the services and amenities one could imagine. If 20 million people can figure out how to live there, I always assumed I had enough in me to figure it out as well.

I always hear people raving about museums where they live... is this significant for anyone? For me museums account for less than 0.001% (made up number) of the time I spent. At best you'll go a few times, but it's not worth living next to them.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #45 on: July 23, 2018, 06:08:48 PM »
There's so much corruption in Mexico, including law enforcement, that I think a lot of crime is not reported and accounted for.  A friend of mine in Mexico City has experienced home invasion and a mugging where they forced to take money from an ATM and multiple burglaries of their home in an upscale neighborhood.  That's anecdotal,  but I can't think of a single person I know here in the U.S. with that history.

At least it's not hot there.

I do feel the need to defend Mexico City.

I lived there for a year and never experienced any violence or direct assaults. In fact, I have visited once a year(ish) since I left to visit all the friends I made while I lived there and, still, never experienced anything other than a taxi driver trying to over charge me by a few pesos.

My friend has lived their all of her life, over 40 years.  So that's a lot more time for things to happen... and they have.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #46 on: July 23, 2018, 06:10:15 PM »
Then again he lives in Chicago so it probably is safer by comparison.

Nah, unless you're talking some very bad neighborhoods.  I've walked many miles throughout the Chicago area and never felt unsafe.  Worst thing that happened is people begging for money.

FIREby35

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #47 on: July 24, 2018, 07:13:39 AM »
Personally, I seek out world class restaurants for incredibly low prices, world class museums and parks as well as great neighborhoods with all the services and amenities one could imagine. If 20 million people can figure out how to live there, I always assumed I had enough in me to figure it out as well.

I always hear people raving about museums where they live... is this significant for anyone? For me museums account for less than 0.001% (made up number) of the time I spent. At best you'll go a few times, but it's not worth living next to them.


Speaking for myself, I love museums! Haha. In Mexico City, for example, they have an anthropological museum with all kinds of pre-Spanish colonialism, native artifacts. When I lived there I spent multiple days there for hours. It is the largest in the world for that specific culture. My wife does make fun of me, but I enjoy learning about all that stuff.

https://www.google.com/search?q=mexico+city+anthropology+museum&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiulfnZ6LfcAhUIeKwKHayyCikQ_AUICygC&biw=1273&bih=562

I also enjoy some of the art museums involving Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. I love going into historic buildings, like the Cathedral in the center of Mexico City that was literally the first thing the Spanish built and they built it out of the stones from the Aztec "Templo Mayor." I've read a bunch of history books about various sites all across Mexico and then gone to see them.

Have you ever seen the Castillo de Chapultapec? Did you know the American army took it during the Mexican American war and that was basically what symbolized America's victor in that war and got us California and multiple other states? It's actually an amazing historical place and now, a museum!

https://www.google.com/search?biw=1273&bih=562&tbm=isch&sa=1&ei=RiZXW9ecB4SQsAWIxLC4DA&q=castillo+de+chapultepec&oq=Castillo&gs_l=img.3.0.0l3j0i67k1j0l6.77940.83777.0.84932.22.13.9.0.0.0.99.921.12.12.0....0...1c.1.64.img..1.21.965.0...0.6HKnuBb9oeU

Anyway, I could go on, but I do like museums!
« Last Edit: July 24, 2018, 07:18:25 AM by FIREby35 »

MayDay

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #48 on: July 24, 2018, 12:02:28 PM »
There's so much corruption in Mexico, including law enforcement, that I think a lot of crime is not reported and accounted for.  A friend of mine in Mexico City has experienced home invasion and a mugging where they forced to take money from an ATM and multiple burglaries of their home in an upscale neighborhood.  That's anecdotal,  but I can't think of a single person I know here in the U.S. with that history.

At least it's not hot there.

Oh yah. My sister also had her apartment broken into and all their electronics stolen, and that was in a doorman building. They haven't reported any of it because why bother.

She also has had her phone/wallet stolen multiple times. And she is hyperviligent compared to the US, but it only takes a moment, and as a white person she is a target. So that sucks.

sisto

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Re: Anyone FIRE and move to Mexico?
« Reply #49 on: July 24, 2018, 12:17:59 PM »
There's so much corruption in Mexico, including law enforcement, that I think a lot of crime is not reported and accounted for.  A friend of mine in Mexico City has experienced home invasion and a mugging where they forced to take money from an ATM and multiple burglaries of their home in an upscale neighborhood.  That's anecdotal,  but I can't think of a single person I know here in the U.S. with that history.

At least it's not hot there.

Oh yah. My sister also had her apartment broken into and all their electronics stolen, and that was in a doorman building. They haven't reported any of it because why bother.

She also has had her phone/wallet stolen multiple times. And she is hyperviligent compared to the US, but it only takes a moment, and as a white person she is a target. So that sucks.
What area of Mexico?