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La Isla


Dec 3, 2007, 6:38 PM

Post #76 of 84 (5463 views)

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Re: [GueroPaz] John Bleazard: Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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I imagine that I live frugally compared to many MexConnect posters: I rent a very small one-bedroom apartment; have no maid service; use public transportation to get around; eat out a lot, but at inexpensive neighborhood restaurants; go to movies, free or very inexpensive concerts, and museums for cultural sustenance; and at the moment don't have cable but do have an almost free internet connection a friend arranged for me. Once I get my FM-3, I'll buy health insurance which will add around $135 US a month to my expenses. I can't imagine that life is more expensive in Vera Cruz than it is in the D.F.


Brian

Dec 4, 2007, 5:35 AM

Post #77 of 84 (5431 views)

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Re: [jerezano] John Bleazard: Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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This statement is true. For example the authors of Falling in Love with San Miguel Allende state quite simply that they are living in San Miguel Allende on their social security income. They imply that that income is very low. They also state that they live quite well and they offer proof. I don't doubt that they are happy there in SMA or that they can live very comfortably on their restricted income, but those general statements do not help a person who wants to move to SMA. It would be much more helpful if they publish a monthly average of their living costs for the years they have lived in SMA. Of course most people don't have that type of data.




The FLSMA website has a lengthy article comparing many features of SMA with McAllen, Texas. It confirms many of my earlier statements that food and shelter costs are not that much different. The biggest cost differential is in the area of hired help where Mexico is clearly the winner. Local transportation, at least in Austin where we currently live, is comparable in the central city to SMA. Buses cost $.40 in SMA versus $.50 in Austin. Senior citizens ride free! Getting back to the FLSMA article, in fairness, the cities of SMA and McAllen are not even close in ambience if that is what one is looking for. I don't think that any border city can be compared with pueblos in the interior of the Republic.


ken_in_dfw

Dec 4, 2007, 7:50 AM

Post #78 of 84 (5408 views)

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Re: [Brian] John Bleazard: Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Getting back to the FLSMA article, in fairness, the cities of SMA and McAllen are not even close in ambience if that is what one is looking for. I don't think that any border city can be compared with pueblos in the interior of the Republic.



Nor was that Carol's intent when writing the blog post. She was simply providing some observations from a recent trip to the border.

I find it interesting that a discussion, allegedly, of the costs of living between Mexico and the U.S. quickly and repeatedly turns to discussions of ambience and cultural amenities. It suggests to me, at least, that most folks move to Mexico for more than just a cheaper place to hang out. I believe Carol has also made that observation on her Website and in her book from time to time.

Discussions of expenses are somewhat interesting in an "oh, good to know that" vein. But life should be more, much more, than purely a series of economic transactions. That, IMHO, is what moving to Mexico is all about.


esperanza

Dec 4, 2007, 2:36 PM

Post #79 of 84 (5366 views)

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Re: [kenhjr] John Bleazard: Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Spoken like a man who has more monthly income than $500 in Social Security, kenhjr.

A few weeks ago, Carol posted in great detail about the income they have, but she decided later to take the post off her website. She did not offer a reason why she took the post down, nor should she.

I read the post several times. I believe that she told the truth about their income, their expenses, and how they manage "to live in SMA on Social Security". Suffice it to say that (a) their SS is not currently their only income and (b) the combined SS they do receive is substantially more than $500/month.

IMHO, none of this is anybody's business. However, remarks by another poster here on MexConnect suggested that it would be an interesting exercise to see exactly what one's monthly expenses for life in Mexico really were. I took the suggestion, ran the numbers, and was surprised to find out that if I cut back just a little bit, I could indeed live very well in Mexico on only the very small amount of Social Security that I receive. I might just do it.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









ken_in_dfw

Dec 4, 2007, 4:10 PM

Post #80 of 84 (5345 views)

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Re: [esperanza] John Bleazard: Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Well, you're right, Esperanza. Since I am working, I do live on a salary that exceeds $500 in SS. And, by inference, I take your point that, were I to live on $500 SS, I would be more interested in how much things cost.

But I still believe that if the only reason you're considering a move to Mexico is a lower cost of living, you're moving for the wrong reasons. I think Carol has made the same point pretty consistently in both her Website and her book.

I'm not sure where the $500 figure came in to the discussion. I have read Carol's FAQs. She specifically states in one question that people with very low income will have a hard time making the move and the adjustment.

From my family background, getting by on a very low income is made easier when you have friends and family around with whom you can share expenses and eliminate the need for support services that pile on the expense. So I would think that a person with a low income would do better sticking close to home, unless home was a really expensive place (i.e., NYC, San Francisco, etc.).

But I don't doubt that, if you were to find yourself in many parts of Mexico, and were resourceful, the quality of life could be much better on comparatively less money. I just don't think that moving to a different country with a different culture should be a purely economic decision. But, as with so much in life, YMMV.


GueroPaz

Dec 4, 2007, 4:10 PM

Post #81 of 84 (5345 views)

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Re: [Brian] John Bleazard: Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Agreed: the border towns of the USA cannot be easily compared with any large city in the interior of Mexico. Nor, I imagine, can any Mexican border town compare with the interior cities. My daughters still live just north of Rio Bravo del Norte, and when I lived and visited there, it seemed to be a no-man's land, a twilight zone where most things are not typical of either country. There's a nice job opening in Tampico now, and I only hesitated a short time before ignoring it. Even Tampico looks too close to the border. In some border towns, the only 'ambience' is rotting garbage and open sewers!


esperanza

Dec 4, 2007, 4:21 PM

Post #82 of 84 (5337 views)

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Re: [kenhjr] John Bleazard: Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Kenhjr, I haven't seen you around here before, but you'll be a great addition to the forums. By way of introduction, let me say that I've lived in Mexico for nigh on 27 years, full time and part time, and I live in Morelia, where it's none too inexpensive. I moved here about five months ago, from Guadalajara, where it's a bit more expensive in some things than it is here in Morelia, and a bit less expensive in others.

You're absolutely right about reasons to come to Mexico other than finances. I noticed today that the dollar is now being traded at Morelia banks at 10.75 sell, 10.90 buy. Not too long ago it was at 11.5. Tomorrow it could be at 9, or at 8, which is where it was when I initially moved to Mexico in early 1981. If a retiree is basing his/her Mexico spending power on the amount of dollars he/she receives as pension/SS or other income, his/her funds might be less than expected.

However, if a given retiree can't afford Mexico, that retiree better start seeing how to meet his/her needs in small-town USA or Canada, or wherever that retiree is currently living.

http://www.mexicocooks.typepad.com









Ed and Fran

Dec 4, 2007, 6:04 PM

Post #83 of 84 (5322 views)

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Re: [GueroPaz] John Bleazard: Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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"There's a nice job opening in Tampico now, and I only hesitated a short time before ignoring it. Even Tampico looks too close to the border."

While Tampico isn't a quaint colonial city, it's is far removed, both in distance and ambiance, from the border. We lived there for almost two years back in '96-97 and enjoyed it.

It has it's drawbacks, like any city on the gulf, of heat and humidity. But it has decent shopping (at least compared to where we are), restaurants, a decent gulf style beach, and some cultural events. I suspect it still has quite a good size expat population due to the large number of plants there. There's a big American School there also.

Best regards

Ed & Fran


roni_smith


Dec 6, 2007, 7:36 PM

Post #84 of 84 (5242 views)

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Re: [esperanza] John Bleazard: Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Mexico Insights publishes a yearly look at the cost of living in Mexico. They have 4-6 households of gringos living around Lake Chapala who report their expenses. It is pretty detailed and variable. This past year I think it ranged from around $1700 a month to over $3000 a month.

At this time we're planning on around $3000 a month for the long run. That is less than what we will end up with between pensions and SS - and perhaps more or less than what we will end up spending.

We do have simple needs and live simply. I suspect that will not change with retirement, but who knows.,

The exchange rate is a bit of a wild card. I remeber growing up in Brasil in the 60's. Dad got paid in dollars and the exchange rate kept up with Brasil's inflation rate (went from 160 cruzeiros per dollar to over 1600 cruzeiros a dollar during the 7 years that we lived there).

Don't know that this will be the case in retirement.
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Planning for Mexico Move Blog

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