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Georgia


Nov 14, 2007, 10:21 AM

Post #26 of 84 (8519 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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That may be true, Jennifer. But I just got an e-mail regarding a function a year from now in Washington, DC. The price for the dinner? $80 per person. Hello? And that is for a banquet, not pick what you want from the menu. Whenever I go up to the states to visit my kids, I usually stay in a hotel where I can do my own cooking: the supermarket basket price bowls me over in the last year.

What kind of a meal would you eat in Mexico for $880 pesos ????? Per person. Maybe I'm hanging out in the wrong places, I dunno.


alex .

Nov 14, 2007, 12:32 PM

Post #27 of 84 (8501 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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I still say: No, its not cheaper to live in Mexico. OK, I'll admit, tacos are cheaper. How about gasoline, the Cuota highway system, electrical appliances, cameras, computers & accessories, telephone service, and electrical service? Cars and car parts? Good tequila? Put your kids in school and watch the cost mount with uniforms and supplies and "cooperacion". Then the hidden costs of performing the padrino function at quinceneras, baptisms,and weddings? Other budget busters include "loans" to your new-found-loyal-til-you-run-out- of-money friends and family? Airfare back to the States on occasion.Importing your favorite [insert indulgence here]. Supporting relatives that come to visit and don't go home, ever. "Expedite fees" in various and sundry forms. Seguro and aguinaldo (sp?)for your maid and gardner, if you are so inclined to have employees. Nah, its no cheaper
Alex


Gringal

Nov 14, 2007, 1:29 PM

Post #28 of 84 (8491 views)

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Re: [alex .] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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The things you named are almost entirely optional. The imports, the trips, the relatives, the spongers, the expectations of workers are all part of the individual choices we are each free to make.

It isn't possible to logically compare "cheaper or not" without knowing the income and individual expenditure level of the the individual: how much it would cost the person in the U.S. or in Mexico at that level of income and expenditure ?

On the one hand we may have a retiree with grown children who pay their own way to visit Mexico, stay a decent time and go back to their jobs. Said retiree is compelled to live on Social Security with few choices about servants or "good" Tequila. On the other we may have a well off younger person with children to educate, visiting relatives who don't want to leave and a more lavish lifestyle. No comparison.

For instance: How cheap is gas? Right now, it's cheaper in Mexico. How much does it cost me to run the car? This depends on whether my car gets 26 miles to the gallon, or 8. How much to repair the car? Depends on the age and the amount of spaghetti under the hood. How about the cost of quotas? Depends on how much you travel. Like many other questions and answers, there is your reality and there is mine. For you, the U.S. is cheaper. For me, Mexico, but forget the tacos. I'm taco'd out.


(This post was edited by Gringal on Nov 14, 2007, 1:53 PM)


jennifer rose

Nov 14, 2007, 2:09 PM

Post #29 of 84 (8482 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Oh, Georgia, you obviously have to get out more often. $80 is on the very, very low, ultra-budget side of dreadful dinners at functions in the U.S. And it's very, very possible to blow $880 M.N., with but a single glass of ordinary wine, for a single dinner in Mexico, too.


sandykayak


Nov 14, 2007, 2:13 PM

Post #30 of 84 (8481 views)

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Re: [Georgia] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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And my office (n Miami, FL) is having xmas lunch at the Rusty Pelican (gorgeous view of Biscayne Bay) at a per person cost of $36! I'm passing. That's ridiculous for lunch.
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


Georgia


Nov 14, 2007, 2:48 PM

Post #31 of 84 (8474 views)

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Re: [jennifer rose] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Ah, yes, Mexico City: 1968, Christmas, lunch at a place where you picked your live trout from a pool outdoors that would then be cooked to order. $100/per person then. I damned near fainted.

And, of course, wine: that can up your bill to any height you choose, ditto for good tequila.

No, no, what I am discussing here is a banquet at some Marriott in D.C. a year from now. The food will be mediocre. The ambience will be ... well, it won't be. This doesn't include the beverage of my choice. It also involves sappy speeches. For this I am expected to pay $80/pp.

My husband is still recovering his blood pressure from the per person charge the banquet hall is charging for our daughter's wedding in upstate New York.

No, I was just referring to "ordinary" stuff.

Actually, I think I've decided to stay in more. My cooking is better and healthier. And as for wine: I prefer Thursday's vintage Carlo Rossi red a/k/a Paisano.

And while they may not be chic a good taquiza in Guadalajara for an event costs $30 MN per person. Three bucks more or less and the food is great.


robrt8

Nov 14, 2007, 2:49 PM

Post #32 of 84 (8473 views)

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Re: [sandykayak] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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So many great posts. Well, how about the other way around. Can anyone imagine a Mexican who's moved up north who could say it costs about the same to live NOB as Mexico?


Brian

Nov 14, 2007, 3:25 PM

Post #33 of 84 (8466 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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In Reply To


Brian: The reference to Norma's illness seems irrelevant to the current issue. It may have nothing to do with their restaurant choices. I have just completed taking a series of drugs to treat my own intestinal infections, and I have never eaten street food or dined in the tiangus. You can get the miseries anywhere. Including NOB, judging from the many food recalls happening there lately. Caution will only do a limited about of good.

As you said about "getting what you pay for" (hopefully). It depends on what it is that you want. Obviously, you want things from life that are not available in Mexico, so you left. That only means that your definition of a good quality of life differs from that of many of the rest of us. Vive la difference, or Mexico would soon be way overcrowded with expats from NOB.


My point had to do with a lower standard of living that one chooses to espouse by moving to a developing country, in this case, Mexico. One reason you pay such low taxes in Lake Chapala is that you don't get much in governmental services. If there were a public health department that inspected and regulated restaurants, for example, the incidence of gastrointestinal diseases would plummet. Absent, those kinds of controls, even expensive restaurants in Mexico daily place customers at risk. My reference to hospital medical care was intended to counter, to an extent, the claims that some folks make about what excellent care they were provided while hospitalized. The fact is that one's comfort in a Mexican hospital is largely dependent upon the ability of friends and family to stay there with you 24/7 to attend to your needs. So, in keeping with the subject of this message thread, I would say that hospital care is indeed cheaper in Mexico but, again, you get what you pay for.

Some things don't have anything to do with money. I left SMA because of health reasons and nothing else. Had I thought my quality of life was lacking in the previous 10 years in Mexico, I would have moved back earlier. However, after developing Meniere's syndrome last year, I couldn't get the same treatments in Mexico and I couldn't be safe trying to walk daily on poorly maintained sidewalks. Mexico is a very difficult place to live with a serious disability, more so than the USA. I think most people would choose their health over continuing to live in a place even as desirable as SMA


(This post was edited by Brian on Nov 14, 2007, 5:06 PM)


GueroPaz

Nov 14, 2007, 8:19 PM

Post #34 of 84 (8415 views)

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Re: [robrt8] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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robrt8 has it correctly: Mexican laborers who immigrate NOB always are shocked at how high the cost of living is.

My son showed me the cave he lived in in Guanajuato; you can probably rent it for one centavo per decade.

It's the same in every country. I was paying $1 per square foot per month to rent a small apartment in Houston in 2003, and then moved to a condo with a breathtaking view in Chiang Mai for US$0.17 per square foot. My old landlady in Chiapas would probably rent you her 3 bedroom/private pool beach house for 900 pesos per month. But then it's not properly fenced, you need a live-in house servant, it's miles from civilization, etc.


stina

Nov 15, 2007, 4:47 AM

Post #35 of 84 (8401 views)

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

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It certainly has been cheaper for our family- cheaper AND better in many other quality of life respects.

Our situation is skewed from the norm- we are a bit younger than most posters here (40 & 42), we owned a house in San Franicsco and the kiddos were in private preschool in SF (there is no public preschool.) My husband was working endless hours in a high pressure high tech job which also entailed lots of travel. I wasn't working as my job skills from before kids were in high pressure lots-of-travel high tech, too- very few part time jobs in that industry, so I hadn't gone back to work. We had some money saved from before kids and we were dipping into that every month to get by. Even with a very low key lifestyle. Fancy San Francisco restaurants and cultural outings were definitely out of our reach. Babysitters there are $18/hour. Movie nights cost us $100 with babysitting, parking, tickets, small container of popcorn...

Here in Guadalajara our cost of living- even with a big fixer upper house and a temporary apartment rental (until the house is livable) and private kindergarten for the girls- is small fraction of what it was in San Francisco. The best thing, though, is that my husband isn't stressed out about work now, we are getting more quality time with the kids and each other. All 4 of us are having daily adventures here- with language, food, culture, meeting interesting new people, dealing with crushed ancient clay sewer lines and other old house mysteries, etc. And we're definitely not stressed about money. Our savings is enough, plus the proceeds from the sale of the house in San Francisco. We have never been happier, honestly, and the kids are going to grow up really knowing another language and culture.

cheers
stina


drmike

Nov 15, 2007, 6:30 AM

Post #36 of 84 (8388 views)

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Re: [stina] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Way to go "stina"...excellent attitude!
Dr. Mike

http://www.smarthealthchoices.blogspot.com

There are hundreds of paths up the mountain,
all leading in the same direction,
so it doesn't matter which path you take.
The only one wasting time is the one
who runs around and around the mountain,
telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.


Hindu teaching



JohnnyBoy

Nov 15, 2007, 1:52 PM

Post #37 of 84 (8339 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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I have no idea how much Carol and Norma get from Social Security, but it could easily be as much as $4000 per month, or more, combined.

Of course most minds run to the $500-$600 per month lower end of the Social Security benefit amount, and they forget to double it, or even if they do double it, $1000-$1200 a month to live in SMA would sound like quite a feat.

Carol and Norma, I suspect, have other sources of income besides their Social Security. They have proceeds from their book, they sold a house in Arizona prior to moving to SMA. They write. Surely they are not living on only two low-end Social Secuity benefits.

In the final analysis it is certainly none of my business how much they have to live on and I am not trying to make it my business, not in any way. I greatly admire Carol and Norma. But if they want to be up front and serious about this, then they, as well as others who make similar claims, need to fess up and state unequivocally and completely what the income is.

And those of you who fail to take into consideration the up front purchase of a dwelling and not figure that into the cost of living in Mexico are not being completely open and honest about this matter. If your house cost US$250,000 (I use that figure because it seems to the minimum that most NOB people would expect to spend for a house in SMA or Ajijic), and had you invested that amount in a secure investment, like a CD, instead of buying the house, your investment would earn you about $1000 per month (at approx. 5%). So add $1000 a month to your monthly expenses and you will see there is almost no way anyone or a couple receiving minimal or close to minimal Social Security benefits could make it, in Mexico, or anywhere else.

IMHO.

jb


sandykayak


Nov 15, 2007, 2:20 PM

Post #38 of 84 (8331 views)

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Re: [alex .] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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One expenditure that is rarely mentioned is the amount of money spent on "charitable contributions." Does anyone have a pre-set amount that they set aside to give away every month?

A difficult one to quantify is the fundraisers where you pays your money and, say, get a meal. How many of these per month do you attend that you might not? And I imagine a lot of people eat out a lot more than when NOB.
Sandy Kramer
Miami, Fla & El Parque


robrt8

Nov 15, 2007, 3:04 PM

Post #39 of 84 (8320 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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One could actually live quite cheaply in SMA. The $1,200 from SS would work. You would live a 20 min. walk outside of town, cook your own food for the most part, have a maid come by once a week...
You can also pay a million for a place in the Centro, but the vast majority of those who live there aren't living the high life.
As for shelling out the dough to buy a place, you may find that it appreciates over the years, maybe much more than the lousy 5% a CD will get you NOB, before taxes.


Gringal

Nov 15, 2007, 3:43 PM

Post #40 of 84 (8312 views)

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

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"But if they want to be up front and serious about this, then they, as well as others who make similar claims, need to fess up and state unequivocally and completely what the income is. "

Let's get real here, John. This is a public forum. Carol and Norma have been quite forthcoming on these matters in their book and on their forum. For the rest of us, we'll put our balance sheets on a public forum just about the time the cow jumps over the moon and pigs fly.

However, anyone who puts in the effort can come up with a throretical bare bones budget that would allow him/her to survive in Mexico on the average $1200 a month Social Security check. If, by chance, their household includes another person with same, it's no real stretch for them to get by nicely.

In the U.S., this would be a toughie, IMO, though others clearly disagree.


(This post was edited by Gringal on Nov 15, 2007, 3:44 PM)


johanson


Nov 15, 2007, 5:12 PM

Post #41 of 84 (8292 views)

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

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I've just had a double rum and coke, so I feel like ranting and raving. Up North I am upper middle class. I am certainly not rich. But here in Mexico, I can live like I am rich and at a fraction of the cost I would pay for real estate or help up North.

Up North I clean my own house. In Ajijic, I have a gardener and a maid. Sure some things are more expensive in Mexico. But most things are so much less, especially if you take the time to comparative shop, be you at TelMex or at Costco.

Here is an example, In Ajijic I pay a worker doing construction work, $21.88 pesos per hour and his Meistro $43.75 pesos per hour. In Seattle I pay a laborer (Local 242) I think $28.57 dollars per hour, (It's correct within a few cents)

I could go on but I won't


NinaNina

Nov 15, 2007, 8:02 PM

Post #42 of 84 (8262 views)

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

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I agree, Gringal. Our lives in Oaxaca are phenomenally cheaper than in the United States (Oakland and Portland). And, believe me, I am frugal and track every (well, every other) penny/centavo.

Like Stina, I speak for a family of four, so perhaps expenses are easier to track when they are quadrupled! A quick analysis of how people typically must spend the bulk of their money: housing, medical (for those of us who are non-Medicare), and food. Well, these are the three big money-savers in Mexico, at least compared to living in a vibrant city in the United States.

Just yesterday, I told the moms at my son's school what his day care in Oakland cost: $900 U.S. per month. They were stunned. Actually, after having lived here a few months, I found that I was stunned as well!

--Serena
http://mexpop.blogspot.com


scubabride

Nov 15, 2007, 8:32 PM

Post #43 of 84 (8260 views)

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

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Well I am your perfect SSDI average example. I receive 1193 USD per month and as I posted I am doing fine. Now I do not have a maid or gardner, but then I sure did not have those in the states while raising 5 children either. I do have a teen age Mexican girl and her little sister who have sort of adopted me, and since I let them do thier homework here, watch TV a bit and use my shower a few times a week...they help me out around the house cleaning. My quality of life is actually greatly improved here, as is my health.


(This post was edited by scubabride on Nov 15, 2007, 10:34 PM)


GueroPaz

Nov 16, 2007, 6:36 AM

Post #44 of 84 (8228 views)

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

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I'll agree with gringal and politely disagree with John Bleazard. We don't have to claim our income to the world, to post statements about our expenses. If you're living on 39% or 139% of your income, it only matters what your expenses are, for our comparisons here. But I've posted here or elsewhere already, that my total pensions are more than US$2,000 per month, after they take out for taxes and a good medical plan. I plan to supplement that by teaching English independiente, part time. One of my major hesitations about moving to Puerto Vallarta is that the cost of rental apartments is either very high, or uncertain.

Somebody mentioned buying houses for US$250,000 in Guadalajara or SMA. I've been out of the property market for decades, but my landlady's first offer was to sell me her beachfront house for $125,000 pesos.


Bloviator

Nov 16, 2007, 7:06 AM

Post #45 of 84 (8222 views)

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Re: [JohnBleazard] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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John is absolutely right. Most often when this type of discussion comes up, those who own their homes fail to include the value in their budget. This totally skews the information.

I figure that our house costs about $2,500+ US each month. That is one reason that we are trying to sell and rent. Lakeside, renting a house comparable to our home would cost us something like $1,000 to $1,500.

I've long since given up trying to figure our exact budget to live in Ajijic. I just know that we live on $60-75% of what we lived on NoB. Some things are much cheaper, others are very much more expensive. Some things that we need NoB, we don't here (ie. fire insurance on the house. It would be good to have, but is really not expensive or absolutely necessary). No way could we afford to eat out NoB as regularly as we do here. Labor costs here are a fraction of those NoB.

Medical expenses, our major expense this year, are a lot more here for us. NoB, we have Medicare. Here we pay our own way. While the overall cost is much less here, our share (all) means we pay more. My recent surgery NoB was $79K, all but $1K paid by Medicare.

There is no doubt in my mind that we live much better here than NoB. Sometimes, as prices here go up, we forget that they are going up even more NoB and we begin to question that it is less expensive living here. Each trip NoB reinforces the reality that the cost of living is a major benefit of living here.

For some, it is the only reason to live here. That is fine as long as the other benefits of life here are positive for them. They might want to live near the grandkids, but think they can't afford to do so. Nevertheless, they can live here quite happily if they let themselves.


(This post was edited by Bloviator on Nov 16, 2007, 7:11 AM)


Gringal

Nov 16, 2007, 7:31 AM

Post #46 of 84 (8213 views)

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Re: [Bloviator] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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You're right about the cost of owning a home. It also depends on what "theoretical" percentage of return you are figuring on. We use 5%, since that's the conservative return on invested money at present. So, of you've spent $400K plus on buying a home, you are "effectively" spending $1600 per month for "rent", plus any maintenance expenses and taxes. If you can find a rental you like, you may be ahead financially. Anyone who does not do that calculation is kidding themselves about what their expenses are.

I'm not going to get into a discussion about the advantages/disadvantages of owning ones own home as opposed to renting. We always end up buying for strictly psychological reasons, even though the numbers don't always crunch as nicely. We balance this failing by buying much less house than we can "afford", so after we're finished fixing it up "our way", we're still in the ball park of owning=renting figures. As long as that works, we're comfortable. NOB, property taxes are a killer, so that part works better here.


Gringal

Nov 17, 2007, 7:35 AM

Post #47 of 84 (8130 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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"So, of you've spent $400K plus on buying a home, you are "effectively" spending $1600 per month for "rent",
_____________________________________

Looks like I need to get my calculator (or brain) repaired. It should say: $2000 per month.


pat

Nov 17, 2007, 3:55 PM

Post #48 of 84 (8084 views)

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Re: [Gringal] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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$400,000 X .05 = $20,000 per yr, divided by 12 months = $1,666 per month....

Pat


Gringal

Nov 17, 2007, 4:32 PM

Post #49 of 84 (8071 views)

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Re: [pat] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Yep. Need my brain fixed.


Gwynne


Nov 17, 2007, 4:50 PM

Post #50 of 84 (8063 views)

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Re: [pat] Is It Really Cheaper to Live in Mexico?

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Maybe I'm a little fiscally impared, but I thought that "rent" was GONE. You pay it and never recover it. If you own the home, you get to keep the amount you sell it for. Verdad? Maybe if you own your car, you should figure XXXXX dollars a month for car payments?
This is getting strange.
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