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Forums  > Areas > Jalisco's Lake Chapala Region


legionpost101

Mar 15, 2009, 9:11 AM

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Hello all and thanks in advance. My wife and I are considering retiring in the Lake Chapala area. I have so many questions I dont know where to start. I have searched for cost of living estimates and so many seem outdated, can someone give me current estimates? Also I am confused on the FM3 requirements. I currently have a retirement income of $1200 a month and will have approximately $40,000 in the bank. Is this enough to qualify for the visa? We will not be retiring for about 4 more years but I want to have everything planned out as much as possible. We would be taking annual 2 week vacations in the area if we like it after the first time. Also, would I be better of driving or flying once retirement time comes? I ask this in relationship to cost of shipping some items, ie kitchen equipment (I cant give up my pots, pans, knives etc), photos etc. If there are any American Legion members on this forum I am also a past department vice commander for the state of Idaho and want to stay active with the legion. Our current plan is to use the $1200 for expenses and the $40,000 for the rent. By the time the 40,000 runs out we would both be collecting social security in addition to the $1200. Does this sound reasonable or am I living a pipe dream? Once again thanks in advance for the info.



Rolly


Mar 15, 2009, 9:28 AM

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Re: [legionpost101] Newbie

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Welcome to MexConnect.

You can find answers to your questions and much more here: http://rollybrook.com/Page%20Directory.htm

Rolly Pirate


bournemouth

Mar 15, 2009, 10:04 AM

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Re: [legionpost101] Newbie

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There is a large Legion post in Chapala, the largest post in Mexico I believe. Here is a link to their website:


http://www.lrafferty.net/AmericanLegion.html

Bring the kitchen stuff with you - you can't get good kitchen stuff here without paying out a lot of cash. Bring good linens also. Whether you bring a vehicle with you depends on your lifestyle. We find it much more convenient to have a vehicle for trips, big box store shopping expeditions etc. but not every one feels that way.


RickS


Mar 15, 2009, 11:04 AM

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Re: [legionpost101] Newbie

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Rolly's site has a wealth of information about moving/living in Mexico. Read it thoroughly. Also, since you have a long horizon before you retire here, read some old posts on this site. How? At the top of any forum you will see a SEARCH POSTS function. Click on it and then enter what you are looking for ( "FM3 Requirements" for example ) in the SEARCH STRING area, then click on SEARCH. This will give you any/all past posts that had anything to do with "FM3 Requirements" for example. (caveat: some posts are old... see the date... and the info might be outdated... i.e. the FM3 Requirments may have changed some from 2003 if that is the date of the past post).

Some quick answers:
Is this enough to qualify for the visa? The requirment for an FM3 is 250 times the daily minimum wage in Mexico City..... currently 54.8 pesos; or about 13,700 for an FM3 for one person.... plus 50% more for the second person, thus 20,550 pesos for the two of you. Different consulates require 'slightly' different amounts and the pesos/dollar rate changes so..... it would appear to me that you are cutting it very close with your $1200 & $40,000, even at today's astronomical peso/dollar rate of around 14.5 to 1. If it were around 9-11, as has been more the norm over the last years, you wouldn't qualify without 'claiming' a very large portion of that $40k each year (20,550 divided by 14.5 = $1417/mo; divided by 10 = $2,055).

Also, would I be better of driving or flying once retirement comes? That of course is up to you. If you are just concerned about bringing a 'few' things like kitchen equipment, clothes, computers, knick-knacks etc etc and not a bunch of furniture and a 'wood-working shop', you could easily bring that down in your car without any or much trouble nor cost. Once here, you don't ever 'need' to pay any car registration/plates/taxes etc. You can keep your old (expired) US plates forever (but you can't sell that car in Mexico).


Cost of Living Estimates Almost impossible to tell since your idea of a 'living standard' and health status is unknown. COL is higher in Ajijic than other outlying villages and even Chapala. You can rent a place, depending on your needs, from $400/mo. up to and well over $1500/mo. Maybe a a good average is $700/mo. If you need to buy a lot of imported U.S. things/food, you'll pay more than you will in the US for them; much less, 'tho, if you buy 'equivalent' things made in Mexico. There are lots of fresh veggies, etc. sold at the weekly markets, and fairly inexpensive too. Dental costs are paltry.... I paid over $1,000 for a crown in the U.S. but my Mexican Dentista in Ajijic charges $1400 pesos ($100 bucks at today's peso rate!). Some medications are cheaper, some are higher; some things that require a prescription in the U.S. are over-the-counter here. Some aren't available. Doctor visits are cheap ($25?). IMSS, a form of Mexican medical care, is cheap and would be available to you 'after a couple of years'. Gasoline is about $2/gal at today's exchange rate and goes up a minuscule amount (annually/monthly?) . Electricity is kind of pricey, but you won't need air conditioning nor (much) heat in the winter. Propane maybe $35/mo. Internet around $40/mo., TV the same or less if you get Mexican cable.

Hope this helps.....

(This post was edited by RickS on Mar 15, 2009, 1:38 PM)


Gringal

Mar 15, 2009, 1:10 PM

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Re: [legionpost101] Newbie

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...One thing for sure: if you're from Idaho, you'll be spending a LOT less for heat.

Hope it all works out well for you. I'd suggest starting your journey right now, with a good computer Spanish course like Visual Link or Rosetta Stone. Comes on disks, can be found on a Google search; reasonable price and interactive for easy learning. Visual Link includes good speaking voices for proper pronounciation. (I haven't used Rosetta Stone.) Wherever you settle, it will make a world of difference to speak at least.....Spanglish.


wendy devlin

Mar 15, 2009, 5:19 PM

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Re: [legionpost101] Newbie

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Dear Newbie,

Have long advised. That before. You burn any bridges. Wherever you live.
You venture south. And live full-time. Through the dry and rainy season.
Hob-nobbing. With both local Mexicans and the extrajerno contigent.

For at least two years.


Septiembre


Mar 16, 2009, 7:42 AM

Post #7 of 22 (10229 views)

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Re: [legionpost101] Newbie

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I would agree that the numbers you put up are pretty tight for Ajijic but not so bad for some of the other Lakeside villages. You might want to check out Jocotopec when you come. People tell us that rentals there in particular are a lot more reasonable than Ajijic.

We decided to avoid for the most part expensive U.S. imports of food and go Mexican. This has proven to be far easier than expected and we miss the other hardly at all. We spend about half on groceries what we spend here, the decent wines are mainly Chilean and similar in price to the U.S.

Definitely read Rolly's site closely, it is one of the great resources available to the aspiring expat. Rolly, thank you again for it.


Gringal

Mar 16, 2009, 9:05 AM

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Good point. If a person just has to have a U.S. version of Campbell's soup, he can have it, but it will cost more than the Mexican version. A taste for "Hamburger Helper" or "Bisquick" gets downright laughable in terms of sticker shock.

Trips North are a big one. You'll probably find it's cheaper to buy tickets to Mexico for your relatives than to visit them.

The point about staying a while before buying property is another good one. Rent. Mexico is not for everyone, and property can stay on the market for a long, long time.

Your library probably has a wealth of books on retiring overseas, including those on Mexico.Check the publication date. If it's over two years old, it's fictional. Many, many changes have taken place. For instance, our Lakeside area now has a Walmart on the main drag. Costco, Home Depot, etc. are all within driving distance. Costs have changed, too. Ulp.


RickS


Mar 16, 2009, 9:56 AM

Post #9 of 22 (10192 views)

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Re: [Septiembre] Newbie

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My point was not whether 2 folks could 'live' on the $1200/mo. and $40k nest egg for a while, but whether or not they could even qualify to be here on an FM-3 in the first place.

There is also the opportunity to do this thing ('live in Mexico') utilizing an FM-T only. That would, of course, require that the couple and their car return to the US border every 180 days, turn in their FM-T and temporary vehicle permit and then re-enter for another 180 days. The current cost to to that is about $30 ea. I think that the 'law' is that one must stay out of Mexico for 72 hours, but many folks just 'turn around and come right back into Mexico'.... some never actually cross the border but rather just get back in line for the new paperwork. I'm not promoting this idea... I wouldn't want the hastle, but many people 'live in Mexico' this way I am told.

(This post was edited by RickS on Mar 16, 2009, 9:58 AM)


legionpost101

Mar 16, 2009, 4:25 PM

Post #10 of 22 (10154 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Newbie

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Rolly visited your site and thanks for the wealth of information. I will be reading and refering to it for the years to come (yes I am a slow reader). Thanks again


legionpost101

Mar 16, 2009, 4:26 PM

Post #11 of 22 (10153 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] Newbie

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Thanks for the link to the legion. I will be contacting them and trying to get someone to adopt me as the time gets closer. Thanks again.


legionpost101

Mar 16, 2009, 4:30 PM

Post #12 of 22 (10151 views)

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Ricks you answered a lot of my questions, thanks. Now I guess my next one is, I see where you said claim a large portion of the 40k each year. Does having the bank statement showing that suffice or would I have to make monthly transfers to show a monthly income? Thanks for the info.


legionpost101

Mar 16, 2009, 4:33 PM

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Re: [Gringal] Newbie

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gringal, thanks for the advice have already started on the lessons using rocket spanish. Actually I am no longer in Idaho but in Delaware a block and half from the beach but I still know I wont be using as much heat. THanks again


legionpost101

Mar 16, 2009, 4:34 PM

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Re: [wendy devlin] Newbie

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Wendy so words have never been spoken. That is why we are planning two week vacations every year at different times for the next three years. Thanks for the response.


legionpost101

Mar 16, 2009, 4:37 PM

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Re: [Septiembre] Newbie

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I have no real desire to use a lot of imports, I love cooking and my favorite meals have always been, lets see whats in the house and go from there. I dont drink wine but beer is another story. Thanks for the info.


legionpost101

Mar 16, 2009, 4:48 PM

Post #16 of 22 (10141 views)

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Re: [RickS] Newbie

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Cost of Living Estimates Almost impossible to tell since your idea of a 'living standard' and health status is unknown.

This brought up another question. I am on high blood pressure and diabetes meds, both whish are under control, and the wife is on another med. We currently only pay at total of $9 month for these prescriptions (thru walmart), having to wait 2 years for ISS what can I expect to pay for these a month?


Jean_S

Mar 16, 2009, 5:22 PM

Post #17 of 22 (10130 views)

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Re: [legionpost101] Newbie

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If you have enough money in the bank that covers your yearly amount needed for a FM3 then you do not have to worry about monthly requirements.

We put 1/2 of our savings into Lloyd, and they give us a statement every year at renewal time, stating our total savings and that takes care of the requirements.


Jean_S

Mar 16, 2009, 5:24 PM

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Re: [legionpost101] Newbie

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It is good to visit at different times of year. We came sight unseen. Had never been to Mexico in our lives. For us it worked out. It was the adventure of a lifetime.


RickS


Mar 16, 2009, 6:46 PM

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Re: [legionpost101] Newbie

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If you can state specifically what these meds are (there are many high blood pressure meds), then maybe someone can assist you with the pricing..... but I suspect that if your meds are only costing you $9/mo you don't have a problem. Most people are only concerned about that when they are paying hundreds of dollars a month in the States and don't know what the cost is or if the meds are even available in Mexico.


(This post was edited by RickS on Mar 16, 2009, 6:53 PM)


Lobo2626

Aug 5, 2010, 11:07 AM

Post #20 of 22 (7943 views)

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Re: [bournemouth] Newbie

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In Reply To
There is a large Legion post in Chapala, the largest post in Mexico I believe. Here is a link to their website:


http://www.lrafferty.net/AmericanLegion.html

Bring the kitchen stuff with you - you can't get good kitchen stuff here without paying out a lot of cash. Bring good linens also. Whether you bring a vehicle with you depends on your lifestyle. We find it much more convenient to have a vehicle for trips, big box store shopping expeditions etc. but not every one feels that way.

My website, http://www.lrafferty.net is no longer affiliated with the American Legion, Since they developed their own site, I removed everything from mine. Go to:
http://www.americanlegionchapalapost7.org/index.html


simpsca

Aug 8, 2010, 9:34 AM

Post #21 of 22 (7760 views)

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Retiring to Mexico

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There is also a lot of useful information on the new website:

http://expatsmexico.setbb.com


ajijiccharlie

Aug 10, 2010, 7:19 AM

Post #22 of 22 (7602 views)

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Re: [legionpost101] Newbie

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Hi Newbie,
This sounds risky to me for a couple of reasons:
1) $40,000 is not much of an emergency fund when it is also needed for your rent.

For example, medical. You can't have full IMSS coverage for three years and there can be big delays with getting coverage from US insurance. This means that you need to have money to pay your medical bills in the interim.

Or a sudden trip home because someone is ill or has died.

2) Your prescriptions sound like they're covered by a co-pay. Tell us the names of the drugs so we can give you actual costs here.

You might be better off moving to a low cost part of the US, such as Florida, where there are social programs you could qualify for.

Good luck,
Charlie
 
 
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